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How Do You Jump Start Your Metabolism?

Metabolism and weight loss

woman wearing oversized pants after she lost weight
  • Questions: What things affect your metabolism? And what can you do about it?
  • You need to know something about what affects your metabolism before you can figure out what to do about it.
  • This is important because if your metabolism is too slow you'll have real trouble losing weight.
  • You'll get cravings, and you won't feel like eating right.
  • And you'll feel weak so you won't feel like doing much of anything.
  • This can be why you don't feel like exercising, why you say, "Exercise is just not for me."

What is metabolism?

Your metabolism is simply the work of all the cells of your body. It's the sum total of everything that happens inside your body. Every reaction. Every movement. Every molecule that is taken in, digested and broken down or built up or transformed in any way.

All these things create and consume and transform energy.

Your cells do work. They build things. They grow. They repair themselves. They fight off infection.

When you add all that up, that's your metabolism.

As a sort of convenient way to break it down, you can look at it in three parts.

The first part is your resting metabolism. This is the baseline. It's the energy you use while you are resting.

The second part is the energy you use while digesting your food. It takes energy to convert whatever you've eaten to something your body can use.

The third part is the energy you use during exercise. This means all exercise. If you are brushing your teeth, that's exercise. It's not much, but it's something.

Walking is more exercise. Running is even more. And somewhere there is an upper limit, the absolute maximum that you can exert yourself, whether it is wrestling, or running sprints, or hauling logs, or even walking up the stairs if that happens to be the maximum that you can tolerate. Your metabolism is at its peak with maximal exercise.

"The five S's of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit."

Ken Doherty

What affects metabolism?

Lots of things affect your metabolism. Some things you can do something about. But some things you can't do anything about.

Here is one you can't affect: choosing different parents.

That's right. If you had different parents you might have been born with a super-fast metabolism. Like one of those Olympic long distance runners.

Or that friend of yours that can eat all she wants and never gains an ounce. Oh well.

These people were blessed with a metabolism that the rest of us do not have. Sure, they trained to get to the Olympics. But 99% of the people could train all they want and they're not going to win the 100 meter sprint. It's a matter of genetics.

Some things are dangerous

You can take drugs to speed your metabolism. There are illegal drugs that speed up the metabolism. Cocaine. Speed.

And there are legal drugs that speed up your metabolism, at least for a little while. But these can be dangerous too.

Ephedrine, a stimulant found in many diet pills, was banned by the United States Food and Drug Commission when it received reports of deaths, heart attack and stroke. The ban was later lifted for low dose ephedrine, and it is now available.

But the point is that drugs used for weight loss can be dangerous. And besides that, they don't really work. I have never known of anyone that achieved long-term, healthy weight loss by taking medication. Medications don't jump start your metabolism -- they tear it down.

"Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential."

Liane Cardes

Some things require some effort

You can get some high-quality exercise, like in this very helpful free exercise plan. You burn calories while you exercise.

Exercise also speeds up your metabolism so you continue to burn more calories throughout the day.

Let's say that you burn 300 calories on the treadmill. You also burn more calories for the next several hours than you would at your baseline. More calories burned equals more weight loss.

Exercise also adds muscle, and lean muscle uses more energy than fat, so that burns up the calories and helps to jump start your metabolism.

The only problem with exercise? You have to do it. And while any exercise is good, if you really want to put a fire under your metabolism, you have to increase the intensity.

Effects of diet on metabolism

There are two parts to diet and metabolism. One is what you eat. Two is when you eat it.

When you eat is important. Your body is a carbon-oxygen engine. It needs fuel to run efficiently. After a night's sleep you need to fuel your body in order to get the most efficient production. This means eating breakfast. This helps to jump start your metabolism for the rest of the day.

It's also important that you don't become overly hungry. When you do, you tend to overeat. And your body can't manage large volumes of food well. If you eat a small amount your body can use it for building blocks and for energy. But the overly large meals can only be stored. And the only way you can store extra energy is by storing fat.

You should also make sure you have some protein whenever you eat. Protein has something called "specific dynamic action." This means that when you eat protein, it speeds up your metabolism. The effect lasts a couple of hours.

So if you eat some protein every three hours as shown in this free diet program your metabolism tends to stay higher throughout the day. It will help jump start your metabolism. And that will lead to easier weight loss for you.

"We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are."

Adelle Davis

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