Saturday, March 17, 2007

Metabolism: What You Need To Know To Lose Weight

We all know that losing weight has something to do with our metabolism. But few of us really understand what metabolism is. In its simplest terms, metabolism is a process that takes place inside your body which converts the foods you eat into energy. The body uses this converted energy to do everything; from walking to talking to swimming and so on. This process continues even while you sleep.

We are much more likely to speak in terms of burning calories when we talk about weight loss. So, when a person has a slow metabolism, he or she burns fewer calories, resulting in storing of excess calories that turn into body fat. By contrast, having a fast metabolism enables more efficient burning of calories and less buildup of excess fats.

Typically, metabolism slows as we age. Growing older, we begin digesting and processing food differently, and notice that we start gaining weight even if we eat the same types and amounts of foods we once did. Although it will vary considerably with the individual, women generally face a slow down in metabolism approximately after age 30 and men after age 40. Obviously the age of onset may differ significantly depending on the food you eat and how active a life you lead.

Although it may be difficult to believe, a low-calorie diet paradoxically slows your metabolism. You can attribute this to evolution and the fact that in our early development nature accounted for times of hunger by causing the body to react involuntarily to preserve calories and store them as fats for future use. Piling on more bad news, as you try to lose weight through semi-starvation, you actually lose muscle mass that causes a reduced rate of weight loss. Your muscles are your fat burners.

You’ll no doubt hear “rate of metabolism” referred to in any discussion about the subject. The best way to increase your metabolism rate is through regular exercise. As mentioned, muscle burns more energy than fat. It may be obvious that intensified activity will elevate your metabolism rate during exercise. But did you know that it will also increase your rate when resting? Studies show that your metabolism rate remains at a higher level for several hours following an exercise session.

Along with exercise, eating the right foods can help boost your metabolism. Your body employs energy simply to digest food. Foods high in fiber content require more energy to digest than foods full of sugar. For example, a bowl of oats will give you consistent energy longer than the sugary donut you're craving. Oats also cause your digestive system work harder, consequently elevating your metabolic rate. Now, there’s a breakfast suggestions if there ever was one!

We’ve only scratched the surface here. The long and the short of it is that if you are trying to lose weight, then your goal is to expend more energy in a day than you consume.

With a little education you can learn how to step up your rate of metabolism to achieve that goal. Greater consciousness of what you eat and the need to enhance physical activity provide the key to your weight loss.

About the Author: Robert G. Knechtel operates several websites, including MetabolismDetails.Com – Understanding Metabolism and How it Works.

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