Some people can eat whatever they want, rarely exercise, and
yet manage to remain thin and look healthy. We’ve seen them;
they sit down to dinner, eat their entire meal, follow it with
brownies a la mode or cookie dough ice cream, and yet, they
are still so skinny. How do they do it?
They are just lucky to have a fast metabolism.
Many of us had a fast metabolism once—usually in our youth.
We can remember the days when we didn’t have to feel guilty
about eating McDonald’s fries, or ice cream every night after
dinner, but the fact is metabolism slows down with age. Even
those lucky people who today can eat whatever they want are
likely to experience a slowed metabolism one day, and those
fatty foods and poor eating habits will then show their effects.
However, this does not have to be a losing battle. Slow metabolism
can be defeated.
Slow metabolism may be a result of a rising level of the “hunger
hormone”—insulin. Insulin acts as a fuel regulator in the body
and is responsible for taking sugar and fat from the bloodstream
and putting it into the cells, according to Maximum Metabolism
written by Robert M. Giller, M.D. and Kathy Matthews. The authors
say that insulin not only responds to what we have eaten, but
it stimulates an appetite for more, hence the name “hunger hormone.”
The major insulin boosters are sweets and fats; both can create
abnormally high levels of insulin, slowing down metabolism and
causing the body to store more fat.
The Maximum Metabolism Diet offers these practical steps for
people who want to raise their metabolism:
Properly balance fats, carbohydrates, and protein at each
Eat fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates; eat starches
(such as bread and grains) only in the morning. Incorporate
some protein into every meal. Protein reduces the amount of
insulin released in the body.
Eat enough meals
Don’t skip breakfast! Eating fewer meals is not the answer.
Researchers have found that eating fewer meals causes the body
to become better at storing fat, making weight loss more difficult.
Eating six to eight small meals a day is ideal, but if that
is too difficult, then try eating three healthy, balanced meals.
Eat at the right times
Try not to eat after 9 p.m. because metabolism generally
slows down around this time. Large dinners, if possible, should
be eaten before 8 p.m. Eating small meals every few hours throughout
the day keeps the metabolism going at a higher rate.
Eat an adequate number of calories each day (too few is
as bad as too many)
What and when you eat is as important as how much you eat.
Weight loss at the beginning of a low-fat diet is often not
fat loss but water loss. Thus, the weight is usually gained
back after a few weeks. Also, low-calorie diets cause loss of
muscle weight. Going lower than 900 calories per day could lead
to loss of more muscle than fat, while the body stores more
fat for energy.
Exercise is incredibly beneficial for the body in many
ways, including increased metabolism. Proper exercise can speed
up the body’s metabolism for hours after the exercise is over,
so the body continues burning calories at a higher rate, allowing
the body to benefit not just from burned calories during the
workout, but well after. Exercise increases muscle mass. Muscle
is the major calorie-using tissue in the body (as opposed to
fat, which stores calories), so if the body has more muscle,
more food can be eaten without adding body fat. Exercise stabilizes
insulin, which then reduces hunger. Exercise controls stress
and also makes the body more energetic by bringing more oxygen
to the brain.
With practice, these simple steps could become part of a regular
routine, and eventually a slow metabolism can be conquered.
However, it is okay (if not necessary) to break the rules on