Understand That This Is Complex
So many things influence what, why, and when we choose to eat.
Too often, eating and body size / fatness are blamed on lack of knowledge, lack of willpower/discipline, or laziness. In reality, food intake and body composition are governed by a mix of physiological, biological, psychological, social, economical, and lifestyle influences, along with individual knowledge or beliefs.
One of the simplest ways to make your decision processes easier is to create an environment that encourages good food choices and discourages poor ones. This can mean making changes to your daily routine, who you spend time with, where you spend time, and what food is readily available to you.
But remember that weight loss can and should be relatively slow, so aim to lose about 0.5-1 percent of your body weight per week.
This helps to maintain muscle mass and minimize the adaptive metabolic responses to a lower calorie intake and resulting weight loss. Faster weight loss tends to result in more muscle loss without extra fat loss, as well as a larger adaptive response.
How Great Is The Adaptation
There are a number of factors that will influence how much the metabolism slows down in the face of a hard diet. Some of these factors include how much exercise is being performed while you are on the diet, how much body fat you currently have , the particular food choices you are consuming on your restricted diet , and how long you have been on that restricted diet.
There Are A Number Of Factors That Will Influence How MuchThe Metabolism Slows Down In The Face Of A Hard Diet.
In one study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers assessed the effect of a six month period of calorie restriction on metabolic adaptation in very overweight individuals.
They divided subjects up into four different groups over a six month trial period. Group one followed a 25% calorie restricted diet, group two followed a 12.5% calorie restricted diet as well as a 12.5% increase in energy expenditure through exercise, group three followed a very low calorie diet of 890 calories per day until they experienced a 15% weight reduction, which was then followed by a weight maintenance diet phase, and the fourth group served as the control.
After the results of the study were assessed, it was demonstrated that the mean weight of the controls was reduced 1%, the mean weight of the calorie restriction group was reduced 10.4%, the weight of the calorie restriction plus exercise group was reduced 10%, and the very low-calorie diet group showed a weight reduction of 13.9%.
Develop A Solid Nightly Sleep Routine And Manage Your Stress
Sleep is just as important to your success as nutrition and activity levels. Dont pretend that you can get by with less. It simply isnt true.
Often, when people lower their stress, they lose a lot of body water. Then they also notice that they may have lost fat too.
This includes mental and emotional stress. Research on cognitive dietary restraint shows that constantly and negatively fixating on what you eat can have the same unhealthy effect as actually dieting stringently.
Yet we need some stress to actually help with progress and growth, so find your stress sweet spot.
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How To Speed Up Metabolism After 40
As you enter your fifth decade, you encounter sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. This change — combined with an inevitable increase in body fat — invariably slows down your metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories. While lifting weights or engaging in some other form of resistance training best counteracts this, you can also speed up your metabolisms pace through diet and nutrition.
Are Whey Protein Drinks Ok
I typically drink a protein drink that is a whey protein. Is whey protein in protein drinks or bars not ok? Also, should I have apple cider vinegar during a fast? There is conflicting information as to whether it stops autophagy. And lastly, wouldnt I have to avoid bone broth if I am want to reap the benefits of autophagy?
For autophagy, you should do a water-only fast. I generally advise people to avoid protein drinks and bars. Get your protein through natural foods.
Dr. Jason Fung
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What Can Be Done About This Issue
Obviously the best way to prevent the metabolic slow-down in the first place would be to avoid going on the diet, but since most people do want to work towards the goal of fat loss, that recommendation is not valid.
Looking to other answers, there are a few things you can do to prevent the metabolic slow-down from being so significant.
The first thing you should do is avoid going on a very low calorie diet. Moderate diets will work best and while it will take you longer to actually lose the weight, you reduce the risk the metabolism slows down as well as reduce the risk that you lose lean muscle mass .
The second thing you should do is make sure your carbohydrates are not kept very low all the time. Carbohydrate intake is tied to the function of the thyroid gland and helps to regulate the metabolic rate.
Third, avoid using the restricted diet for extended periods of time. More and more people are starting to realize the importance of a diet break and are using it in their diet schedule. While it may seem counter-productive to only spend shorter amounts of time on the diet before breaking for maintenance, in the long term it can provide better results and also prevent weight regain from happening once you do reach your goal weight.
Make Sure Your Carbohydrates AreNot Kept Very Low All The Time.
If you take maintenance breaks throughout the diet period, the chances of this happening are lower.
Eat A Wide Variety Of Fruits Vegetables Quality Carbs And Healthy Fats
Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, water, and fiber to help you fill up during meals, stay full between meals, keep you healthy, and recover from your workouts.
- We recommend 6-8 fist-sized servings per day for most active men.
- And 4-6 fist-sized servings per day for most active women.
The carbs will fuel training, boost leptin , keep up sex hormones, and prevent feelings of deprivation.
And the fats also keep up sex hormones, boost the immune system, suppress excess inflammation, and make food taste really good.
- For most active men, this would be 6-8 handfuls of quality carbs, and 6-8 thumbs of healthy fats per day.
- For most active women, 4-6 handfuls of quality carbs and 4-6 thumbs of healthy fats per day.
For a complete guide to using your hand to measure portions, check out our Calorie Control Guide infographic.
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Need more guidance? Be sure to checkout my YouTube channel for more tips to help in your intuitive eating journey and take the no food rules quiz which will tell you what’s holding you back from truly finding food freedom and give you customized resources to overcome it!
This blog post was written by Colleen Christensen, RD and researched and written with the help of Amy Sharn, MS, RDN, LD.
Ways To Boost And Speed Up Metabolism
Our metabolisms get blamed for a lot. “Metabolism” is a word that is bandied about in our frustrated conversations with girlfriends. Our inability to mainline chocolate without putting on weight? Metabolism. Those seven pounds that just won’t budge? Metabolism. Our general fatigue? Metabolism. But do you know what your metabolism is and what it even does?
Meet the Expert
- Kelly LeVeque, health coach and founder of Be Well by Kelly.
- Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND, is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
According to the NHS website, “metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside the body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.” Our bodies need energy to carry out all those metabolic processes, and it’s our basal metabolic rate that is the number of calories our body uses to just keep us alive. The site also says that “a slow metabolism is more accurately described as a low BMR.” While we probably need to shift the focus from wanting to speed up our metabolism to increasing our BMR if we want to be totally accurate, at the end of the day, we all just want to know how to lose any excess weight, right?
Keep scrolling for easy-to-follow tips on how to boost your metabolism.
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Focus On Additional Lifestyle Interventions
Our bodies are impacted by how we live our lives. So focusing on things like reducing stress, staying hydrated, implementing gentle nutrition, improving body image, getting enough sleep, etc. Believe it or not our bodies are impacted by ALL of these things!
And that body image one? Thats key! I mean, the reason why we damaged our metabolism in the first place by dieting is probably because we were in a state of negative body image, right?
Can Your Metabolism Fall Below A Normal Level Because Of Weight Loss
There is no “normal” metabolism. What is normal for you is based on your genetics, age, sex, weight and activity level. But what you consider normal for yourself can change over time due to age, weight loss or muscle loss.
“Some newer research suggests that significant weight loss can lead to a lower metabolic rate than ‘normal’ for that weight and one that is consistently lower even after the weight is regained,” Anzlovar says. “This means that if you started at 200 pounds and now weigh 150 pounds, you will burn fewer calories at rest and during exercise than someone who always weighed 150 pounds. What’s even more frustrating for those that want to lose weight is that research has also shown that if the person who lost the 50 pounds regains that weight, his or her metabolism will be lower at 200 pounds than it was before he or she lost the weight.” It is unclear if this always happens or why it happens, she added.
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Benefits And Disadvantages Of Reverse Dieting Vs All In
Evidence on reverse dieting and its alleged benefits is lacking, but experts who use this strategy with their clients find that the slow stepwise method to increasing caloric intake allows for gradual metabolic adaptation and reduces the risk of gaining excess fat and weight, while preserving lean muscle mass. This is largely based on anecdotal clinical evidence and not from scientific trials.
The downside is that reverse dieting, like any dieting, may not be appropriate for those struggling with disordered eating, which is actually not uncommon for individuals coming from an extreme diet or pattern of restriction. Carefully counting calories with the goal of metabolic restoration with minimal weight gain can further perpetuate disordered eating and will not help an individual ease back into a more flexible healthy relationship with food and their body. There is also a concern that because the goal of reverse dieting is to slowly bump up caloric intake without risking weight or fat gain, an individual may never reach their bodys true set point weight. And instead, they may continue to be fueling their body at a suboptimal level for their unique needs but stopping when their goal weight or desired weight is threatened by a further caloric increase.
Have Small Meals More Often
You can also eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid a drop in metabolism. The longer you go between meals, the more your metabolism drops and the hungrier you feel.
When you eat small, balanced meals more often, or a healthy snack in between three healthy meals, your metabolism stays more consistent. Proteins should be a part of each meal, since they’re better at helping your bodys metabolism.
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How The Metabolic Chamber Actually Measures Metabolism
Halfway through my morning in the metabolic chamber, I had eaten and rested at prescribed intervals, and hit the exercise bike for 30 minutes. I also meticulously recorded all my activities in a log when I was standing and reading, lying down, on the bike so that the researchers could compare how they tracked against my calorie burn.
Just before lunch arrived, Kong Chen, a metabolism investigator at NIHs National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, turned up on the other side of my plexiglass window to say hello.
How are you doing in there? he asked.
I was surprisingly comfortable in the little room, I told him, and asked if he could walk me through precisely how the chamber does the work of measuring the metabolism.
Chen, who has a PhD in biomedical engineering, explained that the room I was standing in was almost airtight, with a fixed volume of oxygen and CO2. Through an array of metal pipes spread across the ceiling, researchers captured and measured the oxygen I consumed and the CO2 I produced at every minute.
The reason these gasses matter for metabolism is simple, Chen said. We get fuel in the form of calories from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. But to unlock those calories, the body needs oxygen. When we breathe in, oxygen interacts with the food weve consumed, breaking down chemical bonds where the calories are stored and releasing them for use by our cells. The product of the process is CO2.
Follow A Sensible Diet
Ms Reutens further shares that our metabolic rate is determined by other factors outside of age and activity factor. This includes our diet which is why what we eat and drink is important.She advises getting the right balance of:
- Low glycemic index carbs: brown rice, basmati rice, sweet potato, quinoa, multigrain bread, wholemeal bee hoon.
- Lean protein: skinless chicken, tofu, beans, lentils, lean pork, lean beef, seafood, low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt.
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
- Dietary fibre: a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
From a diet perspective, do not focus on a particular food or nutrient to rev up your metabolism, says the dietician. Make sure you are not overeating which most of us tend to do without realising. You cannot out train a bad diet. Look at the overall nutrition profile of your meals.If you are unsure of your nutritional balance of meals, see a dietitian to determine if you are on track, she adds.
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And Drink More Water In General
Weight loss doesn’t get easier than this: Simply drinking more water may increase the rate at which healthy people burn calories, according to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. After drinking approximately 17 ounces of water , participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30 percent. The researchers estimate that increasing water intake by 1.5 liters a day would burn an extra 17,400 calories over the course of the yearâa weight loss of approximately five pounds!
Stand At Work Three Hours A Day
Ideally, we sleep about eight hours for every 24. Most people spend another seven to ten hours sitting at their desk. That means most of us spend the overwhelming majority of our time sedentary. Our bodies weren’t designed for this level of inactivityâmost of humans’ evolutionary history involved being active, searching for food and fuel. Nutritionist Lisa Jubilee says that one way to burn more calories daily is to stand more and sit less. She cites a British study which found that standing at work burned 50 more calories per hour than sitting. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider this: If you stand for just three hours of your day, in one year you’d expend more than 30,000 extra caloriesâwhich amounts to about 8 pounds of fat!
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Ways To Gain Weight With A High Metabolism
If you happen to have a fast metabolism, you may have difficulty gaining weight. While being underweight doesnt carry the same health risks being overweight, it can be frustrating trying to put on weight if you have a fast metabolism.
In older people, a low body mass index can lead to frailty, higher risk of injury from falls, and reduced quality of life. Depression, health issues, and prescriptions medications are common reasons for unintentional weight loss in senior citizens.
Excessively high levels of thyroid hormones, called hyperthyroidism, is one cause of low BMI. If youre thin and have trouble gaining weight, you can ask your doctor to screen you for hyperthyroidism.
If you dont have thyroid problems, heres how to achieve a healthy weight with a high metabolism:
How To Improve Your Metabolism After Your 40s
Turning 40 is a huge milestone for many, and one of the things you may have since noticed is the challenge in losing weight. Even maintaining your weight can seem like a huge struggle even when you arent doing anything different. The culprit? Metabolism, of course! You see, metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you consume into energy. But as you age, metabolism tends to decrease which often leads to weight gain.Jaclyn Reutens, a dietician at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants, explains why this is so. People tend to be less active when they age which contributes to loss of muscle mass and in turn, reduced metabolism. Thats because muscle actually makes you more metabolically active, even at rest.Thankfully, not all is lost and there are things you can still do to improve your metabolism even after 40. This involves maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping well.We spoke to a Singaporean in her 40s to hear her personal experience with slowing metabolism and got tips from Ms Reutens on how to improve it.
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