What is metabolism? Metabolism is the process by which the body breaks down food and converts what we eat and drink into energy. The calories within the food and drink we consume are broken down, combined with oxygen which creates the energy required for the body to function.
How many calories do we actually need? This varies person to person and is impacted by body composition, body size, gender, age and of activity. Everyone has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) and an active metabolic rate (AMR). A. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body requires to function properly at rest. This is what is required for our everyday bodily functions, such as, breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormones etc. B. Active metabolic rate (AMR) is the number of calories your body needs to fuel physical activity which can be anything from walking around to excessive exercise.
How does the body burn calories? Our body burns calories in a few ways, but the two main ways that we have some to full control over are
Food processing (thermogenesis) aka. digestion, absorption and transporting.
How can we work smart to help that process?
Introduce Thermic foods to your diet If you continue to train effectively, but then begin to fuel your body with the necessary macronutrients (Protein, carbs & fats) by using the thermic ingredients, you will then be burning calories not only by working out, but also through digestion of your meals.
The thermic effect of food and how it can help you lose weight By eating meals that are based around ingredients that create the thermic effect, your body will require more calories and energy to digest them. In basic terms, your body will be BURNING more calories even when not exercising.
What foods are known as thermic foods? 1. Protein rich foods – Meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds Having a HIGH protein diet can be beneficial for two reasons. One, you will be increasing your metabolism and the thermic effect, but two, protein makes you feel fuller for longer. This means it can help with reducing your calorie intake. Research also shows that protein is the best macro nutrient to increase the thermic effect.
HOWEVER – I’d advise lean meats and low-fat nuts. We don’t want to undo the hard work with fatty foods.
2. Iron, Zinc, Selenium rich foods These all play a different role for the body; however, they are all required for our thyroid to function properly. Our thyroid produce hormones that regulate our metabolic levels. Research shows that a diet low in Iron, Zinc and Selenium can have a negative effect on the function of the thyroid glands. This results in a lack of hormones being produced which further results in the slowing down of your metabolism making it harder to lose weight.
3. Peppers Bell peppers and chilli peppers have been found to help speed up metabolism and aid body fat burning.
4. Ginger Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can also help lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
5. Olive Oil COOK WITH IT. Olive oil is a great replacement for sunflower oil etc when cooking. Olive oil is a healthy fat that also retains its beneficial properties, even when cooked with.
6. Coffee, Tea (Ideally green tea) and WATER Both coffee and tea both have caffeine that help with increasing metabolism, but green tea is known to help target body fat when burning calories.
Key points to put into your everyday life:
Decrease your calorie intake! To lose weight, a calorific deficit is required. This means, you need to consume less calories a day than your active metabolic rate requires. This will result in the body not having enough “carbs” (glycogen) to burn for energy so it will then begin to use (burn) the fat stored within the body.
Continue to exercise! High intensity or weight training is very challenging for the body which in turn naturally burns calories.
Have a high protein diet! Carbohydrates are our energy source. If you are not going running every day or taking part in high intensity exercise, our body doesn’t require a high carbohydrate diet. This will just begin to store as unnecessary fat.
Drink your water! Minimum of 2 litres a day. This will help with digestion, metabolism, reduce the feeling of hunger and it will make you feel better too! Hydration is key.
Balanced diet! Have a well-balanced diet and avoid / reduce sugar intake. Sugar is the biggest reason for weight gain. E.g. Consuming fizzy drinks everyday Examples of alternatives – Sparkling water instead of fizzy drinks or dark chocolate instead of milk or white chocolate