You’ve no doubt heard that old saw that some people are heavy because they have a “slow metabolism.”
There’s a bit of truth and a lot of untruth in this association. Metabolism refers here to burning calories, and losing fat involves burning more calories than you eat. And different people have different metabolisms.
So how can you speed up your metabolism?
Muscle tissue naturally has a higher metabolism than fat tissue, blood tissue, bone tissue, etc. So one way to speed up metabolism is to increase the ratio of muscle to fat. If you click the last link, you’ll find these words from the Mayo Clinic:
Strength training. Strength training exercises, such as weight lifting, are important because they help counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.
And that’s one of the pitfalls of crash dieting. Crash diets cause you to lose lots of muscle tissue and water, in addition to some fat, and then you rebound, regaining the weight. But the regained weight is likely to have a much higher ratio of fat-to-muscle. So a vicious cycle is set up.
A Sensible Fat Loss Strategy
- Consume 300 to 500 or so fewer calories a day than you burn, ensuring you get all nutrients needed to maintain your health. That means eating a healthy sensible diet that will enable you to lose between 2 and 7 pounds a month. A pound of body fat has 3500 calories.
- Maintain your physical muscle mass, or even increase it. Dieting without exercise means muscle as well as fat loss.
So how many calories do you need to maintain your weight? That depends on your age, your height, your weight, and your sex. But a rough rule might be to multiply your weight in pounds by 10 or 11. That will give a ballpark figure of how many calories you need to maintain your present weight. I’ll talk more about that later.
Exercise burns more calories, of course, and aerobic exercise is good for the health of your heart and circulatory system. But muscle building exercise makes weight loss easier, and it’s a lot more attainable than you might think. This web site has some very good calculators to help you determine how many calories a particular activity burns. Click around there and explore it a bit. If you’re a 35-year-old 5-foot, 5-inch female weighing 135 pounds, one hour of moderate sexual activity only burns 17 calories per hour, whereas riding a stationary bicycle with vigorous effort for this same person for an hour would burn 547 calories.
As you can see, this is a long process. In fact, living a healthful lifestyle is a lifelong pursuit. So you need to find a way to make it feel good, to be inspiring.
In my next postings, I’ll write about getting an eating plan together and an effective exercise program.
In the meantime, add your questions in the comment section, and maybe I or other visitors will answer them.