Weight loss definitely depends on your metabolism. Your metabolism is how your body transfers the food you eat and drink into energy. But is your metabolism slow? Are you really not burning enough calories off?
Are you working way too hard and not getting anything for it?
How the heck to do you find out what your metabolism is anyway? Accurately figuring out your RMR (resting metabolic rate) is really tough. There are formulas but nothing is perfect. For math lovers, this is for you!
Many people have the best of intentions when they think about diet and exercise. Eat way less, exercise a ton and then I will be thinner. If only it were that simple. You may be sabotaging yourself with some simple metabolic mistakes.
1. Eating at inconsistent times
The body likes to know it is getting fed. If your meals are very far apart or inconsistent in quantity, the body will put more food into storage (aka fat) versus using it.
2. Sleep is but a dream
You need to aim for a minimum of 7.5 to 9 hours a night to keep your hungry hormones under control. When you are tired you make too much ghrelin (makes you hungry) and too little leptin (makes you full); you also make extra cortisol which makes you crave all the starchy carbs and sugars! So grab your pillow and stop feeling guilty about going to bed, its helping you get in shape.
3. Not Eating Enough?
This is a hotly debated topic. The body can get very unhappy when it isn't fed and reduces the amount of calories it burns to save itself- this is often called starvation mode. However, people do lose weight in starvation obviously...
Best bet here is to make sure you are eating in a healthy calorie deficit within your macros.
Need to learn how to find out about your macros?
4. Only doing cardio?
Cardio is great to burn off calories right? It just melts off all the fat...or so you think. Strength training has an EPOC effect on the body (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). What this means is that why your body recovers from the micro tears from building muscle you are burning hotter and therefore more calories thus boosting that metabolism.
If you are sitting for more than 20 minutes, your body assumes it is time to rest so everything slows down. You can't just go to the gym for a hour and then sit most of the day. This will not make up for the lack of movement all day. If your job requires sitting, try to set your phone, fit bit, or computer to alert you to move regularly.
6. Not enough calcium?
See milk does a body good. But in this era of alternatives, don't worry...almost all are also loaded with calcium. Calcium helps your body decide whether you store fat or burn it. So reconsider your diet and where that calcium is coming from!
Stress just messes up the whole system. You make more cortisol which makes you want to load up on carbs and other sugars. But is also slows your digestion and disrupts sleep...so you are at a complete disadvantage. Exercise can boost some happy hormones and combat your stress hormones. But if you have constant, ongoing stress you will become like some Star Wars battle constantly fighting the dark side.
In this new year, make small changes and get big results. You can do this.
As always yours in health,
Heather Cunningham M.Ed, CHES, CPT, Functional Fitness Specialist