Why Metabolism Matters for Weight Loss
Although factors outside of your control like genetics and age have an impact, there’s a lot you can do to support your metabolism to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
What Is Metabolism?
Metabolism refers to the sum of all the chemical processes that occur in your body. One fundamental component of metabolism is the energy (measured in calories) consumed by your body throughout the day, even if you were to do nothing. This is called your resting metabolic rate and is the energy your body needs to sustain life.
Resting metabolic rate accounts for about 70% of the total daily energy expenditure of sedentary people. The other components that contribute to the total daily energy expenditure are:
- The thermic effect of food, which is the energy required for digestion and absorption of food.
- Activity energy expenditure, which varies according to how physically active you are each day.
Optimizing these components of metabolism can help you lose weight and keep it off for good once you’ve lost it.
Simple Ways To Boost Your Metabolism
Here are five ways to provide support for your metabolism based on the science of food metabolism and energy balance.
1. Exercise Daily
Your resting metabolic rate is determined to a large extent by the amount of fat-free mass you have. This includes your organs, like the brain and liver, which use a substantial amount of energy. It also includes the amount of muscle you have. However, muscle tissue doesn’t consume nearly as much energy as people think it does, at least at rest.
Increasing your activity energy expenditure can go a long way in supporting your weight loss goals, not to mention the numerous health benefits for nearly all systems in your body. In fact, outside your resting metabolic rate and the energy that’s burned by eating food, somewhere between 15% and 50% of your energy burn comes from activity, making it the most variable component of your metabolism and the single component that you can change the most.
In short, get active and stay active, period. You can get your best results by incorporating different types of exercise into your routine to get maximal benefit. Combine resistance, aerobic, and flexibility training over several workouts per week. Try working your way up to five workouts per week with two to three aerobic workouts like running or biking and two to three resistance training sessions. Also, make sure to keep some form of stretching in your routine. Your objective is not solely to maximize calories burned during exercise. Your body’s response to exercise, in the form of recovery and rebuilding, boosts metabolism after a workout (1).
2. Perform Routine Cleanse Days
A Cleanse Day isn’t just about limiting calories from food. You are also providing your body with a “reset” to appetite, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. Cleanse Days may also initiate a type of decluttering and recycling process called autophagy in your body’s cells (2).
When you fast on a Cleanse Day, your body draws on stored energy from fat. As your body releases these stores into the bloodstream for energy, environmental toxins like PCBs that are stored in body fat are also released (3, 4). The variety of benefits you receive from intermittent fasting on Cleanse Days help your metabolic processes operate more efficiently.
3. Pace Your Protein Intake
Protein requires more energy for the body to digest than other nutrients like fat or carbohydrates. Because of protein’s thermogenic effects, it is a nutrient that can increase your metabolism with every meal. For these reasons, you might consider raising your protein intake and distributing it across meals throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner (5, 6). By breaking up your protein — instead of getting most of your protein intake at dinnertime, as people often do — you’ll also support greater muscle retention and muscle growth to power metabolism (5, 6).
A benefit of the Isagenix System is that protein intake is distributed over the day. Termed protein pacing, timing your daily ingestion of protein-rich meals has been found to be effective in helping to reduce body fat and increase lean body mass (7).
4. Manage Daily Stress
Your level of stress, both emotional and psychological, can have just as much of an effect on your body and metabolism as sleep deprivation (8). With hormonal systems out of whack, your metabolism and insulin sensitivity are also affected for the worse (8). You’re also less likely to exercise and more likely to eat more, which can throw you off your goals. Using healthy stress management techniques is an important way to support your overall well-being and your metabolism, too.
5. Sleep Well
Sleep is critical. Even a single interruption in your normal sleep pattern can have a detrimental effect on both fat metabolism and tissue recovery (9, 10). A cup of coffee may be a great way to wake up in the morning, but stay away from it in the late afternoon or evening (9). Plan out your sleep and relaxation periods just as you would your workouts. By sleeping on a consistent schedule, you’ll support the release of important hormones like melatonin and growth hormone, which help govern your metabolic rate every day (11).
Some factors that impact metabolism are outside of your control, but there are factors you can influence to support your metabolism. Regular exercise can give your metabolism a big boost, and consistent Cleanse Days, high-quality protein, stress management, and sleep are key to keeping your metabolism running smoothly.
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- Ravikumar B, Sarkar S, Davies JE, et al. Regulation of mammalian autophagy in physiology and pathophysiology. Physiol Rev. 2010 Oct;90(4):1383-435.
- La Merrill M, Emond C, Kim MJ, et al. Toxicological function of adipose tissue: focus on persistent organic pollutants. Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Feb;121(2):162-9.
- He F, Zuo L, Ward E, Arciero PJ. Serum Polychlorinated Biphenyls Increase and Oxidative Stress Decreases with a Protein-Pacing Caloric Restriction Diet in Obese Men and Women. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jan 10;14(1). pii: E59.
- Arentson-Lantz E, Clairmont S, Paddon-Jones D, Tremblay A, Elango R. Protein: A nutrient in focus. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 Aug;40(8):755-61.
- Symons TB, Sheffield-Moore M, Wolfe RR, Paddon-Jones D. A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Sep;109(9):1582-6.
- Arciero PJ, Edmonds R, He F, et al. Protein-Pacing Caloric-Restriction Enhances Body Composition Similarly in Obese Men and Women during Weight Loss and Sustains Efficacy during Long-Term Weight Maintenance. Nutrients. 2016 Jul 30;8(8). pii: E476.
- Aschbacher K, Kornfeld S, Picard M, et al. Chronic stress increases vulnerability to diet-related abdominal fat, oxidative stress, and metabolic risk. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Aug;46:14-22.
- Drake C, Roehrs T, Shambroom J, Roth T. Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Nov 15;9(11):1195-200.
- Copinschi G, Leproult R, Spiegel K. The important role of sleep in metabolism. Front Horm Res. 2014; 42:59-72.
- Halson SL. Sleep in elite athletes and nutritional interventions to enhance sleep. Sports Med. 2014 May; 44 Suppl 1:S13-23.