Your metabolism is a 24-hour non-stop process that converts what you eat and drink into energy that is used to power your body!
Our metabolic rate is affected by factors including weight, age and genetics. Your diet can also have a dramatic affect on your metabolic rate – and there are a few ‘so called healthy’ mistakes that may be slowing your metabolism.
Missing the most important meal of the day signals to the body to conserve energy (starvation mode) by slowing your metabolic rate and can often lead you to overeat later in the day. Studies have consistently shown that those that have a regular breakfast have more balanced diets, regular appetites and are less likely to be overweight or obese. Regular breakfast eaters also have a reduced risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Think of breakfast like stoking the fire after a long sleep – ideally have breakfast within one hour of waking to keep your metabolic rate optimal.
Not eating enough
Many people trying to lose weight adopt the ‘drastic diet’ approach – significantly reducing the amount of food that they eat. Similarly to skipping breakfast, not eating enough signals the body to switch into starvation mode – slowing your metabolic rate in order to preserve energy. Not eating enough can lead to muscle loss instead of weight loss, which has a further slowing affect on your metabolism. Eat regular balanced meals to keep your blood sugar level and opt to include a balance of wholegrain carbs, proteins and good fats in each meal to keep your metabolism firing.
Cutting out carbs
While a low-carbohydrate diet can be good for weight loss in the short term, it is not a beneficial approach long-term, especially if you are exercising. When exercising your body’s preferred source of fuel is glycogen (a stored form of carbohydrate) – not eating enough carbohydrates can lead to low glycogen stores resulting in low energy when working out. When selecting carbs choose your wholegrain low-GI options such as rolled oats, brown rice and quinoa which give you a sustained release of energy.
Reduced energy (metabolic output) means you’re more likely to skip the gym, have that extra drink on a Friday night or search for that sugar hit late on a Thursday afternoon. For long-term results look to balance your lifestyle by optimising your metabolism.