What affects your metabolic rate? In a nutshell: a lot! The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to "speed up" your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn. But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate. How big you are counts too! Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out. This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen. The more muscle mass you have, the better. Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing "work". The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate! Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the "thermic effect of food" (TEF). You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently. Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate. Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off. When it comes to calories, the more dense the calorie is with nutrition, the better. If the body is getting the nutrition that it needs and enough calories, it will keep the metabolism burning. Many people think that by reducing calories, that is the path to weight-loss. While you may see an initial drop in weight, it is not sustainable as your metabolism will lower to meet the calories that you are giving it. And don't forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate. Try adding extra protein at night and adaptogenic herbs to regulate stress hormones. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate. What I have done with my clients is to show them a way to lower the calories while INCREASING nutrition, for healthy-sustainable weight-loss and health. As always, I am here to assist you in your goals. Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts Serves 4 2 lemons, sliced 1 tablespoon rosemary 1 tablespoon thyme 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) dash salt & pepper 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic. Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more "roasty" then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it). Serve & enjoy! Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!
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