When you have trouble losing weight, it’s tempting to blame your metabolism.
Damn, I’d be so much leaner if only my metabolism was better!
In this post I’m going to show you why your metabolism probably isn’t the issue, but I’ll also give you some helpful tips to improve it.
I Don’t Have A Slow Metabolism?
Probably not, no.
Think about cars, which is going to require more fuel, a mini or a truck?
The truck, obviously.
It needs to carry more weight, and that increases the fuel needs.
Your weight is the largest factor in how many calories you burn at rest, and the fuel cost for heavier people is also higher when exercising. If you are twice the weight of someone else, you’ll burn around twice as much energy going for the same mile run.
Men Have An Advantage
Sorry ladies, it’s true. Men find weight loss easier.
This is mostly because men carry more muscle, a man and a woman of the same weight and same muscle mass will burn roughly the same amount of calories.
This is a far smaller factor than weight though. Some claim that having lots more muscle will make staying lean a lot easier. It does make it easier, but muscle doesn’t burn loads more calories than fat. It’s a good difference, but not an enormous one.
Activity Is Still Crucial
Show me someone with a desk job and a drive to work and I’ll show you someone who will have trouble losing weight.
Much like a car, the fuel used is dependent on how far you go and how often. Your mileage will determine how much or how little energy you burn on an average day.
This is why swapping up your commute from driving to cycling, walking, or running offers big benefits. You increase your daily mileage and your metabolism increases.
It’s Easier For The Tall Ones
Being short has some disadvantages if you’re trying to lose weight and that’s largely because you will weight less in your healthy range. This means you can’t eat as many calories if you want to maintain a good figure. That said, the benefit is that while weight gain will show quickly, weight loss will also show quickly. If you enjoy your food and want to eat a bit more than you normally would, you’ll need to offset this with an increased activity level.
Individual Differences DO Exist
Yep, there are still some lucky buggers who will be able to eat junk and sport a six pack. Similarly there are people who burn fewer calories too. Outliers such as these are few and far between, most of us have pretty average metabolic rates.
If you’re a short woman with a desk job, then yes, you have a slower metabolic rate. Still, it’s not about the cards you’re dealt, it’s how you play them.
Ways To Increase Your Metabolism
Increase Your Mileage
Walk or cycle instead of driving when you can. Move between sitting and standing at your desk if you’re able to. Go for walks, take up an active hobby. Anything you can do to increase your daily activity levels will increase how many calories you burn and make it easier for you to lose weight.
Increase your Lean Weight
Alright, so it’s not the biggest difference in the world, but every little helps. Muscle creates definition, while fat softens it. If you can maintain your weight whilst increasing the amount of muscle that you hold, then you’ll be able to look better whilst eating the same amount of calories.
If you really find cutting calories hard, then this could make a big difference to your weight loss results.
Hot Food May Help
The results aren’t staggering, but spicy food has been shown to cause a small rise in metabolic rate and suppression of appetite. If you love spicy food, take advantage of it!
Stimulants May Help
Both caffeine and nicotine may assist those looking to lose weight by modestly increasing metabolic rate. If you take caffeine in pill or powder form, be careful with dosage, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine is more potent when isolated than when consumed in tea or coffee.
Nicotine also raises metabolic rate slightly but this doesn’t mean you should smoke away that stubborn fat, you’ll only decrease your ability exercise and make losing weight harder in the long run. If you do smoke and want to quit but are scared about gaining weight, nicotine replacement may help.
Good Nutrition Is Paramount
You need to give your body the nutrients it needs for healthy metabolism. Eating a varied diet will go a long way. Iodine is perhaps the most important nutrient for this. Main sources are dairy products and seaweed. Iodine supports your thyroid gland and if you’re low on it then your thinking and your metabolism will be affected.
So go forth and lift heavy, move lots and eat well.
And maybe add a bit of extra flavour to your meals!
Until next time,