When you start changing your habits to lose weight, you begin hearing a lot about metabolism. Have you ever wondered what metabolism is and why it is so important?
Metabolism is the powerhouse for your body. It converts the fuel in the food we eat to the energy needed to power everything we do so that our body can maintain itself. Whether you are exercising, sleeping or eating, your body is constantly using energy and burning calories to keep you going.
Metabolism also affects body composition and the amount of muscle versus the amount of body fat we have. Those with more muscle will likely have a higher metabolism than those who do not. As muscle burns up to 90% more calories than fat, this is important. Ever wonder why it is easier for men to lose weight than women? Typically men have more muscle than women. Can you see where I am going with this? 🙂
Now you may be wondering why I am going on about metabolism when you thought you were going to read about breakfast.
Here is why:
My very intelligent cousin once told me something about metabolism and breakfast that has stuck with me for years. Are there any campers out there?
Metabolism works like a camp fire. When you are camping and you go to bed, overnight the camp fire gradually dies out. When you wake up the next morning and you notice there is no fire, how do you get the fire going again? You throw logs on it. If you throw a ton of logs all at once, the fire will die out because you smothered it. If you add logs slowly to the fire, it will blaze.
The logs are the same as food and the fire is the same as your metabolism. When we go to bed our metabolism slows down. Your metabolism will not start blazing again until you eat. If you skip breakfast and wait to eat until lunch, you are wasting hours without your metabolism working at its peak.
The solution: EAT BREAKFAST!
Sounds simple right? Breakfast falls in line with the busiest time of day for most people. As a result, common excuses are not having time to eat breakfast or simply hating breakfast food.
I have always loved breakfast so I never had a problem with wanting to skip this meal. I usually wake up starving anyway, but I see breakfast as another opportunity to eat so I am not going to pass that up. I realize though that not everyone has a fondness for this particular meal of the day. Regardless of your feelings towards breakfast, it is necessary to your weight loss and metabolism. No excuses, you have to eat breakfast.
Make breakfast the jump start of your day! If you know you will be in a hurry the next morning, plan your breakfast the night before. Try waking up 5 minutes early or grab something small, like fruit or a granola bar. You do not have to give yourself enough time for a trip to Denny’s just to eat breakfast. And for those who simply hate breakfast food, what is breakfast food? It isn’t just eggs and pancakes. Breakfast is a time of day. The food can be anything you want.
Have I persuaded you to breakfast yet? Here are some ideas for what to eat:
For those like my cousin who absolutely hate breakfast, try meal replacement drinks. This is her solution, and quite frankly I think she’s a genius with this stuff so try it.
For the rest of us, stay away from small sized foods that are packed with calories, like bagels. Instead eat high fiber foods like oatmeal, strawberries, yogurt, walnuts, cereal (not the sugary kind! Look for whole grain), toast, eggs. Love bacon? Try turkey bacon. Find foods that allow you to eat the most for your calories or points.
Other ideas for breakfast food: banana with peanut butter, banana with yogurt, oatmeal with fruit, egg with toast, granola bar. You get the idea. Keep it small and simple. I read online that those who ate 2 eggs with a piece of toast burn more calories throughout the day. Try it!
Besides breakfast, here are some other easy ways to increase your metabolism:
All physical activity boosts your metabolism. You can walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Try parking away from the store when shopping so you have to walk farther. Even walking your neighborhood for 20 minutes is exercise.
Build more muscle
As I mentioned above, muscle burns more calories than fat. Focus on doing around 15 repetitions for every muscle group during your weight lifting. For each workout, focus on different muscle groups and rotate them.
Eat often… but eat right
Eat every 2 to 3 hours. People who skip meals usually believe they are doing right because they are saving calories. Not so! You are also wasting calories that your body could be burning if you did eat.
The longer you wait in between meals your metabolism will start conserving energy by slowing down. Not a good thing! Eating every few hours will reassure your body that you are not starving. Skipping meals frightens your body into storing fat because it is not certain when food will be available.
In addition to kicking your metabolism into gear, eating often will prevent you from starvation eating later when you are so hungry you are more likely to make a bad food choice. As you eat throughout the day, continue with good choices. Do not think that eating every 2 to 3 hours means you can eat mindlessly all day. Snack on vegetables and fruit.
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses a day. I recently read that to burn more fat, divide your body weight and use that number in ounces to know how much water you should be drinking daily.
Examples of foods that help boost your metabolism include: Salmon, apples, broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, grapefruit, lemon, oranges, peaches, pears, plumbs, cayenne peppers, berries (all of them!), cinnamon, fish, flaxseed, peanut butter, chicken breast, turkey, eggs, spinach, beans, green tea, yogurt, almonds.