Help for a Sabotaged Metabolism!
By: Kim Onnen, MS, ACSM Health & Fitness Specialist
Many times we get to a point in our life when we think one more time, that in order to lose weight we must simply cut calories, so we do, and nothing happens. We might lose a pound or so, but then wind up extremely frustrated that the weight "is just not coming off like it used to." This is when reality sets in that we have quite possibly sabotaged our metabolism. If this is where you are, and you're thinking right now "yes that is what I just said earlier" then don't panic! We can "fix" our metabolism!
One of the most important points to make when it comes to helping our metabolic rate is that when we dramatically lower our calories, we automatically teach our body to function on fewer calories. This is the best way to sabotage our metabolism! It happens all the time, however all we are doing when we cut, cut, and cut more calories we are simply lowering our metabolic rate instantly! So first and foremost - do not starve your metabolism! Are you really unsure of how many calories you should eat? Then get your metabolic rate measured. You can do this at places like The Heartland Spa & Fitness Resort, medically based fitness centers, college based fitness centers, or check with a Registered Dietician in your area. This simple measurement will answer the question of "how many calories do I need to consume to fuel my metabolism" so that you don't starve your metabolism!
The next most important thing to do in order to raise a sabotaged metabolic rate is to increase muscle mass with strength training. As we age, skip the strength training, and think we are putting on a few extra pounds…..what has really been happening for years is finally a reality to you. For many years, if you haven't been strength training, you've been losing muscle mass and replacing it with fat without realizing it because the clothes fit "kind of the same" and your weight is "pretty much the same." However, in reality, you have less muscle and more fat. Your life is now maintaining the muscle mass you have, but as a result of the decreased muscle mass you have lowered your metabolic rate! Strength and lean muscle mass can be increased and it will help increase your metabolism!
Finally, doing cardiovascular exercise is a must! Our bodies are meant to move, so yes, this last tip is simple: Get Up and Move! Start doing some more cardiovascular exercise. Go for a walk, ride a bike, take a fitness class, do whatever you can to start moving more! We are in a society of more is always better and when it comes to the sedentary population more is not always better. Follow these simple tips: try to do cardiovascular exercise at least three days per week, try to have an easy day of about 30-45 minutes of exercise (could be a walk), have another day of harder exercise for 30-60 minutes (walking faster, aerobics, the elliptical, a stationary bike, jogging, etc), and have one day of intervals (approximately 20-30 minutes) in which you work hard for a little bit and then recover until you are ready to go again! Remember the times vary depending on health factors, exercise ability, and what may be mentally and physically possible! Variety and change is the best thing for a sedentary metabolism! Seek a doctor's permission before starting your exercise program to be safe.
In closing, it is very common to feel as if you've sabotaged your metabolic rate and are unsure how and if it's even possible to fix it! Again, it is! Strength training, exercise, and fueling your body's movement are the three most important things to increasing a sedentary metabolic rate. Seek a Professional Personal Trainer for specific guidance on your fitness program.