Updated: Aug 15
Wanting to lose weight is a topic most adults can relate to. We’ve all wanted to trim down at one time or another. A search on social media or other internet sites pulls up an abundance of fitness programs and weight loss strategies – each claiming expert knowledge and promising success.
It can be a challenge to know which is right for you. And for good reason. At times, even medical experts, scientist, personal trainers, and certified nutritionist can have varying opinions. So many approaches to the same end goal is one reason weight loss can feel defeating before it even starts.
Why are there so many different attitudes towards weight loss? The reasons are uncomplicated. Different strategies, opinions, and programs work for different people because we are all...different people. We are unique in many ways, even when we are similar.
Body type, age, gender, activity level, fitness level, tolerances, and medical history are just a few factors to consider. There are also genetic dispositions, social lifestyles, stress level and sleep patterns that could affect a person’s weight loss goals. A program that truly works for one person may have zero success for the person sitting right next to them. With this, the logical question is, how to find the right program for you?
But first, what is metabolism?
The word “metabolism” is used when referring to the relationship between food and how quickly our body uses it.
This process is commonly referred to as “energy balance” or “calories in and calories out.” When we eat more than our body requires, it stores that food as fat for later use. When our metabolism is functioning optimally it uses foods we eat more efficiently and often will use excess fat storages as well.
Working one on one with an experienced fitness professional can help. Personal trainers and nutritionist often have the skill set to guide a person to their fitness goals through diet and exercise programs.
But if that is not in your wheelhouse currently, or you just prefer to go it alone, there are a few truths that apply to everyone. These are established through science, backed by years of studies, and agreed upon plans of action, and we share them here.
1. Create a Reasonable Caloric Deficit (Calories in and calories out)
If you are eating equal or greater amounts of calories than you are burning every day, your body is in balance or has a surplus. It does not need to harvest fat as an energy source. Regardless of what kind of foods you are eating, you will not lose body fat.
To lose weight the body needs to metabolize food eaten each day, plus use foods stored as body fat. This may require action from you.
A reasonable caloric deficit helps the body employ fat storages to be used as energy. Maintaining a healthy diet keeps all your essential functions in balance, while restricting overeating allows the body fat to be utilized.
Two simple strategies to creating a calorie deficit:
Eat Less - We recommend starting a daily deficit of 250 to 500 calories. Gradually these deficits can be increased up to 750 to 1000 daily if needed (unless otherwise directed by a licensed physician).
Your calorie deficit should not be an extreme. Cutting calories dramatically can raise cortisol levels, raise your RT3 responses, and slow or even harm your metabolism. Starting moderately is best.
Move More - This does not need to be an extreme. Often, starting with evening walks can be enough extra energy to burn body fat. The more you move the more your metabolism burns. So, keep movement at the top of your metabolism strategies.
2. Drink More Water
Drink water. Water is the key to life, and one of the easiest ways to boost your metabolism.
Drinking water increases your metabolism by up to 25% for an hour after drinking it.
TIP: Drinking a few cups of water every hour, you will keep your metabolism at peak performance all day.
3. Add Protein & Vegetables
Protein is the single most important food for weight loss and just having a better-looking body all the way around.
Protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, balances blood sugar, and even changes several weight regulating hormones – particularly belly fat.
Protein Tips: Eat real food before supplements!
Poultry, fish, eggs, and some lean red meats are great sources of complete protein. They provide the essential amino acids needed for cell repair, hormone production, and blood sugar balancing.
If you are not eating animal protein, make sure you are eating foods that are a complete protein or the right combinations of vegetables that make up complete proteins. Some examples of both can be found at VeganFitGuide.com and clicking here.
You may find that the diet best for you does not include vegetables high in starch or carbohydrates (sugar). However, it is never a good plan to avoid vegetables all together. Vegetables contain the essential vitamins and minerals that are used for healthy development, immune function, disease prevention, fiber and over all well-being.
Vegetable Tips: Choose vegetables that are packed with high nutritional value and low calorie. You will find these foods are key to any successful weight loss program.
4. Get Regular Good Sleep
Sleep is intricately connected to various hormonal and metabolic processes in the body and is important in maintaining metabolic homeostasis.
There is growing evidence that sleep loss and sleep disorders impact fat metabolism. Several studies have clearly shown that sleep deprivation can alter the body's ability to process (metabolize) glucose. Those same studies also found sleep deprivation can increase ghrelin levels (a hunger hormone), increase risk for type II diabetes and obesity.
TIP: Limit screen time before bed and do not make plans on nights you must be up early the following day. Your sleep matters for your overall health and well-being.
5. Get Your Check Ups Regularly
Some medical conditions greatly impact how well the metabolism is performing. Calories matter, but hormones and other medical conditions matter more.
Hormonal imbalances, cortisol levels, thyroid and blood sugar issues are a few examples that can have a direct (and adverse) relationship with metabolism.
This can make losing weight, building lean muscle, and enjoying an overall fit lifestyle difficult.
TIP: Regular physical checkups with your trusted and licensed physician can prevent illness, provide early detection, and treat current and chronic medical conditions.
These are five areas you can start right now to have a positive impact on boosting your metabolism and improving your overall health. They are simple, yet incredibly important.
References and Additional Reading