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Metabolism

Can you speed up your metabolism to lose weight?

While waiting in line at the grocery store, I often thumb through magazines that tell me I can boost my metabolism and lose 15 pounds in five days.  I guess I’m still wondering why everyone thinks there may be some magic metabolic secret. But the answer is no, there is no magic, there’s simply no healthy way to drop 15 pounds in five days.

But can we change our metabolism for the better? Absolutely. Understanding more about what determines the rate of your metabolism and some natural ways to support it will make a big difference to your waistline and overall health.

One thing I like to remind my patients is that when we try to lose weight, we’re working against over 600 million years of evolution predisposing many of us to protect ourselves from famine with extra padding. But understanding your metabolism can help you fine-tune your metabolic rate to better support your healthy weight. Let’s take a closer look.

What is metabolism?

Many of us think of metabolism strictly within the confines of how efficiently we burn calories. This is certainly a key feature, but metabolism involves all the processes by which your body breaks down and uses food, water, and air to run itself and maintain life.

An efficient metabolism requires a diverse array of nutrients — the big stuff, like proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats, as well as cofactors and micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

Your body takes these raw materials and breaks them down (catabolism) into their subcomponents, releasing energy, which is used to make new molecules (anabolism). Heat and metabolic waste also get generated in the process, and the materials and toxins your body can’t use are excreted, while extra sugar and fat are stored for later use.

What determines the rate of your metabolism?

We don’t understand exactly why some of us have a faster metabolism than others, but we do know that how efficient your metabolism is depends largely on the tiny powerhouses present in each of your cells called mitochondria. How well these mitochondria work and the rate at which mitochondria transform food and oxygen into energy is your metabolic rate. And that rate is influenced by the following:

Genetics. Your genetic heritage influences the size, number, and efficiency of your mitochondria, the number of fat storage cells you make, and your set point. New research is showing that genetics plays a much larger role in metabolism, weight loss, and weight loss maintenance than we previously thought.

Hormones. For more information on how hormones influence your weight and metabolism, see our article on weight loss resistance.

Age. As we grow older, the rate at which we expend energy declines. The hormone known as growth hormone contributes to our faster metabolism when we’re young and growing, but it decreases as we age. Certain foods, such as pea protein, egg whites, and soy, contain amino acids that can stimulate growth hormone.

Body composition. The shape of your body also influences your health and metabolism. Those with an “apple-shape” are more prone to gain weight in the central body. This central fat is more metabolically active than fat distributed in the thighs and hips (“pear-shape”), and can lead to more health issues.

Other thing such as toxic load, previous dieting, medications, and others also affect your metabolism

Optimize your metabolic rate

The good news is that you can learn to work with all of these factors (and more) because they are under the continual influence of what you eat and how you live. So you have an opportunity each and every day to make a genuine difference in your metabolism. With our Gr8Life Program here’s how:

  • Exercise regularly. Building muscle means increased and more efficient mitochondria — the workhorses of your metabolism. Exercise your body at least four to five times per week, and if time is an issue, work on interval training or “bursting” and strength-training to increase muscle. There’s also a form of exercise known as “slow burn” that I’ve found quite successful.
  • Balance your hormones. Bioidentical hormone may be indicated. We also use targeted phytotherapy to help you correct stress and sex hormone imbalances. Using phytotherapeutic combinations like those we offer in our Gr8Life Program can rebalance your body and lighten the load on your metabolism.
  • Nourish yourself. Metabolic processes are fueled by a wide variety of nutrients. Our Gr8Life Program lays out a nutrient and food plan that research has shown to increase metabolism.
  • Timing your meals. When and how you eat increases metabolism. Since 1994, before almost anyone realized the importance of this process we had it as the foundation of our plan.
  • Get good sleep. Too many of us underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is crucial to keeping metabolic pathways running smoothly. Not enough sleep has been linked to increased output of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, weight gain, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Our Gr8Life Program will address any sleep issues. 

A realistic approach to healthy metabolism

Above all else, I urge you to do what feels natural for your body. Our metabolism, energy levels, and appetites are cyclical and unique to each of us. These cycles flow naturally through the days, months, seasons, and years as well as with our own emotional state. There isn’t onemagic bullet for supporting a healthy metabolism, but you do have many opportunities each day to make good choices. The steps in our Gr8Life Program will help you get your metabolism back up to speed.  727-938-9966