How to Keep a High Metabolism
It's All About Balancing Energy
You've probably heard of the terms "high metabolism" and "slow metabolism." It's common for people to think that thin people have high metabolisms while overweight or obese people have slow metabolisms. However, this is rarely the case. Metabolism is usually dependent upon an individual's eating and exercise behaviors.
Sure, there are some rare underlying conditions that may contribute to a slow metabolism such as hypothyroidism. This condition, also known as 'under-active thyroid,' is determined by the thyroid gland not receiving enough of a certain hormone that is important for the normal balance of chemicals within the body.1 Though most overweight and obese people do not have underlying conditions such as hypothyroidism, they may still have sluggish metabolisms due to energy imbalances.
Your metabolism is an integral part of your weight loss progress, which is also a very necessary component to every cell in your body. Read more to learn how you can have a high functioning metabolism.
Healthy Energy Balance
What is Energy Imbalance?
Energy imbalance = high calorie intake through food + little calorie expenditure through activity and exercise.
How is your metabolism?
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Metabolism stays healthy with balance!
Since most people who opt for a calorie or fat reduction diet are those who have more than 10 to 15 pounds to lose, the one-size-fits-all type diets endanger the body's metabolism. Your metabolism allows you to grow, reproduce, repair damage, and respond to your environment. With part of your metabolism, two processes occur:
Catabolism breaks down the body by excreting energy. It provides the body energy it needs for physical activity from the cellular level on up to whole body movements. When you eat, your body breaks down the organic nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats which release energy. Some catabolic hormones include:
- Cortisol. Produced by the adrenal cortex, cortisol is also known as the "stress" hormone. It raises blood pressure and blood sugar while reducing immune response.
- Glucagon. Produced by the alpha cells in the pancreas, glucagon stimulates breakdown of glyogen by the liver which causes blood sugars to increase. (Glycogen is carbohydrates stored in the liver and used for fuel during physical activity or exercise.)
- Adrenaline. Produced by the medulla of the adrenal gland, adrenaline is also known as the "fight or flight" reaction in response to fear. It will cause your heart to beat faster, strengthening force of heart contractions.
- Cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins that are released by cells of the immune system and act as mediators between cells, especially during immune response or injury. Inflammation occurs when cytokines are doing their job.
Anabolism allows your body to build new cells and maintain all tissues. Like a home contractor may use bricks and mortar as building blocks to create a home, anabolic processes use a few simple chemicals and molecules to build more complex molecules (i.e., protein, carbohydrates, and fats) for your body. For instance, bone growth and muscle mass increase are caused by anabolic processes. Some other benefits of anabolic hormones include:
- Bodily growth. Growth hormones of the pituitary gland stimulate the release of the liver hormones, which in turn causes growth.
- Fetus reproductive growth. IGF-1 and other insulin-like growth hormones activate the growth of the uterus and placenta, as well as the early growth of the fetus during pregnancy.
- Female reproductive growth. Estrogen develops female gender characteristics, strengthens bones, and regulates the menstrual cycle.
- Male reproductive growth. Testosterone develops male gender characteristics, as well as strengthen bones and muscles.
- Sugar regulation. Insulin regulates sugar levels in the bloodstream.
Basically, catabolism creates the energy that anabolism consumes. If catabolism creates more energy than anabolism requires, there will be excess energy in which the body stores glycogen or body fat.
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How to protect your metabolism
- Make sure you are eating enough calories for your body makeup. If you're unsure of how many calories to have per day, then see my other post: How to Lose Weight Safely and Easily.
- Eat every three to four hours to tell your brain it is going to be fed. This way, you avoid going into starvation mode. (See the above article posted to read about starvation mode.)
- Eat natural foods, and make sure your meals and snacks are well-balanced with protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Natural foods are approximately 50 percent more thermogenic than processed foods.
- Exercise! Do some form of weight or resistance training at least three times per week.
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About the author
Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author. For the past 10 years, she has coached thousands of women locally and online to lose body fat and lead healthy lifestyles. Her clients have lost thousands of pounds, reclaimed health, and call her “Coach No Gimmick.” She is from Northern Virginia but now resides near Charlotte, North Carolina. Abby has been married for 20 years and has three grown daughters, one of which is autistic. She is a 19 year cancer survivor.
 Medical News Today. (2009, August 10). What is Metabolism? How Do Anabolism and Catabolism Affect Body Weight? Retrieved from http://medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8871.php.