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How to Keep a High Metabolism

Updated on August 25, 2014
Abby Campbell profile image

Abby Campbell is a Holistic Health Practitioner and President of 911 Body ResQ, an online store providing organic and non-GMO, supplements.

About the Author

Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author of One Size Does NOT Fit All Diet Plan, one of Amazon's Top Gluten-Free and Weight Loss Diets. (You may read more about Abby at the bottom of this article.)

You can have a high metabolism too!
You can have a high metabolism too! | Source

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

Metabolism stays healthy with balance.
Metabolism stays healthy with balance. | Source

What is Energy Imbalance?

Energy imbalance = high calorie intake through food + little calorie expenditure through activity and exercise.

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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:

(1) Catabolism

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.

Fetus reproductive growth is dependent upon anabolic hormones.
Fetus reproductive growth is dependent upon anabolic hormones. | Source

(2) Anabolism

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.

How to protect your metabolism

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. Exercise! Do some form of weight or resistance training at least three times per week.

Tell Us What You Think

You're reading "How to Keep a High Metabolism" by Abby Campbell. Please leave a comment and tell us what you think below. Then share the article with your family and friends. You may even share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (buttons to your right).

Helping those who desire it!
Helping those who desire it! | Source

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.

References

[1] 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.

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    • Abby Campbell profile image
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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you so much, rose-the-planner! I appreciate your support very much! :-)

    • Abby Campbell profile image
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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you for your reply, Careermommy! Fundamentals are important. ;)

    • Abby Campbell profile image
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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you, rondmrn. Staying active is good. ;)

    • Abby Campbell profile image
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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thanks for commenting, Kathryn. It's the easy road out to make excuses, isn't it? LOL. I had recently read that our metabolism does slow as we age, but it's a tiny fraction of one percent per year. Not much at all! Eating the right foods and staying active is definitely a great way to keep the metabolism up but also to stay healthy overall.

      And, yes! I did change my profile name. My HP mentor changed it for me as I felt that people can find me easier this way. :-)

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      You always produce some amazing, very informative articles just like this one. Thanks for sharing your insight with us! Take care. (Voted up)

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This is great information about our metabolism. When we think about being healthy and maintaing good overall health and diet it is good to learn and know about the fundamentals. Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • rondmrn profile image

      Ron Mariano 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thank you for this hub. I always thought that my metabolism is slow but I guess, I'm not really trying anything to make it fast either besides doing some physical activities here and there.

      Great article and voted up!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I like reading about the metabolism, and it is interesting that most people do not have underlying conditions that contribute to a slow metabolism, and that it is actually dependent on one's exercise and eating habits. It means that many people don't have an excuse, but it also means that they have more control over their metabolism than they might have realized! I think that is encouraging. I remember there have been times I said, "Oh, no, my metabolism is slowing down as I age", but thinking back, it was my lifestyle change that caused it, not so much my age.

      Thanks, Abby, for sharing this with us.

      I just realized, you changed your profile name!

      Voted up and shared.

    • Abby Campbell profile image
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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Yes! Anabolism and catabolism - it's our bodies' checks and balances! LOL. Thank you for the comment, SaffronBlossom. :)

    • SaffronBlossom profile image

      SaffronBlossom 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Another great and useful hub--I've always been petite so people just assume I just have a "fast" metabolism, but part of it is definitely that I eat several small meals a day and stick mainly to healthy, nonprocessed foods. However, I didn't know "anabolism" or "catabolism" existed, so I feel much more informed now. :)

    • Abby Campbell profile image
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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you so much, btrbell, for your vote of confidence! ;) I appreciate your comment.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      A great informative hub! I found it interesting and useful and your credentials give me confidence to follow your advice! Thank you! Up++