Natural Family Health Care
Metabolism – you hear about speeding it up, how it slows down with age, ways to jump-start it so you can lose weight. But what is metabolism and how does it work?
Metabolism is the way your body converts the calories from the food you eat into the energy that your body needs to run your bodily processes. Metabolism refers to the creation of new cells, the repair of injuries, regulation of temperature and the performance of the myriad of activities your body performs daily, such as digestion.
Maintaining a properly functioning metabolism is critical to keep your body functioning properly and controlling your weight.
Doctors measure metabolism by taking a basal metabolic rate (BMR). This calculation relates how quickly your metabolism is functioning when you are in a resting state. Generally, the faster your metabolism works, the leaner you are; if your metabolism is slower, it is usually easier for you to gain weight.
After you ingest a meal (calories) your metabolism breaks down the food into the energy that your body needs to run properly. Your pancreas and thyroid also break down the food that can be further reduced into sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. These three types of energy are transported to all of the cells in your body, through your bloodstream. Any leftover energy is stored in your body, usually as fat. Think of it as your body’s “saving-for-a-rainy-day” reserve.
It’s counter-intuitive, but to lose weight you want eat at least three meals a day, along with a couple of snacks. If not, your metabolism slows down and your body goes into “starvation mode.” Eating smaller meals, more frequently, can actually help you lose weight.
Another way to speed up metabolism is through exercise. It is recommended that you exercise for 30 minutes as often as four to five times a week. Keep in mind that your metabolism may stay elevated for up to 12 hours after you exercise.
People who suffer from diabetes and thyroid problems often have slower metabolisms. In addition, genetics may be a factor in your metabolism.