Sticking to a new diet or exercise routine can be challenging. It is even more challenging to put in all of the hard work that goes along with dieting and exercise, and not feel like you are making progress. Whether you are stepping on those dreadful scales, or you are looking in the mirror, sometimes you feel like you are wasting your time. The problem may be the implementation of a diet or exercise program that is not suited for your body type, or the problem could be more biological. A slow metabolism may be contributing to your inability to lose weight. Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that take place in the body's cells. Metabolism converts the fuel in the food we eat, into the energy needed to power everything we do from moving to thinking to growing. A basic metabolic panel blood test by your physician can determine the status of your metabolic health, but a few adjustments to your lifestyle could solve the problem, and keep you out of the doctor’s office.
Increasing the intensity of your physical activity can increase your metabolism. Increasing the intensity of your workouts helps your body consume more oxygen and increase the functionality of the cells in your body. With your cells burning more energy, you can exercise for less time, and still burn the same amount of calories. Increasing the intensity for 30 second intervals is a good place to start. If your daily walks are 30 minutes long, incorporate a light jog every 2 minutes that last 60 seconds, before returning to your walking pace.
Consuming higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, herring, tuna, walnuts, eggs, and flaxseed oils) balances your blood sugar and reduces inflammation. Omega- 3 fatty acids can reduce a hormone called leptin, which is linked to how fast fat is burned.
Do not try to skimp on your caloric intake. When you cut out too many calories, your metabolism thinks your body is starved of nutrients and halts fat-burning to conserve energy. You need to eat enough calories to match your resting metabolic rate. Resting metabolic rate is the energy required by humans to stay alive with no activity. A helpful tool to determine your resting metabolic rate can be found at https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/calrmr.htm.
Make sure you are drinking enough water. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers estimate that over the course of a year, a person who increases his/her water consumption by 1.5 liters a day would burn an extra 17,400 calories, for a weight loss of approximately five pounds. They note that up to 40% of the increase in calorie burning is caused by the body's attempt to heat the ingested water.
Brad Averill, M.Ed., Extension Educator- Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, firstname.lastname@example.org