A recent response to one of the meals I posted reminded me of some of the myths about women and diet and exercise that are so prevalent in our society. One of which is the idea that women need to starve themselves to lose weight, when in fact, women need to eat, to boost their metabolic rate, to burn fat.
Metabolism is simply the way your body uses energy and there are three factors involved. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) burns calories sustaining vital functions like heart rate, breathing and cellular repair and accounts for about 60-75 percent of your daily expenditure. Physical activities, known as the thermic effect of exercise (TEE), account for 10-25 per cent of your daily rate. And the final 10 percent is used to digest and process (transport, metabolize and store) the food you eat.
This phenomenon is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and it is influenced by how much, how often and what you eat. Processing protein requires about 30 percent of the calories you burn, dietary fat accounts for about 2 or 3 percent and carbohydrates burn somewhere between that of protein and fat. So 10 percent is generally used to account for the total thermic effect of food.
When you eat too few calories, your metabolism slows down in an effort to conserve energy and the fat you take off may begin to creep back on, over time. You’ll also be more likely to crave calorie-rich foods – foods that are high in carbohydrates and fat – if you reduce your caloric intake too much.
The best way to boost your metabolism is to start the day with a healthy breakfast – breakfast helps to fire up your metabolism after a full night on a slow simmer. You also want to eat about every four or five hours – a regular meal schedule keeps your body working to digest and absorb foods. And, make sure you eat protein with every meal.
All foods contribute to the thermic effect but protein, in particular, has the greatest thermic effect of all. And, protein can increase your metabolism by helping to maintain and build lean body mass.
More on this to come…