BURN BABY, BURN!
A sluggish metabolism can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Here’s how to up it for a new you
WEallknowsomeonewho says they can’t look at a lettuce leaf without gaining weight because of their “slow metabolism”. But how do you know if you have this problem? And, if so, is there anything that can be done about it?
Adrian Penzhorn, a sports scientist and dietician at Food for Sport in Cape Town, says metabolism definitely affects our weight but the good news is there are ways to improve it.
“Weight management is a balance of energy between the food we eat and how much energy we use daily,” he explains. This is affected by four factors: 1. The amount of energy you use while at rest or not moving. This is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
2. Your energy use while moving around every day but not exercising.
3. The energy required to digest, absorb and use food. 4. The energy used to exercise. Most of the kilojoules that you burn every day depends on your BMR. If your BMR is high then you will burn more kilojoules, even while resting!
“BMR varies greatly from person to person,” Adrian says. “While it’s true that a faster metabolic rate results in more energy expenditure, everyone has the ability to increase or decrease their rate which will affect the speed at which they lose and gain weight,” he adds.
“Muscle is one of the largest consumers of energy so the amount of muscle we have influences our metabolic rate,” he says. The more muscle mass you have, the more energy your body needs to keep going.
This is also why your metabolic rate declines along with a loss in muscle mass as you age.
So the secret to increasing your metabolic rate is to replace as much fat with muscle. And with the tips we offer as well as the eating plan on the following pages you can drop between two and four kilograms in three to four weeks, Adrian says.