Get it up, your metabolism of course..

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Question: What do you have less of each year, besides money, while due to having less of something you tend to have more of something else? (Whew! You try phrasing this question.) OK, a hint, your weight will gradually escalate while this situation occurs. Give up? Don’t, get even, so to
speak.

First, the bad news. At the ripe young (from my point of view) age of 25, your metabolic rate begins to slow down. Metabolism, by the way, is the rate you burn up calories. In fact, your body’s metabolic rate will decrease approximately 8% every ten years. So, if you are 45 years old your metabolic rate has slowed down 16%. So, maybe you realized this wonderful phenomenon on your own, yet what are you going to do about it? Maybe you want to just accept your fate, throw another hamburger on the grill or ravish that frozen Snickers bar. Or, just maybe, you’re motivated to alter nature’s course. Well – you can.

Oh, yes, one other bit of bad news, even prior to age 25 you can slow down your metabolic rate, so your children are not exempt from this phenomenon.

Now for the good news. You can speed up your metabolism! Stop, don’t call your physician for the latest “wonder” weight loss drug. You need to get a grip on yourself, face reality, buck up, get with it, get real, “get down” (we’re talking weight here).

Habits, habits, habits (do I sound redundant?). In the early 60’s the buzzword was plastics (Thank you, Dustin Hoffman). In the 90’s the word is habit. We need to change certain very specific habits in order to speed up our metabolic rate.

Habit #1: Eat breakfast. How many of you skip breakfast? Be honest, raise your newspaper if you skip breakfast. OK, thanks, put it down. Let’s go on. If you consume 25% of your day’s calories at breakfast you will jump start your metabolism. So, a glass of juice or a piece of toast is not enough. In fact, your metabolic rate is slowest between 3 to 5 a.m., so upon awakening, the sooner you eat breakfast the earlier you start your metabolism. Contrary to popular folklore, you can lose weight by eating breakfast.

Habit #2: Eating three meals daily of the same amount at around the same time each day will cause your body to be very efficient in burning up calories. If you skip around meals, for example eating lunch much later than normal, having a larger lunch because you were starving, or you ate an afternoon snack when normally a snack is not part of your day’s menu and then ate supper late because of the snack. What’s happening is your body does not know when it is getting its next meal so it acts as a reservoir for calories holding on to whichever calories you consume. I mean, who wants to be a store house for calories? No one I know.

From experience, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be very routine with your meals and many of you who battle your weight usually have very little routine with your meals. I have spoken.

Habit #3: This habit, in military circles, is known as “left, right, left” – otherwise known aswalking. Walking, along with slow jogging, is one of the best exercises for burning fat. It is simple, too. Good walking shoes are important. Just walk out your front door, turn left, maybe right, and do it.

If you will walk 30 minutes (minimum) daily, for five to six days in a row for a period of ten weeks your metabolic rate will speed up nicely. In fact, Dr. Peter Wood at Stanford University and some other researchers use the term “Thermogenosis” which is a theory. The theory states: “After having walked 30 minutes six days weekly for ten weeks, the next time you walk and then sit down to rest, your metabolic rate is still burning up calories up to six hours following the exercise.” Not bad. Yes, Ma’am, you can speed up, your metabolism. If you want to see metabolism in action, go to Lake Ella, also known as the local “Trail of Tears.” You can even join the locals on the Trail.

– Freddy Kaye, Ph. D. is a clinical nutritionist in private practice and the faculty nutritionist at Tallahassee Memorial Regional Medical Center teaching resident physicians diet therapy.

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