Key steps to makeover your metabolism.   Laurie Nuyens, ATC, CPTkey steps to makeover your metabolism


“It’s so hard for me to lose weight my metabolism is so slow”, “I can’t lose weight like I used to, my metabolism has really slowed down”  All the health care providers at Total Health Systems of Macomb hear this all the time. Chances you or someone you know has  complained of a slow metabolism.   According to John Berardi, Ph.D, C.S.C.S and author of “The Metabolic Advantage”  “There is plenty of wiggle room in  your metabolic rate.  You can burn an extra 500 to 600 calories a day by exercising and eating right.”  That adds up to a pound a week.    Some key factors that can help boost your metabolism include, eating breakfast, maintaining lean muscle mass, avoid low calorie diets by knowing your resting metabolic rate.


Eating Breakfast


Eating breakfast is a daily habit for the “successful losers” who belong to The National Weight Control Registry. These people have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year, and some as long as six years.  According to James O. Hill PhD, the co-founder and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Science Center.  78% of the successfully losers report that they eat breakfast every day. This suggests that starting the day with breakfast is key to weight loss and keeping it off.

Eating breakfast can increase your metabolic rate by 5% a day. For Laurie Nuyens our Athletic Trainer and Personal trainer this means burning almost an extra half a pound a week just be eating breakfast everyday.


According to Katherine Zeratsky a Registered Dietitian with Mayo Clinic, prolonged fasting – like skipping breakfast, can increase your body’s insulin response causing your body to store more fat.  Eating breakfast sets yourself up for success later in day, you are more likely to make healthier food choices when you start your day with breakfast.


You metabolism is like a campfire, it must be constantly fed or it goes out.  You don’t want to put to much on top of the fire or it goes out.  You don’t want to eat to much in one sitting or your metabolism slows way down.  When you wake up in the morning that camp fire needs to be fed, it is barely there, same with your metabolism.  You need to feed it to get it going.


Maintaining lean muscle mass

Every pound of muscle burns 6 calories a day, and a pound of fat only burns 2 calories a day.  Maintaining lean muscle mass is a great keep your metabolism revved  up.  After age 40 women can lose up to 1/2 lb of muscle a year which can lead to weight gain.  Weight training is not an option if we want to keep our lean muscle mass as we age.  Our ancestors maintained lean muscle mass because their lifestyle was so different and physically demanding than many of our lifestyles. We have traded connivence  for a few days a week a the gym.  Resistance training is not an option.    Eating lean sources of protein is also key for maintaining lean muscle mass.  The amino acids found in protein are key to keeping muscle.

Avoid low calorie diets

When you eat too few calories, (specifically below your resting metabolic rate) your metabolism slows down.  Your body burns less calories, and your thyroid actually starts a chain reaction that tells your body to store more fat and burn less fat.  So although at first you may lose weight by eating fewer calories, your body can sustain this.  In the long run you may end up increasing  body fat and increasing weight.  Which often leads to cutting back even more calories which is the exact opposite of what you need to be doing. Now with so few calories your body is not only not getting enough vitamins and minerals essential for health your metabolism has really slowed down.

This is why it is so important to know what your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is.  It is vital that you don’t eat less calories than your RMR.  Do you know your RMR?  There are many ways to estimate your RMR but many of the formulas can be off by as many as 1000 calories. But even if your are off by 100 calories that is 700 calories a week, which adds up to over half a pound a month.  At Total Health Systems we offer New Leaf Metabolic testing. This simple assessment measures your resting metabolic rate and allows for our Certified Athletic Trainer and Personal Trainer to make recommendations as to how many calories you should be eating to gain, maintain or lose weight.  Knowing this number tells you exactly how much weight you can safely lose each week.  Not all people can safely lose the standard 1-2 pounds a week.  Some can safely lose more some people less. We can measure your RMR and set some realistic, safe and reasonable goals for you.

If you are interested in getting your RMR measured please give us call.  Your insurance may even cover it.  RMR need to be performed first thing in the morning after an 8 to 12 hours fast.