How to affect the metabolism: 4 ways


How to affect the metabolism: 4 ways

They learned what really worth paying attention to if you want to lose weight.

reading will take 🕑 5 minutes

Expert: Oleg Iryshkin
Dietitian, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Expert-Dietician of the XFit Fitness Club Network

Let's get straight to the point - there are no people with a fast or slow metabolism. Its speed is about the same for everyone, and a slight difference depends on the individual characteristics: the daily regimen, the genetics and the endocrine system.

What is metabolism

Metabolism, or metabolism, is a combination of chemical reactions in the body, as a result of which what we eat turns into energy. Energy, in turn, is used to ensure life at rest (basal metabolism), the thermal effect of food (energy that is spent on its digestion), and physical activity.

In order for metabolic processes to proceed normally, we didn’t gain weight and feel good; you need to eat a balanced diet, move, get vitamins and minerals daily, and watch hormones. If something goes wrong, it affects the whole body - well-being deteriorates, the weight changes up or down.

In order to understand whether everything is normal or something needs to be adjusted, we have prepared a checklist of 4 points for which we should check ourselves.


1. Check how much you eat.

For this, you need to calculate your daily calorie. For each, it is individual and depends on gender, age and physical activity. The easiest way to do this is in the MyFitnessPal or FatSecret applications — you score the initial parameters there and get the number of calories you need to consume with food. If there is more, the weight will increase, if less - decrease.

What to look for:

  • Do not eat too little. “The calorie content of an adult should not be below 1300 kcal per day,” specifies Oleg Iryshkin. Otherwise, the body will think that hungry times have come and will begin to make supplies - that is, not to use the incoming food for energy production, but to send it to the fat depot, just in case.

  • If the task is to reduce weight, then, having calculated the daily caloric content, subtract 10–20% from the result. Such a calorie deficit will not be strong stress for the body and will not enter it in the storage mode, and the weight will gradually decrease.

2. Check the nutrient balance.

Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals,  should be ingested daily. “For example, muscle growth requires B vitamins, chromium and tryptophan for complete carbohydrate metabolism, and iron to improve oxygen transport. With a shortage of one of the nutrients, the metabolic process worsens, ”says Oleg.

3. Get tested for hormones.

If it seems to you that you eat balanced or even keep a small calorie deficit, but for some reason, the weight increases or stays in place, contact an endocrinologist and check out the 5 hormones that control the metabolism:

Thyroxine and triiodothyronine are thyroid hormones. Accelerate heart rate, improve nervous activity and promote the use of fat as an energy source. If the concentration of these hormones is below normal, the weight may increase.

Cortisol (stress hormone) - the hormone of the adrenal cortex. It helps us in dangerous situations to escape, but under chronic stress, insomnia, and excessive stress, its concentration greatly increases. This leads to the destruction of proteins (in particular, muscle tissue) and the deposition of fat in the abdominal area. As a result, a person can lose weight, but not due to the utilization of fat, but due to the destruction of muscles.

Insulin is a pancreatic hormone. It enhances the synthesis of proteins and fats, reduces the level of glucose in the blood and contributes to its deposition in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver. Excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates is considered to be one of the reasons for the development of insulin resistance (insensitivity of the receptors to the action of the insulin), and this violation is a precursor of diabetes.

Melatonin (sleep hormone) - the hormone of the pineal gland. It is produced during sleep, slows down ageing, reduces emotional and physical activity, regulates the circadian rhythms of the body.

In order for all these functions to be performed, you need to observe the sleep mode: according to circadian rhythms, the best option is to fall asleep no later than 23 hours (the maximum melatonin concentration is observed from about 23:00 to 5 o'clock in the morning) and wake up until 8 in the morning, sleep in complete darkness and without strangers noises. Lack of sleep and poor-quality sleep prevent the body from recovering, so on such days, we eat more than usual - because we need to restore energy.

  • Growth hormone (growth hormone) is a hormone of the anterior pituitary gland. Helps burning fat, is produced by circadian rhythms: from 23 to 00 o'clock in the morning.

Important: if at night we eat carbohydrates or any food that stimulates insulin production, the release of somatotropin is blocked. “That is, if your goal is to lose weight, and you eat porridge, fruit or even cottage cheese at 0% fat for the night, then insulin is produced, and weight loss will not occur,” Oleg specifies. For dinner, the best choice is a protein with vegetables.

4. Check how much you are moving.

According to the WHO recommendation, we must move at least 30 minutes a day to be healthy. Add to this additional activity, such as cardio, strength or high-intensity workout. So you strengthen the body and spend more calories: during and after exercise, the body spends additional energy to restore and maintain muscle performance.

But do not think that if you train every day for several hours, then all other items from the checklist are not needed. Fitness is a great way to control weight, but it is an auxiliary tool: in training, we spend only 10 to 30% of the energy that comes from food. The rest depends on the mode of the day and overall health. And then, if you train a lot, it will lead to fatigue, that is, stress. And under stress, as we already know, the concentration of cortisol increases, which negatively affects our condition.

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