One of the primary factors determining body weight is metabolism, the internal furnace that regulates fat burning. Everyone’s metabolism is different, which is why some people appear to be able to eat just about anything and remain lean while others seem to pack on pounds easily. But being overweight doesn’t necessarily mean you have a slow metabolism, and there are five major factors that affect our metabolic rate.
1. THE THYROID: YOUR INTERNAL THERMOSTAT
The thyroid controls the metabolic rate of every single cell in the body and also maintains body temperature. Without enough thyroid hormone, all our bodily functions slow down. We feel tired and lethargic, gain weight, experience constipation, feel cold, and are prone to depression.
2. THE RUSH OF ADRENALINE
A quick release of adrenaline is the body’s first response to stress. This hormone provides a short-term metabolic boost because it draws on the body’s fat stores to provide that burst of energy we feel in a “fight-or-flight” situation.
3. MARVELOUS MUSCLE
Muscle tissue is metabolically active at rest, as well as during use. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even while sleeping or watching TV.
4. THE THERMIC EFFECT OF EATING
Thermic pertains to heat. Thermic or “thermogenic” foods literally heat you up and raise your metabolism. The thermic effect happens as your body burns calories, simply by digesting and absorbing the food. Yes, even the very act of eating stimulates your metabolism, especially when you consume protein, which has the highest thermic effect of any food group. There’s another metabolic benefit of protein: Eating it also helps to support metabolically active muscle growth, especially if you are practicing strength training. And strength training helps to increase the thermic effect! A study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal found the thermic effect of the same meal was 50 percent greater in men who engaged in regular weight training versus those who were sedentary. This certainly helps to illustrate why strength training is so important for optimal calorie burning.
5. YOUR LOVELY LIVER
While your muscle is your primary fat-burning tissue, your liver is your master fat-burning organ. Knowing this, it makes good sense to adopt detoxification and other habits that promote healthy liver function.
All these metabolism factors involve, or are influenced by, your hormones. In each case, an appropriate hormonal balance is the key to ensuring optimal metabolic function.
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