Everyone talks about how to increase your metabolism these days, from diets that boost it, to workouts that apparently help spark it up.
During the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan people always complain about gaining weight. Starving your body for long periods of time only slows down your metabolic rate, by increasing stress hormones, insulin resistance and the body having to break down muscle tissue for energy and fuel.
So what is metabolism?
It is the rate at which you utilize the foods that you eat on a day-to-day basis.
So the faster you burn these foods the healthier your metabolism is, slimmer people are often associated with having a healthy metabolism due to that fact. But even people who have lots of energy, or are intelligent or just quick-witted have also been associated with having a healthy metabolism!
The best way of knowing if your metabolism is healthy is by running some simple tests. But ideally, your energy levels should be steady throughout the day. You should have stable emotions with clear concentration, your sleep being normal and a great digestive system. Is this you?
Well if not, here is how I can help you.
Test your body temps
If you body is 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit) through the day without any indications of illness, then this will demonstrate one way that your metabolism is producing enough heat to keep you healthy.
Even if your body temperatures drop once you wake up, in the night or evening, as long as they don’t drop below 36.5 C then you’re OK.
There are many stressors that can lower metabolic rates. One is doing long cardiovascular exercise sessions; these will lower your body temperatures. A very simple way of testing this is taking your temps before and after exercise to monitor it for yourself.
Monitor your own resting pulse with a basal thermometer. Take one reading upon waking. Take another 30 minutes after eating breakfast and then again mid-afternoon. Record these readings over a period of three days, and track over time.
Your pulse rate
Your pulse rate is how many times your hearts beats within one minute. A normal pulse throughout the day should be between 80-85 BPM.
This number may surprise you as through society we have been taught that a lower pulse is much healthier.
If your heart beats at around a pulse rate of 80-85, your body is pumping more nutrients and oxygen around to be delivered to the cells.
But if you heart rate is in the 90s then this may be an indication that stress hormones, such as adrenaline, are dominant driving factor. And on the other hand a low pulse in the 60s is an indication of hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland).
Count your own BPM using the pulse in your wrist or neck for 60 seconds and measure up against your body temperature. And again track over time.
Calories IN Calories OUT
The amount of calories you burn has a tremendous effect on the rate of energy production and your cellular repair. Those who do not burn calories efficiently enough, gaining weight and retaining water, are often fatigued.
Internally, their body isn’t repairing well, which is linked to organs, blood vessels, the digestive system and even the brain.
Although I’m not a fan of counting calories, it’s more important to first get your metabolism healthy and back on track.
A good way of detecting whether your body is burning your food well is to write down all the meals and drinks you eat each day. Then calculate the total amount of daily calories in these meals. There are free online programs that can help you do this.
So if you’re eating a baseline of 1,800 calories and your weight is stable and you’re happy, then your metabolism is working normally for you. But if you’re eating this amount and you’re gaining weight, then this is means you need to work on increasing your metabolism.
This will help kick-start healthy weight loss.
Here some tips on increasing your metabolism:
• Add coconut oil to your diet. This helps increase Ketones, helping your cells burn faster and simulating your thyroid gland.
• Switch your starchy carbohydrates such as any grains (rice, pasta, bread, cereals), to fruits and honey. Natural sugars are the best source of fuel to your body, increasing its temperature and metabolic rate.
• Get some sunlight. Ten minutes of sunshine a day can increase your body temperatures naturally, supporting your thyroid gland.
• Slowly add some coffee to your diet. Coffee being high in magnesium is very calming if you drink it slowly through the day. As it can decrease stress hormones and simulate your cells to produce energy. I must stress that most people drink coffee black and very quickly! This will only spike your stress hormones. Therefore, consider a latté or cappuccino with milk and add some honey to help slow down the absorbtion.
Vahdaneh Vahid is a UK-based Personal Trainer who recently moved to Dubai. She has had an interest in fitness from a young age. Her motto is now "Train Don't Drain" and teaches her clients that a balanced understanding of their physical, mental and emotional wellness is key. She can be found on Twitter: @vvfitness