Friday, July 18, 2008

Q & A: boosting metabolism and weight loss programs

Q: Is there a permanent way to boost my metabolism?

A: Yes, it's possible to boost your metabolism, but it's important to realize that everyone's metabolism is different according to their gender, age, and genetic make-up. The key to raising your metabolism is dependent upon knowing what it is and how it works.

Your metabolism is like an engine that transforms the food you eat into the energy that runs your body. Your metabolic rate is the speed at which the food is transformed into energy. There are several ways you can increase your metabolic rate.

The best way to increase your metabolic rate is to add muscle through strength training, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue. Aerobic exercises, such as swimming and running, can also boost your metabolism by increasing the levels of fat-burning enzymes in your body. Within 24 hours after a workout, your metabolism will rev faster, burning a few hundred more calories than usual.

Finally, the amount and type of food you eat can affect your metabolism. If you eat too few calories throughout the day, or skip meals, this will cause your body's metabolic engine to slow down to compensate for the absence of food, thereby decreasing your metabolic rate.

An awareness of the facts and the proper combination of a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise will help you in your quest to maintain a higher metabolism.

Q: I'm frustrated. I need to lose 30 pounds, so I joined a gym and have been going twice a week. That was two months ago, and I've gained 5 pounds' help!

A: To lose 30 pounds you need to follow a weight loss program that includes both a significant amount of exercise combined with a healthy, balanced diet. Your five pound weight gain most likely occurred because you consumed more calories during the week than you burned off during your twice-a-week workouts.

An effective weight loss plan should limit your fat intake so that it does not exceed more than 20 percent of your total calories. Your diet should also include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other complex carbohydrates.

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