New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

March 13, 2014

Lori Brothers: Up your metabolism, exercise to get ready for bathing suit season

NEW CASTLE — Rev your metabolism! Spring is almost here. It’s time to shed those winterypounds.

Try not to cringe at the thought.

Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. It’s important to assess what influences are impacting your metabolism. Age can play a role because of the decreased muscle mass that begins to occur after the age of 40. Gender plays a role since men usually lose weight faster than women on the metabolism scale because men naturally have more muscle.

Also, you can inherit your metabolic rate. Look at previous generations to determine if heredity plays a factor in your weight loss goals. What cards were you dealt?

Thyroid issues can slow down or speed up the metabolism. Check with your doctor if you have a concern.

When considering weight, determining how much of your body is muscle and how much is fat is a deciding factor in losing weight because the different tissues in your body contribute differently to your “resting metabolism.” If you are sleeping and you have built muscle by doing even light weight training (such as with stretch bands), you will burn more calories than if you are sedentary and carry more body fat. Jump start with some strength training.

Bodybuilding.com has a calculator (just plug in the info) to determine based on your age, weight and height, how many calories you burn when you are at rest. This can be helpful for you to determine if you are consuming too many calories while maintaining a sedentary lifestyle. Once you see the amount of calories your body burns while you are at rest, you can make a plan, including seeking nutritional advice, about how to use calories as a weight loss strategy.

Besides working to boost your metabolism, eating foods that help you feel full without added fat can help add to your weight loss success.

According to USDA, eating foods rich in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, can protect against cancer, including stomach, mouth and colon-rectum cancer. Therefore, the benefits of adding fiber are healthy, beyond your weight loss goals.

There are two kinds of fiber. Soluble fiber is digestible and has a beneficial effect on body chemistry, such as lowering blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber just passes through providing a laxative action.

The digestion of fiber produces acids that provide fuel for the rest of the body, especially the liver, and may have an important role in metabolism.

WebMD stresses that adding more fiber of any kind into the diet is more important than worrying about what type of fiber you’re consuming, because both types of fiber are important in the diet. So every day, eat more vegetables and fruits, or add beans and oats. Adding the proper amount of fiber into the diet everyday can be important now as well as in the future.

While the average person consumes 15g of fiber daily, the ideal amount is 38g for men and 25g for women per day, according to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy.

Whole grains are getting all of the attention, and white refined foods get the bad rap. However, here is a great reminder from Chefmom.com, for you and for your kids: “Cook the right white foods — not every white food is devoid of fiber and nutrition. If your kids have a thing about eating white, put cauliflower, baked potatoes, bananas, jicama, parsnips, turnips and cherimoyas on their plate.”

Only plants produce fiber. No matter how chewy or “tough” animal products may be, they do not contain fiber — not even bones or eggshells. All-natural cereals, whole-grain breads, beans, fruits, vegetables and nuts contain a substantial amount of fiber.

With spring on the way, speed up your metabolism, add exercise and strength training, and fill up on healthy low calorie, high fiber foods to lose weight and feel fit and healthy. Soon you’ll be asking, “Where’s my bathing suit?”

And I’m sure we’ll be complaining about the heat.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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