How to Repair a Damaged Metabolism
Are you a chronic dieter? Do you tend to gain weight even on a relatively small number of calories? Have you been stuck on a weight plateau for weeks or months? If you answered yes to these questions, you might have a damaged metabolism.
Diets really do wreak havoc on our bodies. If you follow a very low-calorie diet, your body could react by going into self-preservation mode, wherein it stores more fat than usual to sustain itself.
This is a throwback to our ancestors' days, when famine was a real concern and our bodies had to hang onto as much fat as possible to survive the lean times.
For many of us, diets are the modern-day famine. We starve ourselves, then wonder why we rapidly regain the weight - and often a little extra - that we lost. The regain occurs because our metabolisms are still in famine mode.
Fortunately, such damage is seldom permanent. It can be repaired with a little time, patience, and courage. Here are some tips to help you get your diet-damaged metabolism back up to speed:
Tip 1: Eat more, not less.
Your metabolism has slowed down to match your reduced calorie intake. You can rev it up by giving it a normal amount of calories, or even a slight surplus.
Go online to find a BMR calculator. This will help determine your basal metabolic rate, or how many calories your body needs to carry out essential functions based on your weight and lifestyle.
Once you've learned how many calories you need to sustain your current weight, start eating close to that number of calories each day. Get your calories from whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
Your body will start to lose weight fast again once you convince it, through good nutrition, that it's safe to let go of its fat stores.
Tip 2: Time your meals.
Small, regularly-spaced meals will keep your metabolism working as your body is continually processing food. Start with a good breakfast each morning, and eat four or five more mini-meals throughout the day.
You can avoid hunger - and a sluggish metabolism - by never going longer than three hours without eating.
Tip 3: Build muscle.
The stronger and leaner you are, the more calories your body will burn at rest. When combined with proper nutrition, more muscle means a healthier metabolism.
To give your damaged metabolism a boost, add strength training to your workout routine. You can use resistance bands, free weights, or find an exercise program that uses your own body weight as resistance.
Muscle building has been shown to speed up the metabolic repair process. Start out by doing strength training 3 times a week, then work your way up to a level you're comfortable with.
Tip 4: Expect some initial weight gain.
This is where courage factors in. Your body has grown accustomed to surviving on a very small amount of calories.
When you start feeding it normally, it will do what it was designed to do: gain weight. This simple fact keeps many dieters from moving forward with their healthy plans.
On average, dieters gain between five and ten pounds after they increase their calories for metabolism repair.
Please remember that this weight gain is temporary! It will last for a few weeks, or for a few months at the most. Just stick to your plan and you will definitely see the scale drop again.
Tip 5: Have patience.
Persistence is the key to repairing your damaged metabolism. Even if you eat well and exercise frequently, it can take months for your body to recover from the devastating effects of yo-yo dieting. This is one of the healthy ways to lose weight and how to keep the weight off for good.
Just be patient, and focus on your total health instead of a number on the scale. After your metabolism has healed, you will be more fit than ever. You'll also be able to enjoy a larger number of calories, but still lose weight. Those are goals worth working for!