Controlling your metabolism is the best way to control weight. The key measurement is the basal metabolic rate (BMR, the amount of calories the body requires at rest) which is the rate of energy consumption required to keep our body alive. The BMR consumption varies most with the pounds of muscle the body has. One of the most important aspects of metabolism is our basal metabolic rate. Considering just “keepin alive” consumption requires over 60% of our caloric intake.
Tissues vary in the caloric requirements to stay alive. Fat requires very little (13 calories/ pound/day) fat cells are like warehouses. But muscle is more like Grand Central Station having increased activity and thus requiring a larger amount (60 calories /pound/day) to stay alive. Without increased activity, we steadily lose muscle which (admit it) is replaced by fat. Replacement of ten pounds of muscle by fat reduces our energy consumption by a big mac a day, which, if caloric intake remains the same, the result can cause the gain of a pound a week!
Muscle loss begins after age 25 and averages about 0.5% annually. For every 10 pounds of muscle lost 600 less calories are needed daily but our appetites do not correspondingly decrease. Muscle loss reversal is possible with exercise and especially by moderate weight training. In multiple studies, short-term weight training in elderly men, even men over 80 years resulted in significant gains in strength and muscle mass.
Simple dietary changes that are enjoyable can improve metabolism. Besides containing far fewer calories, protein has other weight control advantages. Consuming excess protein does not produce fat for storage nearly as easily as fat or sugar. Foods with ample protein are more filling. And it is well known by nutritionists that protein consumption temporarily speeds up overall metabolism producing heat and consuming calories. This acceleration of metabolism is specific to protein—specific dynamic action. After meals, it increases metabolism by 25% for a few hours. Fat tends to slow metabolism, which is why everyone sits around in a listless state or falls asleep watching football after a Thanksgiving meal.
Next, there are effective measures to limit caloric intake. Portion control is an easier less cumbersome method than calorie counting. Okinawans eat until they are 80% full, not stuffed. Instead of a blessing before meals, they say eat until 80% full. They are the longest-lived group on the planet. When eating out, stop when satisfied and take the remainder home or split an order; and although it is said there is none, it provides a FREE LUNCH. After all, we were trained from early childhood to “clean our plates”. Most restaurants seek to keep business with generous portions. Don’t regress to childhood behaviors; exploit this by splitting and “take outee.” At home, use small plates and eat slowly savoring each bite. You will soon begin to see results and will generate less free radicals.