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Master Your Metabolism

Boost Your MetabolismA sluggish metabolism can really mess with your weight loss plans. Age can take the blame for some of the slow down, but lifestyle choices have a say, too. Fortunately, it’s fixable.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism refers to how your body converts calories into the energy it needs to keep functioning properly. Simply put, it’s the rate at which your body burns calories.

Your metabolism is most affected by your basal metabolic rate, which tells you the number of calories your body burns when it’s resting. Your doctor uses your weight, age, activity level and other health-related factors to calculate your BMR.

Children and adolescents typically have a high BMR. It’s when you hit your 20s that you may start noticing some changes. “Every person’s body chemistry is different,” Dr. Ancy says. “Our metabolism slows down with age, but not at the same rate. The most common signs of a slow metabolism are weight gain, fatigue and a low energy level. Here is where high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can creep up.”

How do eating habits affect metabolism?

Four common eating habits can put your metabolism in slo mo:

  • Eating late at night
  • Eating a steady diet of sugary foods and other refined carbs
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Snacking less than three hours before a meal

What’s the fix?

There’s no magic metabolism wand. The tried-and-true advice still stands. “Diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices are the best ways to boost your metabolism,” Dr. Ancy says.

  • Drink plenty of water, or eat foods with a high water content, such as watermelon.
  • Eat a sensible, balanced diet. Following a restrictive diet and/or cutting all carbs won’t help.
  • Get a good night’s sleep (at least seven hours).
  • Increase the intensity level of your cardio workout.
  • Work in some strength training two to three times each week.

North Kansas City Hospital offers a range of fun and unique exercise classes for people of all fitness levels. Find your fit.

If you’ve tried diet and exercise but something's still not right, it may be time to see a specialist. Your slow metabolism could be the sign of a hormone imbalance or metabolic disorder. Our endocrinologists can help with a diagnosis and treatment plan.