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Turning Eats Into Energy

You’ve had a long day and you are exhausted. Thinking about your day, it makes sense since you’ve been so busy, right? Or could it be that you’ve been so busy that you didn’t take the time to eat? After all, some people seem to be busy all the time and have boundless energy. Oftentimes, it is those same people that seem to be eating non-stop but never gaining weight. Do you ever wish you had that person’s metabolism? Good news is that your metabolism is something that you CAN affect.

Alameda Post - Metabolism - diagram of internal organs

Metabolism explained, simply, is the process in which your body turns food into energy. Here are some ways that you can boost your metabolism:

  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your metabolism. It has been shown to been shown to boost the hunger hormone ghrelin and decrease the fullness hormone leptin. That’s a double whammy right there. You’ll want to eat more and it will take longer to feel fuller. Could that be how the phrase, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”, came about? Lack of sleep has also been linked to increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, a combination which impairs metabolism.
  • Move more throughout the day. This is not just about getting your steps in or burning more calories on any given day. Moving more will have positive effects on your metabolism. You’ve heard that you should take the stairs instead of using the elevator or escalator? While many of us are working from home the opportunities for stair stepping may be less. Simply standing more, hence, sitting less can make a difference. Even making it a regular practice to stand and walk while on the phone at home will help your metabolism. But, as much as I would love for you to boost your metabolism, please don’t use my suggestion as an excuse for using the phone while walking outside of the house. You are on your own if you bump into strangers, walk into a pole, have your conversations overheard, or any other number of possible perils.
  • Include protein in your diet. TEF, the thermic effect of food, is when your body works harder and uses more calories, to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. “Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats.” (National Institutes of Health, Nutrition and Metabolism, November 19, 2014)
  • Workout regularly. A 2011 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that 45 minutes of vigorous cardio increased metabolic rate for up to 14 hours post workout. If you can get strength training in, the higher your muscle mass, the better your metabolism will be as muscle is more metabolically active than fat. Now, there’s an incentive to add strength training to your workout; as you lose weight you could increase your metabolism. Don’t let the thought of strength/weight training intimidate you. It doesn’t have to mean extreme heavy lifting. You can build strength and muscle doing exercises properly with lighter weights or even your own body weight and resistance.

Along with eating healthy, these are some things you can do to boost your metabolism. A bonus is that incorporating these into your life will also benefit your health in other ways.

Alameda Post - Eating Healthy

I know I benefit from being able to get more done and not dragging through the day while doing them; wouldn’t you? My biggest motivation is that I love food; healthy, nutrient dense food. So, boosting my metabolism means getting to turn those EATS into ENERGY. Mangia!

Contributing writer Denise Lum is a Health and Fitness Coach raising her family in Alameda. Contact her via [email protected] or Her writing is collected at

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