The main engine in your body that controls how much energy you have (or don’t have) is your metabolism. Although there are things out of your control that decrease your metabolism, such as aging, there are simple things you can control to increase metabolism, such as eating a healthy diet. Eating the right foods at the right time will help keep your energy level steady throughout the day.
What you eat or don’t eat affects your metabolism, which controls your energy. You should think of using food as fuel in keeping your energy levels high. That’s what food does for our bodies. So if you hit a wall in the afternoon, instead of reaching for a pot of coffee, eat an apple with peanut butter. Want to know why? Keep reading.
It’s important to realize the process of digestion burns calories and certain foods require more energy to digest than others. As much as 10 percent of the calories we burn throughout the day comes from the digestion of foods.
Helpful or Hurtful?
Simple carbohydrates, such as cake, cookies, sodas or fruit juice, are digested more quickly and don’t require much of a calorie burn to be digested. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates such as beans, fruit, vegetables and other high-fiber foods, are harder to digest, and in turn, require more energy. Complex carbohydrates, along with protein rich foods, keep the metabolism kicked into high gear to get the job done.
Fats often sit in our bellies and make us feel sluggish.
Timing is Everything!
So, the best way to enhance your metabolism, and your energy level in general, is to feed it well and feed it regularly.
You should eat no more than three to six small meals evenly spaced throughout the day. It’s not smart to go longer than four hours without eating. When you don’t eat frequently enough, it might cause your metabolism to slow down. In addition, when you go too long between meals, you inherently overeat and oftentimes consume higher-calorie foods that are lower in nutritional value.
When designing your meals, it’s important to include proteins and complex carbohydrates. These foods maximize calorie burn without adding extra empty calories.
This is another very important factor when making the correlation between what you consume and your energy level. Water is important for every process our body goes through and if you are dehydrated, your metabolism slows down, which again, will affect your energy level.
I recommend eight (8-ounce) glasses of water every day. That’s two liters. But that doesn’t mean you have to drink that much water, because if you are eating fruits and vegetables, many of those are as much as 50 percent water.
The best indicator of dehydration is the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow. If darker than that, you could be dehydrated.
Thinking if you guzzle a cup of this liquid energy you’ll burn more calories? Think again! Studies have shown moderate amounts of caffeine ingestion pre-workout can slightly enhance exercise performance; however, it doesn’t actually have an overall effect on your metabolism. Eating a small carbohydrate rich snack before your workout provides a great source of sustained energy.
Age, gender, heredity, body mass, exercise, and food all play a role in metabolism. There’s nothing you can do about age, gender, or heredity. So instead of stressing over the things you can’t change; focus on what you can do. Changing poor eating habits, along with increasing physical activity, has a positive effect on your energy levels.
Start the day off right with a hearty breakfast. You’ve been “fasting” all night; in the morning you are breaking that fast; hence the term “break – fast.” Choose a complex carbohydrate and a protein in the morning. Some good choices are a cup of oatmeal, blueberries, and some chopped walnuts; scrambled eggs with a piece of whole wheat toast; or whole grain English muffin with egg whites and salsa.
For lunch, think lean protein; I like a leafy green salad with fresh vegetables and grilled chicken. Drizzle your salad with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
Have a small 200-calorie snack or two during the day. I like a small banana with peanut butter, an apple with a handful of nuts, or Greek yogurt and strawberries.
Great options for dinner are grilled chicken or fish with steamed vegetables and quinoa or brown rice.
Stay away from high-calorie, processed foods (things that typically come in a package or box.) These can negatively impact your metabolism and might be the very thing robbing you of much-needed energy throughout the day.
It takes about 30 days to build a habit. I recommend picking one thing to change, tackle that first, then move on to another. The small challenges you overcome each month, add up to great successes for the year.Share this Article