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Metabolism: Your Body's Fuel Furnace

Your Body's Fuel Furnace

What is metabolism?
How do I boost my metabolism?
How can I keep from slowing down my metabolism?

You may be awake only for 15 hours a day, but your body is at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your body has a full-time job! It keeps your heart beating, your brain operating, and your lungs breathing without taking any breaks. Your body grows your hair and nails and handles all the other vital functions that make you, you. That's why your body uses energy (a.k.a. calories) from the food you eat, even when you're just hanging out or sleeping. back to top

What is metabolism?
Your metabolism, or resting metabolic rate (RMR), is the amount of calories your body burns when it is at rest. Every girl's metabolism is different, which means that some girls burn calories faster or slower than others. You may know girls who seem to eat anything they want and never gain a pound. Other girls might say they gain weight if they even look at a chocolate bar. That's metabolism in action.

Your metabolism's goal is to maintain a set weight that's healthy for your body. Your set weight is determined by your genes, not by magazines, friends, or fashion. Your metabolism will do everything it can to keep you at this set weight, which can be frustrating if you are trying to gain or lose weight. Even though your metabolism and weight are to a great extent a result of genetics, you can speed it up or slow it down. back to top

How do I boost my metabolism?
You may want to boost your metabolism so that your body burns energy more efficiently. To accomplish this goal, you need to lower your percentage of body fat and increase your lean body mass. Doing cardiorespiratory exercise and strength training is the way to increase your metabolism. When you exercise, you replace fat with lean muscle mass. And muscle burns more calories than fat does. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more efficiently you use energy. And that can raise your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories when you are at rest. back to top

How can I keep from slowing down my metabolism?
Dieting is the surest way to slow down your metabolism. When you diet, you reduce the number of calories you eat. That signals your body to slow down your metabolic rate to conserve energy. It's a little like the screensaver that pops up when your computer isn't being used. When your metabolic rate slows down, you probably won't lose weight, even though you're eating less. That's because your metabolism has made an adjustment to use less energy and burn fewer calories.

Also, skipping breakfast can slow down your metabolism. In fact, eating breakfast can actually jump start your day by giving your metabolism a boost. back to top

Last Modified Date: 1/3/2001
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