Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are all important components of a balanced lifestyle. However, understanding the basic metabolic balance rules can help you make better food choices and stick to them over time.
Metabolic balance is the process by which your body maintains a healthy equilibrium between energy use and production. Whether you are trying to lose weight or just want a healthier lifestyle, following these 8 metabolic balance rules can help you reach your goals.
Millions of people either skip breakfast or skimp on other meals in the hopes of cutting calories. But this can actually backfire because it slows down your metabolism and makes you more likely to overeat when you do eat.
The rule of thumb is to stick to 3 meals a day and avoid snacking as much as possible. Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism in the morning and the other two meals keep it running smoothly, all while keeping your blood sugar levels steady and providing your body with the fuel it needs throughout the day.
Related to the first rule, giving your body a break between meals is essential for a healthy metabolism. It is especially useful if you tend to eat late at night or have trouble with cravings as it gives you a more balanced appetite throughout the day.
The 5-hour rule states that you should give your body at least five hours between meals before eating again. This break allows your digestive system time to process what you’ve eaten and gives your cells time to absorb the nutrients from the food, which are both essential for your weight loss efforts.
Overeating is one of the biggest culprits behind weight gain. But taking too long to eat can also make it harder for your body to process food.
This rule suggests that you should limit your mealtime to under an hour, allowing enough time for the food to be properly digested and absorbed by your body. Otherwise, your insulin levels won’t get low enough to start the fat-burning process.
Protein is essential for keeping us feeling full for longer periods of time while helping build muscle and burn fat. When the body breaks down protein, it secretes hormones that help control hunger and cravings.
Starting each meal with a source of protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, or legumes keeps your metabolic rate high and stabilizes your blood sugar levels, which reduces the urge to snack in between meals.
There’s no exact science as to why this is, but the theory goes that if you eat too many kinds of protein at once, it can put a strain on your digestive system and slow down your metabolism.
Spreading out your protein intake throughout the day also ensures that you meet your requirements without overloading your body. It could look like two sunny-side eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken breast and steamed rice for lunch, and some baked fish and roasted veggies for dinner.
Just as important as giving your body a break between meals is stopping eating at a reasonable time. Eating late at night can lead to weight gain and disrupt the normal circadian rhythm, which affects your energy levels and hormones the following day.
If possible, take your last meal before 9 pm to give your body enough time to digest what you’ve eaten before going to bed. Likewise, try not to eat too much for dinner as this will add extra calories that may be hard for your body to process during the night.
Water is essential for life as it helps your body flush out toxins while boosting your metabolism so that you can burn calories faster. Drinking enough water also keeps you feeling full longer, which can help reduce cravings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends drinking at least 72 ounces of water for women and 104 ounces for men each day. More active individuals, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those with certain health conditions need even more than these figures to stay properly hydrated.
Indulging in something sweet after a meal can be one of life’s simple pleasures. But if you’re trying to lose weight, it may be best to skip the cake and ice cream and reach for fruit instead.
Fruit contains natural sugars that are easier for your body to process than those found in sweet treats like cake and candy. Plus, fruit is a good source of fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals, making it a much healthier choice than most desserts.
Metabolic balance influences blood sugar levels, hormones, and fat and protein metabolism, which can help you manage your weight, fuel your body with the right nutrients, and keep your energy levels up.
Our highly trained health professionals at Calgary Integrative Medicine will help you take care of your body by providing an evidence-based nutrition approach to preventative, corrective, and sustainable care.
Reach your weight and health goals by booking an appointment with us today!