Monday, December 21, 2009

How Can I Increase My Metabolism?

I would like to increase my metabolism as much as possible. I am 29 years old and can remember having a very good metabolism as recently as age 24 where I didn't really need to exercise and wouldn't really gain anything. I am 5' 11" and 205lbs, and at least Wii Fit is telling me I'm in the middle of the overweight category. Are there charts that tell people by how much their metabolism tends to slow down by age, as well as when a person moves away from an ideal BMI? I'd really like a guide to have a clear idea of the norms. Particularly how much metabolism I have to gain by getting myself back down to say 160lbs. -- Mike J.

Dear Mike,

My favorite site for computing your BMI is by the NHLBI

Just enter your height and weight. They also explain the body mass index.
As for your goal weight, that is very reasonable for your height.

Changing your metabolism has so many variables there are not really instructions on how to do it... everyone is different. What were you doing differently in your daily life when you were 24? Even without feeling like you were exercising it's likely you were more active. Maybe you walked more in your job or played on a sports team. Maybe as you've gotten older you've been able to afford to eat out more and that generally comes with more calories.

If metabolism slows with age it's probably due to a decrease in muscle mass and there's evidence that does not have to occur if you always work on keeping your muscles in shape. Usually that starts after age 35 for women, and older for men so that's probably not what's at work with you.

My best advice is to start keeping a food and exercise diary. There are many sites that help you do this online if you have regular access to a computer, such as or . You may realize after keeping track that you are eating more than you thought or moving much less.

Remember to take your time losing those 45 pounds. More than 2 pounds each week means you may be cutting calories too much. You're much more likely to keep the weight off by changing your habits to include about 500 fewer calories per day and upping your activity by another 250 calories. All these reputable diet sites listed above can translate that into daily foods and activities!

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