Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Understanding Metabolism

If you’ve ever been on a diet – or read popular health magazines – you’ve no doubt heard the term “metabolism.” It’s being boosted, sped up, or super-charged, depending on what supplement or diet plan you are considering. But what is it exactly? And why are we so interested in changing its speed?

Metabolism not just one thing that we can define. It’s actually used as a general reference to all the chemical processes in the body. What are these processes? They are what make our bodies run – and, hopefully, run smoothly! The chemical processes break down into catabolic and anabolic processes. Catabolism is when our body takes what we’ve eaten, breaks it down into usable parts, and then extracts energy as a result. That means we can walk, talk, eat, and sleep! Anabolism is the collection of the nutrients the cells need to do their work and keep us healthy. Therefore, when we talk about “speeding up” metabolism, that may or may not be to our benefit, depending on what needs our body has at the time.

Then what is a calorie? Put simply: it’s energy. The technical definition can be found here, but the important part is that you need calories to survive. Without them, our body can’t keep going. With too little energy (too few calories), the body will slow all its processes down to reserve energy. With too many calories, our bodies will increase the speed to use up a small surplus, but with too much energy, it will store those extra calories as…you guessed it: fat. This isn’t a bad thing! Some extra padding can be used up in time of need, like when there is little food. But if you live in food abundance – and many of us do – it can cause problems, such as obesity. If you aren’t sure how many calories you need, here’s a great calorie calculator to help you figure it out!

What about BMR, or basil metabolic rate? And no, it’s not an Italian seasoning! Your BMR the amount of energy your body needs to keep you alive, and nothing more: no walking, working out, talking, or dancing. Think of it this way: just like your vehicle needs a certain amount of fuel for normal driving, your body needs a certain level of fuel for all the activity it is doing while you are laying in bed. That is your BMR – the baseline of fuel needed to stay alive. However, if you drive fast or use all of the features on the car, they require more energy – which means you use more fuel. Our bodies work the same way – the more you do, the more fuel it requires. So you want to squeeze in an extra workout? Remember that you need more food to fuel it!

Before you scratch your head and say, “But aren’t I overweight because I eat too much?” Maybe…and maybe not. Sometimes we carry extra weight on our bodies due to hormone imbalances, nutrition imbalances, or inflammation. Some of us may eat too much, but others may have a body process that is out of balance and is causing our body to hold onto extra weight.

So when you are hearing terms like metabolism, calories, or BMR used for the latest fad food plan or supplement, ask yourself if the retailer’s claims make sense. You might find that sometimes, it doesn’t!

What lifestyle changes are you considering that may help you maintain a healthy metabolism? What do you think about calories and metabolism now that you have a better understanding of how they interact?

Contributing Writer

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tired of Being Tired?

I love my little girl, but for those of you who have babies – you can certainly empathize when I say, “I am tired!”  I used to be able to go, go, go.  I still do a lot, but nap time for her can sometimes means nap time for me.

You always hear people say, “I’m soooooo tired.”

If you find yourself wondering, “Why am I so tired,” you are not alone.  According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in five people feel tired and one in 10 is fatigued at any given time. Sometimes we may be able to pinpoint the reason behind our sleepiness – pregnancy or having a baby and getting less sleep, a series of late nights at the office, poor nutrition and nonexistent exercise, or even bouts of insomnia. Other times it is not so easy to find a reason for our exhaustion.

Low energy impacts more than just how you feel physically. Sometimes a lack of energy can impact our mood and how we treat others. You may find yourself yelling at your kids more or picking a fight with your significant other for no good reason. Since we don’t always know what causes tiredness, we may not immediately know how to make ourselves feel better.

What Causes Fatigue and Tiredness?

It is important to realize that the cause of tiredness and fatigue for one person may not be the same trigger for another person.  Some things to watch for:
  • Sleeping patterns, diet (or lack-thereof), and exercise levels can directly impact how tired one feels. 
  • Workplace burnout from work overload or boredom can also contribute to overtiredness according to
  • Medical conditions can also contribute toward chronic tiredness.   Prevention Magazine cites some of the most common medical causes of tiredness and fatigue as anemia, diabetes, thyroid disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and chronic fatigue.  According to WebMD, undiagnosed heart disease can also be a factor in excessive tiredness.  Some other important medical causes of tiredness include depression tiredness, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid fatigue
Chronic Tiredness Fatigue
What to do When Your Tired of Being Tired!?!?
If you suspect your tiredness is due to a medical condition, or if you rule out the non-medical causes, it may be prudent to schedule a checkup with your family doctor to evaluate you and ensure your condition is nothing serious. You might even benefit from some tiredness treatment whether that comes in the form of medical or vacation type treatment.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Another type of fatigue is chronic fatigue syndrome.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this syndrome is characterized by “severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions.”  Women between the ages of 30 and 50 face the greatest likelihood of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

Here are a few things that may lead to chronic fatigue :
  • Stress 
  • An overfull schedule 
  • Poor sleep 
  • Alcohol 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Metabolism changes as we age 
  • As well as age, previous illness, genetics and environment (U.S. National Library of Medicine) 
Now that you know some of the extreme fatigue causes, you can watch out for them and work to reverse that overly tired feeling.

Fighting Back – A Few Tips on How to Get Energy

Feeling tired does not have to be a way of life.  As you become more aware of the signs and symptoms of what the causes of fatigue are, it may help you not only prepare for it, but also take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Tiredness may just be a symptom of your lifestyle.  It may be time to simplify a bit by limiting late nights at the office or socially.

Nutrition and Vitamins Help with Energy

Some people find that a change in diet or even supplementation may help with their fatigue.  Some possible vitamins that are known to help with increased energy levels include:
  • Taking a good multivitamin to make sure you get your core vitamins and minerals 
  • Eating a healthy diet - eating 5 to 6 small meals a day increases metabolism 
  • Getting a good dose of exercise a few times a week outside or in the gym 
  • Vitamins C and B Complex, like a vit b12 energy booster, also neutralize feelings of fatigue 
Other nutrients such as magnesium, bee pollen, NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), and L-Carnitine, are thought by some to fend off energy tiredness as well.  Natural energy boosters, including Gingko biloba, Maca, and especially Siberian ginseng, a potent energy booster are also thought to help when you are tired.  Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal energy supplements and options for chasing away that tired feeling.  It is a good idea to educate yourself before beginning or taking any new supplement.  There are sites that can help you understand what is out there:
Feeling tired all the time is no way to go about life. If you find yourself in this rut day after day, take the initiative to fight your fatigue and get yourself back to that happy, healthy state.

My tired is a happy tired from my sweet little girl and is, hopefully, short lived.  Don’t live tired!

Tell us what you do to fight that tired feeling!

Kate M. D'Imperio
Contributing Writer