The O in BOUNCE stands for optimizing metabolism, so you might be surprised to learn that your child’s weight gain likely has nothing to do with his or her metabolism.
And, yet, understanding and optimizing metabolism are key.
In order to help your child lose weight, it’s important to first understand his or her basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the number of calories the body uses each day to carry about basic functions. Once you know this, you can use it to give your child a general sense of how his or her body works.
While there is no simple way to increase your child’s metabolism, there are ways to make the most out of your child’s metabolism.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
People who take in small, frequent meals burn calories more efficiently because they aren’t throwing their bodies into a fat-hogging “starvation” condition. Research has shown that school-age children who eat three meals a day gain more weight than children who eat six or seven meals a day.
Eat healthier foods.
Optimizing metabolism isn’t just about when to eat but also what our children eat in order for their bodies to burn calories more consistently. A key first step: eating breakfast. This tells the body that it’s a “feast” day and not a “famine” day so that the body is less likely to go into starvation mode and store fat.
Avoid eating late at night.
The timing of meals is as important as the total calories we consume. Research has found that people who eat late eat more than they would during a daytime meal. Furthermore, when we consume most of our calories at night our bodies aren’t able to process the food as efficiently as during the day.
Increase physical activity.
Digesting, absorbing, transporting, and storing consumed food burns about 10 percent of the calories used each day. Meanwhile, physical activity and exercise – such as walking to school, chasing after the dog, playing soccer – account for additional calories the body burns each day. As a result, physical activity is a great way for your child to maximize his or her metabolism.
Get adequate sleep.
A study in the December 2011 issue of Pediatrics revealed that young children who skimp on sleep during the week and on weekends have a four-fold risk of obesity compared to their better-rested peers. Make sure your child gets the sleep he or she needs.
Finally, remember that metabolism isn’t your child’s enemy. While you cannot easily speed it up, there are lots of simple steps you can take to make it work for your child. Implementing these, one at a time or all together, will improve his or her health and assist with weight loss.
Has your family tried any of these metabolism-optimizing strategies? What results have you experienced? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments.