The big weight loss equation is that we must burn more and eat less, and here are 10 things you can do in addition to backing down off those meals to make a difference to rev up your metabolism:
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water day, especially cold water. You’ve always heard the “drink 8 glasses of water a day” advice, but did you know why? When you drink 1 pint of water, it increases the metabolism for about ½ hour afterwards. It burns around 25 calories from warming the cold water in your stomach! Who knew? It aids in burning carbohydrates in women and fat in men. Be sure and don’t drink too much water (as in an extra gallon), because it destroys your electrolyte balance. That is why some athletes take salt tablets to replace the salt lost in their bodies.
- Enjoy those spicy foods! Spicy foods increase your metabolism. The compound capsaicin in spicy foods will raise your body temperature. Your metabolism will increase to cool your body off. It is also said that spicy foods reduce your hunger so you eat less. This doesn’t mean go pig out at your favorite Mexican restaurant, because there is an abundance of fat and calories in that cuisine. The way to do this would be to buy your own spices to liven up lean meats and vegetables.
- Drink Green Tea or Oolong Tea: Surveys have indicated that those that take green tea extract burned more calories.
- Include Strength Training in your exercise program: Not only does your metabolic rate stay elevated for a few hours after strength training, you are also developing more muscle. Weight training stimulates the growth of muscle tissue and muscle burns more calories at rest than fat or flab. Do some math: if you replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of muscle you can burn an extra 100 calories a day, so over a year’s time, that’s 10 pounds that you won’t gain! Strength training should be done 2 or 3 times a week. Ladies, you don’t have to do Hulk exercises, just using consistent resistance will accomplish what you need.
- Don’t skip meals, and eat smaller meals at that. Our metabolism can only process so much food at one sitting and the rest turns to fat. You want to keep the fire stoked consistently giving your body food to burn without overloading it, this way the body burns more calories. Digestion and consuming food requires caloric energy. You also don’t want to skip meals either, not only does this play havoc with your blood sugar, but your body goes into starvation mode, slowing down the metabolism.
- Daily Exercise: I have found out during our snow and ice storm that it is easy to improvise to make sure you do something everyday. Augment your strength training with some good old-fashioned cardio, the sock hop way. Pull out that iPod and dance, move, and shake a tail feather. It’s fun and the time goes by fast. You don’t even have to get in the car and go to the gym! If I can do this in my tiny room, so can you.
- Eat whole foods: Not only are whole foods better bargains when it comes to both calories and nutritional value, but they are also a benefit to your metabolism. When you eat whole foods, your body must extract the fiber and nutrients and assimilate them so that they can go into your bloodstream. When foods are processed, much of the work is already done. Your body digests processed foods more quickly and your blood sugar spikes and the body uses less energy to digest processed foods.
- Eat Breakfast: How many times have you heard me say this lately? (smile) Skipping breakfast puts your body in starvation mode whereby it conserves energy and burns as few calories as possible. Our bodies are made this way from earlier times where man could go without food for days and then the body stores the fat and breaks it down slower to compensate. You don’t want that, now do you?
- Include Protein in your diet: It takes longer to burn protein, so our bodies burn more calories when we digest protein, and it makes us feel fuller longer. We need the proper balance of proteins to carbohydrates and good fats for an optimal fuel burn.
- Reduce Stress and get a good night’s sleep: Yes, I know, easier said than done. Sleep deprivation reduces the body’s ability to properly break down carbohydrates and produce hormones. Work on getting those eight hours! Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, which helps metabolize protein into glucose. Excess glucose is turned into fat and stores it in your stomach. It also reduces the hormones required for muscle production. Stress seems to cause our bodies to work in an anti-productive way.
See how all these good habits work together to make the body work in an optimum state? We’ve talked about some of these things already, but these changes can positively affect your over all health as well as your weight loss. Here’s hoping that you can apply more of them into your life. So, take 2 jalapenos and a bottle of water and call me in the morning!