OK, so we all know that one of the most important aspects of being healthy is a good metabolism.
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We also know that if we are trying to lose weight, increasing one’s metabolism would go a long way.
I am one of those people who has a very slow metabolism, so any extra calories I consume are more likely than not to turn into fat. In fact, I am one of those people that as soon as I look at food I start to gain weight.
OK, OK I’m kidding! But in all seriousness it really does feel like that is the case at times.
I’ve always been envious of people who could eat anything and still stay slim.
I on the other hand had always struggled with my weight, so as soon as there is a stress-or in my life, comfort foods here I come.
Of course referring to my previous article, How you can turn comfort foods into 12 healthy alternatives helps to substitute unhealthy foods for healthy ones, but even doing so was not enough to achieve my goal of losing the last few extra baby pounds.
To really lose weight I needed to speed up my metabolism.
Is it possible to increase one’s metabolism?
Let’s backtrack a little and review what metabolism really means, just so we’re all on the same page…
…that being said, metabolism is the amount of energy our bodies use each day.
It determines whether we will be successful in losing weight and keeping it off. Controlling one’s weight is easier if one’s metabolism is faster because you can eat more calories.
So, is it possible to speed up your metabolism?
THE SIMPLE ANSWER IS – - – YES!
How Can One Increase Their Metabolism?
The best way to increase one’s metabolism is with exercise, building muscle and therefore burning more calories. Working out builds muscle. Muscle speeds metabolism.
As the body works more efficiently, it processes food faster and your appetite increases.
With the increase of appetite here is where proper nutrition becomes super important. You wouldn’t want all that exercising going to waste by eating empty calories after your workouts.
This is where a lot of misconception comes in.
People start to think that since they started working out they can indulge in any comfort foods they like, guilt free. Well, here’s a wake up call…
If you allow yourself to consume empty calories, your exercising will all be for nothing.
If you are truly serious about losing weight, you have to, have to, combine exercises with healthy eating and really limit your empty calories.
Therefore, the first and most important way to speed up metabolism, as we’ve covered above, is fitness and building muscle.
Tip #1: Build Muscle, Increase Your Activities
The more you move during the day, the more calories you burn. And here is a tip: working out in the morning has the benefit of revving up your metabolism for hours.
Keep in mind that though aerobic exercise may not build big muscles, it can rev up your metabolism in the hours after a workout. The key is to push yourself.
High-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts. To get the benefits, try a more intense class at the gym or include short bursts of jogging during your regular walk. Our bodies constantly burn calories, even when we’re doing nothing.
This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle.
EVERY pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily.
That small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of resistance training – muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.
Tip #2: Let’s get physical
Never sit when you can stand, or stand still when you can walk.
Thanks to desk jobs, family commitments, and a great lineup of must-see TV shows, most of us move less at ages 30, 40, and beyond, than we did during our teens and twenties.
Regular periods of movement — whether it’s a trip to the office water cooler or a stroll around the block after lunch — nudges a sluggish metabolism into gear, lifting your spirits and obliterating excess fat.
Beyond exercise here is some more additional tips and pointers…
Tip #3: Fuel Up with Water
The body needs water to process calories.
If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four.
To stay hydrated, drink a glass of water or other unsweetened beverage before every meal and snack.
In addition, try munching on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of fluid, rather than pretzels or chips.
Tip #4: Power Up with Protein
The body burns many more calories digesting protein than it uses for fat or carbohydrates.
Although you want to eat a balanced diet, replacing some carbs with L-E-A-N, protein-rich foods can boost the metabolism at mealtime.
Healthy sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
Tip #5: Avoid Crash Diets
Crash diets — those involving eating fewer than 1,000 calories a day — are disastrous for anyone hoping to quicken their metabolism.
Although these diets may help you drop pounds (at the expense of good nutrition), a high percentage of the loss comes from muscle.
The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism. The final result is a body that burns fewer calories (AND gains weight faster!) than the one you had before the diet.
Tip #6: The straight-up truth
As for other much-hyped metabolism boosters like green tea, caffeine, and hot peppers, it seems you’re better off focusing your weight loss efforts elsewhere.
A compound in green tea called ECGC has been shown to elevate metabolism by a small amount, Clark tells WebMD, but it’s not enough to make a difference in weight.
Capsaicin, the chemical in hot peppers that gives them their heat… BOOST metabolism… too… but again, it’s not a significant enough change to have a weight loss benefit.
Caffeine may or may not aid in weight loss — as a central nervous system stimulant, it absolutely does increase metabolism but studies on its weight effects have had mixed results.
Tip #7: Go fish
EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found only in fish oil, may have the power to dramatically boost your metabolism — by about 400 calories per day, researchers from the University of Western Ontario report.
Fish oil increases levels of fat-burning enzymes and decreases levels of fat-storage enzymes in your body.
For the best metabolism boosting benefit, choose capsules containing at least 300 milligrams of EPA and DHA total.
Tip #8: Keep your cool
According to DavidAllison, PhD, professor of biostatistics and director of the clinical nutrition center at the University of Alabama, in Birmingham, our reliance on modern appliances like cozy heaters and chilly air conditioners may play a part in the size of our waists.
Keeping ourselves too comfortable reduces the energy we expend to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, Allison says. Plus, both animals and people consume more food when temperatures are neutral, and eat less when they feel too hot or cold.
You don’t need to trash your modern conveniences, of course, but it won’t hurt to turn them down a little — especially if it means you’ll burn calories without lifting a finger.
Rome Was Not Built Overnight
One main thing to point out in boosting your metabolism is that it’s not a short-term change, there are no quick fixes.
In order to speed up your metabolism you need to think long term and be patient.
Change your lifestyle over time.
Eat healthy in combination with an active lifestyle and you will be successful in speeding up your metabolism.
- Increase Your Metabolism — And Start Losing Fat, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/increase-your-metabolism-start-losing-fat?page=3
- 10 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism, http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-boost-your-metabolism
- Can you really change your metabolism? http://www.nbcnews.com/id/14802091/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/can-you-really-change-your-metabolism/#.UdcdfWQ4UgQ