A few weeks back we discussed the importance of your metabolism in weight loss and weight maintenance. We talked about factors contributing to weight gain and the slowing of your metabolism. Our body’s ability to burn calories is imperative to a successful weight loss program. Perhaps you have been told your metabolism is too low. It is true that your metabolism starts to slow down as you age, but don’t use that as an excuse. Here are some ways to help increase your metabolism.
Eat high quality protein every three hours. This will boost your metabolism and increases the calories you burn. Eating every three hours also keeps your blood sugar from dropping and stops the vicious cycle of sugar/insulin response. Eating every 3 hours will feed muscles and starve fat.
Aerobic Exercise. Any increase to daily aerobic activity will help you burn more calories and increase the efficiency of your metabolism. Remember your basal metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories without movement, so any additional movement (i.e. working out, walking, even working) requires more calories. The most important part of this concept is finding the right balance between energy consumed (food) and energy expenditure through movement. Typically, you want to find a 500-calorie per day deficiency to lose approximately 1 lb per week. You can accomplish this by decreasing your daily caloric intake by 250 calories. This can easily be done be removing empty calories such as soda, sweets, and other high calorie, low nutrient foods. The other part of the equation is to increase your energy expenditure by 250 calories. Examples of activities that burn 250 calories:
Jogging 30-45 minutes
Biking 25 minutes
Swimming 25 minutes
Playing with your kids (running, jumping, hopscotch, jungle gym) 45-60 minutes
Gardening or Mowing the Lawn 40 minutes.
Drink Water. It is important to drink plenty of water for your body to rid itself of toxins. It is also important for many of the body’s processes including your metabolism. A study done in 2007 suggested that someone who consumed 500ml of water would burn 24% more calories up to 60 minutes after ingestion. Also if you drink a full glass of water before a meal you will be more full and less likely to overindulge.
Watch for empty calories. You don’t need to count calories, but instead should replace foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value with whole fresh foods. Sodas, sugary snacks, and white starchy grains may make you temporarily full, but those items are stripped of nutrients and will lead to even more cravings for sweets and carbohydrates. Whole foods such as fruits, veggies, and meat will keep you fuller longer and provide you with lots of vital vitamins and minerals.
Get your zzzzzzz’s. Getting the proper amount of sleep will help to keep your metabolism regulated. When you continually deprive yourself of sleep, the body’s stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, increase. Remember, an increase in stress hormones increases insulin levels. Sleep is just as important as food and exercise in a weight loss program. Most people should aim for 8 hours each night.
Muscle Up. There’s no need to start lifting heavy weights while grunting in the mirror. You can pump up your muscles with a variety of equipment that can be inexpensive and easy to use. Resistance bands, free weights, and even your own body weight can be enough resistance to increase your muscle mass. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active and requires more energy to use then does its counterpart, fat. For those of you who don’t want bulky muscles, normal resistance exercises will not cause most people to look like Arnold.Make sure to get adequate protein intake; protein is the “building block” of muscles. Make sure you check with the clinician to make sure you are eating the right types.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to increase your metabolism and lose weight. Please talk to one of our clinicians or your doctor before participating in any new exercise routine.