CC Image Courtesy of Cole Patrick
Are you tired of feeling bloated? Are you tired of wondering why every year it gets harder to keep the weight off? Are you tired of seeing the number on scale increase with every birthday? Are you just plain tired? Well enough is enough. It is time to change all that and rev up your metabolism so that your body functions at its optimal levels. You will feel water weight release and see the number on the scale decrease. But, better than that, you will experience increased energy that will help you live life to the fullest.
Does all of this seem over the top? Out of reach? Unattainable? Well it’s not. These simple steps will help your metabolism get back on track and help you feel years younger. However, I saved the best for last, so read to the end of the article for the biggest key to revving up your metabolism.
Plain and simple you are what you eat. If you are eating unhealthy food with lots of refined sugars and white flour, your body will not be receiving what it needs. It will slow itself down because it is starving for nutritionally dense foods. Here are some things to consider when looking at ways to speed your metabolism through your diet.
1. Eat within 30 minutes of waking. Many studies have shown that those who eat breakfast are slimmer and have better energy throughout the day. Eating within minutes of waking literally wakes up your metabolism too. I know many people who say,” I just can’t eat in the morning.” My advice is, “Figure something out!” Even eating a small banana will wake up that metabolism and you will literally burn more calories all day.
2. Eat every 4 hours. We have to get away from the old school of thought on 3 big meals a day and that snacking is “bad”. Snacking is not bad for you. On the contrary, it is healthy for you, as long as you are choosing healthy/natural foods. Rather than having 3 big meals and no snacks look at eating small meals, about 300-400 calories, every 4 hours about 5 times per day. This is a great way to keep your body moving. Our bodies are smart and if our body knows it will get what it needs and not be depleted of energy from long bursts without food, it will process what we eat faster and use up the energy we have given it. The key though is small healthy meals, keeping within that 300-400 calorie marker and making sure that your foods are nutrient dense.
3. Get your vitamins. According to JJ Virgin’s article, The Eight Inhibitors to a Slimmer Waist, “Even mild nutrient deficiencies can have a major impact on weight loss. A mild vitamin C deficiency can affect carnitine’s ability to burn fat and low calcium levels have been found to lower fat burning as well.” And, from the book Tired or Toxic by Sherry Rogers MD, “One of the most common clues that you have nutrient deficiencies is if you have cravings for cravings are a natural symptom that you are eating out of balance.” So how can you gage if you are getting all off your nutritional needs met? Well there are now test you can get from certain doctors that will take urine samples and measure the exact vitamins and minerals you are lacking so that you can supplement specific areas. If you are interested in this I am sure your regular doctor can refer you to someone. However, if you want to take an easier approach. Take a daily, high quality multi-vitamin and get your calcium (which recent studies have linked to increasing metabolism). I would suggest you do a little research on this and buy from a reputable company. Over the counter supplements, the kind you can buy at the grocery store for example, are usually inexpensive but they are not easily absorbed into your system. Much of the vitamin literally goes down the toilet. If you invest a little more in a high quality supplement that has proven statistics behind its studies you will experience better results and your body will appreciate you feeding its nutritional needs. In the end it will respond by running more efficiently.
4. Eat your fiber. The national cancer institute suggests that you get a minimum of 25-30 grams of fiber in your day. The average American only gets about 12-15 grams per day which is about 1/2-1/3 of what you need to function optimally and this is leading to significant health concerns. If possible, include something high fiber in each meal. It keeps you satisfied longer and helps your blood sugar stay under control. Also, it is important for proper digestion and elimination, cleaning the colon of toxins and keeping that bloated feeling at bay.
5. Drink plenty of water. Your body is approximately 70% water. Water is an essential element for health and assists the body in digestion and elimination. Many people are very dehydrated and thirst is often disguised as hunger. If you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15-20 minutes to see if that feeling of hunger subsides. Often you will find your body was craving food as a way to get water. Giving it water may in fact take away the desire to eat as well as cause the body to release excess water it was holding due to being dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water aids the metabolism and releases fat. The typical amount of water suggested for healthy adults is 8-10, 8oz glasses of water a day. Remember if you feel bloated, water retention is often caused by dehydration, not too much water. If you find you feeling puffy or holding water try drinking a glass or two of water and waiting a few hours to see how your body responds.
As you see from above many of the things you can do to speed up your metabolism are done nutritionally. However, there are also a few things you can do physically to speed things up. Exercise is an essential element to good health.
1. Move at least 30 minutes a day. To see the best results for increasing your metabolism and releasing fat, you will want to exercise 5-6 times a week for 45-60 minutes/session at a moderate to vigorous level. You can tell how vigorously you are working out by trying to carry on a conversation. If it is easy to talk while working out you are not working hard enough. If you can talk but it takes some effort, that is the perfect level. If you can’t talk at all, you are working out to hard. It is also recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health (US Dept. of Health and Human Services) that on your days off from moderate-vigorous exercise you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise. Each workout session should include a cardio segment as well as strength training and flexibility.
2. If you are running short of time. So many times I will have clients who say they just don’t have the time to workout. We are all busy, you have to make time. Try increments as they are just as effective. Maybe 15 minutes in the morning, 15 at lunch, and another 15 in the evening would fit your schedule. Whatever it is, figure it out. It is essential you move to stay strong and keep the metabolism working! If you find you can only fit in a short workout and are choosing between cardio or strength training, choose strength training. Why? Read on, it is the most effective way to rev up that metabolism.
3. Strength Train. This is the MOST important element in revving up the metabolism. Have you ever wondered why it is harder to keep weight off as you age? It could be because of loss of lean body mass or muscle tissue. Muscle burns up to 90% more calories than fat. The average adult who does not make regular strength training part of their exercise regime will lose between 5-7 pounds of muscle every 10 years. Adding 20 -25 minutes of weight training or resistance training like Pilates to your workout can increase muscle mass by about 3lbs. over a 6-8 week period. Increasing muscle mass by this much can translate into burning an additional 100-250 cal/day. If you do the math and figure 1lb is 3,500 calories and you burn even as little as 100 extra calories a day that would be a weight loss of over 10lbs. in 1 year. Now that is amazing!
Now it’s up to you. It is not a mystery any longer. It is time to do something about it. It may seem daunting to implement all of the above items at once. So take your time. Try adding one in a week and get use to it before you add in others. If you break it up and stay on top of your new lifestyle you will feel your energy increase and have overall better health. Good luck!
Excerpts taken from Angie’s book: “Unlock the Secrets to Weight Loss Success”