Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tricks That Will Boost The Metabolism

I work at a remedial high school in the Behavior/Special Ed Unit.  Before the school year ended, we had a writing assignment in English.  The subject was 'If Wishes Came True"...Here is one girl's response:
"If wishes came true I would eat whatever I want and not gain any weight.  I would be so happy...I would eat McDonalds all i want, whenever I want...french fries and popcorn would be my snack every day.  I would eat all of my favorite foods every day.  I bet the world would be alot happier if this wish came true. No one would have to worry about their figures anymore.  It would be an almost perfect world.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it."
Well, girlfriend, I think you hit it pretty close for me!  Eating is one of the best things ever.  Unfortunately my appetite is bigger than what my metabolism can handle.  If I were to give in, there would be hell to pay on the scales, and believe me, it's happened a lot.  I envy those people who actually CAN seem to get away with eating whatever they want and still wear size 4 skinny jeans.  
But there is some good news.  I can almost level the playing field with those metabolic miracle chicks by incorporating a few tricks of my own.  Then when the craving is unbearable or the occasion warrents, I can indulge without the event ruining me for the next month and beyond.  Here are a few things I've discovered that really do work:

Don't Eat After Dark -  New studies reveal that to burn the most fat, you need to go 12 hours without eating—say, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. So it's smart to time your calorie intake accordingly.

Include Some Form of Weight Lifting Each Week 
Muscles are your biggest metabolic engine. The more of them you build, the more calories will be directed to keeping them strong. Lifting weights, practicing yoga, and incorporating core exercises that efficiently work large, connected groups of muscles in one swoop will translate into a higher metabolism all day.”   Putting on just 5 to 10 pounds of lean muscle mass will rev up your resting metabolism -- the number of calories your body burns to maintain life -- by roughly 100 calories, each and every day

Include Some Form of Interval Training Each Week In a landmark study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers found that short, intense bursts of exercise resulted in considerably more fat loss than sustained activity. “ Interval training [varying fast spurts of exercise with slower recovery periods] increases your metabolic power,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. “When you exercise this way, your mitochondria, the little engines in your cells that burn calories, run hotter all day.” Interval training can be incorporated into almost any routine. For example, instead of jogging, try running all-out for one minute and then walking for two, repeating the cycle for 30 minutes

Get Enough Sleep
When your body is sleep-deprived, it produces mass quantities of grehlin, the hunger hormone, driving you to crave more sugar and carbohydrates.  A recent study from Case Western Reserve University found that, on average, women who sleep for 5 hours or less per night are 32 percent more likely to gain weight and 15 percent more likely to be obese than those who get at least 7 hours.

Eat Every 2 or 3 Hours Eating three large meals a day is terrible for your metabolism because you have three peaks in your blood sugar/insulin response and the rest of the time you are in a valley that is not good for your insulin response. The key is to make sure each meal is well balanced and contains the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and a small amount of fat.

Supplement with Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids,  largely found in fish oil and flaxseeds, increase the number of fat calories your body burns every day. Fat burning foods are essential for people who decrease calorie intake and exercise but still have trouble losing weight due to often genetic metabolic conditions. They are great antidotes for this problem.

Supplement with Chromium 
Make sure you’re getting enough chromium in your diet to help your body burn more calories. Chromium, which is found in tomatoes and in a supplement form, also boosts the way you burn fat. According to MedlinePlus, meat, eggs, green pepper, apples, banana and spinach are also good sources of chromium. When you supplement 120 mcg of chromium daily, your body benefits by revving up its metabolism

Get Out of your chair every 20 minutes - Whether it's TV watching, blogging, entering contests, playing video or computer games or driving, we sit way too much. Between 1980 and 2000 exercise time stayed the same, but sitting increased by 8%. Obesity doubled.  When one sits, the electrical impulses in the legs shut off, calorie burning drops to 1 calorie burned per minute and enzymes used to help burn fat drop to 90%.  Just by setting a timer for 20 minutes, you can keep track of how long you sit and just walk around for a little bit to break up the time you are sitting without interruption, which seems to be the culprit.

Fight Inflamation 
Experts are starting to point to inflammation as an influence on metabolism. Inflammation is simply the body’s immune response, activated during illness, allergic reaction, or when too much glucose, fat, or carbohydrates enter the system, explains Dr. Hyman. When the inflammatory response switches on, a group of receptors located on the fat and liver cells activate and start redirecting energy toward storage, rather than use. Until the body determines the “crisis” is over, metabolism will slow down, and more calories will go to fat cells. You can keep inflammation down by sticking to low-sugar foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats.  Meals high in antioxidants and fiber bring the inflammatory response down even more.

Break Up Your Workout Sessions 
A University of Pittsburgh study found that women who did four separate 10-minute workouts during the day lost thirty percent more weight than women who did one big 40-minute workout a day. Scientists conclude you can lose more weight and keep your metabolism moving faster by doing smaller, shorter workouts.

Control Stress as much as possible Keep stress levels in check by managing your time, focusing on the present and not over-committing. Many studies have found a link between high levels of stress and weight gain. You don't have to commit to regular yoga classes or meditation sessions to manage your stress.  Just know your limits and know that the world isn't all on your shoulders, you can share that responsibility.  It will help you be more productive in the long run.

Drink Plenty of Water 
In a small German study, subjects who drank 16 ounces of water at a time experienced a 30 percent increase in metabolic rate during the following hour, burning an extra 24 calories. The researchers recommend cool water because the body expends extra calories warming it up to your body temperature.  If your body is not properly hydrated it may not be able to perform certain vital functions.  This can lead to a reduction in your BMR.  Therefore, you need to make sure you are drinking enough water to maximise your metabolism.  I find that keeping a water bottle at your desk and topping it up regularly plus making an effort to drink extra water while exercising helps me stay hydrated throughout the day.

Don't Under-Eat 
Undereating causes your metabolic rate to drop and your body to hold onto fat. Most nutrition experts recommend that the average, active woman consumes at least 1,800 calories daily. But watch out for underestimating the calorie count of "healthy" foods. Even some salads are packed with extra calories.

Drink Green Tea
There are varying reports on this, but Research reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that green tea helps to burn up to forty-three percent more calories a day. Another study showed that men who drank green tea for three months lost almost twice as much weight as those who didn’t drink the brew.

I suppose I no longer have any of the above excuses to be fat, including that my metabolism is really bad.  I better put my money where my mouth is!  If you know of any other great tricks for boosting the metabolism, please do tell!  


Sources:  http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/increase-your-metabolism-start-losing-fat; http://www.parade.com/healthystyle/2008/11/speed-up-your-metabolism; http://www.fitsugar.com/How-Speed-Up-Your-Metabolism-17160190;
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/06/29/can-eat-late-and-still-lose-weight/?intcmp=features 

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