25 July 2013 Jump Start Your Metabolism
Guest post by Sarah Stevenson, a.k.a. The Tini Yogini
Are you living a healthy lifestyle but still gaining weight? The dreaded plateau — where your results stall despite your best efforts — can happen to anyone. Luckily, you don't have to depend on pills or cosmetic surgery to take that weight off. You simply need to switch things up a bit. Here are six tips to jump starting your metabolism so you can get the results you want by working smarter instead of harder.
1. Eat more! Back in the days when folks hunted and gathered, they sometimes had to go for days with little or no food. To survive these times, their hormones would shift, slowing down their metabolisms and holding onto emergency fuel supplies (aka "fat") during lean times. Your body doesn't know that, at any given moment, you can open your fridge and eliminate your calorie deficit, so there's a good chance that it's in lock down. I don't suggest that you go on a pasta binge, but adding 200-300 calories to your diet might help.
2. Spice Up Your Life: Ordering the "muy caliente" version of your meal may slightly increase your ability to burn off unwanted fat. According to research, eating spicy items like chili peppers and hot mustard can speed your metabolism by as much as 8%. It also suppresses your appetite. So next time you make a meal, try sprinkling some hot mustard on it (1).
3. Pump Iron: Are you currently lifting weights in your workout routine? You don't necessarily have to bulk up like Arnold for it to make a difference in your metabolism but you should consider lifting two to three times a week. When you start to gain muscle you start to also burn more calories because it takes more energy for your body to sustain them. Lifting weights creates little tears in your tissue causing your body to work harder to repair the area. It may turn out that you will weigh in a bit more since muscle weighs more than fat by volume, but you will look leaner and more fit (2).
4. Drink Water: Doctors and dietitians alike will tell you to drink plenty of water, but did you know it can increase your metabolism? When you ingest eight to 12 glasses each day your body has to work harder at heating the water you take in. Researchers estimate that within a year's time, people who increase their water intake by 1.5 liters a day will burn an extra 17,400 calories—which equates to losing up to 5 pounds. If the taste of water bores you, try squeezing some lemon in it. It perks up your water and helps to clear out toxins your body (3).
5. De-Stress: Research has shown that the stress hormone cortisol can inhibit your body's ability to burn fat. So if you're stressed out, that may be the reason you aren't losing weight. Sometimes it is impossible to completely eliminate stress from our lives—so implement stress-relieving activities. Focusing on your breath for a few moments when you get heated up, joining a yoga class a few times a week, watching funny movies or spending time with your pets are all research-tested ways to relieve stress (4).
6. Grab A Cup Of Joe: Caffeine — like spicy foods — is thermogenic, meaning it increases your body's ability to burn calories. It also gives you an increase in energy levels, allowing you to have more intense and possibly longer workouts. Athletes have been tapping into this little energy boosting cocktail for eons. But make sure that your caffeinated beverage isn't also pumped with sugars, sweeteners and fatty milk product. A plain old cup of coffee will do the trick (5).
Monotony can slow your life down to a painful roll and it can do the same exact thing to your metabolism. So get out of the habit of exercising, eating and dealing with life in the same way. Shake it up a bit and give your metabolism a jump-start.
- Rodgers, Amber R. Calorie Counting 101: Weight Loss Made Simple. Booktango, 2012.
- Scala, Dwight, et al. "Metabolic cost of a preparatory phase of training in weight lifting: a practical observation." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 1.3 (1987): 48-52.
- Boschmann, M. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, December 2003; vol. 88: pp. 6015-6019.
- Teitelbaum, Jacob, M.D. How Stress Can Make You Gain Weight. Total Health Vol 25. no. 5. Oct/Nov 2003.
- Jackman, M., et al. "Metabolic, catecholamine, and endurance responses to caffeine during intense exercise." Journal of Applied Physiology 81.4 (1996): 1658-1663.
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