Tuesday, February 13, 2007

11 Natural Ways to Increase Your Metabolism

The higher your metabolic rate, the more efficient your body is at converting food into energy, instead of converting it into body fat! Here are 11 simple ways to boost your metabolism.

  1. Eat for what you’ll be doing the next 3-4 hours. Your body will retain less fat for stored energy, because you’re consistently giving it the fuel it required for the immediate task at hand. People burn more calories during the active parts of their day – work, play and exercise! Yet, most people make dinner by far their highest calorie meal of the day, then do nothing afterwards but “wind down” for a few hours and then go to sleep. So are you really burning much of those dinner calories? Of course not! It’s common sense if you think about it.
  2. Get some aerobic activity EVERY SINGLE DAY! Walk! Jog! Horse around with your kids! Have sex! Dance! Play ball! Surf! Swim! Bike! I don’t care what it is – just get your heart rate up for at least 20-30 minutes every day. Our bodies are amazing at adapting – it becomes what we do. People that sit on their butt most of the time, have bodies to match!
  3. Eat Breakfast! When you skip breakfast, your body slows metabolism down as a protective measure. You haven’t had food in 8-12 hours! How can you expect your metabolism to get going if you’ve given it nothing to metabolize? Food, especially complex carbohydrates, fuels your metabolism.
  4. Maintain and tone your muscles through weight training three days per week. Every ounce of lean muscle tissue on your body demands nutrients to sustain itself. In response, your body burns calories faster and stores less calories as fat. Ladies, please don’t worry. Unless you’re on steroids or have unnaturally high testosterone, you are NOT going to look like a bodybuilder. Instead you’ll look like a covergirl for Shape magazine – those girls lift weights. Believe it!
  5. Snack smart and snack often! Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains stoke your metabolism, and keep your blood sugar steady. Steady blood sugar prevents you from becoming too hungry, and also keeps you from craving sweets. When you’re too hungry, you are more likely to lose control over what and how much you eat.
  6. Purposely do things the hard way. If you’re overweight, then you need to always be looking for easy opportunities to burn calories. Take the far parking space. Choose an after-dinner stroll instead of dessert. Take the stairs. Use a shovel, not a snow blower. Buy a traditional lawnmower, not a self-propelled one. Use a mop or a vacuum, not a darn Roomba!
  7. Eat more complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, and reduce fat and sugars. Complex carbs boost your energy and keep your metabolism working hard. Lean protein is used by the body to create muscle, which makes us burn calories at a faster rate – even when we’re sleeping!
  8. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Avoid it completely if you can. Alcohol slows your metabolism and raises your appetite simultaneously. Did you know that alcohol has SEVEN calories per gram, almost as much as pure FAT. Many alcoholic drinks are loaded with sugar to boot!
  9. Drink .8 ounces of water per pound of bodyweight daily (80 oz if you weigh 100 lbs). Water is required for your liver to effectively metabolize body fat! Carry a bottle of water with you and drink frequently throughout the day. Drink water between meals, not during meals - you’ll digest your food better.
  10. Have 8-12 oz of black tea or coffee before aerobic exercise. Every study done on the effects of caffeine during aerobic exercise has shown an increased reliance on body fat for energy when a small amount of caffeine is consumed prior to exercise. Remember; use caffeine sparingly and in small doses. If your body is adapted to regular excessive caffeine use, it will not see the fat burning effect described here!
  11. Last but not least… DON’T STARVE YOURSELF! 1200 daily calories for women and 1800 men is a bare minimum just to sustain life function and healthy tissue while at rest (BMR) – not even taking into account the energy it takes to get out of bed and move around (TDEE*)! When you don’t eat enough, your body will find the calories somewhere – it will breakdown your healthy muscle tissue to burn for energy. Less muscle = lower metabolism = you get fatter faster. This is why most people who have gone on very low calorie diets end up being fatter over the long haul.
*Use the Positive Charge TDEE Calculator found on this web page to see what your daily calorie intake should be, then subtract 15% for fat loss or add 15% for muscle gain.