I seem to get a steady stream of folks in my office who want to lose weight. For many of them, it’s about how they look. And for most, they want the weight gone fast.
Losing weight so that you look better is a legitimate goal. But the benefits of dropping a few pounds extend well beyond appearance. Losing just 10% of your weight can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.(1) It can also improve or prevent asthma, joint pain and even sleep apnea. You’ll feel better and be more energetic, too.
But what’s the best way to lose weight? There are dozens of diets out there that promise quick results. But the problem with most of them is that they are all based on the idea that reducing the number of calories you take in each day will result in weight loss. And, while this works for a while, the pounds come right back as soon as you go off the diet.
You see, what’s missing from all of these diets is a key factor that keeps the pounds off? A speedy metabolism.
Your metabolism is the amount of energy your body uses each day. It can determine whether you will be successful in losing weight and keeping it off. While some lucky people naturally have a fast metabolism, some aren’t. But there are some habits you can adopt that will significantly speed up your body’s ability to break down food for energy instead of storing it as fat:
- Exercise. Working out builds muscle—and muscle speeds up your metabolism. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, also increases your stamina.
- Don’t skip meals. Even though it may seem like a good idea to forego the occasional meal, this strategy can actually encourage weight gain! True, you get fewer calories. But eating erratically signals your metabolism to slow down and conserve fat. Boost your metabolism by spacing your meals three to four hours apart to ensure plenty of energy and help you avoid the headaches, hunger pangs and blood sugar swings you get when you’re famished.
- Pump up the protein. Getting plenty of protein can fuel your metabolism, causing you to burn an extra 150 to 200 calories a day. But don’t overdo it. Optimum metabolic function occurs when the body gets 10 to 35 percent of total daily calories from lean protein like chicken, fish, legumes and organic non-GMO soy foods. Low-fat dairy is another tasty way to kick-start your metabolism. Researchers have discovered that people who drink milk or eat yogurt and cheese three to four times a day as part of a weight loss plan lose up to 70% more body weight than those who eat less dairy.(2)
- Stay hydrated. The most important thing you can do to boost your metabolism is to drink plenty of water. In fact, water is probably the most overlooked ingredient for weight loss, weight maintenance and all overall health. In terms of burning fat, water helps flush out toxins by cleansing the fat cells, which store them. It also helps the kidneys flush waste faster.
- Spice up your diet. Research shows that eating spicy foods can boost your metabolism for up to 5 hours. One recent study by Dutch researchers reported that regularly eating thermogenic foods like peppers and green tea increases metabolism, boosts energy and enhances fat oxidation during weight loss efforts.(3)
- Get enough sleep. A study by researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that people who get 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep burned twice as much fat compared to those getting just 5 or 6 hours. It turns out that sleep helps regulate the hormones that control appetite. Shortchanging yourself on sleep lowers leptin levels so you don’t feel satisfied after eating. And that makes you much more apt to overeat.
Losing weight is never easy, but these metabolism-boosting habits can give you the edge to not only lose the weight but also keep it off. This means that you can look forward to a healthier, more energetic and thinner you!
Related articles of interest:
1. Look AHEAD Research Group. Long-term effects of a lifestyle intervention on weight and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: four-year results of the Look AHEAD trial. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2010;170:1566-1575.
2. Zemel MB. Calcium and Dairy Acceleration of Weight and Fat Loss during Energy Restriction in Obese Adults. Obesity Research. 2004 12: 582-590.
3. Hursel R. Thermogenic ingredients and body weight regulation. International Journal of Obesity (London). 2010;34:659-669.
Dr. David J. Blyweiss began his medical career as a clinical pharmacist in South Florida prior to earning his medical degree from St. George's University School of Medicine in 1982.
His dual background allowed him to appreciate the relevance of conventional pharmaceutical/surgical based treatments in acute medical conditions, and recognize where these approaches fell short in treating the majority of patients who suffered from the chronic degenerative diseases of "western civilization origin."
Over the last twenty years, with the nutritional medical knowledge base expanding in the fields of nutrigenomics, protemics, and other related "orthomolecular" disciplines directed towards patients' biochemical individuality, Dr. Blyweiss became an early adherent and experienced practitioner of what would become known as "functional medicine." This knowledge allows him to effectively manage and alleviate the symptoms related to the most "difficult-to-treat" conditions by addressing the underlying causes, allowing the body to heal itself.
Dr. Blyweiss was one of the initial researchers doing the early work on chlorhexidine (Phisohex) while earning his first post graduate degree at Temple University School of Pharmacy. During medical school he worked with the WHO (World Health Organization) in vaccinating children in the islands of the Carribbean. He has traveled much of the world, most recently to Belize, Central America, Gabon, Africa, and Zagreb, Croatia working closely with teams of specialists to identify new plant life and natural products for possible human benefit as well as researchers and their stem cell transplantation teams. He has consulted for and created state-of-the-art nutritional supplements for multiple nutritional companies since 1999. He is currently in private practice in South Florida where he resides with his family.