We all have a friend who has a so-called “good metabolism.”
You know the one I’m talking about here. He’s always a big eater, but he never seems to gain an ounce. Or she always goes back for seconds but is as fit as she was when she was a teenager.
If you’re constantly battling your own weight, those “good metabolism” folks might just seem blessed. But the truth is our own habits have a lot to do with how well our metabolism performs.
Don’t make these common metabolism mistakes
Following are three common mistakes you may be making that can slow your metabolism down to a crawl.
1. Not eating ENOUGH:
It’s simple. If you want to lose weight, just cut way back on calories, and the pounds will melt away. It’s just common sense. Right?
The only trouble is this “fact” isn’t always true. Because it turns out slashing calories by too much can throw a monkey wrench into your metabolism. It can bring your weight loss grinding to a halt.
You see, your body has some built-in checks and balances that help keep you alive. When you drastically cut calories, it’s a signal to your system that there’s not enough food available. To keep you from starving to death your body does the only logical thing, it dials back your metabolism, so you burn calories more slowly.
2. Skimping on protein:
Another common mistake dieters make is not eating enough protein. Gobbling down rice cakes and lettuce and skipping out on the protein is a recipe for diet disaster. Sure, you’re cutting back on calories. But you’re cutting back on fuel too.
Studies show eating plenty of protein triggers your body to burn calories faster than it does when you eat carbs or fats. In fact, according to research published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism protein gives a temporary metabolism bump of 20 to 30 percent. Compare that to the five to 10 for carbs and around three for fats, and it’s clear which one is the winner.
3. Skipping sleep:
The third metabolism mistake many folks make doesn’t have a thing to do with diet. It’s all about how much sleep you’re getting and the quality of that sleep.
In a study published in the journal Obesity, when volunteers got just four hours of sleep a night for five days, their resting metabolic rate dropped by 2.6 percent on average. Which means everything slows down a bit, including calorie burning. The good news is after 12 hours of solid sleep their metabolism bounced back to normal.
4 easy steps to help BOOST your metabolism
Now that you know the mistakes you’re making let’s look at four easy steps to help BOOST your metabolism.
Step 1: Break for breakfast
Food is fuel. Not only do you need to put the right kind in your body, but you also need to add more when you run out.
When you wake up, you’ve already gone a long time without eating. Skipping breakfast is like running your car on fumes. It causes your body—and your metabolism—to slow down to stretch the energy from your last meal. Eating breakfast fuels your body and kick-starts your metabolism for the day.
At the same time intermittent fasting, when you don’t eat anything after say 6 PM and hold breakfast until 10 AM, can have positive effects on blood sugar and metabolism. You can also try the 5-2 approach, restricting calories to around 600 for two days a week. Both methods will provide your body with fuel to run, but deliver the benefits of fasting.
Step 2: Diet do-over
Learn the difference between good fats and bad fats (for example deep-fry oil, trans-fat, and anything hydrogenated = bad fats. Omegas, essential fatty acids, coconut, avocados, olive oil, raw seeds, and nuts = good fats).
Incorporate vegetables of some form into every meal – even breakfast! Try blending some spinach or kale with frozen blueberries and unsweetened yogurt to make a smoothie. I bet you won’t even taste the greens. Or mix some fresh veggies in with your eggs. Vegetables should make up at least half of each meal.
Cut added sugars and empty junk carbs such as chips, pizza crust, and French fries from your diet. Aim for foods that are lower on the glycemic index. They won’t cause the glucose spikes and crashes that can harm your metabolism over time.
Step 3: Emphasize exercise
Any kind of cardio (aerobic exercise) will help to rev up your metabolism and reduce your stress (which should please the multitaskers).
Recent studies are showing that 1 ½ hours per week of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking or swimming keeps the average person healthy. To lose weight fit in a little more. And remember studies show that 10 minutes here and there work just as well as longer workouts.
And don’t forget to include some muscle-building (anaerobic exercise) into the mix too. Muscle is more active than fat, so more muscle means higher metabolism. Explore different ways to fit muscle training into your day. Counter pushups while you’re waiting for dinner to cook. Or exercise bands during commercials. Be creative.
Step 4: Stick it to stress
High stress is a little-known culprit in metabolic mayhem. Try adding some meditation to your daily routine. Sit quietly, let your mind go blank and concentrate on your breathing for 15 minutes in the morning instead of hitting snooze. Or fit it in in bed before you fall asleep.
And whenever you feel your stress levels getting out of hand stop, take 3 deep breaths, and exhale fully pulling your bellybutton toward your spine to empty your diaphragm completely. Those 20 seconds can be all that’s needed to bring you some peace and keep your metabolism on track.
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