Not much happening in the metabolism department. Need a change to get things going? Here are eight (nearly) painless ways to stoke your metabolic fire.
1) Make a Lifestyle Change
People who physically move a lot or fidget burn on average 350 additional calories per day according to Len Kravitz, M.A., Ph.D., a researcher at the University of New Mexico.
So if you pace while talking on the phone, tap your feet, gesture, park farther away, take stairs instead of the elevator, or just simply walk from point A to point B you will increase your total calorie expenditure almost effortlessly.
Buy an inexpensive pedometer and measure the distance you cover daily. Your goal: To reach 10,000 steps – each and every day.
2) Eat Breakfast
Your mother may have touted the importance of breakfast and Harvard University agrees with her. Harvard researchers found that participants? who ate breakfast were 44 percent less likely to be overweight. One theory suggests that eating in the morning reduces hunger throughout the day, thus curtailing excessive calorie consumption.
If you are not a big breakfast eater, try a smoothie, plain yogurt with granola or trail mix on your way out the door.
3) Don’t Skip Meals
Calorie restriction can create a "famine effect." Your body responds by thinking it is starving and slows your metabolism, priming your body to store fat. Longer periods of calorie deprivation can inspire your body to begin burning muscle, which in turn lowers your metabolism by as much as 20%, according to Dr. Kravitz. Nutrition experts recommend five smaller meals per day, which provides your body with consistent energy and staves off "hunger binges."
4) Pump Iron
Strength training builds up your lean tissue (muscle). Muscle needs more calories to function than fat. More muscle means more calories burned, even while you are watching television or sleeping. On the flip side, for each pound of muscle you lose you burn fewer calories per day, which eventually results in more…fat.
5) Review Your Antidepressant
Some antidepressants can inhibit your metabolism, while others may raise it slightly. If you gain weight on one medication, ask your doctor about switching to a different type that may be more compatible with your body.
6) Add Intervals
When performing aerobic exercise, add intervals to your routine. Intervals burn a large number of calories and challenge your cardiovascular system. Whichever aerobic activity you choose, the goal is to work from "somewhat easy" to "very hard" on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale.
Each aerobic effort ("hard" to "very hard") is followed by triple that time for recovery ("somewhat easy"). For example, if you pick up your pace for 20 seconds, you’ll need to recover at least 60 seconds. Perform intervals only as part of your aerobic program, though, or you miss out on the benefits of steady-state endurance training and run the risk of burning out.
7) Mix In Cardio
Add heart rate-elevating movements to your strength training routine. Between sets, try skips, hops or shuffles. Jump an "air rope." Perform large muscle movements such as squats with a weighted ball, walking lunges, or jump squats. And anything that requires both your upper and lower body to work simultaneously will elevate your heart rate and burn more calories throughout the session.
8) Eat More Lean Proteins and Healthy Fats
Some studies suggest that proteins and fats are more difficult to digest than simple carbohydrates, thus requiring more calories to process. Proteins and fats also help you feel full longer, so you may eat fewer calories overall.
To keep your bottom line in check do as much as you can, whenever you can. Seek reasons for movement (an impromptu dance break while doing dishes? A walk to the coffee shop?).
Find a partner and turn it into a game: Which one of you can incur the most steps in a day? Pick another family and start a friendly competition as to who can walk the most number of days to school.
The opportunities are endless. Ready – set – burn.