“Nothing great has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances.” – Bruce Barton
1. STOP DIETING! Finding and maintaining a healthy weight is not about eating less, it’s about eating more—more nutrition-dense food, to crowd out the empty calories and keep you full all day. That’s important, because restricting food will kill your metabolism. It makes your body think, “I’m starving here!” And your body responds by slowing your metabolic rate in order to hold on to existing energy stores. If the food shortage (your diet) continues you’ll begin burning muscle tissue which gives your enemy, body fat, a greater advantage. Then your metabolism drops even more, and fat goes on to claim even more territory. The key is to increase metabolic rate so you burn more calories all day long. (You should not reduce your calories by more than 100 a day and some expects say as little as 10.)
2. GET SOME HIIT! High intensity interval training is the best exercise protocol for weight loss. Besides its fat burning effect, it increases metabolism and appears to increase growth hormone (a good thing). It also targets belly fat. Interval training should always be done after a meal as your body can begin eating into muscle as glucose levels drop. FitMania’s barefoot boot camp program is metabolic or HIIT training using muscle building resistance training called HIIRT (High Intensity Interval Resistance Training) which adds more muscle further increasing the metabolic effect.
3. EAT BREAKFAST! Eating breakfast jump-starts metabolism and keeps energy high all day. It’s no accident that those who skip this meal are 4 1/2 times as likely to be obese.
4. SLEEP! Go to bed earlier. A study in Finland looked at sets of identical twins and discovered that of each set of siblings, the twin who slept less had more visceral fat.
5. EAT MORE PROTEIN! Especially if you are doing our boot camps or resistance (weight) training. Researchers now recommend an amount between 0.8 and 1 gram per pound of body weight of protein everyday. Add a serving, like 3 ounces of lean meat, 2 tablespoons of nuts, or 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Protein has a higher thermogenic effect and research showed that protein can up post-meal calorie burn by as much as 25 percent.
6. GO ORGANIC ON SOME THINGS! Researchers reported that dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experienced a greater than normal dip in metabolism as they lost weight, perhaps because the toxins interfere with the energy-burning process. Pesticides make it harder to lose pounds! Other research hints that pesticides can trigger weight gain. I know it is expensive but you don’t have to go totally organic. It isn’t necessary to buy organic onions, avocados, grapefruit, or bananas. But if possible choose organic when buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale or collard greens, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes; they tend to have the highest levels of pesticides. A simple rule of thumb: If you can eat the skin, go organic. I highly recommend you buy hormone free, organic eggs and milk. They are pretty reasonably priced, easy to find and a better alternative.
7. MOVE! Whether you sit or stand at work may play as big a role in your health and your waistline as your fitness routine. In one study researchers discovered that inactivity (2 hours or more) causes a near shutdown in an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism. To keep this enzyme active and increase your fat burning, break up long periods of downtime by standing up—for example, while talking on the phone.
8. DRINK COLD WATER! German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day (that’s 48 ounces) can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily—enough to shed 5 pounds in a year. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. Though the extra calories you burn drinking a single glass don’t amount to much, making it a habit can add up to pounds lost with essentially zero additional effort. Drinking a glass first thing in the morning may bring additional benefits. The added payoff is that people who are well hydrated have higher metabolisms.
9. GET SPICEY! Eating about 1 tablespoon of chopped red or green chilies boosts your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. Stock up on chilies to add to meals, and keep a jar of red pepper flakes on hand for topping pizzas, pastas, and stir-fries.
10. EAT IRON RICH FOODS! Iron is essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Unless you restock your store, you run the risk of low energy and a sagging metabolism. Shellfish, lean meats, beans, fortified cereals, and spinach are excellent sources. Unless you know your iron is low skip the supplements.
11. GET YOUR D! Most of us are lacking in this important vitamin. Vitamin D is essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue. Unfortunately, researchers estimate that a measly 20 percent of Americans take in enough through their diet. Get 90 percent of your recommended daily value (400 IU) in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon. Other good sources: tuna, fortified milk and cereals, eggs and the sun. Supplements are great. Take 1,000 I.U. a day
12. GET YOUR CALCIUM! There’s some evidence that calcium deficiency may slow metabolism. Research shows that consuming calcium in dairy foods such as milk and yogurt may also reduce fat absorption from other foods.
13. EAT WATERMELON! The amino acid arginine, abundant in watermelon, might promote weight loss, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers supplemented the diets of obese mice with arginine over 3 months and found that it decreased body-fat gains by a whopping 64 percent. Adding this amino acid to the diet enhanced the oxidation of fat and glucose and increased lean muscle, which burns more calories than fat does. Snack on watermelon and other arginine sources, such as seafood, nuts, and seeds, year-round.
“Giving up is the ultimate tragedy.” -Robert Donovan
By Sherry Stirling Fernandez, CPT