The weather is warming up and no doubt the thought of getting into a swimsuit is on your mind. But, does it seem like you do everything possible to lose weight, yet the scale won’t budge? It could be your metabolism is to blame! Metabolism is the process by which the body makes and uses energy (calories) for everything from the cellular absorption of nutrients to running a marathon. The more calories your body burns per day, the easier it is to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. What you eat, how you eat it, the type of exercise you do, and even how you sleep can all impact your metabolism. If you feel like your metabolism is running at the speed of a slough, it’s time to spring clean your metabolism by using these five tricks to rev up your body’s motor and drive the numbers on the scale down.
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is essential in order to flush out all the toxins and metabolic byproducts our body creates daily. As you lose weight, you create even more toxic byproducts as fat is burned. If these products build up in your body, they can drain your energy as well as affect your health. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily will help to ensure you are hydrated. Cold water may also give your metabolism a small boost because some energy is required to heat the body, so try drinking a glass of ice water with each meal. If the taste of plain water bores you, spice it up by adding a slice of fresh lemon, lime, or even cucmber to your water for a refreshing change!
Challenge your muscles
Right around age 30, metabolism starts to slow. This age related decline in metabolism is caused due to a losee of lean body mass, or muscle. In fact, you lose about 2% of your muscle mass yearly. This can be counterbalanced, however. Muscle is the most important predictor of how well you burn calories and body fat. Regular strength training with weights or resistance bands (aim for at least twice a week) is essential to building muscle mass and slowing age related muscle loss. The more muscle mass you maintain and develop, the more calories you will burn each day- even as you are sleeping! Another perk for resistance training- your metabolism will stay elevated for hours after you finish your workout.
Don’t skip breakfast
When you skip breakfast, you sabotage the rest of your day and your weight loss efforts. Studies show people who eat a healthy breakfast weigh less than people who don’t. In fact, even The National Weight Control Registry, which is a registry of people who have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year, shows that 78% of participates eat breakfast everyday and 90% report eating breakfast at least five days per week . When you eat breakfast, you are doing two things. One – you are jump-starting your metabolism. Your body does not begin to burn calories as effectively until you eat something. Two – You are preventing excessive hunger that is more than likely to occur later in the day if you skip a meal. Remember, excessive hunger leads to cravings, which leads to overeating. Breakfast does not have to be big or consist of only typical breakfast food items. A sandwich or small plates of dinner leftovers are just as effective as a breakfast as an egg white omelet. Need a quick breakfast on the run- toss together almond milk, frozen berries, low fat cottage cheese, cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla into the blender- blend, pour, and go!
Although easier said then done, lowering your stress level is essential if you wish to successfully lower the scale. Both physical and emotional stress stimulate the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, a steroid that slows metabolism and promotes fat storage, especially in the abdominal area. Avoiding stress, or reducing stress, can help to decrease the production of this hormone and in turn elevate your metabolism. For a quick stress reducer, try taking slow, deep breathes. You can breathe deeply anywhere and in any situation and just the act of doing so slows heart rate and helps to lower stress hormones.
Hit the hay
When our bodies do not get enough sleep ( 7 to 8 hours a night), the physical stress placed on our body is even higher. This can lead to an elevated production of cortisol along with other stress hormones, which can promote weight gain. In addition, fatigue can trigger food cravings and increased appetite, making it challenging to stay on track with a healthy eating plan. To make matters worse, lean body mass is regenerated in the last few hours of restful sleep, which, if missed, can lead to a smaller percent of lean body mass production, slowing metabolism. If you only sleep a few hours per night, try adding 30 minutes onto your sleep schedule every week until you can successfully sleep for at least 7 hours.
What are so of your biggest challenges when it comes to boosting metabolism?
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