Now that the holidays are over, most of us are figuring out how to drop the pounds we’ve gained over the past few weeks. Many New Year’s resolutions will be related to weight loss, working out or setting goals for a newer healthier lifestyle. How about making a new year’s resolution that will help you achieve all of the above? Boosting your metabolism is the holy grail of weight loss for everyone. Metabolism is the process of breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to yield the energy your body needs to maintain itself. The rate of your metabolism depends on the interaction between the number of calories you consume, the number of calories you burn while eating and exercising, and the calories you burn based on your individual genetic makeup.
How can we boost our metabolism?
Build Muscle. Our bodies are constantly burning calories even when we’re sedentary. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories a day. That small difference can add up over time. In addition, after a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate. Bikram Yoga is a great way to increase muscle mass in your body.
High-Intensity Workouts. The key is to push yourself. High intensity training delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate when compared to low or moderate intensity workouts. These workouts are brief, intense and infrequent. High intensity workouts are performed with a high level of effort, or intensity, where it is thought that it will stimulate the body to produce an increase in muscular strength and size.
Drink adequate fluids. The body needs water to process calories. If you are even the least bit dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight of more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. Besides the obvious with drinking lots of water or unsweetened beverages, try munching on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of fluid, rather than pretzels or chips.
Small frequent meals. Believe it or not, eating more can in fact help you lose weight. The key to this is eating more often. When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your body is trained to slow down the metabolism. However, having small frequent meals every 3 to 4 hours can promote a higher metabolism. This in turn will lead to the body burning more calories. In addition, studies suggest when people eat more frequently; they tend to eat less at each “mini” meal.
Pack on the protein. The body burns more calories digesting protein when compared to fat or carbohydrates. Protein requires almost 25% more energy to digest. Keep in mind you want to eat a balanced diet, but replacing carbohydrates such as rice or potatoes, with lean protein sources can jump start the metabolism. Healthy sources of lean protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, chicken, nuts and egg whites.
In conclusion, increasing your metabolism is a great ways to jump start not only a weight loss program but also a healthier and happier lifestyle. Making small changes gradually can help you achieve your new weight loss goals and resolutions for the New Year!
Laurie Taunton MS R.D.