As you get older your metabolic rate generally goes into decline and you require a reduced number of daily calories. This decreases your ability to burn fat fast. If you are affected by a slowing metabolism, you need to take preventative measures or you will gain weight. You will need to take a number of preventative measures to stop your metabolism declining and some measures to boost your metabolic rate.
It is important to identify some major causes of a slow metabolism so you know what to avoid, and what to take action on:
ALCOHOL – Alcoholic drinks are full of sugar and calories. They can also lead to dehydration which reduces the effectiveness of your metabolism. An occasional alcoholic drink is OK but binge drinking and/or drinking every day can lead to a reduced metabolism.
BIG MEALS – Larger meals contain more calories than smaller meals. Therefore, there is an increased likelihood that additional calories will be stored as fat. To maximize your metabolism you have to break these large meals down into smaller meals that you eat more frequently.
SUGARY FOODS – Sugary foods have a low nutritional value, are high in calories and digest easily. This means that less calories are burned in the digestion process and more calories are stored as fat. The occasional sugary treat is OK but your overall diet needs to contain limited levels of sugary foods. Look at your diet as a whole and try to substitute the unhealthy foods for healthier ones. Healthier foods generally have a higher nutritional value and are harder to digest, meaning more calories are burned during the digestion process. This has a positive effect on your metabolic rate.
SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE – Remaining active and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle will help to stop your metabolism from slowing down. Taking your exercise more seriously can help increase your metabolic rate. If you participate in regular cardiovascular exercise and regular weight training exercise, you will be on your way to maximizing your metabolism.
What do you associate comfort foods with? When do we need these ‘comfort foods’? The answers to these questions bring forth the direct connection between stress, comfort foods and weight gain.
Most comfort foods are high carbohydrate, high fat or both. A bowl of macaroni and cheese or buttery mashed potatoes are just two examples of the variety of food we consider comfort food. We are most likely to reach for these foods when we are under stress and need re-assurance at some level. For a lot of us, comfort foods tend to provide that reassurance – the same feeling you probably got as a child eating those foods that all will be okay.
Not only do we eat more under stress, we also tend to consume alcohol more often. That means we are not only adding in the calories from feel-good food items, we are also adding in a large number of empty calories from stress-induced drinking. All the extra calories mean a lot of extra workouts to burn them off, or more than likely, weight gain over a period of time.
Studies have shown that women in particular are more at risk for eating and drinking in direct response to stress. The primary cause for over-eating that women have stated in various studies is a lack of emotional support. That makes it imperative for those of us trying to lose weight to build a support network that we can rely on during periods of stress. It may mean reaching out to them for help, just blowing off steam, or socializing with supportive friends so we are not focusing on tough issues alone. Being with company also means we are less likely to consume a box of chocolate, or a couple of bottles of wine. Imagine the number of calories and weight gain you save yourself every time you do not eat an extra piece of chocolate or an extra serving of food?
What all of us can do is just to be more aware and conscious of how we react to stress. This awareness in itself will help guide actions and help us make choices that don’t have to automatically mean weight gain. It also means that we can and should stop using stress as an excuse to explain any weight gain.
A higher metabolism helps you feel good with higher energy levels, keeps your body functions going at optimum, and becomes an automatic weight control mechanism for you. Here are ten tips on how to boost your metabolism for fast fat burning.
Eat your breakfast - If you don’t eat breakfast, you slow down your metabolism and send the body into survival mode, thinking it’s starving because you’re going a long period of time without food. Literally, break the fast that your body has been on since dinner. Go ahead and enjoy a balanced breakfast.
Eat the majority of your food earlier in the day – Dinner should be your lightest meal. This helps your body process and burn the food when you’re aware and moving around and burning more calories per hour.
Don’t starve – Dropping your calorie intake below 1,000 calories a day will signal to your body that you are in starvation mode, and will slow down your metabolism.
Eat frequently and eat more – Smaller, more frequent meals keeps your blood sugar stable and provides a steady source of energy to fuel metabolism.
Exercise – Exercise provides a boost at any time of the day, but when done in the mornings, it is especially helpful by raising your metabolism all day. Add weight training or progressive resistance exercise that builds muscle for ever more results. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest!
Hydrate yourself – The energy burning process of metabolism needs water to work effectively. Keep drinking those glasses of water regularly.
Get enough B vitamins – Vitamin B-12 is essential for energy. To ensure you’re getting enough B vitamins, consider taking a B complex. Your energy levels will rise, and alongwith, your metabolism too!
There is plenty of published research linking stress and weight gain. While a variety of external behaviors and factors affect how we deal with stress, there are also biological responses automatically occurring within our body.
Cortisol, a stress-related hormone, has been associated with weight gain, especially abdominal fat. When under stress, very large amounts of cortisol are released into the blood stream. The most amount of fat is collected in the abdomen region when we eat under stress because receptors for cortisol are located in the abdomen. To make things worse, a higher waist-to-hip ratio has been associated with higher levels of cortisol under stress. That is a double whammy for those of us who are even slightly overweight. It means we automatically start triggering more abdominal fat storage than our leaner peers.
Metabolism is also impacted by excess cortisol. Metabolism slows down. A slower metabolism means you can’t burn off calories efficiently, and this results in weight gain even when consuming a lower amount of calories. Another double whammy here. Since most people tend to eat more when under stress, the rate of weight gain increases exponentially.
So what can you do to avoid having cortisol create a roadblock in your weight loss efforts? Manage stress proactively! Don’t wait until it catches up with you to start fighting it. Here are a few things to do:
Raise awareness: Gain awareness of your stress triggers and reactions.
Get in those workouts: Exercise regularly to regulate cortisol levels. It can also help alleviate depression. Try relaxation exercises such as guided meditations and yoga.
Get enough rest: Your body rejuvenates itself while sleeping, and helps you cope with stress more effectively. It may mean that you make a wiser food choice the next day, and help yourself in your weight loss or maintenance plan.
It is important to note that while it is important you manage stress and cortisol levels appropriately, medication is not a recommended first option. Try one of the methods above first!
There is one golden rule for dieters and non-dieters alike: Eat frequently but eat less. This is practically the easiest way to ensure we lose weight, even if we don’t change anything about our diet. Here’s why:
Bye-bye over-eating: When eating five or six times a day, we sit down for each meal only feeling a slight pang of hunger, as opposed to wanting to eat everything in sight when we are famished. Switching to more meals a day will also help us appreciate food better, which, again, will improve the quality of our life and change our relationship with food.
No binges: By eating more often, you’re less likely to get ravenous. When you eat a midmorning and mid-afternoon snack, you’re not starving at lunchtime or after work. You are then much less likely to binge. For each meal or snack, eat both protein and carbs, such as cereal with milk, an apple with peanut butter or a turkey sandwich. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, so you’ll stay satisfied longer.
Fire up your metabolism: Metabolism kicks into high gear when we feed ourselves regularly. Our bodies are less likely to go into ‘survival mode’, as they do when we go for large periods of time with inadequate or no food, and then binge. By feeding yourself regularly, your body thinks you’re getting ongoing fuel with no lack in supply. It’ll keep burning those calories, and you will start feeling the results in no time.
Switching to six meals a day also has benefits beyond weight control. Since we no longer feel famished, our attention span improves, as also does our concentration, which, in turn, translates into increased productivity and an overall better mood at all times. You are also likely to eat more nutritiously because you won’t be loading up on empty calories.
Almost everyone looks back with warmth at memories of some family dinner. Dinners are ideally associated with relaxation, laughter and talk.
The process of laughing and talking over food should technically stretch the meal, giving our brain ample time to send satiety signals. Again, ideally, this should mean saved calories and leaner bodies over time.
The reality, however, is different. In today’s hurried worlds, we rush home from work to errands, events or even kids homework. The calories start building up way before they are consumed. The hurried mindset usually means cutting corners in dinner preparation.
We add fats or fatty meats to add flavor, processed foods to cut cooking times, and heavy starches as comfort food. We may even have skipped meals during the day, and get so hungry that we munch on a snack while waiting for dinner to get to the table. By the time dinner is served, the average meal has doubled or tripled in calories.
As a society, we are also consuming dinner later in the evenings, which means we are not giving our bodies enough time to digest and assimilate the meal. That adds to an automatic increase in fatty stores. Welcome to the land of pear-shaped people!
So what can you do to prevent dinner from destroying your weight loss or weight maintenance plan?
Here are three tips:
- Switch meals - Making breakfast the biggest meal of the day not only gets your diet plan off to the right start, but a balanced breakfast also helps fight disease and reduce cravings through the remainder of the day. It gives you the energy to keep going through the day (with a balanced lunch, of course).
- Plan Ahead – This means taking the time to plan out menus for the week to ensure you don’t have to cut corners and add high-calorie substitutes later.
- Enjoy with Company – Research shows that having a balanced dinner with friends or family on a daily basis prevents obesity as individuals tend to exercise more restraint on eating patterns socially than when eating by themselves. Conversation around the table also means there is more time for your brain to signal, “I’m Full”.
We all know the importance of breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, after all, to get your metabolism going and getting your body and mind the fuel that it needs for the rest of the day. What is often overlooked, however, is the equally important art of balancing your breakfast.
What does a balanced breakfast mean? Well, for starters, it means something other than just a donut (or worse, donuts) and coffee. Our lives have become so hurried that even when we do make the effort to include breakfast as a meal, we resort to ‘take and go’ options that usually do not provide any meaningful nutrient benefit. On the contrary, these empty calories hurt our weight loss or maintenance plans. Just like every other meal, breakfast should also have a balance between proteins, carbohydrates and fat.
A balanced breakfast may sound intimidating, but can be pretty easy to put together with just a little bit of forethought. Instant oatmeal with milk, eggs, a banana and a glass of orange juice takes less than five minutes to put together. Need other options? Pick items from each of the categories listed below:
Protein and Fat – Usually, these go together either because the protein options are cooked in fat or contain some fat themselves. For this category, pick in moderation from sausage, bacon, eggs. You can also pick nuts or peanut butter for a change.
Carbohydrates – We tend to associate carbohydrates with breads but they can also come from fruits like bananas. Fruits and fruit juices also give you a vitamin and mineral boost that most breads do not. If you do want to stick with breads, choose whole grains for extra fiber.
Dairy – Get a calcium boost, some protein, and a secret weight loss tool with some milk. Research shows that dieters who consume dairy products every day lose more weight than their non-dairy consuming counterparts.
As a society, we focus a lot on steps to stay healthy. We load up on multivitamins, pay attention to personal hygiene, and even sign up for gym memberships in the hope that we will be motivated to regularly work out. It turns out that one of the easiest preventative steps we can take can be done at home right at the start of every day.
Regularly eating breakfast can help reduce the risk of insulin resistance syndrome, diabetes or coronary heart disease by 35% to 50% compared to your odds if you skip the morning meal. That’s a lot of disease prevention just by paying attention to one meal of the day! Turns out mom was right after all. Breakfast is the most important meal.
So what is the best option for breakfast that the American Heart Association recommends to gain prevention against the above listed diseases? A bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk added as part of a balanced breakfast. The fiber in whole-grain cereals and dairy products help protect against obesity and heart disease by improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Well, why not wait to have whole grain bread at lunch instead? The answer lies in the concentration of dietary fiber in whole-grain cereals. It is very hard to match the quality and amount of fiber present in whole-grain cereals with whole-grain bread. The soluble fiber in the cereals is directly associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
It forms a gel-like material that prevents cholesterol and saturated fats from entering the bloodstream, where they can collect and form plaques on artery walls. As an extra plus, for those of us who have trouble eating our daily servings of fruits and vegetables, the insoluble fiber helps keep us ‘moving’ from a digestive perspective and contributes to colon health.
Which ones should you pick? Any cereal with whole grain or bran as their first ingredient and that contains at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving should be in your shopping cart, and on your breakfast table.
There is now enough medical research that has been published to prove that a big breakfast is the way to go – not only when you’re trying to lose weight, but as a general lifestyle practice. Here are the top 3 reasons why a big breakfast is good for you:
Fuel Your Body and Brain –Most people concentrate their calories during dinner. It doesn’t make sense to fuel up heavily at night when you are not solving the next work issue and when you can’t burn off the calories just consumed, right? So switch that around and make those calories work for you. The mix of nutrients and calories gets your white cells going for a productive day.
It also gives you the energy for high-quality workouts to move along your weight-loss or weight-maintenance plan.
Jump Start Your Metabolism – Breakfast literally means breaking the fast that your body has been on through the night.
Metabolism slows down during any ‘fasting’ period, including while you are sleeping, as your body kicks into survival mode. Your heart rate slows down and so do all body functions, including digestion. Your body will also be more likely to store calories from dinner into fat cells through this period.
Focus on a big breakfast instead to shake off the ‘survival mode’. Breakfast gets your metabolism jump-started early in the day so your body can get back to to burning off calories and stored fat. If you skip breakfast, remember that you prolong the ‘survival mode’ and slow metabolism phase for your body until lunch.
Make Food Your Ally in Weight Loss – A big, balanced breakfast with a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates keeps you feeling full and satiated longer so you don’t feel the need to munch on empty calories later.
Any calories saved equals eventual weight loss. Eggs, banana, oatmeal with milk and a glass of orange juice for breakfast may save you quite a few calories from a couple of brownies or a bag of chips later.
So, keeping the above in mind, get started right away in making everyday a big breakfast day!
The medical community has come to a consensus that a majority of body ailments and diseases originate in the colon. If digestive waste is not eliminated within a short time span from the body, it becomes toxic. The body continues to absorb nutrients AND toxins from the waste. The acidity level of the colon also changes to encourage microbes to start releasing cancerous substances, eventually leading to colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third most common form of cancer in the world, as well as the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the western world. It is important to note that the western diet has progressively evolved to include smaller and smaller amounts of raw food. We are the hamburger generation, after all.
One of the easiest ways to benefit colon health is adding raw fiber to diet. Raw fiber is provided by raw vegetables and fruits. It may take a little bit of thinking ahead at first if you are not used to it, but it can quickly become second nature to balance your diet and include fiber. Here’s how:
Where’s that Fruit? – How about adding an orange instead of orange juice? Or a banana with a glass of milk on the run?
Help Yourself to a Salad – Salads are great to munch on, perfect for weight loss or weight control diets, and even go with pizza! Salads have come a long way from drab lettuce and tomatoes. Jazz things up by adding mandarin oranges or exotic dressings to make them fun. You even get pre-packaged with dressing and croutons included so there is no excuse to not include them with every meal.
Nutty Snacks – In moderation, nuts and seeds provide great snacks. Not only the does protein content help your workouts, the fiber helps your colon health.
Grains – Switch to whole grain – any whole grain – from your regular processed grains and you make a huge jump to adding fiber in your diet. Whole grains also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, and provide you several B vitamins and Iron as a bonus.