It’s a situation many of us have found ourselves in at one time or another. We’ve gone on a diet and are successfully dropping pounds, when suddenly the weight loss stops and the numbers on the scale won’t move. The reason might be a slow metabolism. Metabolism is a complex process that converts calories from food into energy to help your body function efficiently. If you have a high metabolism, you’ll burn fat and lose weight with less difficulty than someone with a slow metabolism, even if you both eat the same amount and are equally active.
Generally speaking, if you’re stuck with a low metabolism, you’ll never be able to eat as much as your skinny friend with a high metabolism without gaining weight. That being said, there are things you can do to speed up your metabolic rate and get you over the hump towards continued weight loss.
Here are 10 tips to maximize your metabolism:
1. Exercise. Working out is one of the best ways to speed up your metabolism. When you increase your muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories even when you’re just sitting around. Lift weights a couple times a week, and aim for 30 minutes of cardio each day. Take a walk, step on the treadmill or head to the fitness club. You can even get fit with small spurts of action, like foregoing the elevator for the stairs, parking on the outer limits of the parking lot, or taking on some vigorous housecleaning.
2. Eat small meals. If you eat four to six small meals a day instead of three big ones, your metabolism will stay in the high range and you won’t have a chance to pack away extra calories in the form of fat.
3. Don’t miss a meal. If you assume that skipping meals leads to weight loss, you’re wrong. If you don’t give your body nourishment when it needs it, your metabolism thinks that you’re starving and slows down to conserve energy. Following tip number 2 and don’t go too long without eating.
4. Eat more whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. These foods help to keep your metabolism on an even keel.
5. Use spices in your food. Spices such as hot peppers boost your metabolism.
6. Cut out refined sugar. Too much sugar in the bloodstream causes your body to convert food to fat at a faster rate.
7. Drink plenty of water. When your body burns fat, it produces toxins. If you don’t take in enough fluids to flush them out, your metabolism slows down.
8. Sip some green tea. Research has demonstrated that green tea can increase metabolism. Plus, it has many other health benefits that make it a valuable part of your diet.
9. Get enough sleep. People who don’t sleep enough are much more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers who do get enough sleep.
10. Lose your stress. Emotional and physical stress can prompt the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone that lowers your metabolism. Plus, you’re likely to eat more when you’re stressed out.
So don’t be disheartened if you’ve hit a dieting plateau. By following these tips, you’ll give your metabolism a boost, and you’ll soon be burning off fat again. Keep in mind that eating healthfully and staying fit is a lifestyle change, not just a temporary approach to weight loss.
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