By Sarah Baker | @Balanced_Babe
Metabolism is a word most of us know but few of us make an effort to research to our advantage. With just a few changes you can end your frustration in your weight loss quest, stop metabolism boosting mistakes and rev up your ability to burn more calories. One of the goals of our recent “Be Balanced Challenge” on Balanced Babe was to ditch the empty calories and processed foods and replace with metabolism boosting, nutrient dense foods. Consider these other ways we sabotage our efforts when all we need to do is make a few changes.
DON’T: Up Your Body Temp
INSTEAD: Turn Down The Thermostat and Rev Up The Body’s “Brown Fat”
Try turning down your home thermostat to keep your body temperature cooler. Most of us turn up the heat in cooler weather and add sweaters for extra comfort. This is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Studies have been done on the body’s “brown fat” which becomes activated to generate heat and increase metabolism when the body’s temperature is lowered.
Research is continually showing that this metabolically active fat is key to using up the body’s energy. The Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston posed the question in their study: “...exactly how much energy does brown fat burn? [..] normal-weight people who sit in a 59-degree room for two hours with summer clothing seem to chew up energy at a rate of 100 to 250 calories per day.”
DON’T: Focus On Cardio
INSTEAD: Add Weight Training To Your Exercise Routine
It’s a routine for many to concentrate on just aerobics for health. And aerobics are great for efficient fat burning and raising your metabolism during your workout. But by adding a weight training regimen to your cardio routine, your body will continually burn calories long after you’re done exercising due to building more muscle, which uses up more calories. Weight training is considered anaerobic in nature since it is short and high intensity. Try rotating your workout and start getting the calorie burning benefits of strength training. Don’t be scared about getting bulked up, focus on lower weights at first to build stamina and create lean muscle mass. It’s always a great idea to work with a personal trainer to get a personalized plan and revisions as you progress.
DON’T: Focus On Counting Calories
INSTEAD: Reach For Nutritional, Fat-Burning Foods
When you start restricting yourself to less than 1,200 calories per day, your body’s metabolic function comes to a halt and actually stops your metabolism. When you feel hungry, eat. Listen to yourself and be intuitive. Think of your body as a engine, and the fuel you give yourself is what drives you to perform tasks all day. Eat the right type of calories. The food group that you can easily cut back or eliminate: white carbs. Not only are white carbs not giving you sufficient amounts of fiber to help you stay full and energized, they are empty calories.
So, if you are giving yourself junk and processed foods to consume, your engine (your body) will not function at peak performance. Try eating smaller meals 3 to 4 times a day; Drinking a cup of green tea with each meal; Experimenting with new healthy homemade bean, lentil and veggie soup recipes and including soup as your main entree; and lastly, you will never go wrong with eating colorful veggies each day and looking for ways to add these to your already favorite recipes.
DON’T: Drink Water Only When Thirsty
INSTEAD: Drink Water Often And Ice Cold
It’s a fact that we need water to keep our bodies functioning smoothly and to continually replenish our system, so we tend to drink water only when we’re thirsty. But we need to increase the amount we drink and lower the water temperature! Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is considered one of the most effective ways to help speed up weight loss by burning more calories and increasing the body’s metabolic rate. And if you drink ice cold water, it’s believed that this gives an added boost to metabolism because of the amount of work it takes your body to regulate this cold water by bringing it back to your core body temperature.
This is one case where there’s continuing research on temperature and metabolism, but in the meantime if I can get this added boost in the form of extra pounds lost by year’s end, or maintaining a healthy weight, then I’ll go for it.