It’s something I hear a lot this time of year: “I just can’t lose weight because I don’t have a metabolism.” Sound familiar? While that statement is partly true, rest assured, your metabolism isn’t broken. You most definitely do have a metabolism! It just needs some TLC.
There’s no quick “eat this and your body will magically burn fat” food fix, but there are things you can do! Here are five tips for revving your calorie-burning potential:
1. Hit the gym
More specifically, the weight room. Cardio is important for keeping your heart in tip-top shape. But studies show we lose muscle as we get older — and that means our bodies burn fewer calories. Women lose about five to 10 percent of their lean muscle every 10 years after the age of 35. By 45, that may be adding up to an additional five pounds of fat per year! For a total body resistance workout, check out Dr. Wright’s article!
What? That’s right. Stop crash dieting, and start eating healthy. Studies continue to show that people who severely restrict their calorie intake (below 1200 calories per day), cause their metabolism to drag. Not only that, but the weight lost doing that is likely muscle; not fat! And because the metabolism is slower, once normal eating resumes, many see their weight balloon. If you’re exercising regularly, you probably need at least 1500 calories per day.
3. Have fun, but not too much
One drink a day probably won’t derail your weight loss. But too much drinking can! Some studies have found a link between occasional binge drinking and abdominal fat. Not only does this type of drinking cause your liver to prioritize alcohol detoxification over fat metabolism, many studies prove it can damage your heart and increase your risk for several types of cancers. Cap your intake at one per day for weight loss and health!
4. Get some sleep
Recent surveys show that about 30% of adults sleep six or less hours per night. Adequate sleep for an adult is seven to eight hours per night, so many of us are seriously low on “vitamin Z.” Sleep deprivation can cause people to feel hungrier, and interfere with the body’s ability to function properly — including food metabolism. Those whosleep less actually lose about 55 percent less weight than those who get enough sleep. Need some advice on getting enough sleep? Read Dr. Fernstrom’s article on sleep and weight.
You hear this in just about every health improvement article — from managing high blood pressure and heart disease to preventing cancer and job burnout. Yet we remain one of the most high-strung societies in the world! Stress can cause willpower to drag, making some people more likely to indulge in high-sugar, high-fat foods. Chronic stress can also slow your metabolism in the long run, making it much harder (and more stressful) to lose weight. Check out some of Coach Mike’s tips for de-stressing here and here.
What one step will you take toward a healthy metabolism today?