Rev Up Your Metabolism NOW!

More than likely, you have either blamed your weight gain on a “slow metabolism” or you’ve heard someone you know blame their weight gain or inability to lose weight on this.  Well, the good news is there are ways to actually increase your metabolism that you can do NOW.  Metabolism is the process of breaking down proteins, carbohydrates and fats to yield the energy your body need to maintain itself.  In the simplest terms, metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories.  The rate of your metabolism depends on the interaction between the number of calories you consume, the number of calories your burn while eating and exercising, and the number of calories you burn based on your individual genetic makeup.  The good news is that your genes only account for about 5% of the “genetic” part of your metabolism.  There are ways to help boost your metabolism that are effective and easy to do.
Follow these recommendations and you will be on your way to revving up your metabolism:
1. Eat consistently.  Your body burns more calories by eating more often.  Yes, this is really true.  Do not go longer than 3 hours without a meal or snack.  By eating regularly throughout the day, your body is alerted that you are NOT starving it; therefore, it will continue to burn calories and avoid fat storage.  Skipping meals will cause your body to conserve calories and burn less.  Studies have shown that people who eat every 2 to 3 hours have less body fat and faster metabolisms than those who eat only 2 or 3 meals per day.  

2. Eat sensibly.  Eating often must involve the right foods with the appropriate portions.  Include a healthy protein source such as chicken, turkey, eggs, Greek yogurt or 2% cheeses.  Also, incorporate high fiber foods such as black beans, split peas, lentils, artichokes, broccoli, raspberries, blackberries, whole-wheat pasta, bran-based cereals, oatmeal, or double-fiber bread.  Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, but the body tries to break it down anyway, using up energy, therefore, increasing your metabolism.  Another great benefit of fiber is that it keeps you full longer; therefore it aids in appetite control.

3. Confuse your body with your exercise routine.  Maximize the calories you burn by incorporating high-intensity intervals into your workout.  While running or biking, alternate 3 minutes of maximum effort with 3 minutes of moderate intensity.  You will continue to burn extra calories 1 to 2 hours after this type of exercise.

4. Incorporate weight training into your exercise routine.  The more muscle you have and use, the more calories you will burn to maintain it.  Research indicates that strength training with a healthy diet and cardio burn more fat than cardio and diet alone.  Try to integrate strength training into your routine 2 to 3 times weekly.

5. Get plenty of sleep.  Skimping on sleep can alter your metabolism.  When you feel sluggish, your metabolism is sluggish.  Try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

6. Spice it up.  Include cinnamon, green bell peppers, chili peppers and green tea into your daily meals and snacks.  Although the metabolic benefits of these foods are small, they are easy to add and worth the effort.  Every little bit counts.

7. Get real.  ALWAYS be realistic with your goals and what your are really doing to achieve them.  Try not to focus on a “slow metabolism” but instead focus on what you can do to improve it.  However good your metabolism is, a poor diet with excess portions and lack of exercise will defeat anybody.  
Although there is not a magic bullet or pill to increase your metabolism, there are things you can do to improve it.  Analyze what you are doing currently and decide what you can change to make it better.  All of the guidelines above are concrete and long-term.  Take control of your metabolism now!  Not only will it help you to lose or maintain a healthy weight but you will feel better, too.  Lets stop blaming and start doing.  You’ve got this!

Lori is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s of Science in Nutrition.  She specializes in weight loss/management and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  She is the author of the book, “My Little Black Book for a Healthy Non-Diet Lifestyle”.  To purchase a copy of her book and for more nutritional tips visit her website at  For weekly nutritional updates, “like” her Facebook page at Lori Gardiner or follow her on twitter at LoriGGardiner.

Diets Don't Work!

If we put as much time and energy into our long-term weight management goals as we do into “quick-fix, fad diets” we would all be successful!

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