11 Secrets to increasing your metabolism

1) Drink up! Water, that is. A study reported in the December 2003 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found thatdrinking two cups of cold water increased metabolism by 30%, equal to burning 24 extra calories. So drinking eight cups of water (or any cool calorie-free beverage) daily would burn about 100 calories or enough to lose 10 pounds a year. According to the researchers, 40% of the increase in metabolic rate was due to your body warming the water from 72º to 98.6º F. (22º to 37º C.)

2) Make sure you eat enough! When you diet, you typically cut calories. Unfortunately, if you cut back too far, your body may think you are starving and will slow down your metabolism; you also will be unable to meet all your nutrient needs. One way to prevent this is to try and eat enough calories to at least match your resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate is based on your age, height, weight and frame type. For a personalized consultation regarding your daily calorie and protein needs, please contact me at: Linda@ExpertNutritionConsulting.com

3) Strength training just 30-40 minutes two times a week is enough to increase your metabolism. Increasing your muscle mass by strength training can increase your metabolism by up to 100 calories per day! The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Every pound of muscle burns approximately 35 calories/day, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories/day. Not only does strength training increase your metabolism, but it can promote healthy bones and help prevent muscular injuries.

4) Something’s fishy….. A recent study in Obesity Research found that rats who took large doses of fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids) while exercising, lost weight. Omega-3’s help to keep blood sugar levels steady, reduce inflammation and regulate metabolism. Recent recommendations suggest 1,000-2,000 milligrams per day; which amounts to about 3 oz of salmon, herring, trout, sardines, kipper snacks or oysters. Besides fish and fish oil supplements, you can find omega-3’s in flaxseed oil, flaxseed meal, walnuts and peanut butter or eggs fortified with omega-3’s.

5) Make sure to eat breakfast every morning! Studies have shown that people who eat a nutritious breakfast tend to eat less calories throughout the day and according to the National Weight Control Registry, 78% of those who lost weight and kept it off more than 5 years, are tried and true breakfast eaters. While you are sleeping, your blood sugar levels can plummet and you need something to bring those levels back up and provide you with energy for the day.

6) Try eating small, frequent meals every 2-3 hours. This helps to stabilize your blood sugar and prevents you from overeating because you don’t tend to get as hungry between meals. To figure out how much you should eat at each meal, divide your recommended daily calorie needs by six.

7) When you exercise, try interval training to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. This incorporates short, fast bursts of energy (about 30-60 seconds) during your work-out. It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, swim or cycle, go all out for 30 seconds, then return to your normal speed. This can even be a time saver because you can burn more calories in a shorter length of time.

8) Turn down the heat and turn up your metabolism. Just turning down the thermostat from 70 degrees to 68 degrees can help burn up to 100 extra calories/day. Also, exercising outside in the winter cold can burn extra calories.

9) Reduce your stress. When you are stressed, your adrenal gland secretes cortisol which increases your appetite and stimulates your body to release more insulin which promotes weight gain and fat storage, mainly in the belly area. Try taking a walk to help reduce stress levels and boost your metabolism or try laughter therapy, it’s one of the best medicines!

10) Make sure you are sleeping 7-9 hours every night. People who are sleep-deprived tend to eat more calories, fat and sugar and have a slower metabolism. To get the most out of your sleep, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This puts your body “in-sync” and makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up.

11) Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol in any form is a depressant for the body and can decrease metabolism and increase your appetite and cravings for sugar. Per ounce, alcohol packs a lot of calories with virtually no nutrients. See Tip #1 and boost your metabolism instead of depressing it.