Feeling sluggish after being cooped up inside during the cold winter months? Here are a few of my favorite tips to rev up your metabolism and help you shed a few pounds.
1. Watch what you drink
Liquid calories do not satisfy the body in the same way that solid calories do. Drinking a large cafe mocha won’t fill you up like a bowl of pasta will, but it will give you just as many calories. Drinking alcohol may even suppress your fat metabolism, making it harder for you to burn off the calories. Skip the soda and avoid calories in a glass.
2. Lose the salt
Salt causes water retention, leaving you bloated and uncomfortable. If you’re like most Americans, you probably eat too much salt. The daily recommended value is 2400 milligrams, and many of us take in twice that amount. Look for hidden sources of sodium in soups, canned foods and drinks. And, stay away from salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips.
3. Start lifting weights
We used to think that cardio was the best way to shed a few pounds. However, strength training helps you build lean muscle tissue, increasing your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day. Buy a set of light weights (5-10 pounds) and try to incorporate into your exercise routine 3 to 4 times a week. You’ll slim down and tone up at the same time.
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4. Drink more green tea
Green tea is an amazing metabolism booster. Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins that help you burn fat. A 2011 meta-analysis published in Obesity Reviews found that supplementation with catechins increased energy expenditure by an average of 100 calories a day. But beware, as all green tea is not created equal. Opt for matcha or hojicha tea for the best results.
5. Don’t skip meals
Here’s the truth: skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. Although you may think you’re skimping on calories, the body goes into “starvation mode.” Your body thinks food is in short supply, slowing your metabolism to conserve energy. Keep healthy snacks on hand and fuel your body throughout the day.
6. Get some sleep
Although this may sound counterintuitive, sleep deprivation will pack on the pounds. Less sleep leads to a lower metabolism and makes you susceptible to the late-night munchies. Being well-rested also reduces food cravings and helps you make healthier choices throughout the day.
7. Write it down
Keeping a food diary may be the key to shedding those extra pounds. A study of over 1,600 overweight adults published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that those who kept a strict food diary lost twice as much weight as their non-journaling counterparts.
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8. Fill up on veggies
We know that veggies are important, but loading up half of your plate with veggies will keep you from overindulging on carbs. Plus, you’ll be giving your body all the nutrients it demands. Fill up on veggies to curb cravings and feel fuller for longer.
9. Get spicy
Filling up on spicy foods may speed up your body’s ability to burn calories. Jalapeno and cayenne peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that increases hormones responsible for metabolism. Eating hot peppers may even reduce your appetite, decreasing the amount of calories you consume in a day.
10. Drink more water
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: drink more water! Your body needs water to metabolize stored fat. When you skimp on the H20, your body slows down that process, making it harder for you to burn calories and shed those extra pounds. Try to drink half of your body weight in ounces.
Losing weight can be challenging, but don’t fall for the gimmicks. Crash diets and so-called “quick fixes” are unhealthy and won’t help you reach your goals. Jump-start your weight loss with these healthy tips. You’ll be glad that you did!