Winter is just around the corner and many people are concerned about adding a few "extra layers" around the holidays. Now is a great time to start some healthy habits. Here are 10 ways to jumps-tart your metabolism and get your body into the fat burning mode.
- Drink more water: I have talked about this in other articles, but it cannot be said enough. Drink a gallon a day or half of your body weight in ounces. Water boosts your metabolism and makes you feel full. If you are hungry or tired, drink a glass or two of water.
- Protein with every meal and snack: Protein builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. Each pound of muscle burns 6-10 calories whereas a pound of fat only 2-4 calories. Lift weights 3-4 times weekly and eat protein with every meal and snack. How much? Eat 20-25 grams per serving and 4-6 servings daily. Some great sources are: grass-fed beef or wild game; free range, organic chicken, wild caught cold water fish, eggs, nuts and nut butter, Greek yogurt, quinoa, and legumes.
- Lift weights: As stated in #2, muscle burns several times more calories than fat. We lose muscle as we age which decreases our metabolism and the extra fat creeps on. Lifting weights working on all the major muscle groups 3-4 times weekly is an excellent way to torch your fat.
- Cut out refined sugars: Sugar is readily converted to fat. A good way to avoid added sugar is to read labels and eat mostly whole foods. What about fruit? Fresh and frozen fruits are good for you but in small amounts. Eat your fruit in the morning when your metabolism is the highest and only 2-3 servings daily.
- Measure your portions: Most people underestimate how much they are eating. I know this was true for me. Have you ever measured the serving size of granola, cereal, pasta, rice, etc.? I guarantee you normally eat 2-3 times the recommended serving size. Try measuring and recording ALL your food intake for 1 week. You will be surprised. There are a lot of apps that you can record this on as well to help you stay on track.
- Workout in the morning: Working out in a fasted state (after sleeping) has been proven to burn more fat than in a non-fasted state. Working out in the morning also gets it done for the day. If you are strapped for time in the morning, then try a Tabata style or HIIT workout to torch some extra fat. You can do your weight training in the afternoon or evening if that works better for your schedule.
- Limit eating out: If you want to drop some fat, eat your meals at home or bring the meals that you prepared from home. You know what is in the food and you can eat the correct portions.
- Get enough sleep: Adults need 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night. At night, our bodies repair and heal. Sleep resets us for the next day. Lack of sleep over time raises our stress hormone Cortisol, among other things. Cortisol causes us to store fat. To get better sleep, shut off the electronics and TV at least 30 minutes before bed. Do a little reading and turn down the lights to prepare your body for rest. Remember what you did with your kids when they were little? It works for adults too.
- Limit alcohol: Alcohol is converted to sugar which is stored as fat. We also tend to drink alcohol in the evening when our metabolism is the lowest. Not only that, but alcohol impairs our judgment leading to less than healthy food choices. The noshing on snacks and an evening drink or two can really add up to the waistline. If you want to drop some fat, avoid alcohol for a week or two and see the difference a little abstinence can make.
- Control your stress: Cortisol is our stress hormone and when it is raging, the fat will not come off no matter how hard you try. Stress is everywhere. There are things that create stress for us that we have no control over, but there are many things that we can remove from our lives. Exercise, deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can help with the stress you have no control over. If you are feeling stressed, take a few deeps breaths or go for a walk if time permits.
I have not met one person yet who did not want to lose a bit of extra body fat. Whether it is a little or a lot you want to rid yourself of, these tips will get you on your way.