When trying to lose weight, many people overemphasize calorie reduction. While it’s a good thing to be aware of calorie counts, your emphasis should be more on when and what you eat and not simply how many calories there are. Drastically reducing your calorie intake will not only sabotage your efforts to boost metabolism, it can actually end up making you gain weight.
If you suddenly reduce your calories by a large amount, your body will go into survival mode. Instead of trying to do more with less, your body will try to conserve energy because it thinks something must be wrong. Rather than losing weight, you will be more tired as your metabolism slows down and you can end up gaining instead of losing weight.
A better way is to determine how many calories you need for optimal health and weight – a nutritionist could be helpful with this. For those who want to lose only a few pounds, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your target weight by 100. That number will be an approximation of your ideal daily caloric intake. If you need to lose a large amount of weight, you should set targets of 10-20 pounds at a time rather than your final weight goal.
This may seem contradictory but eating more often can be very good for boosting your metabolism. Be eating throughout the day you will keep your metabolic process in constant motion. Your body will use more energy which means it burns more calories – calories being a measure of energy. Eating smaller meals with healthy snacks between them will keep your metabolism running.
Obviously, if you start eating more often, you will need to be aware of what you are eating. Junk food, with it’s empty calories, will not help you lose weight. Choosing a variety of foods from all the major food groups will help ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs.
Remember your mother telling you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Turns out she was right in terms of boosting your metabolism. Studies have proven that your metabolism slows down while sleeping and doesn’t kick on again until you eat. Having a good breakfast jump starts your metabolism and you will burn more calories throughout the day.
Now that you know to eat more often and start out with breakfast, you need to focus more on what types of foods you eat. Many recent diet fads have done more damage than good by telling people to avoid two important nutritional groups – protein and carbohydrates. It’s much healthier for your body to learn which foods give the best quality of these two things.
Having enough protein in your body can really speed up your metabolism. Since protein is more difficult to break down, it will take longer than other nutrients. The more time it takes the body to break down, the more calories will be burned in doing so.
Individuals require differing amounts of protein on a daily basis but the USFDA food guide recommends about 50 grams of protein for a reasonably active adult. The key thing to remember is to choose lean sources of protein like chicken and fish most often. Check food labels to compare protein content and fat content. All the metabolism boosting benefits of protein will be lost if you also consume a lot of fat along with it.
Carbohydrates is another frequently reviled nutrient group that can be great for your metabolism. Again, it all comes down to making wise choices on what types of carbohydrates you consume. Good carbohydrates are ones that are high in fiber such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They are harder to process like proteins and the fiber content keeps you feeling full longer.
The carbohydrates you should avoid are refined carbohydrates like the ones found in sugar and white bread. The more refined or processed the food is, they higher on the glycemic index it will be. High glycemic index foods require a spike in insulin to digest and insulin promotes fat storage. You can see how that would be counter-productive to a weight loss plan.
As you can see, proper diet and nutrition can definitely influence your metabolism. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and eat more often throughout the day. Stop avoiding protein and carbohydrates. Instead choose lean sources of protein and quality sources of unrefined carbohydrates. You’ll not only have more energy, you’ll be revving up your metabolism and turning your body into a calorie-burning machine.