Strategies to Raise your Metabolism for Permanent Weight Loss

by : Jill Fleming, MS, RD

Your metabolism (or basal metabolic rate) is the number of calories your body burns or uses for energy on a daily basis. Increasing your metabolism can help you almost effortlessly lose excess body weight. Here is a short list of simple strategies you can easily incorporate into your life to loss weight permanently.
1. Eat something within the first hour of waking up. This will wake up your digestive system to begin burning calories sooner in the day. Think of breakfast as the kindling that starts the fire of your metabolism.
2. Keep your body's gas tank (your stomach) ? to ? full all day long. This is how thin people eat. They start eating at the first sign of hunger and stop eating when no longer hungry. When you skip meals or eat to the point of full, your body releases lypogenic fat-storing enzymes. Avoid the two extremes.
3. Always carry snacks with you. This will make it easy to eat at the first sign of hunger without having to go to a fast food restaurant. Place almonds or walnuts in a tin to keep in your purse or car. Grab a banana from the convenience store when you stop for gas.
4. Eat more whole foods, in their natural state. The calories you burn during digestion are due to the breakdown of the foods. Your body must extract the fiber, nutrients and chains of molecules to chop them into smaller units to absorb them into your bloodstream. Processed food requires fewer calories for digestion, since most of the food is already stripped of its complex components.
5. Substitute water for other beverages. Water is needed for many basic body processes, but is essential for the breakdown of body fat to be used for energy. Other beverages many contain extra calories, artificial sweeteners or chemicals. None of these are beneficial for weight loss. Your body does not compensate for the calories from beverages, by decreasing your appetite. This means that all calories from beverages are additional calories and can lead to weight gain. Be aware of your cappuccino with whipped topping.
6. Move your body most days of the week. Movement burns calories and raises your metabolism for up to 24 hours after the completion of the exercise. Plan to move for at least 30 minutes 4 days of the week. Many people find pedometers to be a fun way to track how much movement they have experienced during the day. Set your goal to reach 7,000 to 9,000 steps per day to be considered active.
7. Use weights or your body's own weight to strengthen your muscles. Muscle is metabolically active. Fat is metabolically inactive. To burn more calories all day long, you will want to increase the amount of muscle on your body. You can do push-ups, toning videos or add hand weights while you march in place to the evening news.
8. Squeeze your muscles. This is also called isometric toning. Squeeze the muscles you would like to tone. Hold the squeeze until it begins to tire and then hold them for another 5 seconds. You will be amazed at how firm your muscles can become once you start squeezing them.
9. Deep breathe for 10-minutes everyday. Breathing deeply is one of the best stress reducers. It will increase the amount of oxygen being delivered to your brain and will help you feel more centered. Plan to do this just before the most stressful time of your day. I do my deep breathing daily at 2:45pm, just before picking all three of my kids up from school.
10. Add foods to your diet that have been found to raise metabolism or decrease calorie intake. These include: cayenne pepper, salsa, hot peppers, chili sauce, mustard, green tea, apple cider vinegar, berries, soup and oatmeal.
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