Reignite Your Metabolism
9 Ways You're Slowing Down Your Metabolism Without Knowing It
This story originally appeared on RedbookMag.com.
Missing out on essential nutrients, especially protein, turns your metabolism sluggish, says registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It's okay for a few days, but after that, your body switches into “starvation mode,” thinking that it needs to store, not burn, fat to keep you alive. That’s why fasting isn’t a smart idea. The same goes for any crazy diets that encourage you to consume nothing but liquids for more than three days. “When you don’t get enough protein, your body breaks down lean muscle mass, which is what slows your metabolism,” says Blake.
Bad news for the corporate set. “Even if you go to the gym for a half hour every day, if you sit at a desk for eight hours the rest of the day, you still have a sedentary lifestyle,” says Blake. She recommends moving around for five minutes per hour to avoid losing metabolism-boosting muscle mass, which happens when you don’t move major muscle groups throughout the day. Even little tweaks can make a difference, like designating a printer across the office, parking further from where your destination, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking the longer route to the bathroom.
Not getting enough zzz’s can negatively impact your fat cells, according to a recentstudy from the University of Chicago Medicine. Researchers found that sleeping for 4.5 rather than 8.5 hours a night reduces the ability of fat cells to respond to insulin (a hormone that regulates energy) by 30 percent. That can lead to weight gain over time, which is partially why experts recommend trying for at least seven hours of shut-eye per night.
When you down a drink, be it wine, beer or liquor, your body has to break down that alcohol before it can get to all the calories that you scarfed down earlier in the day. That slows down the metabolic process, so it’s a good idea to limit yourself to one boozy beverage a day.
A report from the University of Utah College of Medicine showed that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of water every day burned calories faster than people who drank less water. Carry a bottle around with you, so you don’t forget to sip throughout the day.
Researchers at The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have found that the more calcium you consume, the more fat you burn. Good sources include milk, reduced-fat cheese, yogurt and dark leafy greens—all of which have tons of other health benefits, too.
Caffeine can stimulate your metabolism for a few hours after consumption, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. So consider this not just permission but encouragement to start off your day with a java or tea fix.
Running, biking, swimming and rowing get your heart pumping, making them super-important for boosting your metabolism. But if you’re not incorporating strength training into your regular routine, you’re missing out on a double whammy. The more muscle that you build, the more calories your body will burn, so grab some hand weights, do resistance training using your body weight (i.e. push-ups, lunges and squats), or ask a trainer to show you how to best use some machines at the gym.
Video: 9 Tips From Scientists to Lose Weight Without Strict Diets
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