Revving up your metabolismHeidi LaForge, DOFamily Medicine, Via Christi Clinic
Running on emptyAs women, we burn our candle at both ends Shuffling kids to and from sporting events, working, cooking, cleaning and organizing our lives one task at a timeOur bodies may not be burning calories quickly because ofpoor eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle.Fortunately, we can take control of speeding up ourmetabolism with a few easy steps.
OverviewOur metabolism can be affected by: Sleep Crash diets Water Calcium Spicy foods Exercise
Get more sleepA good day starts with agood night’s rest.The number of zzz’s youcatch can have a big effecton your waistline. Manywomen don’t start to gainweight until after havingchildren. While some ofthese changes arehormonal, sleep plays ahuge factor in this as well.Research shows that sleep deprivation alters hunger andappetite hormones. This is also why people with sleep apneatend to weigh more.Sleep deprived people tend to eat unhealthy foods to help themstay awake, and then are too tired to exercise — vicious cycle!
“Freshman 15”A four-year joint study by the University ofWisconsin and Stanford University found thatadults who regularly slept only five hours a nightincreased their levels of hunger-inducing ghrelin by14.9% and lowered their levels of appetite-suppressing leptin by 15.5%.
Going about it all wrongDont skip meals. Dieters often try to get that extraweight-loss edge by cutting entire meals instead ofjust cutting calories throughout the day.This is counterproductive Skipping meals forces your metabolism to slow down and conserve calories to compensate for the lack of food.
But I like to eatKeep healthy snacks like fruits,veggies, nuts and yogurt with youthroughout the day so you do notget tempted to run crazy andwild.If you do choose to have a snack,make sure your main meals aresmaller to accommodate this, oryou’ll load up on extra caloriesyou don’t need.
Our changing bodiesStudies show that our natural metabolism slows by5% every 10 years.So every 10 years we need to decrease our dailycalorie intake by 100 calories. 20 yrs old = 2000 calories 30 yrs old = 1900 calories 50 yrs old = 1700 calories
Foods to avoid Simple sugars — cereal, donuts, candy (these are emptycalories) High fat meats — hot dogs, bacon, sausage Foods you can’t pronounce — if you need a chemistrydegree to decipher the first few ingredients, don’t put thisfood in your cart Canned foods high in sodium Fake health foods — they say they are low in fat or low insugar but they are still cookies … many loaded with calories.There is no such thing as a healthy cookie.
Avoid these drinks that may seem healthy Juice Parents often ask me, “When is it a good time to start my child on juice?” … Umm, never is a good answer. Children need vitamins not sugar water. Give them fruit instead. Vitamin water AKA sugar water mixed with poor multivitamins Gatorade / Powerade Only drink this if you are working out like an Olympic athlete. Otherwise, plain water will hydrate you just fine with zero calories or chemicals.
Shop the perimeterA good way to find healthy foods at the grocerystore is to stay along the outside walls where all ofthe coolers are.These tend to house fresh foods with fewerchemicals and preservatives.
Raise a glassThe number on the scale may lookgood when you haven’t had enoughwater, but you risk major weight gainby not drinking enough.Being down one to two pounds doesnot impress me at your office visit …do not fool yourself. You are onlyhurting your kidneys if you’re notconsuming enough water.
DehydrationDehydration can trick your brain into thinkingyou’re hungry; so instead of reaching for a colddrink, you may reach for whatever snack is nearby.Importance of hydration: 8 ounces of water = 0 calories 1 candy bar = 270 calories
Add a little spiceTurning up the heat on your meals may do more than justadd fun flavor. “Hot” foods, such as jalapeños, chili peppersand spices like curry and cayenne increase bodytemperature. This is why you sweat when you eat them.Body temperature and metabolism are related: As you burnenergy, heat is released.By increasing your internal body temperature, spicy foodsmay temporarily raise your metabolism and stimulate theuse of stored fat as energy.
MooooIn a National Dairy Council-funded study, researchersfound that a high-calcium, low-calorie diet boosted fat loss by42%, compared to only 8% forjust a low-calorie diet.
Mmmm MoooStudies also show that dairy lovers are less likelyto suffer from metabolic syndrome Symptoms include high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, poor blood sugar control and increased abdominal obesity — all factors that increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.If you don’t eat enough calcium-rich dairy foods,such as yogurt, skim milk and low-fat cheeses,start adding them to your diet or take a dailycalcium supplement.
Am I mooved?Of course the last study mentioned was funded bythe people that produce milk … but drinking aglass of milk daily is a good idea because healthybones are important for exercise and preventingosteoporosis.
Get movingYou can and should work outevery day in some way.Cardiovascular exercise (running,swimming, aerobics, walking) stimulatesyour metabolism, helps you burncalories and can even temporarilysuppress your appetite post-workout.If you work all day you can always dothings faster or differently. Doing squatsor lunges to and from the bathroom andparking farther away from yourdestination are just a few ideas.
Weight can be goodWhen you lift it … ha!Weight training tones your muscles andboosts lean tissue mass, which burnsmore calories per pound than fat. Themore lean muscle tissue you have, themore calories you burn daily.Whether you are used to 12 oz. curls or20 lb. curls, you need to start with smallweights and slowly increase weight toavoid an injury.