Tag Archives: weight loss

Tips For Boosting Your Metabolism

What exactly does “metabolism” mean? We hear it talked about enough, but do we really know what it is or what it needs to stay vibrant and healthy? I’d venture to guess that most of us have no clue. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! 🙂

Metabolism: the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow, heal and make energy. Hmmmm… sounds important. A properly functioning metabolism ultimately means the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy body. How can we get our metabolism to function optimally? Implementing the following tips into your daily diet would be a great start!

Metabolism Boosting Tips:

  • Eat whole foods and lots of veggies- the more you’re able to eat unprocessed foods that come from the earth and animals, not labs and factories, the more your metabolism will like you.
  • Eat and drink the right foods-
    • Broccoli
    • Asparagus
    • Lemon and lemon water
    • Celery
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Green tea
    • Garlic
    • Berries
    • Grapefruit
    • Apples
  • Exercise to get your metabolism up and running (literally!)
  • Plan ahead- Try to stick to a somewhat set eating schedule. This will allow your body to be more aware of when it’s actually hungry. It also helps maintain hormonal balance. This is essential for weight loss, as an imbalance in certain hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, will cause “false hunger”.
  • Aim for 3 small meals and at least 1-2 small snacks throughout the day. When we go too long without eating, our metabolism slows down in an attempt to conserve resources aka FAT. Our body doesn’t want to give it up easily, unfortunately. From an evolutionary perspective, this was advantageous because sometimes we would have to go long periods of time between meals. When you’re hunting and gathering, obtaining food on a consistent basis isn’t exactly a sure bet. So, the metabolism slows, as does weight loss. FEED your metabolism, don’t starve it! In small quantities throughout the day, of course.
  • Don’t cut calories to under 1200 per day. As I just stated, we need to eat in order for our metabolism to function. If you’re consistently feeding yourself too little, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. And you’re hungry, which probably pisses you off. Learn to listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs and in what quantity. As a result of all the crap we eat on a daily basis- with all the additives, fake ingredients, and inflammatory oils, many of us are highly imbalanced hormonally and don’t get the signal to stop eating. Luckily, with time and effort, this can be fixed!
  • Incorporate heat-generating spices into your daily meals. Cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are all excellent choices.
  • Drink your water! You’re probably not drinking as much as you think. Measure out your water each morning for a week to determine exactly how much you should be consuming. You should be drinking roughly 60-70 oz./day. I recommend filling up a water bottle with measurements for ease. After awhile, it will become second nature to drink that amount.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. I know, I know. You’ve heard this one a million times, but it really is true! It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, and in fact shouldn’t be, but simply something to get your metabolism running for the day. Also, what we eat first in the day sets the stage for the rest of the day. So don’t go for the donuts at work; that cup of yogurt with berries would be a much better bet.
  • Get adequate sleep. Another one you’ve probably heard a million times and scoffed at, but again, it really is true! Some people say they can live off, and even thrive, on less than 6 hours/night. This is what I say to that: you’re either lying or you’re kidding yourself. Study after study has shown that quality sleep positively affects our hormonal signaling, leading to less feelings of false hunger. If you have chronic sleeping problems, it would greatly behoove you to figure out why.
  • While I strongly believe in starting with diet when engaging in self-improvement measures, targeted supplements can be a helpful metabolism-boosting tool for some people. Here are some great examples:
    • Vitamin B6- helps with water retention, reduces sugar cravings, and helps supply fuel to cells, which then burn calories more efficiently.
    • Chromium- stabilizes blood sugar and reduces carbohydrate cravings.
    • CoQ10- generates cellular energy and increases body’s ability to transform food into energy.
    • Turmeric- excites the production of bile juice which breaks down fatty foods.
    • Vitamin D- studies have shown a strong correlation between obesity and low vitamin D levels.
  • If you’ve tried all of the above for more than a few months and your weight is hanging tough and you feel sluggish as ever, then you should consider getting your thyroid checked.

The sum total of your efforts will certainly be rewarded. However, like most things in life, it’s not going to happen overnight. Way too many people expect to feel magically healthier, more energized, and automatically slimmer simply from eating a salad. Once. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, or reality, but it simply doesn’t work like that. You have to make your health a top priority, be consistent in your behaviors, and put in the effort! It will pay off though, of that I’m certain. 🙂

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Ways to NOT Gain Weight Over the Holidays

It’s that time of year again.

While most people use the holidays as an excuse to become gluttonous, ravenous beasts, it’s really pretty disgusting. We only have one body- why do we repeatedly treat it like crap?! I know, I know. Food tastes good. And many people feel rather entitled to these displays of grandiose gorging and overindulgence. “It’s the holidays. I’m suppose to eat like a pig.” The thing is, doing so makes you look like crap AND feel like crap.

Does this sound crappy to you? Then abide by the following tips. I have a little secret to share with you too- food can actually taste good AND make you look and feel good! Spread the word!

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

  • Don’t go to a party on an empty stomach. You’ll be tempted by… pretty much everything. If this isn’t realistic, then be sure to drink lots of water to trick your stomach into thinking you’re not hungry.
  • Scope the appetizer table for the healthiest foods, i.e. vegetable trays, hummus, smoked salmon, guacamole, kabobs, sushi, salad, etc., before picking up a plate and go for them first. On that note, use a small plate always (even non-holiday times) to maintain portion control.
  • Chew your food slowly and enjoy every bite. It takes the brain 20 minutes to get the message from the stomach that it’s full, so the slower the better!
  • Allow yourself a “splurge” meal and dessert 1-2x/week so you don’t feel deprived. It’s especially tough during the holiday season to see everyone enjoying cookies and cake- you want to get in on the fun too! And that’s ok… IN MODERATION!
  • Bring healthy options, such as vegetable trays and salads, to holiday parties.
  • Drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks, both to lessen the load on your liver and to rehydrate. Plus, you’ll likely drink less because more time will be spent consuming water.
  • Treat the appetizer table like it’s a snake about to bite you. Stay away, stay far, far away.
  • Though I’m not a huge fan of gum due to their artificial ingredients, it can be really helpful at assuaging one’s hunger. Chew it while cooking dinner to avoid nibbling and tasting everything. OR, better yet, chop up some raw veggies and chomp on those.
  • Don’t starve all day so you can rationalize indulging at a holiday party at night, as many people do. If no food is eaten throughout the day, the blood sugar drops, leading to intense cravings and complete loss of control. You will definitely overeat if you starve yourself. Not to mention completely shut down your metabolism.
  • Walk after large meals. Hell, walk whenever you feel like it. You need to move frequently to keep your body at its appropriate weight.
  • Are you an emotional eater? Take control! Write out a list of reasons you think you are prone to overeating and using food as a crutch. Be honest with yourself. By doing so, you’re making it apparent what isn’t working for you in your life at this moment. Then fix it. Yes, this is much easier said than done, but every day is a new day that brings with it new opportunities for self-improvement. Stop making excuses and just do it.
  • Think about how horrible you feel the morning after a food binge. If you never want to feel that way again, then stop doing it to yourself! Again, this is another “easier said than done” situation… you probably won’t be able to break this cycle overnight, but with time, diligence, and introspection- it IS possible. Believe me, I know from extensive personal experience.
  • Make healthy desserts made with whole food ingredients, such as raw brownies, coconut cake, and chocolate walnut fudge. The great thing about these types of desserts is that they satisfy the sweet tooth without messing with brain signals and hormones, as white sugar laden and/or artificially flavored desserts are able to do, causing us to eat them well past the point of satiety.
  • Only eat foods you REALLY like. You don’t want to waste the calories on so-so junk food.

Holidays don’t have to ruin your waistline OR your health. Think of these last couple months of the year as a great time to socialize with the ones you love, not as an opportunity to rationalize eating way too much food. Being a member of the “Clean Plate Club” is ridiculously overrated. AND IT’S MAKING US GAIN WEIGHT. We, as a culture, need to change our mind frame about what’s really important over the holidays. Hint Hint: It’s not all about food.

Don’t Diet… Eat for Health!

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, L.A. Weight Loss…. What do these companies have in common? Well, besides the fact that they force you to buy low-quality food with loads of artificial ingredients… You may lose weight on them, but will likely regain that lost weight as soon as you start eating normally again, which will lead to greater overall weight gain in the long term. I don’t know about you, but paying to gain weight doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.

BUT GREAT NEWS! There is a simple solution… eating for health! This means that you focus on eating the most nutrient-dense foods available, as much as possible. By doing so, you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to burn that fat off. Enough with the starvation diets- We need to feed our metabolisms in order for weight to come off.

If you give the body what it needs, you’ll see the scale drop. It may not happen overnight, but it WILL happen.

Also, by focusing on optimal health instead of weight loss as the main objective, you’re ridding yourself of the guilt you get after eating anything that’s not “diet friendly.”

I’m a perfect example of this concept- While I have never been overweight, I have ALWAYS wanted to lose 5-10 (or more!) pounds. I tried everything: vegetarianism, calorie-counting, excessive exercise (followed by excessive binges on junk food), etc. The minute I stopped caring about my stomach roll, it went away! I believe it’s because I used to be more concerned about my appearance than my health. When optimal health and disease prevention became my focus, the pounds slowly fell to the wayside, never to return.

What do I eat on a daily basis to maintain my weight loss? Whole foods. It’s really that simple. Oh, and lots of fat. Interesting observation- When I started eating meat again and began buying exclusively full-fat, whole milk products, I lost 7 pounds in roughly 2 months. That’s quite a lot for someone that’s short and already pretty slim. Because I was a veggie, I ate way too many starches and carbs and not nearly enough fat and protein. My macronutrient ratios were all out of whack. By balancing these important ratios, I was able to not only lose weight, but get rid of various health problems as well. I used to have mood issues, low energy levels, joint pain and inflammation, and horrendous allergies. I no longer have any of these issues. Well, except these damn allergies! The point is I stopped focusing on calories and started focusing on nutrients. And it worked tremendously.

We, as a society, need to stop punishing ourselves for any alleged deviation from “a healthy diet”. Times are a changin’ and our definition of what constitutes health food has dramatically evolved over the years. Gone are the days of margarine, 6-11 servings per day of bread and grains (thank you Food Pyramid for steering people in the wrong direction for decades), and low-fat everything. Today we know that fats are good for us, red meat is not the devil, and too much bread makes us feel like crap. Let’s get back to the basics people! Traditional foods are the way to go.

By consistently eating fresh, unprocessed, whole foods, weight loss WILL happen. And it’s not as hard or time-consuming as you might think! It simply takes advanced planning and commitment. It is TOTALLY worth it, trust me 🙂