Hurry It Up!
You know the drill: Eat less and exercise more to lose weight. But when the scale seems stuck a few pounds away from your goal weight, your metabolism may need a boost. Little lifestyle tweaks (like not dieting!) may be the ticket. Here are simple suggestions to jumpstart calorie burning from the latest studies and top experts
1. Keep daily calories above 1,200.
It sounds counter intuitive, but eating fewer than 1,200 calories a day can actually slow weight loss, says Keri Gans, RD, a nutrition consultant in New York City and author of The Small Change Diet. “When you eat much less than your body needs, it may go into starvation mode and store fat,” says Gans. A 5’5″ woman who’s moderately active needs approximately 1,400 to 1,700 calories per day, says Gans. And those calories should come from a variety of nutrients consisting of high-fiber carbohydrates (100% whole grains, fruits and veggies), lean protein (fish, skinless poultry and sirloin) and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil).
2. Pump iron.
Your body maintains muscle through protein synthesis, an intense calorie-burning process, says Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, Director of the Human Performance Lab at CUNY Lehman College, in Bronx, NY, and author of Sculpting Her Body Perfect. Researchers believe just having muscle burns 10 to 20 calories per pound per day versus burning one to two calories per pound of fat, says Schoenfeld. “If you diet without lifting, about 25% of your weight loss will come from muscle tissue. That suppresses metabolism because you miss the additional calories that having muscle burns.” So incorporate weight training into your workouts two to three times a week, and include all major muscle groups.
8. Get more dairy.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) in milk and all other dairy burns fat, says Shawn Talbott, PhD, Research Director of SupplementWatch, Inc. and author of The Metabolic Method. “Having more NR around enables mitochondria, the energy-producing units in cells, to more efficiently metabolize fat into energy.” In animal studies, NR supplements reduced obesity rates in rats, even those on high-fat diets. Try adding milk to smoothies or snacking on Greek yogurt with fruit.
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