Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rev Up Your Metabolism


Isn't that the thing that makes me gain weight?
Isn't that the thing that makes the extra weight REFUSE to come off?

These are two questions I get asked pretty often as a dietitian. And here's the true answer, not necessarily.

Your metabolism is the rate at which your body breaks down the nutrients in food to be used for energy. Someone with a "high" metabolism utilizes the calories more quickly . This CAN (but doesn't mean it will) help someone fight off those few stubborn pounds.

So what determines if you have a fast or slow metabolism. Well that my friend, is where you come into play. Your body composition is the PRIMARY factor in telling your body how many calories it needs to burn at rest (RMR).  In other words, the more FAT FREE mass your body has, the higher your metabolic rate will be. Other key factors that influence metabolism are stress, calorie intake, exercise and medication.

Men VS Women
Yes women, unfortunately it is true that men typically have a 10-20% higher metabolism than us since they live with a higher proportion of lean body mass to fat mass than us!

It's time for us women to fight back!

It's time to boost it up!


1.) Add some weight

I'm sure you've heard it before, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn (even at a resting state).  That means your RMR (metabolism) will improve when your muscle mass improves.  "Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily."

DID YOU KNOW: After you're finished pumping weights, all muscles in your body are activated which raises your average daily metabolic rate!!

2.) Step up your workout

HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) rev up your metabolism WAYY more than low intensity workouts (walking at a constant pace). To make sure you get the full effect of a high intensity workout, make sure you level of intensity changes frequently, such as bursts of fast pace walking for 30 seconds, walk at a slow pace for a minute, and so forth!

3.) Drink it up

Your body needs water to process any and all calories. If you are the least bit dehydrated, your metabolism can slow down. In a study, men that drank 8+ glasses of water per day burned more calories than the men who drank 4 or less. To figure out how many ounces of water per day you need, divide your body weight in half!

4.) Caffeine it up?

Caffeine increases the amount of calories your body uses up, which in fact may help boost your metabolism.

5.) Eating salads all day gets you no where

Eating more often can help raise your metabolism and help you lose weight. Yes, I said the words "eat more." When you eat BIG meals with long spans of time between, your metabolism actually slows down between those periods of food. Having something to eat every 3-4 hours, keeps your metabolism running constantly, which causes more calories burn throughout the day.

6.) Spice things up

Spices have natural chemicals to help kick start your metabolism. In Louisiana, we typically have this tip down pat! Nothing is too spicy!

7.) Powerhouse protein

Replacing some of your daily carbohydrate intake for lean protein sources can help rev up your metabolism. Good sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.

DID YOU KNOW: Your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbohydrates or fats.

8.) Recharge with Green Tea

Green tea offers your body the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins. These combined substances have been shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple of hours!!  "Research suggests that drinking 2 to 4 cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories during moderately intense exercise for a short time."

9. ) Just say no

Crash diets, the absolute WORST thing you can do to your body. This is pretty much anyone eating fewer than 1,200 (if you're a woman) or 1,800 (if you're a man) calories a day.  The weight that you will see drop the first week or two, will come back plus some. I PROMISE. It's not worth it!. It backfires! Your body will lose muscle, which in turn slows your metabolism. The final result is your body burns fewer calories and gains weight faster than before the diet.


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