No matter what diet you follow, unless you are eating the right foods for your body, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve your weight loss goals.
“We may be eating healthy foods, but in amounts and proportions that do not support our goals — and may even have a negative impact on our metabolism,” Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., tells Newsmax.
Metabolism is a measure of exactly how much energy (calories) your body requires to accomplish basic daily functions such as keeping your heart beating and your gut digesting.
Depending on age and lifestyle, your basic metabolic rate, or BMR, accounts for between 40% and 70% of all the calories you use on an average day.
Because muscle burns more calories than fat, the amount of muscle you have will affect your metabolism, according to the National Institutes of Health. That’s why men, who generally have more lean muscle mass than women, usually have a higher metabolic rate.
And metabolism does not remain stable throughout our lives. “We tend to lose muscle and gain fat in our 40s and beyond, and our BMR decreases,” says Cording.
Fortunately, there are things you can do — and avoid doing — to keep your metabolism humming smoothly:
- Eat protein at every meal. According to Healthline, protein increases the thermic effect of foods, or TEF. Protein causes the highest TEF, boosting metabolic rate to 15%-30%.
- Never skimp on food. When you don’t take in enough nutrients, your body goes into starvation mode, saving calories for later use. “Even though you’ve cut back on calories, you feel exhausted and the scale isn’t budging,” says Cording, who advises never eating less than 1,200 calories a day.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep throws your hunger hormones — leptin and ghrelin — out of whack. “That means you’re less in tune with your hunger and fullness cues,” Cording explains. That prompts you to overeat and seek out calorie-dense foods.
- Don’t fast excessively. Lisa Lynn, author of “The Metabolism Solution” and Martha Stewart’s personal trainer for years, explains that studies show fasting for more than 14 hours actually slows the metabolic rate. “Your body goes into energy-saving mode, so it slows down,” she explains. If you want to try intermittent fasting to lose weight, aim for short periods of not eating. Research shows that fasting for shorter periods of 6-12 hours increases your metabolism by 14%.
- Drink more cold water. Lynn says that drinking water is one of the easiest ways to boost your metabolism and increase your body’s fat-burning capacity. According to Healthline, drinking cold water burns calories by heating it up to room temperature. Water is also a great appetite suppressant, so Lynn suggests drinking an 8-ounce glass before every meal and one between meals.
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