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10 Metabolism-Boosting Tricks you may not be aware of!

Hey there everyone,

This is a great article I ran across in Woman’s Health. Hope that everyone is doing well and on track to hit their goals! Summer is comin! Are you ready? If you’re not quite there, maybe this can help! Enjoy.

Mandy

woman measuring waistHurry 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 jump-start 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.

3. Keep moving.

Staying in motion throughout the day, including run-of-the-mill fidgeting, speeds metabolism substantially, according to studies. “People who engage in non-exercise activity thermogenesis, a fancy term for any daily physical activity, gain less weight than those who sit still,” says James DeLaney, PhD, endocrinologist at the University of Pittsburgh. That’s why you should climb stairs instead of taking the elevator and get up out of your chair at least every hour, suggests Dr. DeLaney. “These little things add up.”

4. Eat seaweed.

While green tea’s fat-burning effect is well-known, you may not realize that another emerald-hued plant works similarly. Fucoxanthin, which gives seaweed its green-brown color, has been shown to have an anti-obesity effect in animal studies. See if your doctor recommends fucoxanthin in supplement form. “Patients with a low metabolic rate who cannot tolerate medications can use fucoxanthin in combination with green tea,” says Caroline J. Cederquist, MD, Medical Director of bistroMD and Cederquist Medical Wellness Center in Naples, FL.

 

5. Go fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids, the polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) found in fish oil, do wonders for your metabolism. “Fish oil cranks up fat burning by increasing thyroid hormones’ efficiency within your liver cells,” says Jonny Bowden, PhD, nutritionist and co-author of The Great Cholesterol Myth. Fill up on oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, lake trout) regularly, suggests Dr. Kulze. “Wild salmon is best because it’s super-high in PUFAs, and you can always find it frozen or canned.” On days you don’t eat oily fish, take a high-quality fish oil supplement with your doctor’s OK.

 

 

6. Change up your caloric intake.

If you consistently consume the same amount of calories, your body may adapt by decreasing its metabolic rate, says Dr. Cederquist. Try a low-fat diet for four weeks followed by two weeks of slightly more protein, fat and carbs. “When you return to the lower calorie plan, weight loss takes off instead of plateauing,” says Dr. Cederquist. Just make sure your higher calorie weeks aren’t all-out feasts, Dr. Cederquist warns. Add up to two extra ounces of protein at meals and up to two extra servings of fruit and grains per day.

7. 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.

 

 

8. Eat more watermelon.

Arginine, an amino acid in this summertime favorite, not only burns fat but also prevents fat storage, says Dr. Talbott. “A recent Texas A&M found that fat gain was 30% lower in rats supplemented with arginine over 12 weeks.” More benefits discovered in that study: better-controlled blood sugar, higher muscle mass, significantly more brown fat, the type that burns calories, and nutrient partitioning, which promotes muscle gain over fat gain. Work watermelon into fruit salads and drinks or cook up these delicious entrees with watermelon (yes, really!).

 

9. Opt for organic.

Chemical food preservatives known as obesogens may have contributed to the rise in obesity rates in recent years, studies suggest. Research has yet to reveal exactly how they work, but scientists believe obesogens affect appetite or metabolism or cause cells to change into fat cells. So eat organic whenever possible, making special effort to avoid the “dirty dozen,” the fruits and vegetables believed to have the most pesticides.


 

10. Dress salads with vinaigrette.

Vinegar’s acetic acid flips on genes that stimulate fat burning, says Ann Kulze, MD, author of the Eat Right for Life series. In fact, a 2009 study showed lower body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels in obese subjects who included vinegar in their diets. When you eat salad, toss it with olive oil and 1 Tbsp of any vinegar-based dressing, suggests Dr. Kulze. In addition to the fat-reducing effect of the vinegar, the healthy fat in the olive oil helps you feel fuller longer and its “oleic acid triggers the release of the appetite suppressive hormone CCK,” says Dr. Kulze.

 

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60-Second Health and Fitness Boosters

Simple Ways to Improve Your Health–Almost Instantly!

— By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor

 
When it comes to losing weight or making healthy choices, you probably think that it takes hours at a gym plus long nights preparing and planning nutritious meals. What you may not realize is that quick and easy changes can really improve your immediate health and wellness.

So just how quick is quick? One minute—that’s it! Try any one of these 60-second activities to easily reap the healthy benefits.

1. Drink a tall glass of water. We all know the many health benefits of drinking water, but did you also know that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue? So, the next time you feel your energy waning, grab a glass of cold water and guzzle it down!

2. Twist it out. So many of us spend every weekday seated in front of a computer. Not only can sitting all day wreak havoc on your posture, but it can also compress your spine and exaggerate its curvature. Not fun. A simple twist can help undo this. As you sit in your desk chair, simply twist your upper-body to one side, hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. If you have the space to sit on the floor, try this torso twist stretch. It’s guaranteed to make you feel better!

3. Take a deep breath. How often do you think about breathing? If you are like most people, you probably don’t think about it often enough. For a quick pick-me-up, simply take five deep breaths. Slowly inhale for at least five seconds and exhale for 10 seconds each time. Your body will thank you for the extra oxygen.

4. Do 20 jumping jacks. Research has shown that long periods of sitting can be detrimental to the body and our overall health. So get up out of that chair and jack it out! Just one minute of jumping jacks is an easy way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing.

5. Smile. Smiling can actually make you happier. So go ahead—smile!

6. Go outside. You’ve probably heard the health buzz about vitamin D lately. Preliminary research suggests that vitamin D helps regulate the immune system, supports heart health, can help normalize blood pressure and promotes healthy aging. Vitamin D has also been linked to improved mood. If you have a minute to spare, step out into the sunshine!

7. Put on a favorite song. There’s nothing quite like your favorite music to perk you up and get you feeling good. Listening to music has been shown to improve immunity and release endorphins. Bonus points if you dance along!

8. Sit up straighter. Did you know that bad posture can put unnecessary stress on your low back? Take a minute to focus on sitting up straight with your shoulders down and back. Don’t you feel better already?

9. Be grateful. Write down five things you’re grateful for, no matter how large or small (your hair, your family, your morning cup of Joe—whatever). Do you feel more thankful, generous and overall happier after? Funny how a little reminder of what we have can turn a frown into a smile.

10. Tell a joke. Awake your inner child and tell a silly joke—whether it’s a knock-knock joke or even a funny line from a movie. Anything that gets you laughing is enough to get your happy endorphins flowing!

11. Do 10 pushups. Being strong is important, but having functional strength is even more important because it makes everyday activities easier to accomplish. A push-up is a great, quick exercise for building functional strength. Drop down and give me 10—or as many as you can do in 1 minute.

12. Encourage someone. Isn’t it interesting how you always seem to feel better after helping someone else feel better? Whether you post a supportive comment on a SparkFriend’s page or write a few kind words in a card or an email, taking a minute out to help someone can quickly boost your mood.

13. Set a goal for the day. Fact: People who set goals have more success than people who don’t. So why not take a few seconds and write down what you want to do today? Then, just commit to making it happen!

14. Focus on one thing you love about yourself. At times, we put so much effort in focusing on what we don’t like about ourselves that we fail to see the good. Take 60 seconds to think about what you like about you. Is it your eyes? Your strong legs? Your giving nature? Thinking about how great you are will instantly increase self-confidence.

15. Wash your hands. It seems like cold and flu season is always in full force (or just around the corner).  One of the simplest and easiest ways to stay well year round is to wash your hands. All you need is warm water, soap and 20 seconds of rubbing to rid your hands of unwanted germs.

16. Compliment a stranger. What better way to make yourself feel good than to unexpectedly brighten someone else’s day? The next time you admire someone’s clothes, positive attitude or eyes—say so!

17. Try aromatherapy. A number of different smells can have a positive effect on your mind and body. For example, peppermint is known to calm the stomach while its smell can energize you through a workout. And the scent of jasmine has been shown to reduce anxiety. To benefit, grab some scented lotion and either take a whiff from the bottle or rub some on your hands.

18. Salute the sun. Sun salutations are a well-known set of yoga poses that are said to warm up the body and increase blood flow and flexibility. So grab your mat and do one or two sets—rain or shine!

19. Give yourself a mini-massage. Massage has a number of health benefits, including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and speeding muscle repair. While you may not be able to spend the time or money getting one at a spa, pampering yourself with just 1 minute of self-massage by rubbing your own hands, feet or shoulders can do wonders.

20. Be absolutely present. When we are wrapped up with work, to-do lists, and just getting by, sometimes we can forget to focus on what we are doing in the here and now. Try spending a minute just being. Focus on sounds, smells and whatever else is going on around you; instead of thinking ahead to what you’ll do next, think about what you’re doing right now. You’ll be amazed at how peaceful you feel. Just be!

See? In the quest to be healthier, you don’t have to spend a lot of time. Even if all you have is a few spare seconds here and there, you can make a positive difference in your overall health!

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