Folks here in Texas are all talking about the fact that swimsuit season is just around the corner, adding just one more incentive to their desire to lose weight. But as I told a friend the other day, one of the best secrets to getting the pounds off—and keeping it off—is to master your metabolism.
While there are many factors that affect your metabolism, including age, weight, hormonal changes, lean muscle mass, diet, genetics, stress, and physical activity—the good news is your metabolism can be changed. You might be genetically programmed to burn more or less than others, but your lifestyle choices can certainly change your metabolism for the better or worse.
Here are a few tips to help you boost your metabolism:
- Never miss breakfast. Many people ignore breakfast. What they don’t realize is that it's the most important meal of the day. Because you haven't eaten in 8 to 12 hours, missing breakfast sends a message to your body that you’re starving. The body wants to protect itself by slowing down your metabolism. Ideal breakfast foods include: complex carbohydrates, grains, vegetables, and fruit because they fuel your metabolism.
- Eat earlier in the day. Your last meal of the day should be eaten, if possible, at least four hours before bedtime. Since the body slows down in the evening, calories consumed at night may be more likely to be stored rather than used.
- Always consume at least 1200 calories a day, whether you're male or female. This is the minimum requirement your body needs to support your basal metabolism. Any less can slow down your metabolism.
- Snack frequently. Snacks are a useful way to help keep your metabolism moving as long as they’re healthy and don’t cause you to exceed your daily caloric intake. Plus, snacking stops you from becoming too hungry. Hunger can influence your food decisions. The hungrier you are, the more likely you are to make the wrong food choices.
- Look for even the smallest situations to be active. Rather than searching for the closest parking spot at a store, park further away and walk the extra distance. Use the stairs rather the elevator. Play daily with your children, grandchildren, or dogs in the park.
Now it's your turn: Have you found a secret for boosting your metabolism?