As we say goodbye to 2014 and look forward to the coming year, chances are that one of your New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. It’s the number one resolution Americans make. But, if you’re like many of us, it’s likely that you have already been eating a clean, healthy diet, trying to cut calories, and even exercising consistently, but still can’t seem to get those stubborn pounds to budge. What’s going on? Why does the fat continue to accumulate in all your trouble areas? What can you do in 2015 to improve your chances of weight loss success? Recent articles from Time magazine and Dr. Mercola highlighted an array of tips for boosting your metabolism. Read on to find out what you can do to make 2015 the year you actually keep your New Year’s resolution.
Trick #1: Rule out inflammation
Chronic, low-level inflammation is often the culprit behind weight gain. A subtle food allergy or sensitivity may leave your body resistant to insulin and leptin, causing pounds to pile on and leaving you at risk for more severe health issues. Offending foods may include:
- Highly processed foods and junk food; shop the perimeter of the store to avoid these
- Food additives such as MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils
- Sugars — particularly fructose, commonly found in fruits, veggies, and honey
- GMOs, prevalent in corn, soy, milk, sugar, zucchini and yellow squash, papaya, canola, and aspartame
- Grains: especially refined grains like white bread & white rice, but whole grains are also a possible offender
- Gluten, found in most baked goods, breads, crackers, cereals, pastas, and packaged foods
- Nuts, as these contain inflammatory histamines and tyramines
- Dairy, which some people cannot properly digest and which is often full of antibiotics and hormones
- Alcohol: too much can cause irritation, inflammation, and damage to the intestinal lining
Try keeping a food diary to see if there is any connection between what you are eating and any physical symptoms. Or, eliminate all potential suspects for 4-6 weeks (or until you feel well), then add foods back in slowly, one at a time, and notice any immediate or delayed reactions. Consider adding an anti-inflammatory whole food supplement to your regime to calm the inflammatory response and help your body heal. Options include Mercola Curcumin Advanced, made from inflammation-fighting raw turmeric, and Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil or Walkabout Emu Oil, which both contain anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
Trick #2: Drink more water
A study presented to the American Chemical Society found that over the course of three months, those who drank two glasses of water before each meal lost five pounds more, on average, than those who didn’t. What a simple, inexpensive way to boost your weight loss! Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces; for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to drink 100 ounces of water a day. Staying hydrated throughout the day keeps your metabolism in gear and leaves you feeling more energized. Some people find that pre-filling a large container of water each morning helps them meet their hydration goals. There are also apps available to help you track water intake right from your phone.
Trick #3: Incorporate whey protein into your diet
According to Paul Arciero, professor of Health and Exercise Sciences at Skidmore College, “Whey protein increases calorie burn and fat utilization, helps the body maintain muscle, and triggers the brain to feel full.” While all proteins are thermogenic, meaning they cause the body to produce heat and burn more calories, studies — including one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — have found that whey is more thermogenic than other proteins such as soy or casein. Consuming a healthy protein within two hours of exercising ensures the greatest muscle repair and growth. Choose a high quality whey protein without added sugars or fillers, such as Dr. Tony’s Lite’N-Up Vanilla Whey Protein or Pure Whey Protein Plus Double Dutch Chocolate. Add a scoop to your daily smoothie, or whip up a batch of energy balls to snack on throughout the day.
Trick #4: Move more
Whether it’s skipping the elevator to take the stairs or tapping your foot at your desk, every little bit counts! In fact, research has found that simply fidgeting — things like shifting in your chair, bouncing your leg, or pacing, which researchers call “NEAT” (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) — can burn an extra 350 calories a day, which could lead to an additional pound of weight loss every ten days. Find ways to work more movement into your day. This is particularly important if you work a desk job. Sitting for hours on end can counteract your daily workouts and leave you more susceptible to weight gain as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other serious and chronic illnesses. The average American office worker sits for 13-15 hours a day, which is 10 hours more than those who work in farming communities and live more active lifestyles. There are lots of options for those whose livelihoods depend on desk work: adapt your desk to allow you to stand while working, get a treadmill desk or an under-desk bike, or sit on a yoga ball. If these aren’t options, get up and move for 5-10 minutes of every hour. Walk over to your co-worker’s cubicle instead of calling or messaging him, take a short break every hour to stretch or run a flight of stairs, or use your lunch break to take a long walk. These little bursts of activity will put you on the road to better health and a faster metabolism.