The new year has begun and it’s time to begin implementing those resolutions! If you’ve pledged to lose weight this year, hopefully you’ve already started hitting the gym and cutting back on junk food. In this second of our 2-part series, we have six more tips to rev up your metabolism and finally lose that stubborn weight. Read the first part here if you missed it.
Trick #5: Drink coffee
Coffee not only boosts metabolism, but is also energizing and is loaded with antioxidants. Make sure to choose organic coffee beans, and for maximum weight loss benefits, you’ll want to skip the cream and sugar. Studies have found that drinking coffee before a workout allows exercisers to work out longer and harder, which translates into a greater calorie burn. Consuming coffee after endurance exercise extends fat burn and increases glycogen in the muscles by 66%, meaning energy is restored more quickly. However, it also inhibits mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), which regulates muscle protein synthesis, so if your goal is to build muscle, skip the post-workout cup o’ joe.
If you hate the taste of coffee or the caffeine gives you the jitters, try Perfect Green Coffee. This all-natural supplement is an extract made from organic coffee beans that have not been roasted. Green coffee beans are much higher in chlorogenic acid, which is the substance in coffee that boosts weight loss, lowers blood sugar, and reduces the amount of carbohydrates and fat absorbed by the body. One capsule of Perfect Green Coffee contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee, making it ideal for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
Trick #6: Drink green tea
If coffee’s not your thing, a cup of green tea a day may fire up your metabolism. A study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea combined with moderate exercise was effective at reducing abdominal fat and boosted calorie burn by about 100 calories a day. Use freshly brewed, unsweetened green tea, which is highest in the antioxidant catechin and other valuable compounds. Green tea may also protect the heart and brain, as well as lower the risk of diabetes and cancer.
Trick #7: Up your probiotics
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, women who took probiotics lost more weight than those who didn’t, and continued to lose weight throughout the maintenance period (a similar effect was not noticed for men). Out of balance gut flora can trigger the body’s inflammatory response, causing an excess of insulin, more fat storage, and a bigger appetite. Those who experience cravings for foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods, may be suffering from dysbiosis — an excess of harmful bacteria, which often feed off the very foods the body craves. This creates a vicious cycle of a poor diet, which encourages the growth of bad bacteria, yeasts, and fungi, which in turn leads to cravings for unhealthy foods. Increasing your consumption of beneficial bacteria, via fermented and cultured foods and a high quality probiotic supplement, can correct the imbalance in the gut and remedy these issues. Nourishing World recommends supplementing with one of the following:
Trick #8: Laugh more
Research published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that people burn 10-20% more calories while laughing. Just 10-15 minutes of laughing can increase the heart rate and burn an extra 10-40 calories. Choose a funny sitcom for your evening television time, listen to your favorite comedian on the ride to work, or go ahead and indulge in those silly pictures and videos constantly circulating the Internet. You might even want to give laughter yoga a try — the laughter is contagious!
Trick #9: Consider intermittent fasting
Not everyone can sustain a low calorie diet for weeks on end — and it may not even benefit you as much as you’d expect. When the body is chronically deprived of calories (and often proper nutrition), it goes into starvation mode and actually desperately holds onto everything you eat. With intermittent fasting, however, you briefly allow your body to go into fat burning mode, but feed it again before it has a chance to go into starvation mode. There are several ways to do this. Some people eat a full day’s worth of food, but over the course of 6-8 hours (for example, noon to 8pm), and then fast the remaining 16-18 hours of each day. Others fast all day on alternating days, or just one or two days a week. You can choose to abstain from food altogether on the fasting days, or just eat smaller meals and snacks. The best method for you will be the one you can stick to long-term. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel and try a different method or stop altogether if you don’t feel well while fasting. Intermittent fasting is not for everyone and some health conditions may require regular eating patterns or frequent meals. Benefits of intermittent fasting may include not only weight loss but also lower risk of certain illnesses and a longer lifespan; studies on mice have found that restricting calories by 30-40% can extend their lifespan by more than a third. It may also be able to improve the body’s insulin response, improving blood sugar regulation and feelings of satiety.
Trick #10: Lift weights
When we think about trying to lose weight, most of us imagine spending hours on the elliptical or going for long runs. While cardio exercise is certainly important for overall health, lifting weights may be the missing link in your weight loss plan. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and strength training induces an effect called “after burn” which causes your body to continue burning more calories up to 72 hours after your workout. It can also help prevent osteoporosis and the loss of muscle as we age. If you don’t belong to a gym and don’t have space for weights at home, there are many exercises routines available online that use only body weight. Some people, particularly women, are afraid of building bulky muscle if they lift weights, but this is unlikely to happen unless you are specifically training for this effect. Muscle is more dense than fat, so strength training improves tone and leaves you leaner. Go ahead and lift the heaviest weights you can handle, for about 8-12 reps, until the muscle is fatigued.