Many weight loss supplements claim to boost metabolism. Unfortunately, many of them don't work, and others use ingredients that may be be unsafe.
(Believe it or not, weight loss supplement manufacturers aren't even required by the law to prove their products are safe or effective!)
How to boost metabolism naturally
First, the good news...
...it IS possible to boost your metabolism. Safely.
Now the bad news...
...it won't happen overnight.
(I don't want you to rely on unsafe substances, tempting as they may be. :-( Sorry! )
Start by estimating your metabolism.
The most important factors that influence metabolism appear to be:
Unfortunately, you can't turn back the hands of time and return to the days when it was easier to lose weight simply because you were younger.
And like it or not, your genes may be making it harder for you to fit into your jeans. You can thank your forefathers and foremothers for that.
But take a look at that list again (the last two items). It turns out that 50% of the factors that influence your metabolism are things you have control over!
Boost metabolism with factors you can control
While genetics certainly matter, it's interesting that the obesity epidemic has been growing at a rate much faster than it could through genetics alone. This makes it clear that eating and exercise habits play a large role in developing our large rolls.
So what can you do to address Lean Body Mass and Meal Frequency and thus boost metabolism? Here are two simple things:
OK, I said simple. Of course, simple doesn't necessarily mean easy.
Lean Body Mass (aka muscle tissue):
Did you know that 1 pound of muscle burns up to 50 calories per day? (Visit Why Calories Matter.) Imagine gaining 1 pound of muscle as a result of your exercise program. Over the course of the year, you would burn 18,250 additional calories simply as a result of owning that 1 pound of muscle! (50 calories x 365 days.) That's the number of calories stored in five pounds of body fat.
Conversely, 1 pound of body fat represents the accumulation of 3500 calories - that is, calories that you didn't burn.
(For instance, eat just 250 extra calories a day over a 2 week holiday and you'll put on a pound of fat. Or take a one week break from your exercise program - on which you were burning 500 calories a day - and you'll put on that pound of fat in just one week!)
So would you rather own a new pound of muscle that burns off 5 pounds of fat in a year...
...or would you rather own a new pound of fat that just sits there, becoming harder and harder to lose?
The choice is yours. Because a body that has more muscle metabolizes more calories even at rest than a flabbier body.
Build muscle = boost metabolism
Don't worry: this doesn't mean you have to become a bodybuilder.
We all have muscle. And most of us could use more. But it doesn't have to show in ways that you find unattractive.
You needn't become the next cover model for a muscle magazine. But you DO need to develop a regular habit of physical activity. And let me emphasize...
...regular. As in the rest of your life.
(Think about this: you can boost metabolism - or you can actually reduce it by neglecting the muscle mass you already have! Read more on weight loss and metabolism.)
And exercise not only helps you boost metabolism by building necessary muscle tissue...
...it helps counteract muscle loss associated with aging. (Muscle loss is part of the reason why it gets harder to lose weight as we get older!)
Did you know that you actually burn calories in the process of eating?
It takes calories to bite, chew, swallow, digest, transport, metabolize and store food. So doesn't it make sense that if you eat the same number of calories over 5 meals - as opposed to 3 meals - you have 2 extra opportunities to burn some of those calories?
So the "myth" that it's really better to eat small, frequent meals is true!
More importantly, when you skip a meal, your metabolism slows to conserve energy.
Eating every few hours also prevents you from getting overly hungry. In my experience, bad food choices and big portions are usually the result of waiting too long to eat.
Now, it matters what you choose to eat at each of these small, frequent meals. I don't want to send the message that you can snack on potato chips in between meals and boost metabolism. Won't happen!
Instead, it's best to choose a little bit of protein most times you eat. Processing protein rich foods (turkey, chicken, lowfat cottage cheese, egg whites, fish) requires the greatest number of calories while processing fat requires the least. More healthy snacks.
There you are...
...two things you can do to actually increase your metabolism...a metabolism you probably thought you were stuck with.
You can do it!
The Metabolism Section.
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