Wouldn't it be great if you could burn more calories when you're just sitting on the couch? You can -- by improving your metabolism, the rate at which your body uses energy. Here are some simple changes you can make to help rev up your metabolism and help with your weight loss efforts.
1. Eat Breakfast
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You've heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many people skip breakfast because they don't have time or they don't like traditional breakfast foods. But if you wait until lunch to eat, your body assumes you're fasting and responds by slowing your metabolism. If you're pressed for time, try eating something quick like cereal, peanut butter on toast, or cottage cheese and fruit. And remember, if you eat breakfast, you have a greater chance of burning off calories (during a run, for instance!) since you're consuming them early in the day.
2. Drink Green Tea
Green tea has been shown to boost metabolism. Researchers believe that antioxidants in green tea can cause the body to waste calories as heat, which increases your caloric burn.
3. Spice It Up
Adding hot peppers such as jalapenos to your meals can increase the amount of calories your body burns during digestion. If you like your food to have a little kick, it's an easy way rev up your metabolism.
4. Build Lean Body Mass
The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn, even while resting. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, so it's important to work at building it. Even doing resistance or weight training just twice a week can make a big difference. And, ladies, don't worry -- regular strength training will make you look toned, not bulked-up.
More: Benefits of Strength Training
5. Don't Skip Meals
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Our bodies have a built-in survival mechanism to conserve calories when we go for a long period of time without eating. So, when you skip meals, your body slows your metabolism to prevent you from starving. To prevent this, try to eat five to six small meals each day, or three meals and some healthy snacks
in between. You'll find that eating mini meals will help maintain your energy levels
throughout the day and keep you from feeling hungry all the time.
6. Eat Protein With Every Meal
Our bodies have to work hard to digest the foods we eat, and your metabolism revs up in response. However, eating protein boosts your metabolism a little more than consuming carbohydrates or fats with the same number of calories. Of course, don't take that to mean that you should switch to a high-protein diet, since carbs are the main source of energy for runners. But try to incorporate lean protein into most meals. Your best sources for protein include: fish, lean red meat, skinless chicken or turkey breast, nonfat yogurt, skim milk, eggs and egg substitutes, beans, tofu, and lentils.
7. Stay Active Every Day
Try to keep moving as much as possible during the day. If you have a desk job, do leg lifts as you sit at your desk or take frequent breaks to walk around.