Turning your body into an efficient fuel burner is easier than you think.
To lose weight easily and healthily, you need to boost your metabolism. Simply put, metabolism is the rate at which our bodies burn kilojoules. Many factors affect metabolism including stress, diet, genetics, hormones and age. Here are a few easy tips to kick your metabolism into high gear:
Graze, don’t gorge
‘Smaller, more frequent meals keep your blood sugar stable, provide a steady source of energy to fuel metabolism and are also an ideal way to manage energy levels and cravings,’ says registered dietician Celynn Erasmus. She suggests not letting more than four hours pass between snacks. Ideally a snack should meet the following guidelines:
• It should provide about 300-500 kiloujoules (70-120 calories).
• The total fat should be about 10g (for weight loss 5g is better).
• It should be as high in fibre as possible.
• It should contain some vitamins and minerals.
• The carbohydrates should be slow releasing, with a glycaemic index (GI) of less than 60 (intermediate or low) and a glycaemic load (GL) of between five and 10 (low).
Note that dropping your kilojoule intake below 4 200kj (1 000 calories) a day will signal to your body that you are in starvation mode, which will cause your metabolism to slow down.
Make sure you eat breakfast
Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism and your body goes into ‘hoard mode’. Breakfast boosts your metabolism and pro- vides energy throughout the day. ‘The majority of people who eat a healthy breakfast have fewer weight and health issues than those who don’t,’ says Celynn. Try thinking out of the box. For example, opt for a bowl of vegetables instead of cereal.
Eat most of your food earlier in the day
Dinner should be your lightest meal. Try not to eat later than three to four hours before you go to bed, to allow your body time to process and burn the food.
Water, water, water
Depriving your body of water can encourage it to hoard energy. More than 90% of the chemical reactions in your body occur in water. Water flushes toxins out of the body and keeps the kid- neys operating efficiently, allowing the liver time to metabolise fat. Guidelines suggest we need 1,5 to 2,5 litres of water a day.
Get enough B vitamins
If you lack energy, make sure you are getting enough B vita- mins, specifically B12. Consider taking a B-complex supple- ment and include vitamin B-rich foods such as low-fat dairy products, leafy green vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
Stay hot – eat chillies
Chillies have many health promoting benefits such as fighting inflammation and boosting immunity. The heat you feel after eating hot chilli takes kilojoules to produce. Even sweet red peppers can significantly increase heat production and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.
Research suggests that people who do not get sufficient sleep tend to gain weight. This may be because the body uses sleep to heal and regenerate itself, including its muscular system.
Get enough of the right exercise
Consider the quantity and the quality of the exercise. Choose exercise that suits your lifestyle and that you find enjoyable. ‘The best forms of exercise for boosting metabolism are those that build or maintain lean muscle, such as weight train- ing or resistance exercise. Muscle burns more kilojoules than fat, even while you are resting,‘ says Celynn.
Choose slow-releasing food
Eat low glycaemic index or slow-releasing carbohydrates, which keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel and your insulin levels low after eating.