Question: I tend to think that the less food I eat, the more weight I’ll lose. Unfortunately, after starving myself all day, I eat too much at night. Now my weight loss has stopped and I’m going crazy! What can I do to get it started?
Answer: First off, it is NOT a good idea to starve yourself during the day. The human body responds to a lack of food by conserving energy, which is why eating less isn’t a good way to lose weight. Second, the best way to re-start your weight loss is to give your metabolism a boost by eating regularly throughout the day.
Imagine for a minute that your metabolism is a fire – you know that in order to keep a fire burning you need to keep adding things to it, otherwise it just ‘burns out’. Adding even a little bit of wood at regular intervals keeps the fire burning.
Our metabolism is very similar to this ‘fire’. When we eat, our metabolism instantly gets to work ‘burning’ the food we’ve just eaten. What’s more, even after this food is ‘burned’, our metabolism continues to burn for about 3 hours, using our stored fat as fuel.
This is why eating little and often is the best way to raise your metabolism and kick-start your weight loss. In contrast, depriving yourself of food for long periods during the day slows down your metabolism and makes losing weight more difficult. It’s particularly important to eat breakfast as we eat nothing during our sleep. Unless you eat something when you wake up, your metabolism won’t get really active until later in the day when you eat lunch or dinner.
I have known a huge number of people who have been amazed at their weight loss once they start eating regularly throughout the day. Don’t forget, food is our friend – it gives us energy, makes us lean and strong, and is one of life’s great pleasures.
If you can’t eat as much as you used to without gaining weight, you may not be getting enough physical exercise. It’s worth remembering that after the age of 30, the average woman’s Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) – the rate at which we burn calories at rest – decreases at a rate of 2-3 percent per decade, due to inactivity and muscle loss. Too many people are quick to blame their metabolism when those extra pounds refuse to come off. But actually, most of that loss can be prevented or reversed with regular physical exercise.
Best Workouts For Raising Metabolism
Experts agree that weight training is the most effective way long-term to build and preserve lean muscle, and each pound of muscle can raise your RMR by up to 15 calories per day.
That said, a high-intensity workout that really raises your heart rate will burn the most calories and provide the biggest short-term metabolic boost – though it won’t have a permanent effect on your RMR. (A cardio workout will boost your metabolism anywhere from 20-30 percent, depending on intensity.) After your workout, your metabolism will return to its resting level over several hours – but you’ll continue burning extra calories in the meantime.
1. The best calorie-burning exercise program is a combination of cardio (for immediate calorie burn) and some weights (to help you burn calories at rest).
2. Eat regularly. The longer you go between meals the more your metabolism slows down to conserve energy.
3. Drink lots of water. Over 70 percent of bodily functions take place in water – not enough water causes all our bodily systems to slow down.
4. Learn to deal with Stress. Stress can slow metabolism by placing extra strain on our bodily systems. And of course, many people tend to over eat when “stressed out.”
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