Image via Luxelouu
If you’re having a tough time losing those extra pounds, your metabolism could be one of the reasons behind it. Your metabolism includes all the processes that are involved in turning food into energy. However, while your metabolism impacts your body’s energy needs, your weight is ultimately determined by a combination of several factors. Your level of physical activity and the kind of food you intake also have an integral part to play in your overall health.
Speaking of food first, there is an interesting way to consume it, which is backed by science as the optimal way—divide it into groups according to their color. From the vitamins and phytonutrients they contain to illnesses they prevent, foods of the same color have a lot of similarities that can help you get your fill of beneficial nutrients and thwart ailments from affecting you.
Check out the following infographic, which illustrates the different colors and their advantages (for best results consume food from each color group at least thrice a week), and then follow it up with our health and fitness tips below to achieve the ultimate summer body.
1. Build Muscle To Speed Up Your Metabolism
Certain types of workouts build muscle or lean body tissue. Muscles help you burn more energy, even when you are resting, as they are more metabolically active than fat. This is why people who have a higher percentage of muscle, tend to burn up the calories they consume faster. Some women worry that lifting weights could cause them to become bulky and big. But this is far from the truth as women do not have the required testosterone to build massive biceps, so lifting weights is a great way to speed up your metabolism and look more toned.
One of the easiest ways to help you build muscle is right in your kitchen! Foods from all color groups—nuts, beans, and legumes can all give you the requisite amount of protein, which is the basic building block of muscle development.
2. Avoid Sitting for Extended Periods of Time
30 minutes in any fixed position can slow down your metabolism significantly. This can also lead to an elevated triglyceride level, which can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Staying still for long periods can result in muscle weakening, which leads to back pain, joint problems, and arthritis. Your hormone balance is also adversely affected. So if you work at a computer, it’s a good idea to get up every half an hour to do some stretching, jumping jacks, or lunges. You can also simply walk around or place your laptop on a higher level and stand while working.
If you are looking to increase your metabolism, try increasing your intake of berries, celery, and chia seeds. You can even throw in a bit of chocolate in there, but make sure it isn’t laden with sugar.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can have several negative effects on your health. When you sleep poorly or don’t get enough sleep, you tend to move slowly the next day. This means that you burn fewer calories. Sleep deprivation also reduces the amount of energy your body uses at rest and can lead to an increase in appetite. This increases the risk of weight gain by slowing down your basal metabolic rate. To make matters worse, lack of sleep increases the chances of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity.
It is advisable to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you are having trouble sleeping, cherries, cantaloupe, pistachios , and sweet potato can help calm those jangled nerves.
4. Don’t Restrict You Calorie Intake
You don’t need to deprive yourself or drop down to the 1000 calorie mark to lose weight. In fact, this can have the opposite effect and slow down your metabolism significantly. Severe calorie-cutting can lead to weight loss, but it’s not a sustainable way to lose weight. You could even end up losing muscle mass, leading to a further decline in your metabolic rate.
Vegetables provide a lot of low calorie meals that you can use to help bring down your weight. Anything from the green color group can be be your ally on the way to a slimmer you. Just be sure not to add too many sauces, cheese, or other high-calorific condiments.
5. It’s Okay To Eat Carbs At Night
We’ve all been told that excessive carbs consumption is a major culprit behind weight loss. It’s also believed that eating carbs before bed can cause your body to store them as fat. However, recent studies have shown that people who eat carbs at night are likely to burn more calories digesting their food the next day. On the other hand, individuals who eat carbs throughout the day tend to have increased blood sugar levels. But in this case moderation is key, as eating a dinner loaded with fat and carbs will only lead to weight gain.
6. Try Not To Skip Meals
Missing a few meals here and there does not usually result in weight gain. Your metabolism slows down only when your calorie intake is restricted to the point that you feel deprived. A single missed meal does not lead to this type of deficit. It’s only when you follow a low-calorie diet for an extended period that your metabolic rate really takes a hit. This is because it forces your body into starvation mode, causing it to expend energy more slowly by burning fewer calories. Skipping a meal can also make you hungrier and cause you to eat more during your next meal. Instead, if you don’t have the time to cook or grab something to eat, it’s advisable to keep a lot of low calorie veggies like celery, cucumber, tomato, and lettuce with you to munch on.
7. Increase Your Water Intake
Drinking at least 2 liters of water every day can boost your metabolism by up to 30%. Drinking water before a meal can help curb your appetite. It also helps prevent long-term weight gain as you end up cutting down on other beverages that are high in sugar and calories.
** To read more about health and fitness foods as well as effective changes that you can make to live a more healthy and fulfilled life, visit Every Nutrient.