What better way to lose weight than to have your body burn them as you go about your normal activities, watch TV, or even sleep? Increasing your metabolic rate – the amount of energy your body burns on a daily basis for normal functioning, is a sure fire way to help you achieve your desired weight faster.
Metabolic rate is determined by multiple factors, such as your genes (and hence they say, if you want to know how your wife will look like in 20 years, look at your mother-in-law!), gender (men generally burn faster than women), activity level and age. Unfortunately, the older we get, the more sluggish our metabolism becomes.
Increasing one’s metabolic rate is the key to a successful weight loss program, but remains painfully difficult to achieve for many. Here are some tips on how you can increase your metabolic rate, or minimise its decline with age:
1) Regular Aerobic Exercise
Exercise itself burns calories, but its effects linger long after the workout, continuing to rev up your metabolism even hours after. Aerobic exercise is especially useful for increasing tyour metabolic rate. Opt for high-intensity aerobic exercises such as a run, which delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate than low-intensity workouts. Also choose to have your workouts in the morning, which will up your metabolism for the rest of the day.
2) Weight Training to Build Muscle
Weight training helps you build your muscle mass. With more muscle, your resting metabolic rate also increases, as the muscles need more calories to sustain itself (13 calories per kilogram of muscle per day compared to 4 calories for fat). In addition, your resting metabolic rate also increases after a session of weight training, burning even more calories.
3) Small Frequent Meals
You have heard this before, and it is true – eating small portions, but more often, can help you lose weight, as this keeps your metabolism working to burn more calories over the course of the day. On the other hand, eating large meals with many hours in between will train your metabolism to slow down.
Eat small meals, and have healthy snacks in between (such as a fruit or some nuts) for best results.
4) Eat more proteins
We burn more calories digesting proteins compared to fat or carbohydrates. For example, proteins require about 25% more energy to digest compared to fat. Choosing a diet which is higher in protein, and lower in carbohydrates (especially simple carbohydrates) will increase you metabolism.
You can consider white meats such as chicken and fish, or have a supplement such as Whey Protein Powder.
5) Consistency in your Diet – Avoid Crash Dieting
The key to a successful diet is a long-term alteration in eating habits. Crash Diets which make you eat practically nothing for a period of time, are detrimental to your weight loss goals. Not only are they impossible to maintain, they also mess up your body’s physiology.
The weight loss from Crash Diets mainly come from loss of muscle, sending your metabolism into hibernation, and causing you to look unhealthy. After a crash diet, you may lose weight, but the weight comes back rapidly (often even more than your pre-diet state), as your body now burns calories slower than before the diet.
6) Hydration Hydration Hydration.. with Ice-cold Water
Our bodies need water to burn calories. Hence, adequate hydration is very important. Drinking enough fluids may not only keep your metabolism up, but also makes you feel less hungry. Make an effort to drink 4 – 8 glasses of water a day, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content.
A neat trick is to drink your fluids ice-cold, as this induces your body to burn more calories. Studies show that drinking ice-cold instead of tepid water induces the resting metabolic rate to rise temporarily, thus burning more calories at rest. Some studies find that drinking 6 glasses of ice-cold water burns an extra 10 calories a day, or 3650 calories a year, equivalent to 0.5kg in weight loss.
7) Caffeine and Prescriptives
Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages boost your metabolism temporarily, explaining the associated feeling of increased mood and energy. Taken in moderation, they are beneficial for your health and weight loss plans.
If you wish to explore a stronger option, you can speak to your doctor about Duromine, a prescriptive drug which suppresses appetite and increases metabolism. Duromine can be used for a short to moderate period (3 – 6 months) for weight management, though I only consider Duromine after careful discussion with my patients as it comes with some reversible side effects.