Jan 24, 2013
As a nutritionist a lot of the questions that people ask me are related to weight loss. Over the past few decades we have come to understand that effective weight doesn’t necessarily mean starving yourself to the point that your stomach cries out for help throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, effective weight loss requires an imbalance between the calories you take in versus the number of calories you burn. However, you don’t have to create the imbalance by hacking away at the number of calories you eat exclusively. In fact, there are several ways to rev your metabolism to burn more calories so that you can eat more and make weight loss easier. First and foremost, exercise regularly. Nothing stokes up your metabolism like exercise. Also, develop an exercise program that includes both resistance exercise and aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise. Resistance exercise builds and tones muscle which as a tissue burns calories at an amazingly higher rate than body fat does. For instance a pound of skeletal muscle can burn 35 to 50 calories a day compared to only 2 or 3 calories a day by a pound of fat. Meanwhile, aerobic exercise, like jogging, bicycling, elliptical machines, etc, can double, triple or quadruple the number of calories your body burns during the workout itself. Furthermore, if you work hard enough your metabolism can stay elevated to some degree for several hours after as your muscle recovers. Next, be sure to eat a diet that maximizes calorie burning. The bottom line is that a calorie isn’t necessarily a calorie, when you consider how many calories your body burns to process different nutrients. Yes, its true; our bodies burn more calories after we eat. Basically, eating protein calories results in more calorie-burning than the same number of calories from carbohydrates. So, if you eat a diet with 25 to 30% of your calories coming from protein versus 15% you might burn 2-5% more calories daily or 20 to 50 calories. That might not seem significant, but it approximates 2½ to 4 lbs of fat over a year. Likewise, unsaturated fats hold a metabolic advantage over saturated fats. The last point ties into the previous. Even though you are trimming back the calories a bit to enable weight loss, you don’t want to trim back the meals. Definitely eat breakfast and eat ever few hours to keep your metabolism revved throughout the day. Also, caffeine can aid in your calorie burning efforts to a small degree. However, be careful not to over-caffeinate yourself throughout the day.