By Lesley D’Souza, ND
After a summer full of barbeques and over eating I’m sure we all feel like we could lose a little weight! Here are some ways to help boost your metabolism and kick start your weight loss journey.
Increase protein intake: Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. You can increase your metabolism by eating foods that require extra energy to digest and metabolize such as protein. Your body burns twice as many calories digesting high-protein foods compared to foods that are high in carbs or fat. When you consume protein a hormone called glucagon is released which signals fat cells to release fat into the blood so it can be used for energy. So when you eat more protein, more fat is burned which is what we all want when trying to lose weight! Good sources of protein include: nuts and seeds, lean meats such as turkey, chicken, fish, eggs etc.
Eat more often:
Eating smaller meals throughout the days (every 2-3 hours) helps to feed muscles and starve fat because this ensures your body that it isn’t going to starve. When you skip meals (especially breakfast) or don’t eat throughout the day and then pig out at dinner, your body gets scared and begins to store fat because it isn’t sure when the next meal with come. Eating throughout the day also helps to balance blood sugar levels which decreases cravings for sweets.
Avoid refined grains:
Breads, pastas, cookies, cake all contain refined grains which cause an over-secretion of the hormone insulin due to the spike in blood glucose levels. This tells the body that there is enough energy available from the glucose so it should stop burning fat and store it instead. Constantly high levels of insulin can also lead to insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice, fruits and vegetables result in a more steady release of glucose into the blood which doesn’t result in the secretion of excess insulin.
Eat more fiber:
Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, but the body tries hard to break it down, using up energy and thereby increasing metabolism. Fiber makes you feel full sooner and stays in your stomach longer than other foods which helps slow down the rate of digestion and keeping you feeling full longer. Be sure to increase water intake as you add more fiber into your diet to prevent constipation!
Switch up your workout routine:
Maximize the calories you burn with exercise by integrating high intensity intervals into your workout. A good starter routine is alternating walking for 2 minutes with running as fast as you can for 1 minute, repeating this 3 minute interval 5 times for 15 minutes. This can help burn more fat and calories than walking on the threadmill for 1 hour!
Losing weight can be difficult but with the right diet and exercise routine, you will be shedding those excess pounds in no time!
Dr. Lesley D’Souza, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in women’s health and weight loss. She currently practices at YOUR HEALTH Wellness Centre in Oakville and at Halton Integrative Women’s Health Centre in Burlington. Check out www.drlesleynd.com for more information.