2) Increase the quality, low fat protein vs. carb/fat ratio in your diet. Carbs, protein and fat are all stored as fat, but protein boosts your metabolism more than carbohydrates or dietary fat. When calories drop, protein saves muscle which helps keep your metabolism elevated. Aim for 1.2 grams of high quality protein per pound of body weight daily.
The best source of protein? Spirulina. If you’re not eating spirulina, you’re probably undernourished. Check out our article on spirulina here . . .
3) Carbs help retain muscles that maintain a healthy metabolism, yet they also stimulate fat storage. Maintaining a low carb diet, and eating high fiber, multi-grain carbohydrates slowly throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to increase your metabolism and lose weight.
4) The Feast. One reason fat loss diets stop working is because your metabolism slows to meet reduced intake of calories. Your body naturally tries to adapt to your new diet! The solution is to substantially increase your calorie intake once every 2-3 weeks. The one day spike in calories “re-sets” your metabolism by re-balancing thyroid levels, which produces the calorie burning hormones that decline with age and dieting. You read that right. Have a feast once every few weeks. It’s good for the soul.
5) Don’t eat carbohydrates late at night. Carbs eaten after 7:00pm are more likely to get converted into and stored as fat so focus on lean proteins and fiber based fruits and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and salads. An exception is if you do heavy weightlifting in the evening and your goal is to build muscle mass, you’ll need the extra carbs to replenish glycogen and support growth.
6) Discover Omega-3 fatty acids. When calories are controlled, the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, trout and sardines (and fish oil supplements) have been shown to promote greater fat loss. One study revealed dieters who ate fish daily lost more weight than those who ate fish just once a week. (Am Journ Clin Nutr 70:817-825, 1999). And the omega 3 fatty acids are one of the “super supplements”, incredibly good for your health in numerous ways.
7) Find the hundreds of healthy herbs and spices like curry (curcumin), peppers, cinnamon, etc. Red peppers, the spice often used in Mexican and Indian dishes contains Capsaicin, which can increase your metabolic rate by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. If you don’t like the taste of the spices or they hurt your stomach, you can buy just about anything now in pill or capsule form from your local health food store. (Journal of Nutrition 116:1272-1278, 1986.) Cinnamon is one of the most powerful antioxidants ever discovered.
8) Don’t be fanatical about reducing carbohydrates, especially if they are whole grain and contain high amounts of fiber. Fiber content is more important than carbohydrate content when it comes to losing weight and controlling insulin sensitivity. It’s ok to eat some bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, rice, potatoes etc, but choose the healthiest organic, least processed varieties manufactured without unhealthy trans fats.
Drastically reducing calories slows your metabolism, preventing fat loss. The same is true with radical caloric expenditure by attempting to exercise your fat away. Excessive cardiovascular exercise will have the opposite effect of slowing the metabolism, promotes a loss in muscle and can even lower testosterone levels. For optimal results, 4-6 moderately intense cardio workouts a week, 30 – 45 minutes at a time, is sufficient for boosting metabolism and losing weight.
9) Separate your cardio from your weight training so you don’t create imbalances. It’s ok to some cardio before weight training, but avoid heavy cardio workouts after weight training. You risk overtraining, and the hormonal imbalances that result can slow your metabolic rate. It’s better to do your cardio in the morning before breakfast, then hit the weights later in the afternoon when you’ve digested some good protein and carbs and can tone those muscles.
10) Control seratonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that helps control hunger and makes you feel good. One potential problem is that improper dieting can reduce seratonin levels, depressing your mood, increasing anxiety and irritability and increasing the chances you will eat more food to feel better.
5-HTP is a natural precursor to seratonin and an excellent way to boost levels in the body. (R.J. Wurtman and J.J. Wurtman, “Brain serotonin, carbohydrate-craving, obesity, and depression.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 398 (1996): 35-41.) One way to prevent a drop; smaller, more frequent meals. 5-HTP is also one of the best natural treatments for depression, and has shown through scientific experiments to be as effective at reducing depression as the prescription antidepressants, without the horrible side-effects like reduced sex drive and cancer.