Gone are the days of blaming your metabolism! Contrary to popular belief, your metabolism is not something beyond your control, or hard to change. “Your metabolism is not fixed,” explains diet coach and author, Kimberly Willis, PhD. “It can change with what you eat and with exercise.” As it turns out, your everyday decisions on what to eat or what to do are constantly redirecting your metabolism and telling it what to do. Here are the top four things you can do today to reprogram, and revitalize, your metabolism.
(1) Spice it up
The next time you’re at lunch and the server asks if that will be mild, medium or spicy, go for the spicy – or at least the medium! Whether it’s hot sauce, hot mustard or other spices that bring on the heat, the result is that spicier foods will rev up your metabolism by 20 to 25 percent. “It boosts production of fat-burning hormones,” says Lori Shemek, author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn!” Not a big fan of traditionally spicy foods? Try adding one teaspoon of hot sauce or hot mustard to your favorite vinaigrette.
(2) Wash it down
When you’re well-hydrated, your metabolism keeps humming along – even when you’re bumming around. In a University of Utah study, participants who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more calories at rest than those who drank only four.
(3) Make it strong
Not only will weight-lifting make your muscles stronger while burningcalories, but research has shown that your body continues to burn those calories long after the sweat is gone. In a study at Southern Illinois University, exercisers who did a 15-minute resistance routine burned 100 extra calories a day for three days after exercising. “Strength training causes micro trauma to the muscles,” says Wayne Westcott, director of fitness research at Quincy College in Massachusetts. “Your body has to rebuild the muscle.” And to rebuild that muscle, your metabolism speeds things up for your body.
(4) De-stress it often
Probably the biggest surprise is that… relaxing makes your metabolism work harder. In a recent research study, yoga participants in a 50-minute yoga session experienced a significant drop in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. No surprise there; however, cortisol is the hormonethat inhibits fat burning and decreases your metabolism. Therefore, as your cortisol levels drop, your metabolism increases.