Maybe all summer long you've been trying to get the perfect bikini-bod, and it's time to give up the crash diets. Or maybe you're just looking to be healthier. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to start the school year as healthy as you can!
1. Eat enough to burn enough.
This is a surprising tip that many may not be aware of. If you want to cut calories, you have to make sure you're eating more calories than your resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate is how many calories your body would naturally burn in a day, even if all you did was sit and binge watch Netflix. For men, the average is 1,600 calories. For women, it's 1,200. You can calculate yours online! If you eat less than the recommended amount, your body can significantly slow down your metabolic rate and you actually end up burning less calories.
2. Get your caffeine on.
Caffeine jump starts your day! Coffee-lovers should be happy to know that coffee has a MASSIVE amount of antioxidants, and includes essential nutrients like riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). An increasing number of studies have shown that coffee can boost metabolic rate by up to 11%! These studies have shown participants who end up increasing their fat burn by 29% in lean individuals, and 10% in obese individuals.
Although these might just seem like a couple of numbers, the numbers add up! By just having your morning dose of caffeine, you're boosting your metabolism and increasing the amount of fat burn. And there are other forms of caffeine such as tea, that offers similar results.
3. Literally jump start your day.
If you're not such a big fan of caffeinated morning drinks, there are plenty of other ways to wake yourself up! Exercising in the morning tells your body that you're up and ready. Depending on the degree of exercise you do, your metabolic rate will increase. This allows you to burn more calories throughout the day.
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's... or anywhere else
A group of researchers at San Raffaele University conducted a three-month trial where women ate identical meals, but for different meals of the day. The results demonstrated that those who consumed larger caloric values at the beginning of the day (breakfast) lost much MORE weight than those who did at the end (dinner). On average, the early-bird eaters lost 3.75 more pounds just by alternating the times they ate their meal. Lesson learned? Never skip out on a good old hearty breakfast. Your metabolism will thank you later.
5. Be NEAT.
Many people blame their "slow metabolism" for not losing weight. NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which basically means small things you do throughout the day that you might not even be aware of. Movements like stretching, walking up the stairs, or even fidgeting increases metabolic rate substantially. While many of these activities might not even be intentional, NEAT can account for up to 50% of energy expenditure of an active individual.
One study has found that an average person who didn't do any intentional exercise, spent the day shopping, cleaning, and walking around their neighborhood. That person burned anywhere from 150 to 500 extra calories from small chores, adding up to a total of at least 1300 calories burned the whole day. That's A LOT! So if you know you're not going to hit the gym today, be NEAT!
6. Add some spice to your life.
Adding spices like spicy peppers, red pepper flakes, or even Sriracha Sauce can temporarily increase metabolism by about 8%. While this is great, others have even reported a feeling of greater satiety. Spices can also help regulate blood sugar, which is great, because when your blood sugar is more stabilized, you're more likely to burn fat and not store extra calories as excess weight.
Even better, many spices such as turmeric and capsaicin have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents! What a triple treat!
However, this doesn't mean you should dunk half a ginger onto your sushi! Make your meals balanced and controlled, and never overdo it.
7. Keep calm and drink on. (ft. Beyoncé)
If anyone knows how to look good, it's Beyoncé. Have you ever heard of her master cleanses? The first one was a lemonade made out of cayenne pepper, lemons, and maple syrup. The next was a salt water cleanse. While I personally do not recommend either of these, the most important take-away from this is to simply drink plenty of water! Of course, it's best to avoid sugary drinks, but always important that your body is replenished. In many cases, your body may also mistake thirst for hunger, so drinking water before meals is a great idea.
8. Dangerous, deadly, diet.
If you're looking to boost your metabolism in order to lose weight, don't go on extreme diets. While you might think cutting meals is a good idea, it can actually have reverse effects and shut down your metabolism. For one, not eating enough shuts down your metabolism into survival mode, causing your body to hold onto fat. Studies show that if you go on and off diets, you're actually more prone to weight gain. More importantly, you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs! In order to maintain an excellent metabolism, eat a variety of foods and eat regularly.
9. It's okay not to be okay.
Stress, poor sleeping habits, and diet. Three simple words that can have nasty effect on your metabolism. When you're stressed out, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that is produced by the adrenal system. Unfortunately, this hormone is often tied with weight gain. In order to make sure your emotional down isn't getting the better of you, try to get some sleep! Don't blame yourself if your body isn't reacting the way you want it to (because you'll probably end up getting more stressed about it). In order to increase your best chances of maintaining a good metabolism, be happy with what you eat, and grow to be comfortable in your own skin.
You're the best version of you in the whole world.