The focus of dieting isn’t actually about eating less. Instead, it’s about eating the right foods that are nutrient-rich and that keep you full. When you restrict your calories too much, you actually send a signal to your body telling it that you’re trying to starve it.
It responds by lowering your metabolism and burning away muscle tissue…which are the last things you want if you’re trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy body.
So what’s the REAL way to lose weight?
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Eat More Protein
Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. Also, protein often does an amazing job of keeping you feeling full for a longer period of time. Add a serving, like 3 ounces of lean meat, 2 tablespoons of nuts, or 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Plus, research shows that protein can up postmeal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent.
Be More Active At Work
Whether you sit or stand at work may play as big a role in your waistline as your fitness routine. Missouri University researchers discovered that inactivity (4 hours or more) causes a near shut-down of an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism. To keep this enzyme active and increase your fat-burning, break up long periods of downtime by standing up–for example, while talking on the phone.
Enjoy Spicy Foods
Capsaicin, the compound that gives chile peppers their heat, can also boost your metabolism. Eating about 1 tablespoon of chopped peppers (red or green) boosts your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for your fight-or-flight response), according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. So try adding chile peppers to salsas, and keep a jar of red-pepper flakes on hand.
Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism so it’s no accident that those who skip this meal are 41⁄2 times as likely to be obese. The heartier your first meal is, the better. In one study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, volunteers who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over 4 years. While those who got zero to 11 percent gained nearly 3 pounds.
Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods
Research shows that some fiber can fire up your fat burn by as much as 30 percent. Studies find that those who eat the most fiber gain the least weight over time. Aim for about 25 grams a day–the amount in about three servings each of fruits and vegetables.
Are You Getting Enough Iron?
Iron is essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Unless you restock your stores, you run the risk of low energy and a sagging metabolism. Shellfish, lean meats, beans, fortified cereals, and spinach are excellent sources.
The amino acid arginine, abundant in watermelon, might promote weight loss, according to the Journal of Nutrition. In a laboratory study, adding this amino acid to the diet of obese mice enhanced the oxidation of fat and glucose. Snack on watermelon and other arginine sources, such as seafood, nuts, and seeds, year-round.
All of your body’s chemical reactions, including your metabolism, depend on water. If you are dehydrated, you may be burning up to 2 percent fewer calories, according to researchers at the University of Utah. Drink at least eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses a day.