ILana Muhlstein, MS, RDN
Metabolism is essentially the rate in which we burn food for energy. Therefore, a slow metabolism doesn’t burn the calories from food as quickly and the excess of calories consumed will be quicker to store as fat. On the upside, someone with a slow metabolism will likely feel more full and energized from less calories and should therefor focus on filling and satisfying low calorie foods.
Cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage are a great example. They are very high in fiber, which can help absorb excess fat and calories and promote elimination. These vegetables also contain iron and calcium, which and both minerals are essential for a healthy working metabolism.
Whey protein, found in protein shake powders like shakeology, are also great for boosting metabolism. Protein requires extra energy to breakdown, causing your body to burn excess calories and jolt your fat burning potential. The lean protein can also stimulate our satiety hormones and contribute to feeling full and satisfied which can prevent overeating. Whey protein also contains leucine, an amino acid, that can help build muscle, which can improve our metabolic rate, aka speed in which we burn calories.
Beans and legumes, like lentils, are amazing for boosting metabolism. They are very rich in plant based protein and iron, both essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Additionally, beans and legumes are rich sources of resistant starch. This starch is harder for the body to break down, meaning that it helps keep us fuller longer, can lower our blood sugar response, and encourage our body to burn more calories to break it down. The high fiber content can also help reduce fat storage in the body and improve elimination, which is very helpful for enhancing a positive metabolic system.
It has been studied and shown that your metabolism works about 2x stronger in the first half of the day, compared to the second half. You are eating food at the same time that you are engaged in your daily activities which is ideal for burning more calories. Even walking to and from the bathroom, or getting in and out of the car is more calorie-burning than sitting on a couch. In fact, using your brain and reading emails has been shown to burn more calories than watching TV. Therefore, the more you eat in the first half of the day, and the less you eat later at night, the better your metabolism will work.
Although it can be hard to target fat in order to burn it off your body, it is essential to your health to get rid of belly fat. This fat, also known as visceral fat, accumulates inside the body around vital organs. Fortunately, several ways to reduce belly fat exist, including those below.
Learn to De-Stress
One of the main causes of weight gain is stress. Many people eat when they are under stress, and their choice of snacks is usually salty, sugary, or processed foods. When people are under great amounts of stress, their body’s release cortisol, which in turn triggers insulin.
The insulin acts to lower your blood sugar, which can make you feel ravenously hungry, so you reach for anything that’s close at hand. It’s seldom healthy food that people binge on, so they end up gaining fat.
By learning to de-stress with yoga or meditation, you can stop the triggers that get you to eat unhealthy foods and gain fat around your middle.
Skip Sugary Drinks
Research has found that sugary drinks, like sodas, sweet tea or added sugar to coffee, can lead to having more visceral fat on your body. Visceral fat accumulates in the organs like the liver or heart, which can block it and result in heart attacks or strokes.
Instead of drinking sugary drinks, try replacing sodas with water and drink tea and coffee without sugar. Another cause of hunger can be dehydration, so if you’re craving food, drink a glass of water to hydrate your body to keep it healthy.
Add Supplements to Your Diet
Fat burning supplements and protein powders with fat burning ingredients like collagen can help reduce the fat gathering around your middle. Also, doing exercises targeting visceral fat will also reduce the fat in your abdominal area.
Losing this fat can prevent several serious diseases and help you live longer. Studies show that people with normal weight but with fat around their middles have shorter life spans than some people who are overweight. It’s not a bad idea to get more information about fat burning supplements.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Studies show that younger people who sleep less than five hours a night can have much higher levels of cortisol and ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that can make you feel hungry, which along with cortisol, makes it easier to gain weight, especially around the middle.
Getting more good quality sleep, about eight hours or more, can stop triggering these two hormones. It can also keep your metabolism running at a good pace. Poor sleep habits can lead to the body slowing the metabolism to conserve energy, which also causes weight gains.
Visceral or belly fat is bad for your health because it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Even if you are young and in good shape, having just a small amount of visceral fat around your abdomen can shorten your life.
However, if you follow these four tips and eat a healthy diet and exercise, then you can lose the fat around your middle and live longer.
Top 5 reasons why you need to strength train 2-4 times per week. By Beachbody Super Trainer and Creator of LIIFT4, Joel Freeman.
1. Effective Fat Loss: Weight training increases your body’s caloric burn during and after every session due to increased post exercise oxygen consumption. A cardio workout alone does not have this same effect. Strength training will also offset the negative outcomes that caloric restriction induces by telling your body to preserve and build muscle, preventing or reducing metabolic decline.
2. Muscle mass IS your metabolism—the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest. After the age of 30, physically inactive people can lose 3-8% of their muscle mass each decade and can even increase after the age of 60! This results in a reduced metabolism, which makes it much easier to gain weight and result in limited physical ability to participate in daily activities like carrying grocery bags, cleaning the house, climbing a stair case, etc. Lifting weights is the most effective way to help our bodies preserve and build muscle as we age.
3. Carves Sexy Curves: Lifting maintains and builds new muscle that will help create an aesthetically pleasing hourglass shape: round shoulders, tight waist, and defined legs, perky rear, etc. While most men understand these benefits, women tend to fear becoming “bulky” if they lift weights. Women simply do not have enough natural testosterone to accomplish this. With proper diet, the result will always be sexy, tight curves.
4. Stress Relief & Improved Sleep: Just 5 minutes of exercise can trigger anti-anxiety responses in the body. Those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not. Since stress is a common cause of sleep issues, reducing stress can also improve your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake less often.
5. Boosts Confidence: If you’re not happy with yourself first, how can you be happy for anyone else? Self-confidence can lead to an overall healthier lifestyle and looking and feeling better is a great start to improve upon yourself, your relationships and work performance.
How to maximize your results in your sessions when you are strength training 2-4 times per week.
1. Weight training with enough intensity and selecting the right weights are essential to maximize the results. Lift 5 more pounds if your last set wasn’t challenging enough. It should be challenging! Progressive overload will keep your muscles engaged and advancing past plateaus. You are challenging your muscles, so they can grow and get stronger all while burning the maximum number of calories every workout.
2. Eat enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscle, and if you’re not getting enough your body can’t repair and build the muscle you’re asking it to after a strength training session. Try eating 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound you weigh every day. Select high quality proteins like lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts & seeds, and even tofu. If you have a difficult time consuming enough protein from foods, add a protein shake as a snack or right after your weight training session.
3. Try to get 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is one of the times your body produces the most growth hormone, therefore the more sleep you get the faster your muscles will recover and build from weight training exercises.
4. Be consistent! Building muscle takes time. Keep lifting and challenging your muscles and your results will show.
Many people in their 20’s are stressed out about high post college student loan debt requiring side hustles to pay it off. They’re noticing tired eyes and premature wrinkles as they turn to filters to optimize their social media photos. There is pressure to keep up with celebrities their age not to mention the countless millennial “social media influencers” who are setting the new standard for beauty and youth. Bottomline, millennials are stressed, and they don’t want to look it. Dr. Manish Shah, a Denver, Colorado Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery urges the under 30 crowd not to overdo it with expensive treatments and procedures that can actually make them look older and put them further into debt.
Here are Dr. Shah’s 6 things millennials can do to maintain their youth.
1. Use sunblock every day.
“The best way to make sure your face is protected from the sun is to use a daily moisturizer with SPF of no less than 30,” explains Dr. Shah. He also suggests applying creams to your neck and chest to postpone wrinkling and sagging in these areas. “The sun protection done daily in your 20’s will pay off greatly in your 40’s,” he says.
2. Get your Vitamin C.
“Vitamin C is a huge collagen booster and it also reduces pores and brightens skin, and these are the exact things women in their late 30’s and 40’s complain about most,” he reveals. Foods such as cantaloupe, mango, pineapples, oranges, grapefruits, and berries are all packed with this antioxidant which, when eaten regularly does wonders to sustain a youthful glow.
3. Ditch the fast food and eat more fish.
Those late night post partying fries and pizza are to be expected and at 25 are difficult to avoid. Perhaps your metabolism can handle it, for now. Offset these weekend indulgences by eating fish during the week. “Fish oil has fatty acids can erase early wrinkles you may notice. It prevents inflammation which can only make wrinkles more noticeable and deeper over time. Many millennials who are picky eaters and avoid seafood can get Omega-3’s via supplements but getting it directly from eating fish is best,” Dr. Shah suggests.
4. Quit smoking.
Nothing will age you quicker than smoking. “It is possible for a 25-year-old to look 8-5 years younger, within just 3 months after quitting smoking. This number increases after age 30. Women over age 40 who don’t smoke typically look up to a decade younger than their counterparts who still smoke,” says Dr. Shah. There are a gazillion reasons to quit smoking. Linking it to vanity is a pretty powerful motivator.
5. Decrease your sugar intake.
You really want to start getting mindful about your sugar intake in your 20’s for many different reasons. “Sugars and carbohydrates are a beauty killer because they are pro-inflammatory. Pasta, ketchup, candy, ice cream, and fruit juices are often dietary staples for those under 30. Any inflammation in the body will show up on the face in the form of adult acne, sagging and wrinkling not to mention sallow skin tone,” warns Dr. Shah.
6. Maintain your glow with facials and peels.
While many millennials are starting off with “Baby Botox” which can postpone wrinkling, Botox isn’t cheap. It also can be a “gateway” treatment which leads to lip injections and fillers that often have a reverse effect making younger women appear older, cautions Dr. Shah. “Lasers and peels have come very far, offer an excellent solution for sun damage, skin texture, pores, acne scarring and cell turnover to stimulate collagen growth.
Dr. Shah concludes that millennials who get into a good solid habit of taking care of themselves both inside and out, will create a lifestyle of longevity. “Millennials raised by mothers who may have had breast implants, Botox and lip injections may feel that getting things “done” is normal. This is exactly why I am always very honest when advising patients under 25 on procedures they’re considering.”
(Photo credit— VeganSmart Instagram)
Each holiday is filled with homemade recipes and delicious snacks, making it a foodie’s favorite time of year. This year, instead of gifting the foodie in your life one of their favorite treats, why not step it up by introducing them to new, healthy flavors their taste buds will love.
Below are some healthy picks that are sure to shake up every foodie’s holiday!
For the foodies who love spicy:
MINA Classic Moroccan Harissa, Shakshuka and Tagine’s spice up the flavor of your food, add nutrients to your health and easily up your cooking game. What can be used as a sauce, dip or spread, Mina Moroccan sauces are versatile in its ability to add heat to any dish, as well as make Moroccan cuisine quick and easy.
The newest superfood, Wine RayZyn, is a hand-harvested wine grape naturally toasted and caramelized, keeping the skin and seeds intact to provide unprecedented amounts of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants—not to mention, a delicious crunch. RayZyn can be added to all your salads, baked goods, side dishes and more!
For the trendy foodies:
Olitalia, an Italian-based and globally loved olive oil and vinegar company, is introducing their line of balsamic-based Drink Vinegar to the U.S. market just in time for the holidays. Available on Amazon and nationwide in October, Drink Vinegar helps improve metabolism, enhance digestion, serves as an excellent source of Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin B2 and B3 AND can restore your skin’s natural beauty and radiance.
For the foodies always on the go:
VeganSmart, a line of delicious, plant-based nutritional shake, with no dairy, eggs, soy, artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, cholesterol, acesulfame-K, MSG, and zero trans-fat, is the perfect way to stay full and keep your energy up during the busy holiday season. Containing 5 different non-GMO plant based proteins, VeganSmart provides the essential amino acids for building and repairing tissue and muscle.