Over the years I have received numerous questions from men and women who have tried to lose weight by drastic measures in order to try and achieve the body shape they desire; including those who have essentially starved themselves for months, if not years.
When you cut your calories drastically it’s actually very restrictive on your body, and prevents your body from loosing fat. Your body goes into ‘starvation mode’ and starts protecting its fat stores making it very difficult to shift any weight! If you continue in this way your body will start using your muscle stores, and we know that the less muscle we have the fewer calories we require, all contributing to slowing your metabolism down!
So, without spending too much time on the science, I will give you a few suggestions on how you can start firing up a slow metabolism!
Firstly... as mentioned our metabolism is somewhat measured by how much muscle we have, generally if you have more muscle mass you will have a faster metabolism. Muscle also burns more calories than fat! So, a good first step would be to start a weight-training program. An intense weight training session can burn far more calories, and obviously engage many more muscles than what you would train if you were opting for a cardio workout only.
Try planning 5-6 meals per day, little and often. When I commence a competition diet the first changes I make to my regular diet are to begin splitting my meals up more throughout the day. Often during my diets I can eat up to 7- 8 times per day... every 2-3 hours depending where I am in my diet plan. You should never let yourself feel hungry, and eating every few hours will prevent this. Be mindful that if you do start eating like this you must exercise portion control with your food. I personally weigh my food so that I don’t make any mistakes. However you don’t have to be this strict about it. But keep in mind that portions should be small!
Eat breakfast!!!!! This is a sure fire way to kick-start your metabolism! I take on the majority of my carbohydrates during this meal, and add some protein. It’s normally my largest meal of the day and one I would never consider missing!
Eat more protein, it contributes to building muscle and will also help you feel full – which is a feeling that many people dislike about ‘diets’, that they never feel full! If you start eating protein with every meal you will definitely feel fuller for longer. Additionally it actually helps the body release the stored fat so that the body can use it as energy!
Be mindful of what you drink... Remember juices from concentrate, alcohol etc are all packed with calories. However a coffee in the morning can help increase your metabolism.
Try and take some time out to relax... increased stress levels give rise to cortisol, and too much can slow your metabolism. Stress can also cause cravings, and you might find yourself wanting to eat fatty and sugary foods.
Ensure you’re getting adequate sleep each night; sleep helps our bodies repair and grow. Some theory suggests that if you continually go without enough sleep your ability to process carbohydrates is lowered; your body will also struggle with the ability to function properly during the day meaning that it could struggle to burn calories if you’re trying to follow a diet.
If you were looking to speed up your fat loss my best tip would be to exercise on an empty stomach before breakfast. There is a huge body of research to support this tip but in short, upon waking from sleep your body is depleted of glycogen (energy stores), so in theory if you do some form of exercise before breakfast you can utilise your fat stores. This method seems to promote more effective weight loss, although I’ve read other theories that contest this. However if I recall each diet I’ve followed to compete I have always done some steady low impact exercise before breakfast and it certainly works for me!
Written By Louise Rogers, Website: louise-rogers.co.uk