Sunday, January 29, 2012

Metabolism Boosters and weight management

Fat_cartoon : Cartoon blowfish Stock PhotoOh the dreaded Christmas cookies and cakes can clearly be seen on our not so slim waists……
Today’s health and beauty buzz is on ways to help boost our metabolism, stave off those cravings and aid with the dreaded tummy bloat. I have battled with my weight practically all my adult life.  My weight has varied tremendously from having a BMI within the normal range according to height and age to being seriously obese. I was tired of listening to my knees clicking every time I walked down stairs, being breathless performing simple tasks and being at serious risk for heart attack and stroke due to pre diabetes and high cholesterol levels despite taking medication. I am now much more conscious about my weight primarily for health reasons and try to take a hold of it before it takes a hold of me.  I have found these tips pretty helpful in weight management.
  1.  As we reach perimenopause and menopause, our metabolism slows down so we need to burn more calories in order to lose weight or keep our weight constant. We need to eat 200 calories less per day than we ate in our 30’s and 40’s in order to achieve this.
  2. Be careful not to slash calories too drastically as this can cause the body to go into starvation mode. The metabolism will slow down and you will store fat and burn lean muscle instead.
  3. Cinnamon is your friend. Cinnamon can help to prevent sugar cravings as well as cravings for starch.  Cinnamon can be taken in supplement form or ground cinnamon added to cereal, yogurt, a smoothie or even to your coffee.
  4. Lean protein should be incorporated into every meal if possible as well as into snacks. Chicken breast with no skin, eggs (particularly egg whites), turkey, fish, low fat cheeses, low fat yogurt(Greek yogurt contains the most protein),fat free skim or low fat milk. Protein increases the metabolism. Add some whey protein to a smoothie for a great breakfast
  5. Fiber is important. It helps to keep you full by swelling in the stomach. Strive to have 30 grams per day. Add ground fiber (phylum husk) to a smoothie or to your cereal. Incorporate it into health muffins, breads and sprinkle on salads.  Fiber can be taken in a pill form. Follow with at least one glass of liquid- preferably water.  Konjac fiber is highly regarded. Fiber lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. Great sources of fiber are steel cup oatmeal and raspberries amongst many others.
  6. Water- Drink 1 to 2 glasses of cold water 30 minutes before meals. The colder the water, the harder the body has to work to warm itself up, thus boosting the metabolism. Try to drink a total of 8 cups of fluid per day. (8 ounce = 1 cup) Drinking green tea, oolong black tea (great choices) count towards your daily fluid intake.
  7. Add black pepper to your food. It is thought to increase metabolic rate so that the body burns calories more quickly.
  8. Have 2 TBS of balsamic vinegar a day. Balsamic vinegar is thought to help you stay full for longer. It is very low in calories and can add flavor and taste to a meal.
  9. 2 tsp of ground flax seed a day. Flax seed are high in fiber. They swell in the intestine helping to keep you full longer. They stabilize blood sugar and contain lignin’s to balance hormones.
  10. Blueberries and yogurt are natural fat blockers.
  11. Pine nuts-They are not only delicious, but pine nuts contain a fatty acid which stimulates the body to produce 2 natural appetite suppressants. Snack on them or sprinkle on salads or over yogurt.
  12. Coconut water (not coconut milk) is thought to increase metabolism and control blood sugar. It is rich in magnesium and potassium. Potassium helps convert food to muscle. There are 3 grams of fiber in a cup and is low in calories. It is an acquired taste. Low fat coconut milk can be used to enrich and add flavor to curries and stews instead of regular milk or cream.
  13. Eat 3 meals a day as well as 2 snacks. Studies have proved that eating small meals and snacks 5-6 times a day works better than consuming all your calories in one or two large meals. 
  14. Grains- People who eat rice daily weigh less than those who don’t. It is packed with fiber and nutrients. Rice is more likely to accompany veggies and lean protein dishes such as stirs fries and sushi rather than pizza and other fatty dishes. Look for whole grains. Farro has twice the protein and fiber of normal grains. Wild rice, brown rice and quinoa are great options.
  15. Cortisol, discussed in my previous blog on stress causes the body to crave sweets. This turns into belly fat. Read previous blog on stress management and the importance of sleep.
  16. Try to exercise 3-4 times a week.  I walk as I find this method the most enjoyable. It is free; you don’t need any special gear besides sneakers, sunscreen and a hat!  Most importantly, you can just walk out your door any time of the day or evening that suits you. Try adding little bursts of speed during your walk. Strap on that iPod and get going. Weight bearing exercise is very important to keep muscle and bones at a premenopausal level. If, like me you don’t like the gym, try to incorporate some weights into your weekly routine by following an exercise DVD using some hand and leg weights.                                                                      Exercise doesn’t always make you look younger. Thin women are at risk for losing too much body fat. When the face looses too much fat, it looks gaunt which is ageing and unattractive. 
  17. Tea- a simple way to stave off hunger. The catechins in tea may boost satiety.
  18. Gum works for some people to stave off cravings. Not for me personally.
  19. There are so many metabolism boosters in supplement form- These are some that I have tried.
  • Omega 3 helps to accelerate the loss of body fat.
  • Alpha Lipoic acid increases the body’s ability to take glucose into the cells causing a decrease in blood sugar and therefore accelerating weight loss
  • Astaxanthin increases physical endurance and protects the muscles.
  • Carnitine converts fat into energy and activates metabolism.
  • Calcium is great for weight loss.
  • CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) decreases body fat especially in the abdomen.
  • Co Enzyme Q10 regulates blood sugar and enhances metabolism. It is also an important supplement to take if you are on a statin.
  • Chromium Polynicotinate (opinion varies on its effectiveness) reduces body fat, lowers blood sugar, reduces cravings and regulates appetite.
  • GLA Increases metabolic rate and helps to burn fat.
  • Zinc- about 15mg a day helps booster leptin levels.  Leptin is a protein made in fat cells. It circulates in the bloodstream and goes to the brain. Leptin tells the brain that you have enough energy stored in your fat cells. When you diet and loose fat cells, it causes a decrease in the amount of leptin produced, causing the body to go into starvation mode and store fat.
       These are some other metabolism boosters that I have not personally taken:-
Horse chestnut seed extract
White Bean extract
Raspberry Ketones

 Fat is an important part of our diet. Healthy fats are found in avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, certain nuts such as walnuts and brazil nuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and many many more sources.  Healthy fats should not be avoided.

                                                          Belly Bloat
  1. 30 minutes of exercise or even a 10 minute walk gets digestion moving.
  2. Drinking peppermint or chamomile tea relaxes digestive muscles and relieves an inflated stomach. Lemon balm and fennel made into a tea is also supposed to have the same effect.
  3. Avoid carbonated beverages.
  4. Catch 22- Some of the super foods can cause gas and bloat. Consuming cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, apples, pears, prunes, peaches, whole wheat bread, bran cereals, dairy, artificial sweeteners and beans can cause excess gas to build up, so consume in moderation before a special event!
  5. Eat slowly with your mouth closed to prevent gulping in air.
  6. Probiotics (good bacteria) have been found helpful in aiding digestion.
  7. Anti gas medications can be taken prior to a gassy meal to prevent the formation of gas pockets.
  8. Some forms of calcium have been known to cause gas or constipation. Try taking calcium citrate which can be taken on an empty stomach.
*Do not take any medications including supplements or embark on an exercise regiment before first checking with your doctor.

Tip for the day:
Lose weight for yourself and not for anyone else. Lose weight because YOU want to live and enjoy a long, healthy and energized life.

                                            Stay healthy, happy and safe.

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1 comment:

  1. This is a great summary of weight management tips. My problem is not so much the knowledge on how to manage and loose the weight, but the actual doing it. Perhaps you could consider a blog on the this.