Fitness Articles

Kick Your Metabolism Into High Gear!

The Dos and Don'ts of Efficient Fat-Burning

If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good that you don’t have a metabolism that lets you eat as much as you want without ever gaining an ounce. Maybe (like me) you’re even at the other extreme, where it seems like all you have to do is smell the foods you love to start packing on the pounds. Does this mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of munching on carrot sticks with fat-free dressing, while watching your hollow-legged friends enjoy their pasta Alfredo and chocolate cheesecake? Not at all.

There are lots of things you can do to turn your body into an efficient fat-burning machine, and they don't include depriving yourself of foods you love, resorting to unhealthy gimmicks, or taking expensive “fat-melting” supplements that fail to deliver what they promise. All you have to do is avoid a few common mistakes, and include some simple ways to boost your daily calorie burn.

Metabolism DON'TS
  • Don’t reduce your calorie intake too low. The fact that you gain weight easily is proof that your body likes to shift into fat-storage mode at the drop of a hat, and going too low on calories is one of the easiest ways to trigger that reaction (often referred to as starvation mode). Don’t fall for the mistaken idea that the less you eat, the more you’ll lose—that’s just not how your body works. Staying within your recommended calorie range will keep your internal furnace stoked so that you have more capacity to burn stored fat.
  • Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals affects your body chemistry in ways that can make weight loss more difficult. Most people can manage their hunger and avoid cravings and overeating by spreading out their calories into four to five small, well-balanced meals or snacks during the day. Try not to go more than four to five hours without eating something.
  • Don’t short yourself on shut eye. More research is showing that chronic sleep deprivation plays a significant role in weight gain. Your body needs plenty of “downtime” for the internal housekeeping that keeps your metabolism in good working order. The occasional late night won’t hurt you, but consistently sleeping just one hour less than you need may slow down your weight loss considerably. Continued ›
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • I don't mean to be picky but isn't 30 percent of 20 pounds SIX pounds of muscle? - 11/19/2015 9:07:50 PM
    I believe that health comes with healthy food. I couldnít believe my eyes when I saw the prices for that value. I believe Iíve found the solution here www.smartorganicn - 7/31/2015 9:13:29 PM
  • This is mostly good information but suggesting that "starvation mode" is real always jars me. There's no good research to support this position; creating a calorie deficit will always cause weight loss even if not in a healthful way. - 5/28/2015 1:26:44 PM
  • The answer to WLIBERTY's question is NO, questions are not answered here. The comment information specifically states "Please do not ask questions here. If you have questions, please post them on the Message Boards in order to get a response." So try that if you have questions. - 7/25/2014 5:00:00 AM
    I have started yoga and journaling my fitness workouts. It helps me to see that I'm sticking to my goals. - 3/27/2013 5:25:07 PM
  • I have a question. When I read the comments on this article and others I often see questions. I never see answers. Are the questions answered? If so where? - 10/13/2012 5:59:49 PM
    I think the mental factor is what gets me everytime! I need to reduce the stress and think positively - 6/9/2012 3:23:26 PM
  • MAGIE40
    very good information - 4/16/2012 10:01:30 PM
  • Adding this to my favorites! It is accurate, concise, and useful - I'll refer to it over and over again. THANKS for a great article. - 1/8/2011 3:25:42 PM
  • i have a question i was wondering about with this article... i want to know if sleeping in through breakfast will hurt my metabolism, because it says don't skip meals but at the same time it says get shut eye so i want to know if what i'm doing is hurting my metabolism and if i should get up early and eat breakfast instead of sleeping in? - 8/16/2010 11:53:34 PM
  • This is a really great summary of all the things we do without considering. I am a living example that many of these things will have big impacts. I have a decent metabolism, but even so senior clinical year saw me put on 20 pounds. I was working 6-7 days a week with 17 hour days not unheard of. I routinely got 3-5 hours of sleep and got called in at weird hours. I also would often have long stretches between meals. I pretty much lived your "don't"s :( - 8/16/2010 9:02:42 AM
  • This is a great reminder of many things I've already read on SP. It's great to have them all listed like this for easy referral. I've often unknowingly sabotaged my own weight-loss efforts in the past without knowing it. Information is power. Thx. - 8/16/2010 4:23:11 AM
  • Thanks for putting these tips all in one place! Just what I was looking for! Another couple tips I've picked up that are also supposed to help the metabolism:

    Focus on eating protein, fiber, and water; and not eating a lot of sugar, starch, and alcohol.
    Don't lose weight too fast. A pound a week is a good amount, or even less. - 6/11/2010 1:07:04 PM
    Thank you for this information. It is a kick in the seat of my pants that I needed. I am guilty of skipping meals and being short on sleep most of the week. Then I fit the criteria of not getting some excersise in each day. i've got some work to do and now I have a pattern to establish.

    Thanks again. - 2/21/2010 10:00:02 AM
  • I enjoyed this article and found it very helpful. I was impressed with Dean Anderson and how he took control of his life. I would like to know how I could go about receiving training to be a lifestyle and weight management consultant . I'm working on reaching my goal weight but I know that by educating myself in this area, I can improve my health. I'd like to take control and continue to make healthy choices in my own life and to help others. Thanks - 1/30/2010 9:31:24 AM

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