Fitness Articles

Kick Your Metabolism Into High Gear!

The Dos and Don'ts of Efficient Fat-Burning

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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

  • TOOMUCHSUGARTOO
    This is a great article, but being almost 71 years old, it made me feel like it will take forever to lose the weight. It is coming off very slow. I need to lose at least 50 pounds. At this rate I wonder if I will ever get it off. - 5/3/2016 6:56:03 AM
  • Great Article. - 2/5/2016 9:41:08 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    See a real live dietitian to help you lose weight. All extra exercises are fun if you don't need your job or have anyone to take care of and can go and do as you please...reality bites, the writers of these articles need to find some reality !! - 2/5/2016 4:35:37 AM
  • I joined Spark people a month ago.. I love this site.. I know I shouldn't feel discouraged, but this week I stayed the same on the scales.. I have counted my calories and walked a mile and a half everyday.. I eat a lot of veggies and low calories meals.. What do I need to do to change things, so that I can keep my weight going down.. I 'm sure I'm not alone on having days that the scales stay the same... I don't like to feel discouraged and give up..I have lost a total of 14 lbs so far.. I am proud of that..Just venting lol.. - 2/4/2016 6:15:48 AM
  • There is no such thing as "fun exercise". Exercise is something I do because I have to. I do not enjoy it. I'm not an athletic person, so I don't play sports, run races, or do something as crazy as a triathlon. I really get sick and tired of reading "find an activity that you like to do". Surprise!!!! The activities I like to do are reading, playing the piano and singing. It is not my idea of fun to get up at 5:15 am, go to the gym, ride a recumbent bike, and then go home and get ready to go to work. - 12/28/2015 8:59:56 PM
  • CGLIDER
    Intermittent fasting works. The starvation mode myth is just that....a myth. - 12/27/2015 5:16:23 PM
  • 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
  • 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
  • JGMARIE80
    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
  • LITTLEROX20
    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

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