Friday, May 04, 2007

Crank Up Your Metabolism

Now that you’re exercising regularly, it’s time to start eating like an athlete. Food is fuel for your engine. Would you fill your car with poor quality gas and slack on oil changes before a long trip? Of course not. Treat your body the same way. Your first meal each day starts your metabolism. Skipping breakfast “stalls” you until lunch time. You’ll lose a few hours your body could’ve spent burning fat. Skipping meals slows weight loss, and forces your body into starvation/survival mode, storing more fat. Instead, eat consistently throughout the day, small meals every three hours if possible. Metabolism naturally slows down about eight hours after waking. That’s the perfect time to work out. (Another good time is first thing in the morning, before breakfast. But you might want to have a banana before you hit that elliptical.) By working out when you’re metabolism slows, you burn more stored fat and give it a boost by increasing your metabolic rate for a couple more hours. The result will be increased energy and decreased waist size.

Not sure what to eat? Focus on lean protein at every meal, whole grains, fiber, lowfat dairy, and lots of fruits and vegetables. The idea is to eat slowly, and only eat enough to fill you up. You don’t want to feel full or hungry, just satisfied. This means your metabolism is burning steadily. A piece of string cheese with a slice or two of turkey is great between meals. Or try a handful of unsalted almonds. A protein bar or shake (or half of one) is another good choice. Another option is a piece of fruit with natural peanut butter and a small glass of milk.

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