More than 150 women joined us at the January Women’s Connection luncheon at Botanica, where Heidi LaForge, DO, a family medicine physician with Via Christi Clinic, talked about tips for revving up your metabolism.
As women, we often burn the candle at both ends. We shuttle kids to and from after-school events, take care of the household chores and cooking, and many of us work outside the home.
As a result, our bodies may not be burning calories quickly because of poor eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle.
Our metabolism can be affected by:
- Crash diets
- Spicy foods
A good day starts with a good night’s sleep. The number of hours of sleep you get can have a big effect on your waistline. Research shows that sleep deprivation alters hunger and appetite hormones. This is also why people with sleep apnea tend to weigh more.
When you’re sleep-deprived, you can tend to eat unhealthy foods to help you stay awake. Add to that a lack of exercise and the pounds can really add up.
Don’t skip meals. Dieters often try to get that extra weight-loss edge by cutting entire meals instead of just cutting calories throughout the day. It’s counterproductive.
Skipping meals forces your metabolism to slow down and conserve calories to compensate for the lack of food.
Keep healthy snacks handy so you’re not tempted to eat things heavy in sugar or fats.
Dr. LaForge addressed the small “100 calorie” snack bags that are popular. Eating one of those is fine, but if you’re eating something that doesn’t fit in that little bag, it’s probably not a snack.
Studies show that our natural metabolism slows by five percent every 10 years. So every 10 years, we need to decrease our daily calorie intake by 100 calories.
Dr. LaForge talked about avoiding certain foods such as:
- Simple sugars – Cereal, donuts; these are empty calories
- High-fat meats – Hot dogs, bacon, sausage
- Foods you can’t pronounce – If you need a chemistry degree to decipher the first few ingredients, don’t put this food in your cart
- Canned foods – Tend to be high in sodium
- Fake healthy foods – Dr. LaForge focused on the healthy “cookies” out on the market. They say they are low in fat or sugar but they’re still cookies. There’s no such thing as a healthy cookie
Avoid these drinks that may seem healthy:
- Juice – Often loaded with sugar.
- Vitamin water – Also known as sugar water mixed with poor multivitamins
- Gatorade/Powerade - Only drink these if you’re working out like an Olympic athlete. Plain water will hydrate you just fine with zero calories or chemicals.
Water can even help curb your appetite. Dehydration can trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry. Be sure to accompany your meals with a glass of water.
Turning up the heat on your meals may do more than just add fun flavor. “Hot” foods such as jalapenos, chili peppers and spices like curry increase body temperature.
Body temperature and metabolism are related; as you burn energy, heat is released.
By increasing your internal body temperature, spicy foods may temporarily raise your metabolism and stimulate the use of stored fat as energy.
Studies have shown that dairy lovers are less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome.
If you don’t eat enough calcium-rich dairy foods such as yogurt, skim milk and low-fat cheeses, start adding them to your diet or take a daily calcium supplement.
Drinking a glass of milk daily is a good idea because healthy bones are important for exercise and preventing osteoporosis.
You can and should work out every day in some way. Even if it’s parking further away from your office building or taking the stairs.
Cardiovascular exercise including running, swimming and aerobics stimulates your metabolism and helps you burn calories and can even temporarily suppress your appetite post-workout.
Weight training tones your muscles and boosts lean tissue mass, which burns more calories per pound than fat. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn daily.
Dr. LaForge ended her presentation by playing a video about the importance of exercise.
For more details on Dr. LaForge’s presentation, you can see her PowerPoint below.