If it's one thing many of us, especially women, long for, it's a high-burning metabolism. Metabolism means the total of all body process that burn calories, which includes your basal metabolic rate plus your level of activity. Men generally have 10 to 15 percent higher metabolism than women, and all of us can look forward to a gradually declining metabolism (about five percent a decade) after age 40. To the lucky ones out there genetically blessed with an uber-efficient furnace, give thanks! The rest of us can aim to up our metabolic rate, or at least keep it humming along at a steady pace, by tweaking our eating habits. The following tips come from an article written by Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN:
1. Eat at least 1,000 calories a day (if you're inactive, if you exercise regularly please eat more!) A low calorie diet can help you lose weight, but if you go too low, your metabolism slows as it tries to conserve energy (basically, your body thinks it's starving!) When this happens, you're more likely to put back on the pounds you lose; plus, you're more susceptible to crazy sugar cravings and binges that arise from under-eating.
2. Eat every four to five hours. (In other words, keep the furnace stoked!) Eating at regular, more frequent intervals keeps your body working to digest and absorb foods. (Plus, this will help keep your blood sugar stable). Eat a regular, healthy breakfast in the morning, generally within 90 minutes of rising. Shoot for a solid mix of healthy carbs and protein (whole grain cereals with lowfat milk and a piece of fruit, for example). A good breakfast will feed your furnace and make you less likely to overeat later in the day.
3. Eat protein with every meal. All foods -- carbs, fats, and protein, contribute to the thermic effect (rate at which we burn calories), but protein has the greatest effect of them all. It also helps maintain and build muscle mass, and the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. So eat up!