Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. If you’re a woman looking to lose weight and become the healthiest version of yourself, we’ve got a few simple tips to help! While eating a healthy diet and finding time for exercise are key to shedding extra pounds, you can also make some tiny tweaks to your routine to help you reach your goals. These metabolism-boosting tips for women include small changes that you can make to your meal plan, exercise and lifestyle for weight loss success!
1. Pick Protein
We all love foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes and pastries. However, your metabolism burns more calories when you’re digesting protein. In fact, eating protein increases your metabolic rate by 15 to 30 percent, compared to 5 to 10 percent for carbs and 0 to 3 percent for fats, according to the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. Be sure to include healthy, lean forms of protein with your snacks and meals. The best sources of protein are Power Fuels, such as eggs, chicken, canned tuna and peanut butter.
2. Maintain Muscle
Men’s bodies tend to have a higher percentage of muscle than fat, while women are the opposite. “Because muscle burns more calories than fat, men may be able to burn more calories at rest than women,” says the Office on Women’s Health. Overweight women who regularly do resistance training have been shown to maintain more muscle mass and have higher metabolism rates than women who do just aerobic exercise (such as walking), according to a study, published in the journal Obesity.
Lifting weights is just one form of resistance training. Simple squats, lunges and push-ups also build muscle and you can do them anywhere. Not ready to do standard push-ups? Try them while standing up with your hands pushing against the wall or a counter instead of the floor.
3. Walk Up
There’s no question that exercise can increase your metabolism. Daily walks for 30 minutes—all at once or in 10-minute segments throughout the day—can burn about 178 calories in a 185-pound person, says Harvard Health Publishing. Add a hill or a stairway to your route and you can turn up your metabolism by almost 15 percent, according to study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
4. Stand Up
Many of us spend too much time sitting at desks or at workstations all day long. Standing up keeps your metabolism more active. In fact, compared to sitting, an afternoon of standing at work can burn an extra 174 calories, according to the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
5. Stay Hydrated
Your body needs a constant supply of water to burn calories and fuel your metabolism. Drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water has been shown to increase resting metabolism by up to 30 percent for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature, say researchers who shared their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Be aware that you can be mildly dehydrated and not feel thirsty. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism slows down.
6. Eat Often
Research suggests that eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day promotes greater weight loss and maintenance. That’s because it keeps you satisfied and prevents you from getting too hungry. However, it may also play a role in metabolism.
According to Duke University Health System, “Duke research finds that overeating can also change your metabolism – meaning how the cells in your body process the food you consume – and that can lead to chronic health problems including diabetes. Smaller, more frequent meals are optimal, the researchers say.” They recommend consuming smaller, more frequent meals to keep your metabolism running smoothly.
“Mini-meals can aid in satisfying the appetite, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and providing nutrients to the body throughout the day. Smaller, more frequent meals in your daily eating patterns also can aid in a more efficient metabolism compared to a slower metabolism when meals are skipped,” says Cleveland Clinic. On the Nutrisystem program, you’ll eat every two to three hours for a total of six times a day.
7. Brew a Cup
The caffeine in your daily cup of coffee can boost your metabolism by up to 11 percent, according to research, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Just be sure you don’t undermine the benefits of coffee by loading your cup with high-fat creamers or sugary flavorings. Black coffee is a Free Food with your Nutrisystem weight loss plan.
8. Go Green
Green tea is high in many helpful nutrients, including a group of unique substances known as catechins. They are antioxidants, which protect your body from “free radicals,” rogue cells that are linked to a variety of ailments. Catechins have also been shown to increase the metabolism and specifically trigger your body to burn fat, says the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Consumption of green tea extracts has been shown to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure, particularly if combined with a metabolic stimulant such as caffeine,” says researchers. Just like with coffee, unsweetened green tea is a Free Food on Nutrisystem.
9. Get Spicy
The ingredient in hot peppers that gives them their zing, capsaicin, not only warms your body but may also turn up your metabolic rate. According to Healthline, “Researchers believe that capsaicin is a thermogenic chemical. A thermogenic chemical may help speed up your metabolism and decrease your appetite.” You don’t have to eat raw peppers to get the benefits of this spicy kick. Spice up your menu by sprinkling your food with hot sauce, cayenne powder or dried red pepper flakes—they’re all calorie-free so you can use as much of them as your taste buds like.
10. Sleep Longer
For many busy women, the days start early and end late. To keep your metabolism working steadily, you need to consistently get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. When you regularly sleep less, it disrupts your body’s levels of leptin and ghrelin, the two hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism, says the International Journal of Endocrinology. Even better, a good night’s sleep prepares you to take on another full day of responsibilities.
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