Obviously going to the gym and eating right are important, but you can also make your body work for you. Increasing your metabolism, by reducing your alcohol consumption for example, means that even when you are at rest you are burning calories. Here are some great ideas that my friends in modeling have used.
Don't starve yourself!The first instinct of many dieters is to put themselves on the starvation diet, but although this can help you quickly lose a couple of pounds, its not the right way to lose weight in the long run.
When your diet drops below 1000 calories, your body goes into 'starvation mode', which slows down your metabolism.
As well as feeling groggy and tired, you will be using far less calories than usual and making it even harder for yourself to lose weight! The answer is to eat a sustainable low-calorie diet, but never to make your body push the 'panic button' like this as it is counterproductive.
Also make sure to eat breakfast. If you skip it, your body will enter its 'starve' mode early in the day and it will be hard to break out. To keep your metabolism working all through the day, eat small, low calorie snacks between meals.
Decrease your alcohol consumptionThat's right - stay off the booze! Although certainly not the most fun part of increasing your metabolism, cutting down your alcohol intake will help as much as anything. Studies show that alcohol suppresses the body's ability to burn fat.
It may be hard to completely cut alcohol out of an active social life, so why not try limiting yourself to one drink a night. If you make it a high-volume, low-alcohol drink (a lite beer for example), you might find it easier to get through the evening!
Spice it up!Spicy food doesn't just taste great, it actually increases your metabolism too. Black Pepper, Ginger, Chilli Peppers and Cinnamon all raise your body temperature and help you burn fat faster!
Careful though - the curries you find in restaurants are often oily and fatty, so cooking your own spicy food is always best.
Drink More WaterSpeed up your metabolism by drinking more water. A healthy, well-hydrated body is important to flush out toxins and aid in metabolizing fats. A simple way to determine if you are consuming enough water is to take note of the color of your urine. If it is colorless or light yellow you are on the right track, if it's any darker you need to increase your water intake. Drinking ice water also helps the body expend more calories by heating it up.
Drinking ice cold water revs up your metabolism by using energy to warm it up. Also thirst is often mistaken for hunger so it's is important to drink lots of water.
Vitamin B and CalciumThe B-Vitamins give you more energy and increase your metabolism. Drinking coffee will increase your metabolism too, but Vitamin B is a much more healthy, sustainable way to do it. Make sure your daily supplement incorporates B-Vitamins and in particular B-12.
Recent research has found that 4 daily servings of low-fat dairy products can boost your body's fat-burning ability. Calcium actually increases your metabolism. So add some low-fat yogurts to your diet, maybe as a small snack between meals.
Increase your muscle massMuscle burns 90% more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism will be. Going to the gym is not just a one-off attack on your fat cells - your new muscle will actually keep fighting that fat long after you leave the gym. Adding 5lbs of muscle will help you burn another 250 calories a day!
If you can't make it to the gym, then there are ways to make everyday activities into a workout. Carry your groceries home, walk the dog yourself, lift small weights while watching TV or take the stairs at work - it all helps!
Boost Your Omega-3 Fatty AcidsIn recent studies it has been shown that an increased intake of Omega 3 fatty acids can help to balance blood sugar levels and control appetite. They also reduce levels of Cortisol, a stress hormone responsible for storing fat.
Good sources of this metabolism-boosting acid can be found in flax, hemp seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, salmon, mackerel and herring. Many people use flax oil as a supplement.
Drink Green Tea!Green tea regulates blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of insulin produced. This prevents fat being stored and keeps your appetite under control. A 1999 study showed that Green Tea extract resulted in a significant increase in energy expenditure.
EGCG, the main polyphenol in green tea, is an effective thermogenic which increases the metabolism of fat. This is not just a result of the caffeine in the tea, because those who lose weight on Green Tea lose more than those who were given caffeine alone.
Increase Your Iodine IntakeIncreasing your Iodine intake can help stimulate thyroid gland function. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating body metabolism and energy expenditure.
Kelp extract supplements are a potent source of Iodine, as well as eating all different types of seaweeds and seafood.
Turn Down The HeatKeeping the room temperature a little chilly increases your metabolism and reduces your heating bills!
Blueberries and WatermelonHere are two fruits that have been scientifically proven to boost your metabolism.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition has found that watermelon acts as a metabolism boster. It contains an amino acid named Arginine that promotes fat loss and increases muscle mass.
Watermelon and watermelon juice are really practical diet foods. Keep some frozen watermelon for a low calorie, metabolism-boosting snack.
If you're not a fan of watermelon, other sources of Arginine include dairy products, seafood, nuts and seeds.
Another study at the University of Michigan found those who ate a cup of blueberries a day had less fat than those who did not.
Blueberries contain a powerful antioxidant named Anthocyanin that may promote weight loss. It has also been shown that consuming blueberries actually reduces your food cravings!