How many people do you know who eat healthy, work out at a ferocious pace, and are very health conscious -- but continue to struggle to stay in shape? This is actually much more common than you may think, and I see many people walk into my clinic who are just like this. Can you imagine continuing at this pace for a number of months or even years, and not seeing any results? How frustrating would that be?There's a great saying by Albert Einstein regarding the definition of insanity:
If this sounds like you, it's time to change your approach.
"Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Those who have taken a proactive interest in healthy living, are likely quite familiar with the catch phrase "Boost your metabolism". There are many claims of nutrients/substances that can increase your metabolism to 'burn fat' or to 'get more energy' - however readers beware. Be sure to filter out fact from fiction, and be sure to do your homework before you heed every bit of advice you hear, read, or see online. Sufficed to say it is imperative that whatever advice you take, be sure any claims are based on peer-reviewed, scientific literature.
The good news is that there are ways to naturally boost each and every one of our metabolic pathways. The catch: WE ARE ALL BIOCHEMICALLY UNIQUE. As a result, the best results are found via detailed functional medicine analysis followed up with a customized program tailored to your unique biochemical requirements. That being said, below are some fundamental tips to benefit in boosting almost all metabolic types. Enjoy applying these powerful steps to make 2014 your fittest year yet!
1. Optimize your nutrients
Researchers have once again identified the power of nutrition in preventing illness, and maximising quality of life. When it comes to boosting your metabolism, the first and foremost topic to address is - nutrition. Scientists have examined the relationship with micronutrients such as folate, l-carnitine, l-arginine, zinc, omega 3's, and vitamins C, B12 and E. After adjusting for age and sex, they found significant relationships between deficiencies in these key nutrients and metabolic rate. It is important to realize that these are not the only nutrients involved -- rather they represent a microcosm of the nutrient spectrum of how essential it is to feed your body the optimal fuel to keep your high performing metabolic engine working efficiently! A simple, but powerful blood test exists that can help identify any specific deficiencies to help tailor your nutritional program.
2. Interval and Strength training
Mixing in fast-paced intervals raises your metabolic rate higher than doing a steady cardio workout, and will continue to do so up to an hour after you're done. An Australian study also found that women who did intervals while they were biking lost three times as much fat as those who worked out at a steady pace. If you're a walker, simply walk at your normal pace for 1 to 2 minutes, then speed-walk for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat the sequence 10 to 15 times. In addition, by adding more weights to your workout you can increase your muscle mass which will literally increase your fat burning when you sleep. Don't worry ladies, increasing muscle mass does not mean you will look like Rambo. Rather, it will result in more muscle density, which will give tighter and leaner results.
3. Green tea
While most will benefit from quitting the java from time to time, there is some merit in drinking green tea regularly. Researchers are showing what the Chinese have been saying for over 4000 years - in that this hot drink is helpful in keeping us healthy and LEAN. Research has isolated compounds in Green Tea, one of them in particular, epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG for short), that has been found to stimulate the metabolism and accelerate weight loss. EGCG stimulates the central nervous system and causes fat to be released into the blood stream for the body to use as fuel. Go Green!
4. Balance those hormones
Let's face it -- hormones are big. With books from the likes of hormone enthusiast Suzanne Somers reaching mass numbers, more and more people are becoming aware of the power of these critical molecules in our body. Trendy books aside, researchers are fascinated with the roles hormones play not only in our metabolic pathways, but also in the prevention of disease and optimal aging. Without hormones we simply would not survive. With slight changes to our hormone levels, large amounts of physiological, mental, and emotional changes can result. The leading researchers in this field are discovering fascinating tools to properly test, and correct and imbalances causing a sluggish metabolism. When boosting your metabolism, it is important to understand your hormones in detail before any treatment ensues. Optimal adrenal and thyroid and sex hormones are paramount to achieving good health and fitness. Be sure to work with a doctor trained in functional medicine who can run all of these for you. The following is my hormone must-do checklist:
Blood Tests: TSH, FREE T3/T4, TPO, Anti-Thyroglobulin, Fasting Insulin.
Saliva Tests: DHEA, 4 pt Cortisol, Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone.
5. Get your sleep
Many are still in the dark about the profound implications of sleep, or lack thereof. But your biological rhythm of sleeping and waking, also known as your circadian rhythm, is intricately tied to your metabolism and cannot be overlooked. In terms of your metabolism, researchers have discovered that an enzyme protein -- which is an essential molecular gear of the circadian machinery -- interacts with a protein that senses cell energy levels and modulates metabolism and aging. This suggests that proper sleep may help maintain or rebuild the balance between your circadian clock and your metabolism, and could also help explain why lack of rest or disruption of normal sleep patterns can increase hunger, leading to obesity-related illnesses and accelerated aging. If you deprive yourself of enough hours of sleep, you're effectively disrupting your biological processes, including those regulating your metabolism. Aim for 7 hours of quality sleep per night and to hit the hay before 11pm.
6. Ensure adequate Protein
Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. In a 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease," researchers argued that the present recommended daily allowance of protein, 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, was established using obsolete data and is woefully inadequate for an individual doing resistance training. To clarify, protein does not just mean animal sources -- protein comes in many forms! Researchers now recommend an amount between 0.8 and 1 gram per pound of body weight. Add a serving, like 3 ounces of lean meat, 2 tablespoons of nuts, or 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Plus, research showed that protein can up post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 per cent!
7. Don't. Diet.
Dieting is a temporary fix. Period. Often, fad diets that are marketed in droves often slow down the very thing we are trying to speed up -- metabolism. Don't get me wrong, eating healthy is not only the key to optimal weight, but also a large part of preventing and treating the chronic disease epidemic facing our society today. If you want to burn the pounds, make sure you keep your engine fired up with small, healthy meals throughout the day. If we deprive our body of food, the brain goes into 'storage mode' as if you're on a deserted island with no food for months. The next meal is stored as fat! Five-six small meals are a good start.
8. Eat the heat
It turns out that capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their fiery taste, can also fire up your metabolism. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, eating about 1 tablespoon of chopped red or green chillies boosts your body's production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response). The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 per cent. Stock up on chillies to add to your meals - but keep a glass of water handy...
9. Go organic
Canadian researchers reported that dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experienced a larger reduction in metabolic rate. In other words, pesticides make it harder to lose pounds. Other research hints that pesticides can trigger weight gain not only by slowing down the fat burning process, but hanging on to excess water as well. Of course, it's not always easy to find -- or to afford -- a whole bunch of organic produce. So you need to know when organic counts, and when it's not that important. Organic onions, avocados, grapefruit? Not necessary. But choose organic when buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale or collard greens, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes; they tend to have the highest levels of pesticides.
10. Eat fat.
Yes, you heard me right. Fat is good for us, and unfortunately we've been fed a load of garbage when told to eat a low fat diet to obtain our best weight and optimal health. Fat is required for the production of hormones, optimal brain cell function. We have to eat fat to lose fat. However, not all fats are created equal and not all fats are healthy. Many healthy fats exist, but for one of the best fats to boost a sluggish metabolism is non-hydrogenated coconut oil. This fat is a saturated fat -- but don't be alarmed -- this type of saturated fat is actually very good for you. There are 3 types of saturated fats (short, medium, and long chain fats). Medium-chain saturated fats (such as coconut oil), promotes healthy weight loss by encouraging fat burning by recruiting fat cells. Ultimately, adding healthy fats to your daily regime helps to crank up your metabolism into a fat burning machine!
Yours in Health,
Dr. John Dempster, ND, FAARFM, ABAAHP
This post also appears on http://thedempsterclinic.com/blog/
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
Rather than nursing a drink sitting down, belly up to the bar, or grab dinner at a high table with bar stools. Leaning against a high stool is a step up from sitting, but can be more comfy than standing all night, Health magazine reported.
This old-timey favorite is fun for kids and adults alike, and can burn 100 calories in just 30 minutes. Flickr photo by Machine is Organic
You don't have to be Michael Phelps to get a water workout. Even some leisurely splashing around can shave off 200 calories, and it's a great way to stay cool in the heat, too! Flickr photo by Joe Shlabotnik
Instead of just lounging on the sand working on your tan, get up and move around if you're at the beach this weekend. Bonus: Digging in the sand can be a surprisingly good workout for abs and obliques. Flickr photo by Michael Bentley
Let the music move you when you're out on Saturday night. A little boogying can burn 150 calories in just 30 minutes.
You're not chained to that park bench! If you're already enjoying the outdoors, why not throw around a Frisbee or a football, pass a volleyball or kick a soccer ball? It doesn't have to be strenuous -- you don't even have to be any good! -- but it will get you up and moving. Flickr photo by Elvert Barnes
If you've got a date night planned this weekend, skip dinner and a movie in favor of something that gets you off your rears. It doesn't have to be a trip to the gym or a jog -- it can be anything active you like doing together. Flickr photo by Tobyotter
Many local parks, rivers and lakes have row boats, canoes or kayaks available for rent. No matter your vessel of choice, it's a fun, seasonal way to burn some serious calories. Flickr photo by Josh Hawley
During the busy week, you sometimes might just let your pet out in the backyard to dig up his own trouble. This weekend, spend a little extra time moving with him. Play fetch, give him that much-needed belly rub or take him on an extra-long walk. Flickr photo by footloosiety
If you've made plans to meet a friend for coffee, take your catch up session to-go instead and gab on a walk. Even strolling at a snail's pace will burn 85 calories in 30 minutes!
Put down the drink for some foosball or pool if you're at a bar this weekend that offers it. Thirty minutes of pool can shave off 85 calories, not to mention you may save yourself a few if your hands aren't wrapped tightly around that pint glass. Flickr photo by Nicola since 1972
Head for the hills! Depending on where you live, a hike can be a weekend expedition or a quick afternoon adventure. It's a change of scenery and a great way to spend some time outdoors. If you're feeling sporty enough to tackle some hills, you can burn almost 250 calories in just 30 minutes. Flickr photo by mikebaird
If you typically find yourself hailing a taxi on the weekends, try hoofing it instead. If your destination is too far to make it on foot, try public transportation -- and leave the seat for someone else. Flickr photo by TMAB2003
If you have plans to barbecue this weekend, break out the lawn games to get you out of your seat. Try croquet or badminton, which can burn more than 150 calories in 30 minutes. Flickr photo by Jessa B.C.
Those people who do their exercise walking around the mall are onto something. Whether or not you plan to buy anything, browsing around your favorite shopping center gets you moving -- especially if you decide to wiggle in and out of a few things in the dressing room. Flickr photo by jimmyharris
Spend some time strolling through the halls and galleries of your favorite museum. You'll give your brain a workout while you're at it!
Pick your favorite nearby joint and walk to pick up your meal.
Sure, it might take a little longer than sitting through the drive-thru, but you get the pleasure of working those muscles a little bit.
Instead of sitting at a restaurant waiting to be served, why not whip something up at home? You'll be on your feet slicing, chopping, mixing and more, not to mention cleaning up after yourself. Flickr photo by mamaloco
A number of fall veggies are ready for planting now. Spending an hour digging, crouching, weeding and planting in your garden can burn more than 300 calories. Flickr photo by auntjojo
You don't have be imitate the Tour de France! Even the most casual rides can burn 200 calories an hour. Don't own a bike? Many cities now have bike share programs that allow you to take a short spin for a small fee, and some parks have bikes available for rent, too. Flickr photo by machernucha
Go old-school, and grab a group of friends to head to the nearest laser tag arena. You'll run, jump, squat, crawl -- all in the name of fun and (healthy) competition. Flickr photo by shawnzrossi
With the increase in popularity of bouldering, you no longer need a load of gear (and experience!) to reap the fitness benefits of rock climbing. Try it out at a local gym -- you'll burn calories and seriously work those arm muscles. Flickr photo by toolmantim
It's not just for dads in bowling shirts! Grab a pair of nerdy-chic shoes and aim straight. You may even wiggle a little arm workout out of it! Flickr photo by junklab
Dreaming of a couch-potato weekend? Turn that screen time into something more productive by challenging a roommate, spouse or kid to a Wii Fit boxing or tennis match. Flickr photo by SashaW
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