I've been looking into different ways to help my body burn calories easier or to get more out of doing what I normally do everyday. How do I get the most out of the work I'm putting in?
Walk Before Meals
This is something I learned from Gillian McKeith one night while watching BBC's You Are What You Eat. Walking for 15-30 minutes before meals burns extra calories and increases digestion to make it easier on your body to process the food you're about to eat.
Eat Every Few Hours
I know this is nothing new to workout program vets but it is so worth mentioning. If the body goes through long spells of not eating then receives a bunch of calories at a time, it thinks like human bodies thought 5000 years ago: that food is scarce and I need to store fat to survive. Eating small meals every 3-4 hours stabilizes the metabolism allowing the body to burn those pesky calories freely.
The most important meal of the day is on this list for the same reason eating every few hours it. After the 8 hours of sleep we hopefully got last night, the body needs nourishment after so long of not having any food. Another awesome plus to having a good breakfast is by having your biggest meal at the start of the day helps your body burn off those calories throughout the day as opposed to dinner being your biggest meal with only a few hours for your body to process it all before going to bed.
Don't Eat Within 3 Hours of Going to Bed?
It is commonly stated in weight loss programs and tips for losing weight not to eat right before bed. There is some controversy over this because it hasn't been proven one way or the other if the calories one just ingested gets turned into fat while you're sleeping or if it's the total calories burned vs. total calories eaten that counts more. There are some important facts to consider before eating right before bed though. Eating right before bed can disturb your sleep cycle because the body is trying to digest food at the same time it's recouping the rest of the body. Another downfall is heart burn. Oh heart burn you evil thing you. For those of us that deal with heart burn often, eating right before bed is not a good idea. Laying down to sleep causes the esophagus to be horizontal instead of vertical causing acid to go to places we don't want it too. (Click here for more info)
Chew Food Completely
Something that I can have issues with sometimes is taking my time with my food. I'm usually in a hurry to just be done and move on to whatever else and don't take the time to completely chew the food. I'm surprised I don't have a 1950's mother figure in my head yelling "Chew your food!" Among the reasons to fully chew your food is that by taking time with meals the body has time to understand that it's getting nutrients so the brain will get the message when it is full. Wolfing down meals also often causes the body to feel hungry again 20 minutes later which is a pit I've often fallen down by eating way more than I should. (Learn more reasons chewing your food is important)
Eating a Balanced Diet
One of the reasons I was very drawn to the Insanity program is that involved in the program is the importance of eating a balanced diet. Not low carb, not ubber high protein and no gimmicks. I've tried a lot of those gimmick diets before and to be blunt, they are just a pain in ass. In my experience there's a reason the body craves different types of food, and it's usually because it's not getting enough of the right nutrients in carbs, protein or fat. The goal for a healthy body is to satisfy those needs to get optimum performance in both workouts and daily life.
Take Your Vitamins
This of course is also nothing new to weight loss veterans, but is something that is very important. Losing weight almost always includes lowering calorie intake, and doing this often reduces the amount of nutrients your body gets even when eating healthy. Taking a good multivitamin every day gives your body all the recommended nutrients it needs as well as helps reduce food cravings.
Drink Lots of Water
The imperative ingredient in almost every diet program known to man! The reasons to drink plenty of water are many but I'll just list a few weight loss related reasons: drinking water reduces food cravings and helps you feel fuller longer, drinking ice water actually helps your body burn more calories during the day and water helps hydrate your skin when losing large or small amounts of weight.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Last but not least is sleep. It's had to come up with anything that hasn't already been said a hundred times about this subject. There are many chemical and physical things that happen when we rest, all of which are important in maintaining a healthy body. 8 hrs of sleep seems to be the approved benchmark, and reaching that amount everyday helps the body recoup and prepare for the day ahead. Feel free to check out Importance of Sleep in Weight Loss and What Happens When We Sleep for more information, studies and sleep related to weight loss.
With all this research under my belt it's time to take on the day!