In the past couple of weeks I’ve explained how dieting can sometimes make you bigger in the long-term and how the metabolism slows down, contributing to weight regain.
Now let’s be positive and look at how to keep your metabolism fired up.
Firstly when you go on a diet make sure you are eating enough protein.
This helps to offset the decline in the metabolic rate that occurs when you go on a diet.
As a guide, protein should come from around 40 per cent of total calories during fat reducing stages (ie 30:40:30 carbs:protein:fat).
Another way to look at this is to make sure you are getting at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight (if you want to try to gain muscle) or 1g per pound of muscle mass (if you’re just maintaining muscle).
Make sure that you are eating a diet with a low glycemic load as this will reduce the amount of muscle lost and at the same time increase the amount of fat lost while dieting.
This means getting most of your carbohydrate intake from non-starchy vegetables, low sugar fruits and carbs like oats and beans rather than breads and pasta.
While diet is the most important aspect of achieving fat loss, increasing how much you exercise is essential and makes up some of the calorie deficit created by the slowed metabolism.
I suggest you start with walking and aim for one to two hours daily (two-and-a-half to five miles).
Keep changing your diet so that you have days of reduced energy intake and days of increased energy intake. This helps offset the leptin decline that occurs with dieting.
Everyone is different, but a few days of low calorie/low fat eating mixed with a few days of over eating can actually be beneficial to your metabolism.
This doesn’t mean that you can pig out, but if you are sensible then you can enjoy your favourite foods while losing weight as well.
Incorporating fish oil into the diet while losing weight can reduce the metabolic decline due to its positive impact on leptin and other metabolism sensitive hormones.
I recommend omega 3 fish oil or krill oil – aim to get 6g-12g per day.
Make non-starchy vegetables and lean protein the staple of your diet and avoid meat which is high in fat.
Environmental toxins are stored in our own fat cells and this is the same with the animals that we eat, so if you eat a diet that is high in animal fat, then this will have an impact on your metabolism and weight loss.
This means that a lower carb and higher fat diet may not be the best option as a fat loss diet.
A number of studies have found detrimental links between the rate at which pesticides are released from the body during weight loss, and a person’s metabolic rate afterwards.
Additionally, pesticides and industrial pollution have been found to lower metabolic rate by their effect on thyroid hormones and the rate at which the liver excretes them.
Lipase inhibitors can play a role. These are foods that have action in decreasing the digestion of fats so they move out of the body instead of being absorbed.
Since the digestive tract is both the major place where toxins are both removed from the body and taken into the body, doing what is possible to not allow fat soluble compounds re-entry is important.
Some common lipase inhibitors include green tea, oolong tea, mate tea, and ginger root.
Finally, increasing the liver’s ability to detoxify and remove toxins is key.
Dandelion root, milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, and vitamin C play a role here.
Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps where she trains groups.
Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based in Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.
Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1.