Some women seem to be able to remain taut and slender with little work. These women have their metabolism working for them. Your metabolism, broadly, is the balance of energy in your body; a fast metabolism favors the use of energy over the storage of energy as fat. Even with some genetic components to metabolism, everyone can take steps in their diet and physical activity to lose weight.
Train your muscles using weights rather than only doing cardio. Strong and toned muscles burn more calories at rest. Using heavy weights does not produce big, bulky muscles; an abundance of calories when focusing on a particular style of weightlifting leads to bulky muscles. A gymnast is not bulky like a bodybuilder, even though they both do intense strength training. Your muscles can get stronger in four ways: increasing innervation of the muscles, adding contractile proteins, adding cellular mitochondria that produce energy, and adding sarcoplasmic reticulum -- the cellular organelle that stores calcium needed for muscle contraction. The addition of sarcoplasmic reticulum is what adds bulk to muscles. Perform three to five sets of five to eight reps with a weight that's challenging to you. These lifting parameters help add contractile proteins to your muscles, adding lasting strength without bulk, according to exercise physiologist Dr. Mel Siff.
Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index such as cereals, rice, processed grains and anything sugary. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly your body digests and absorbs carbohydrates, leading to a rise in blood sugar. When your blood sugar rises, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin, triggering your body to absorb nutrients from the blood. Insulin also prevents the activity of the hormone-sensitive enzyme lipase, which is a major mechanism for turning fat into energy, according to "Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat." In essence, high glycemic index foods switch your body from using to storing energy.
Eat at least three meals a day. Skipping meals makes your body think that food is scarce and it should store fat. Nutritionist Dr. John Berardi recommends eating a small meal every three to four hours.
Eat a meal containing 20 to 30 grams of protein and 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates after a workout, according to Berardi. The nutritional needs of your body are greatest after exertion. If you don't provide your body with nutrients then, your body will switch into energy-storage mode, and it will take longer to recover from your workout, lowering the amount of calories you can burn.
Engage in physical activity, even if you don't exercise regularly. To lose weight, the amount of calories you expend must be greater than the amount you consume. Make habits of taking the stairs and parking farther away.
- Consult with your health care provider before making any major changes in your diet or exercise routine, especially if you are under medical care.
- Supertraining; Mel C. Siff, Ph.D.
- Women's Health: How to Speed Up Your Metabolism
- Linus Pauling Institute: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
- Precision Nutrition; John Berardi, Ph.D.
- Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat; Ori Kofmekler and Mark Salzman
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images