WHEN beginning any sort of weight-loss or fitness regime, it’s important to take into consideration your metabolism, that is, the amount of calories your body burns while at rest. It is common for a person’s metabolism to vary throughout the day, but there are some factors that are directly implicated in its functioning.

To become more energy efficient:

Choose complex carbs
Simple carbs, like those found in sodas, doughnuts, white bread and crackers, cause insulin to rise, which provokes sugar to be stored as fat. Examples of complex carbs are beans, vegetables and some fruits.

Improve muscle mass
More muscle means more calories are burned while at rest, which is given as the reason men usually have a higher metabolism than women. Just a few mid-day exercises like a brisk walk or some push-ups at work can help build muscle mass and energy for the day.

When is just as important as how much
Keep your metabolism revved and primed by eating healthy well-balanced meals and plenty of snacks in between. Skipping meals throughout the day and binging at night can sabotage your efforts and destabilize blood sugar levels. For afternoon energy, eat a lunch that is lower in carbs and not too much protein. You’ll get that midday crash if you eat too much carbs and too much protein can direct energy to digesting the meat instead of to your brain.

Eat more protein
It has been observed in clinical research that more calories are burned on a diet of excess caloric intake when that diet is high in protein, compared to a low-protein diet. See above and remember, not too much protein!

Take care of other health conditions
In particular, troubles with the thyroid can lead to drastic weight gain or weight loss depending on whether it’s underactive or overactive. If you’re diabetic be sure to watch your sugars!

Get enough sun
One study has found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and obesity. Making sure you get enough may also benefit your overall health, including bone health.

Drink enough water
Many of us don’t drink enough water. If you’ve ramped up the coffee in the morning, make sure to replace the water you’ve lost. Water helps with digestion, concentration and steadying your metabolism.

More Inspiration: Check out this great article on breathing exercises for various workouts.

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