Everyone has been on some type of diet at one point or another. It doesn't necessarily mean you want to lose weight, though. Sometimes it's to help train, to go gluten-free, or just to be better.
But there's a lot of things most diets have in common that actually end up hurting our efforts. Take a look at some of these habits that nutritionists say actually reduce your metabolism, which can make your diet and weight loss a lot less attainable.
1. Skipping Breakfast
We know it's the most important meal of the day, but it has a lot more importance than just making your tummy stop rumbling on the way to work. When you're asleep, your metabolism slows down, as do most things in our bodies. When you wake up, you need to wake your metabolism up too. This doesn't mean it's okay to shove your face with donuts or other sugary treats. Try some eggs or some Greek yogurt to get you going. They're full of protein which will keep you full for longer!
2. Your environment is too warm
"Sweating it out" has always been something people think will help burn fat. But according to the National Institutes of Health, studies showed that people who slept in cooler environments doubled the amount of "brown fat", which burns calories rather than stores them. Brown fat becomes more active in cooler temperatures, which means the more active your brown fat, the more calories you'll burn. I mean, obviously don't go outside in the dead of winter with flip flops. But turn down the heat, sleep in a cool environment, and maybe forgo the sweater on a chilly fall day.
3. You're snacking wrong
Step away from the rice cakes. Scientists have done research that suggests the polyunsaturated fatty acids in nuts, especially walnuts, can actually help you burn more calories during the day. The PUFAs may enhance the activity of certain genes that control fat burning. A handful of walnuts every day can help bump your metabolism.
4. You're not sleeping enough
When we sleep our bodies moderate a chemical called leptin. Leptin is what tells our brains that we're full or satisfied. The less sleep you get, the less leptin in your body. The less leptin in your body, the more likely you are to overeat which slows your metabolism right down. Stress is also a factor in low metabolism, which we all know can come from not enough sleep (or vice versa.)
5. You've completely cut out dairy
More muscle means a faster metabolism. And according researchers at McMaster University, women who consumed 3-7 servings of dairy per day lost more fat and gained more muscle than women who had less. Dairy is very rich in proteins whey and casein, both of which help build and maintain your lean muscle. That doesn't mean you can eat ice cream 5 times a day, however. Reach for Greek yogurt, chocolate milk, and cheese as your main dairy sources.
6. You aren't eating enough
There's a reason crash diets stop working. It's your body's way of telling you it's in distress. It slams on the metabolism breaks and starts breaking down that good calorie burning muscle we talked about earlier. At minimum, most women should consume no less than 1200 calories in a day. It helps if you eat 3-4 small meals a day instead of 2-3 big ones. That way you're satisfied throughout the day and less likely to overeat.
7. You aren't drinking enough water in the morning
Unless you wake up at midnight to grab a drink, odds are your body has gotten dehydrated overnight. Scientists suggest waking up and drinking about 32oz of water to start your day. This will help boost your metabolism and lessen your appetite which will prevent overeating.
Here's a handy chart that shows you the 15 foods to boost your metabolism. Now that you've got the tools, let's see if we can finally shed those 15lbs we all said we'd lose 5 years ago!