by Eve Lees
Tip # 4: Boost your metabolism program
Welcome to the fourth tip in the Boost Your Metabolism program. I'm introducing eight tips teaching you life skills to gradually incorporate into your day. It's fun, it's free and you can work at your own pace. If you need to lose weight (or want to avoid gaining any) these tips may assist in increasing your metabolic rate – or how efficiently your body utilizes the food you eat.
Take your time practising each tip; longer than a week, preferrably. The longer you work on a habit, the more likely it will become permanent. The tips will be always be accessible on this Blog. You can access them whenever you are ready to move on to the next tip.
Incidentally, it’s best to follow the tips in the order they were introduced (because I may refer back to past tips). Therefore, if you are visiting for the first time . . .
Begin with week 1 here: Tip # 1.
If you missed the 2nd week’s tip, go here: Tip # 2.
And if you missed week 3: Tip # 3.
But if you’re ready to advance to week 4 . . . Tip # 4: Fruit only, for dessert.
This is actually an easy tip to follow (despite the look on the man's face in the photo!). Okay, it’s probably not going to be a big hit for those who love pies, pastries, or huge servings of chocolate cake on most restaurant menus. But it’s just for one week (or longer, if you like!). You can return to having decadent desserts later – but hopefully, after practising this tip, you’ll decide to have cake and pie less frequently.
Your goal for this tip is simply to eat only fresh fruit whenever you want or are offered dessert. This practice, if it becomes habitual, will cut down on all the 'calories' and unwanted ingredients decadent desserts offer. And you are also increasing your fruit consumption, if that was a problem for you.
There are suggestions below on how to follow this tip when you are a dinner guest or when eating in a restaurant. It's much easier, of course,
when you are at home. I'm a lazy cook, so I usually just have an apple or a pear or something easy to grab and eat. And when I offer dessert to my company I feel best serving a colourful-looking fruit arrangement. Sometimes I’ll set out small bowls of optional toppings or additions to the fruit; like nuts or seeds, shredded coconut, or cinnamon. I call these healthy “sprinkles.”
Surf the net and you’ll find lots of creative ways to serve fruit: Carved watermelons,
pineapples, or cantaloupe, etc. If you are an artistic person, you’ll be in your element. But you don’t have to get too fancy (it does takes time to prepare). Because I’m a pretty lazy cook, I usually just arrange the fruit on a platter or in a bowl.
And by the way, when I say fruit, I mean just fruit – no caramel sauce or powdered sugar, etc.. Plain, unflavoured yogurt is fine served with the fruit. However, the fruit-added yogurt always has some kind of sugar or artificial sugars added. Try to avoid those as you practise this tip. Fruit itself is sweet enough; table sugar and even honey, stevia, or agave nectar are often overkill and really not necessary.
Keep your fruit dessert as natural and as unchanged as possible. You can choose to bake the fruit. But it may be difficult to enjoy a plain baked apple with cinnamon only, if you are used to also having butter and brown sugar with it. Here’s a suggestion for “cooking” your fruit dessert: Slide a selection of fruit slices on a wooden skewer (optional; you can lightly brush it with oil so it won’t dry out too much) and grill it on the barbecue or in the oven. This might pass everyone’s taste test because fruit often tastes sweeter when it’s baked. Fruit can also taste sweeter when it’s frozen. Eating frozen grapes and strawberries, etc., is a nice cooling treat when it's hot outside.
Your metabolism will thank you with a small serving of fresh fruit, instead of a huge serving of fat and sugar-filled cake or pie (not to mention the unnatural preservatives added to commercially-prepared desserts). And you probably won’t feel as lethargic after eating fruit. You may even feel energetic enough to take an after-dinner stroll.
At the restaurant . . . skip the dessert menu. Ask if they happen to have fresh fruit. Well . . . it doesn’t hurt to ask! If not, have fresh fruit afterward at home. Or, how about this scenario . . . as you leave the restaurant, encourage your companion(s) to walk with you to a grocery store, hit the fruit section for something fresh (wash it in the store’s public restroom, perhaps), and continue your health-boosting walk as you enjoy the fruit. If this sounds strange to you, well, this is all about change, isn’t it? Try doing something different.
If eating at a friend’s . . . opt out of dessert if it’s offered. You can choose to tell them about this metabolism-boosting program and that you aren’t having typical desserts at this time. Perhaps warn them first, when they initially invite you, instead of announcing it right when dessert is served. It’s the considerate thing to do, to save them the fuss of preparing an elaborate dessert that you aren’t having! Hopefully, they’ll be supportive of your “experiment.” Maybe they’ll decide to serve you fresh fruit! You can also offer to bring the dessert, telling them you'll be happy to provide a fruit platter.
Having fruit after a filling (and hopefully healthy) meal or snack won’t affect blood sugar levels, as it might affect some people if they eat that naturally-sweet fruit on an empty stomach. A full stomach helps buffer any sugar hit. Incidentally, we are not all like this regarding our reactions to sugars. However, many of you are following this program because you are wanting to lose weight. And those needing to lose weight are often those more likely to have problems with blood sugar levels. So I’m just making these tips as general as possible, to suit as many as possible.
What if you seldom, if ever, eat a decadent dessert? Good for you! You can choose to skip this tip, or use it to collect ideas and experiment with fresh fruit creations for you or your family and friends. Perhaps the next time you have dinner guests (or celebrate a birthday), make the "watermelon cake" shown in the picture here, or the "watermelon shark" shown at the top of this page.
You can also use this tip to experiment
with fruit that you haven’t tried yet. How about starfruit, dragonfruit, mangosteen, kumquat, or Asian pears? Search for them on the internet to learn more about these interesting fruits and many others. You’ll treat your body to a wider variety of antioxidants like polyphenols and other disease-fighting properties. This strengthens your immune system as well as improves overall health and, in turn, may contribute to boosting your metabolism.
You will also continue all the other tips we’ve covered so far. If you want to do each tip longer than a week before starting the next one, go right ahead. Longer is better. It's best to be sure you are comfortable and familiar with each tip before you attempt another! Each of the eight tips presented over this program will always be accessible in this blog, so you can access them whenever you are ready to advance to the next one.
Have fun with this tip. Encourage family and friends to try it too by sharing this program with them. If you do not want to follow this tip, you certainly don’t have to. Continue as you have with the other tips and move on to the next when you
And here is the next tip: Tip # 5
Have a short question or comment about this particular tip? Feel free to e-mail Eve
Eve Lees is a Certified Nutrition Coach, a former Personal Trainer, a Health Speaker, and a Health Writer for several publications. She has been active in the health & fitness industry for over 35 years.