Tip # 7: Boost your metabolism program
Welcome to the 7th tip in the Boost your Metabolism program!
To assist with weight loss and/or to avoid weight gain, this program gradually adds healthy habits to your lifestyle. These tips are not a quick fix; they are life-long habits to help increase your metabolic rate – which also involves how efficiently your body utilizes the food you eat.
Once a week – for eight weeks – I've been posting a new tip on this blog. However, I encourage you to follow each tip longer than a week, before moving on to the next one. Each of the eight tips will be easily accessible on this Blog. They will be here for you when you are ready to advance to another 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 the first tip here: Tip #1. All the tips can be seen in the right hand “menu” on this blog page. Or under search topics click on Boost Metabolism Program. (Each succeeding tip is also linked at the bottom of every "tips" article.)
And if you’re ready to move on to the 7th tip . . .
Tip # 7:
Eat a vegetable (or two) with an unhealthy snack, or just have the veggies!
Whenever you choose to snack on what is considered junk food, like chips or snack bars, you are to accompany it with some vegetables. And by the way, junk food labeled as organic, low-fat, “natural,” and/or sugar free, is still considered junk food. Therefore, having organic potato chips is no excuse to skip doing this tip. And if you feel really confident and comfortable, occasionally omit that junk food snack and enjoy only the vegetables.
Cookies, candy, taco and potato chips (yes, ‘organic’ sweet potato and taro chips too), candy bars, frozen desserts like ice cream, granola bars, even sports bars are classified as junk food. Usually, if it was created by humans (not nature), if it has a food label with a list of ingredients, and if it does not resemble any food in its natural form, well . . . these are good indications it’s a highly-processed
(junk food) snack.
These snack choices are not as nutritious or metabolism-boosting as whole, unchanged foods, like fresh vegetables. The high sugar and fat content in them (not to mention the many man-made chemicals and preservatives) will contribute to slowing your metabolic rate. It is also suspected by some nutrition specialists that these highly-changed foods are putting unnecessary stress on the digestive system, in its attempt to try and digest these “unfamiliar” foods. As a result, if the stress-induced hormone cortisol circulates too often, your metabolic rate will be affected (slows) and you will become less efficient at utilizing the food you eat.
But why vegetables and not fruit? Only because fruit is more commonly eaten and preferred than vegetables. Fruit is sweeter, so it’s not as difficult to increase its consumption. And as I mentioned in Tip # 2, very few people eat enough vegetables! In addition, those with weight loss issues may have problems with their insulin response. Fruit is higher in natural sugar than vegetables, so fruit only on an empty stomach (as a snack) may not be ideal for some. That’s not to say don't eat fruit: just be careful when and how much you are eating if you are prone to cravings and chronically hungry. In contrast, having vegetables only at snack time won’t risk any blood sugar spikes due to their more balanced ratio of protein to carbs. Yes, it is recommended to eat a small amount of a protein source with each meal, as it may help buffer any “sugar hit.” However, when you snack on veggies alone, you don’t have to worry as much about having a small protein source with it. Vegetables, as mentioned earlier, offer a better balance of protein to carbs than fruit does. This makes veggies only, as opposed to fruit only, much more convenient to prepare or to pack as a take-along snack because you don't have to worry about having protein too. So for now, let’s just focus on vegetables.
What if you don’t eat junk food? You can skip this tip if it doesn't apply to you, or perhaps be sure to make vegetables your first priority when you do have a snack. And pat yourself on the back! Not snacking between meals and not habitually eating unsuitable snacks is usually a rare occurrence with those needing to lose weight.
On the road or at work? It’s not difficult to prepare for this tip. There are several vegetable choices easy to pack (and not needing refrigeration).You can take them to work with you or when
running errands away from home for any length of time. Or even when you are on a day-long road trip. These include cherry tomatoes, whole large carrots, baby cucumbers, celery sticks, etc. If you haven’t already pre-washed them, it takes very little time to do that. As long as they aren’t sliced up into small pieces, many raw vegetables in their whole form can be left unrefrigerated for several hours (but for longer than a day’s trip, consider packing a cooler). They’ll be conveniently within reach if you get hungry between meals. Have one or two along with that candy bar or chips you caved in for. Or, as I’ve hinted several times already, perhaps try, occasionally, to have the veggies instead of the junk food.
For this tip you can follow the same suggestions about vegetable selection and variety as in Tip # 2, where you added vegetables to breakfast. Keep vegetables stocked in your refrigerator, fresh, frozen, or whatever ‘leftover’ veggies you can reheat. Have them with (or instead of?) your guilty pleasure snack.
Tip: Having friends over at tea time? Especially if it’s around your regular ‘snack time,' serve veggies and a healthy dip instead of the traditional cookies and cake. Vegetables are also a good choice for appetizers before dinner.
As you start on this new metabolism-boosting “habit,” continue with the other tips you’ve learned in past weeks.
Have fun with this tip. Do it with family/friends: perhaps get a support group going. But if you do not want to follow this particular tip, you certainly don’t have to. Continue as you have with the past tips.
And if you are ready for the next tip, here it is . . . TIP # 8
Have a short question or comment about this particular tip? Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eve Lees is a Certified Nutrition Coach, a former Certified 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.