In yesterday’s post, I promised to go into more detail on what we can do to boost our metabolism and why we should bother.
To continually activate our metabolism, and raise our energy, we’ll need to explore several things:
- The importance of breakfast
- The importance of moving
- The importance of light
- The importance of water
- The importance of deep breathing
I’ll tackle the first three today, and the last two tomorrow. Deal?
The Importance of Breakfast
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Autumn 2003) reported that those who miss breakfast are 4 ½ times more likely to be obese than those who eat a morning meal.
Robert K. Cooper, in his book Flip the Switch says,
In one study, moderately overweight women who regularly skipped breakfast were randomly divided into two groups. One group was asked to eat a low-fat breakfast every morning, while the other group was instructed to continue forgoing the morning meal. After 12 weeks, the breakfast eaters lost significantly more weight than the breakfast skippers.
Along with the fat-burning benefits of the breakfast habit come improved mental alertness, increased energy, more optimism/better attitude, in short, a better day for your buck!
A good breakfast, high in protein and fiber, moderate carb and low-fat will rev up your fat-burning potential for the whole day. Cooper suggests and provides recipes for protein shakes: combinations of milk, low-fat yogurt, whey protein powder, fresh fruit and ice. I cheat (time wise) and make a yogurt parfait, similar to those sold at McDonalds. For one serving layer 1/2 cup fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt and ½ cup fresh or frozen fruit (blueberries, kiwis and bananas–my faves) with a tablespoon or two of granola sprinkled on top.
Remember, according to Cooper,
When you skip breakfast, you not only keep the body’s fat burners in “off” mode, you turn on the fat-making process instead. You lose twice!
The Importance of Moving: Activate your energy at regular intervals throughout the day
Simple: Move at every opportunity. Set a timer to remind you to get up from your WIP (work-in-progress for you non-writers) every half hour or so, stretch and rotate your shoulders, breathe deeply, and/or jog in place for 2 minutes.
This activates your nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems, flipping quite a few switches critical to your body’s metabolism. Just to be clear, the every-half- hour boosts can be as simple as standing, stretching and deep breathing. But make sure to include at least 4 toning exercises at different points throughout the day.
The Importance of Light
In addition to having breakfast, Dr. Cooper also recommends getting up at the same time each day, and upon arising, turn on the bright lights! Sleeping in or hitting the snooze on the alarm repeatedly causes an effect that Cooper calls,
…a jet-lag-like sleep disturbance that leaves you worn out and less alert.”
He talks about bright sunshine as if it’s a plethora of healing and life-giving energy. And isn’t it true? I’ve felt energized upon pulling the shades clear up and feeling the warmth seep into the room around me. He explains,
A brightly lit room has about 500 luxes of light (a lux is the scientific equivalent of the light from a single candle) compared with 10,000 luxes of light at sunrise, and 100,000 luxes of light at noon on a sunny day. To our metabolism, spending a day indoors is virtually the same as spending the day in darkness. It stimulates the inherent physiological processes associated with sleeping and gaining weight.”
There’s that reference to our tendency to want to hibernate like big lazy bears readying for winter.
I’ll finish this up tomorrow, hitting on the importance of water and deep breathing.