So you’re hitting the gym regularly throughout the week, stopped drinking those caramel Frappucinos in the morning and even ditched those late night runs for ice cream, but for some reason, you still can’t seem to shed some of those extra pounds. So what gives?
It could be that some of your daily habits are the culprit. Here are five common habits that could be slowing your calorie burn and tips on how you can rev up your metabolic rate in no time.
- Too Little Protein. If you’re not incorporating enough protein in your diet, then you’re missing out on an important dietary component, as protein-rich foods require more calories to digest and assimilate. Plus, protein is key for building calorie-burning muscle mass. Aim for 0.75 to 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight.
- Focusing Only on Cardio. Sure, cardio is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but if it’s the only form of exercise you’re doing, then you’re missing out by not building up muscle. Muscle burns as much as 50 calories per pound daily, compared with an estimated 2-3 calories per pound of body fat. Incorporate strength training into your regular workout routine through activities such as weight lifting, training with resistance bands, Pilates reformer, boot camp and Body Pump.
- Not Getting Enough Sleep. With today’s busy lifestyle, you may not even realize that if you’re lacking in the sleep department, you may be doing more damage than just incurring those dark circles under your eyes. Not getting enough sleep also interferes with your body’s hunger hormones, causing you to feel hungrier more often. Being sleep deprived is also linked to slower fat loss, even when calories are kept in check. The solution: aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.
- Skipping Breakfast. If you’re ditching breakfast in the morning and simply grabbing for that coffee instead, then you may want to rethink your morning routine. When you miss out on breakfast or go long stretches of time without eating, the body shifts into fat conservation mode, telling the body to burn fewer calories. One study even found that breakfast-skippers were 4.5 times more likely to be overweight.
- Cutting Too Many Calories. A healthy diet also means keeping your body nourished regularly throughout the day, so if you’re not getting enough calories in your day, you could actually be getting the opposite effect that you’re hoping for. Too few calories can mean that our bodies make the switch to starvation mode and can slow the metabolic rate by 100’s of calories daily. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 10 calories per pound of goal body weight.
For more details on this topic, watch Molly’s “Get the Skinny” segment on WGNO New Orleans.