1.  Increase your metabolism.  You can do this by developing a higher proportion of lean muscle on your body.  The more lean muscle, the larger your fat burning machine.  The only way to do this is to build lean muscle through strength training.  Now ladies, this does not mean to bulk up like Mr. Universe!  It just means to actually use your muscles!  You do it every day, especially if you have children, you know, picking up your baby (who weighs at least 10 lbs.) a few times a day is “strength training”.  By developing more lean muscle, your body will turn into a fat burning machine.  You do not need to spend hours at the gym either.  Just a twenty minute ‘fast walk’ burns fat.  Fast walk means getting your heart rate up to the point where you can just keep a conversation going.  This is called an aerobic workout. Anything faster than that is not beneficial and is commonly called an anaerobic workout.  Since we want to loose fat, we want to keep in the aerobic range.  There are many electronic heart rate monitors and other gadgets to more scientifically help you stay in your aerobic range, but the “talk test” does not cost you anything!  In addition, you continue to burn fat for almost 30 minutes after your walk.

2.  Increase your protein intake.  Yes, research suggests that if you increase your protein intake you will reduce your hunger, which, in turn, reduces your calorie intake.  Of course, you must be careful as to the type and amount of protein you consume, as you do not want to go overboard on the fats.  The July 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) shined the spotlight on protein and appetite. Researchers at the University of Washington showed that an increase in protein to 30% of calories and a reduction in fat to 20%, at a constant carbohydrate intake, resulted in a spontaneous drop in average daily calorie consumption of 441 calories!  In other words, the researchers found that we eat less when protein consumption is increased and, therefore, we consume over 400 less calories.  That beats sweating at the gym for an hour!

3.  Drink water.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Truth be known, we do not drink enough water.  Water is essential for our body to do its work.  Without water our body cannot properly perform all of the many biochemical reactions and metabolic processes that take place in the body.  Water is the primary component of our body fluids; it aids in digestion, provides the vehicle for circulating nutrients and oxygen through the body, as well as for the elimination of waste. It helps lubricate joints, protect organs, and maintain normal body temperature. A well-hydrated body is necessary for optimal exercise and athletic performance. 

Did you know that on average, your body losses 8 – 12 cups of water a day? This is increased by exercise, hot weather, low humidity, altitude, high fiber diet, the consumption of caffeine and alcohol containing beverages.  Next time you take a soda to drink, check the caffeine in it.  For every caffeinated beverage you drink, drink a glass of water.

On average, you should drink at least 8 cups of water a day.  You can count skim milk, 100% fruit juice, and decaffeinated teas as part of this because they are mostly water.

Another method that is used by runners to be sure that they are sufficiently hydrated is to be sure that they pass at least one clear urine a day.  Urine, by the way, is not supposed to be yellow.  Pale yellow is o.k. Clear is better.

4.  Watch your calories.   Yes, I hear you; we have known this for eons.  However, if you are not tracking your calorie intake you don’t know how many you are eating, do you?  Keeping a journal will help you keep track of your calorie intake and give you a reasonable calculation of your calorie intake.  Keep a food journal for one week.  Be honest here, you are only cheating yourself.  Then, at the end of the week, add up your total calories for the week, divided by seven and you have your average daily calorie intake.  Now, to lose weight, take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by twelve (12 x lb).  So, for a 200 lb. man (200 x 12) this would mean 2,400 calories a day.  Now, you have a basis for your calorie intake.  For a maintenance level, multiply for your weight by 15.  Of course, this method does not take into account your activity level, but at least you now know how many calories you need to lose weight.  Remember though, that if you do not eat enough calories your metabolic rate will slow down, thereby defeating what you are trying to accomplish.

 Be consistent and you will see results.  Not overnight but, rather, over time – the permanent type of weight loss.

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