Burn an extra 160 calories a day and lose weight

foods to boost your metabolism and lose weight

foods to boost your metabolism and lose weightDon’t obsess about what not to eat. Here are eight foods which could actually help you to lose weight by eating them! You could also take a look at other ways to boost your metabolism and lose weight. 


Green Tea

Green tea will really get your metabolism firing. Chose it over black tea or coffee for it’s flavinoids and antioxidants, as well as for it’s thermogenic properties. Simply put, it will boost your metabolism. The amount of extra calories you burn isn’t huge – one cup will help you burn up to an extra 60 calories, but every little bit helps to lose weight.


Low Fat Yoghurt

Good quality, unsweetened, plain yoghurt is packed full of live bacteria called probiotics, which help your gut process food more efficiently. Yoghurt is also a good source of protein and calcium. Seemingly inexplicably, a 2005 study showed that including low fat yoghurt in a reduced calorie diet had a greater effect in helping people to lose weight,  than a reduced calorie diet which did not include yoghurt. Over a 12 week period, people who were in the group which ate yoghurt lost about 1.8kg more weight than the other group, and also lost 81% more fat around the stomach than the non-yoghurt eaters.



Cinnamon has been shown to control the spike in blood sugar experienced after eating a high sugar meal. It seems the cinnamon slows down gastric emptying, releasing the sugars into the blood more gradually. This can make you fell full for longer, helping you to lose weight.  Think of it along the same lines as the difference between eating oats for breakfast vs coco pops!



Well-known as a broad spectrum anti-microbial (kills all sorts of little germs and bugs), Korean researchers found that rats given a high calorie diet as well as a garlic supplement did not gain as much weight as rats who weren’t given the garlic supplement. When exercise was thrown into the mix, the garlic was even more effective in preventing weight gain.

To get the most out of your garlic, crush the fresh bulb and leave it to sit for 10 minutes before adding it to your cooking. This helps it to retain about 70% more of its beneficial compounds. Crushing the garlic releases the beneficial enzymes trapped in the cells of the plant. The enzymes boost the levels of the healthy compounds in garlic, which peak about 10 mins after crushing.

For best results, add the garlic in at the last minute, so it is cooked only lightly.


Hot Peppers

Researchers testing a compound related to capsaicin, found in chili and other hot peppers, showed the compound could boost your metabolism. The study found an increase in calories burned after a test meal.

The extra boost in metabolism amounted to about 100cals for a 50kg women, to about 200 cals for a 90 kg man. Not insignificant. That’s about 25% of the calorie deficit you need to find (500cals) each day if you want to lose 500gms in weight a week. I’ll take that.



Similar to the capsaicin in chili peppers, ginger can boost your metabolism after you’ve eaten it, as well as aid digestion and decrease appetite. Add some grated fresh ginger to your stir fry, or make a yummy ginger tea by infusing in sliced fresh ginger in hot water. You can also add it to your favourite baking recipes.



Recent studies suggest that the acetic acid in vinegar may switch on genes that release proteins that break down fat. Participants in a Japanese study who drank 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily for 12 weeks, were able to lose weight, and  lower their visceral fat (fat surrounding organs) and waist circumference significantly.

Dark Chocolate

No article on the magical properties of foods would be complete without the mention of dark chocolate! Someone can always come up with some reason for eating chocolate. Here’s a study by Nestle researchers which shows that dark chocolate can aid in weight loss by reducing stress hormones.


What do you think?



Running For Healthy Skin

Start running for healthy skin

Start running for healthy skinHow is it that some women have glowing, healthy, smooth looking skin?

Many of them can thank their parents for blessing them with good genes. But even if you weren’t so lucky, there’s a few things you can do to improve the look of your skin – without spending a fortune.


You can run, and you can exfoliate.


Running for healthy skin

Running helps nourish skin cells by improving circulation and increasing blood flow to them. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, and it helps carry away waste products. By increasing blood flow, you’re giving your cells a flush out.

Running can also decrease stress, which will help to ease conditions exacerbated by stress, such as acne and eczema. The reduction in stress will help to smooth out some of those tension lines and worried looks on your face as well!


Exfoliate for healthy skin

Exfoliating helps to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. It reveals to the world the brighter skin beneath this layer of dead cells. And you don’t need to buy expensive lotions and potions for exfoliating to be effective.

Here’s a simple recipe you can throw together from ingredients in your own kitchen.


Olive Oil Exfoliant

3 tablespoons rock salt
1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together, then rub into your body in circular motion. Best done in the bath or shower as it can get quite messy.

You can try adding herbs to the mixture such as sage or basil.

For a face scrub, you should use salt that has been partially ground.


Picture: Stuart Miles: freedigitalphotos.net




Boost Your Metabolism to Lose Weight

Boost your metabolism to lose weight

Boost your metabolism to lose weightDo you only have to look at a piece of cake to gain a kilo, or are you, like my annoyingly slim husband, one of those people who’s furnace is on overdrive day and night?

Why is it that one person can eat pretty much anything and everything, whilst others continually struggle with their weight?

There are heaps of reason why some people struggle with attaining and maintaining their ideal weight, not the least of which might be that their “ideal weight” is unrealistic, but that’s a topic for another day.

Today, we’ll stick to metabolism, and look at how you can boost your metabolism to lose weight.


 What is metabolism?

“Metabolism” refers to the chemical reactions going on inside your body, all day, every day,  which are necessary to maintain life. A pretty amazing network of hormones and enzymes convert food to fuel so that  your body can use it to survive. Your metabolism affects how efficiently your body burns that fuel.


 Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your BMR is the energy your body needs to keep it functioning if you sat around on the couch all day and did nothing. This energy is taken into your body in the form of food, with the amount of energy being measured in calories. Metabolic reactions occur at different rates in everybody. Your rate of metabolism usually corresponds to the speed with which you gain or lose weight. Therefore, you should boost your metabolism to lose weight.


 What Factors Influence Your Basal Metabolic Rate?

To some extent you can blame (or thank) your parents for the speed at which your metabolism functions. Age also plays a role in metabolism, with activity in our cells slowly down as we age. And if you’re a woman, your metabolism can be 10 t 15 times slower than the men you know.


How to manipulate your BMR

We can manipulate our BMR and change the rate at which we burn fuel. Here are a few simple tips.



Muscle burns calories more quickly than fat does, so body weight composition is a big factor in determining your overall metabolic rate. Seems a bit unfair, but if you have a lower body fat percentage, then you will have a higher percentage of muscle mass, ergo, a faster metabolic rate, helping you to maintain that low body fat percentage.

You can influence your body composition by combining strength training with cardio training. The cardio training will help you to burn fat, and the strength training will help you to build muscle – increasing your lean muscle mass.


Muscle Building

If you’re a runner, include some hills in your training, which will help to strengthen your legs, whilst improving your cardiovascular fitness and burning body fat. As with any new exercise, work up to hill running gradually. If you’re not up to running hills yet, walking quickly up hills will also build strength.

Most of us have heard that muscles burn more calories than fat does, but just how many more? 73 calories per kg per day, that’s how many more. So if, in the unlikely case, you have 5kgs of fat on your right buttock, and 5kgs of muscle on the left, your left buttock would burn 375 more calories per day than your right.   The more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be, the more calories you will burn.  A strength workout can elevate your basal metabolic rate for as long as 15 hours post workout!

You can estimate your metabolic rate here

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Your daily calorie consumption to maintain your body weight should be about 1.2 times your basal metabolic rate, if you had a very sedentary lifestyle. That is, you do no exercise, other than for such things as making your dinner, surfing the net and walking to your car.

If you are trying to lose weight, and you are sedentary, your daily calorie intake should be less then your basal metabolic rate times 1.2. If you’re aiming to lose ½ kg per week, your calorie deficit should be 500 cals per day, every day (either by taking in fewer calories, or expending more.



What we eat, and when we eat it comes into play when it comes to metabolic rate. Skipping meals during the day in the hope of losing weight is likely to cause you to gain weight. The body goes into starvation mode when it is deprived of energy, slowing down the metabolic process, storing energy for a rainy day (and don’t we know about raining days in Sydney at the moment?) Long term, consistent calorie restriction and meal skipping is therefore counter productive if weight loss is your goal.  It’s important to eat regular meals so that the metabolism stays high.

If you are looking at calorie restriction for weight loss, that’s fine, but make sure you eat regular meals and have at least one day a week where you allow yourself to eat about 10-20% more calories, to prevent your metabolism shutting down.


Hormonal Balance

Many hormones play a role in metabolism, including Thyroid hormones, insulin and cortisol. Elevated thyroid hormone levels, for example, will be associated with an increase in metabolic rate, weight loss, and increased appetite, whilst an abnormally low level of thyroid hormones can be associated with weight gain.  Post-natal and peri-menopausal women can experience lower levels of thyroid hormone. If you feel your metabolic rate isn’t what it used to be, see your health care provider to have a thorough check up.


Go to  Part Two of Metabolism, whre we look at  how to burn an extra 160 calories a day and lose weight.