Happy spring, West Chester University! Finally we can start packing away our winter coats and start enjoying some warm weather! Since we all know that summer and beach season will be here in no time, and that the process of shedding “the winter 10” will have to commence at some point, I thought it’d be helpful to share some tips to expedite weight loss and make it easier to get off those extra pounds.
While it may seem easier to walk yourself into the drug store and purchase that new diet pill you saw your roommate using, diet pills are often not the best choice.
They have been known to contain amphetamines, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants, all of which can interact with medication and can be addictive. In addition, these pills are under no obligation to be checked by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore have the potential to elicit unforeseen side effects.
Besides, the whole point to losing the extra pounds is to keep them off, not to just come up with a quick and temporary fix for a few weeks. This is what diet pills are known to do. Many times, people don’t change their lifestyle choices when they take diet pills and can lead to dangerous side effects and unhealthy weight loss.
The bottom line is that diet pills are a temporary and frankly risky fix that shouldn’t be our “go to” for losing weight. Besides, after you see how simple it can be to boost the amount of daily calories you burn, you won’t need any diet pills.
In addition to increasing daily activity levels such as going for a 20-minute walk instead of gluing yourself to the couch—as I’m sure we’ve all done this winter—and trying your hardest to cut back on daily consumption of sodas and ice cream, simply introducing new foods into your diet can help burn up to an extra 300 calories per day without requiring you to head to the gym.
The number one calorie-burning food—that you spicy eaters out there will be very happy to hear—are hot peppers. Oddly enough, hot peppers have a chemical in them called capsaicin that triggers our body’s pain receptors. While doing this, blood circulation increases, as does metabolism.
This is often why we break out in a mini-sweat when consuming spicy foods. For those who aren’t a big fan of the heat, just keep in mind that one pepper can increase our baseline metabolic rate for up to three hours as reported by studies done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Also extremely effective in boosting our metabolism is green tea. Not only does it contain caffeine that’s known for its stimulatory effects, green tea also contains antioxidant properties that make it easier for the liver to breakdown fat for energy use. In total, green tea has the potential to boost metabolism so much so that we burn an extra 240 calories per day.
Three to four cups should do the trick. However, try to stay away from night drinking since the caffeine could lead to insomnia and trouble falling asleep.
Next is fiber. Surprisingly, increasing the amount of fiber consumed in a day to around 25 grams has the ability to speed metabolism by as much as 30 percent.
This is because fiber is known to stabilize insulin levels, therefore preventing sudden crashes that lead us to grab quick, non-nutritious snacks throughout the day. In addition, fiber is actually a long-term preventative measure for weight gain.
Studies have shown that people who consume at least the daily recommended dose of fiber escaped, on average, a whopping 30 pounds over a 20-year period. To increase fiber intake without dipping into any weird powder mixes, simply skew everyday food choices towards fruit, oatmeal and brown rice.
Finally, one major rule of thumb to follow when trying to speed up your metabolic rate, or at least keep it working at its optimal level, is to always be sure to eat enough. This means no skipping meals and no portioning yourself so much so that you never feel satisfied.
Doing this puts your body in the uncomfortable place of thinking that you’re trapped on a desert island where there’s no food around. In turn this actually causes metabolic rate to decrease so that you ration stored energy for as long as possible.
Follow these steps, and you’d be surprised at what can happen in just a few weeks.
The key, however, is not to deprive yourself of every tempt or crave. Slow and steady wins the race, but incorporating these points into a new regime of increased physical activity and adequate daily rest will undoubtedly show results.
Not only will you see the difference, but you’ll feel more energized and ready to take on the day. Good luck!
Alecia Sexton is a third-year student majoring in health and physical education. She can be reached at AS876443@wcupa.edu.