I have been thinking about The Formula, and have had a thought or two that I want to share with you.

The point of the formula is to allow you to gauge where you’re at. Though Nick and I do keep track of calories we consume, the formula is not meant as a method to restrict calories in any extreme way. I can’t stress this enough: count the calories you consume, but don’t restrict them unreasonably! Instead, focus your attention on the exercise end, and adjust the amount of exercise you’re doing to balance it out.

Here’s why:

When you restrict your calories below a certain level, you may begin to lose weight, but your body goes into “starvation mode.” The human body is incredibly intuitive, so, to prepare for the next famine, it will begin to store up fat in your body. As Jillian Michaels explains it in her book “Winning By Losing:”

“Not eating enough triggers your body’s starvation survival mechanism, causing your metabolism to slow down to hoard fat and keep your vital organs protected and insulated. Because your body is holding on to all the fat it can, it begins to draw energy from your  muscles instead; you will lose weight, but it will be valuable muscle tissue.”

Basically, your metabolism will be slowed down (some even say damaged), so even if you lose the weight you want, you will have a hard time keeping it down. Jillian goes on to say:

“As soon as you go off the starvation diet, which you must at some point, you will gain back all the weight you lost, and usually more, because you have made your body less efficient at using energy.”

So, today I thought I’d provide you with a few good ways to speed up your metabolism.

Eat a good breakfast. When you’re sleeping, your metabolism slows down, so to get it going again, you need to provide it with something to burn. Eating a good breakfast also sets the tone for the day. It’s important to choose a breakfast that will “stick to your ribs” and keep your blood sugar level. Our favorite breakfast is oatmeal. It sounds boring, but I can assure you that it is so yummy! There are so many options for flavor and toppings and I will post some ideas about oatmeal later on.

Build Muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat. This means that even when you’re sleeping, sitting on the couch, etc., your muscles are constantly burning calories to build and repair themselves. Fat, however, just expands and multiplies itself. For this reason, I recommend strength training to build those muscles and thus accelerate your metabolism.

Don’t Be A Cardio Freak! A blog I read, TheIFLife puts it this way,

“Think of it like driving a car, which uses up more gas… city stop and go traffic while slamming down the accelerator… or cruising along the highway at 65 with the overdrive on?”

Your body is much the same way, and is very adaptable and efficient! If you set your workouts on cruise control, hop on the treadmill and zone out for an hour, your body will find ways to use less energy. For this reason, I suggest changing up your exercise to include different types of cardio (running, swimming, cycling, hiking, elliptical, etc.) as well as other activities that give your body a new challenge! Variety is the key.

Eat More Often. Eating small “meals” more often will keep your blood sugar stable and keep your metabolism going throughout the day. By eating every 2-3 hours, you keep your body (& metabolism) working by giving it food to digest, break down, and send to the right places.

Eat Plenty of Fiber & Protein. Eat plenty of protein, because protein causes the muscles that you tear during strength training to repair at a faster rate. Good sources of protein are: fish & seafood, white meat poultry, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, beans, etc.  By getting enough fiber, your body will be better able to maintain insulin levels, so eat those green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and a variety of beans!

Drink Lots of Water! Metabolism needs water to do it’s work effectively. Keeping your body sufficiently hydrated will, in effect boost your metabolism! It will also keep your body from retaining excess water.

Get Enough Zzzz’s. Your body regenerates itself while you’re sleeping, as well as cleansing itself from toxins, so get some sleep!