Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bump Up the Calorie Burn

How to lose weight by being more active.

This week you're going to help your weight loss along by increasing your overall energy expenditure.

The plan for Week 3:
Eat six meals or snacks every day. If you are on a strict diet and/or you eat infrequently, you're not maximizing what is known as the thermic effect of food. The process of eating, breaking down and absorbing nutrients in food usually accounts for 8 percent to 10 percent of your daily energy expenditure, or about 200 to 400 calories for the average active person. Eating too little or waiting long periods between meals can minimize the effect. Some experts speculate that eating small, frequent meals has the potential to speed up your metabolism.

Keep in mind that eating protein with carbohydrates seems to induce a greater thermic effect—getting sufficient protein along with eating more "good" carbs tends to make you feel satiated, so you'll eat less and still feel full. And the greater amounts of fiber in the less-processed carbs crowd out extra calories. That helps your body burn more stored energy, and you'll therefore lose more weight. Continue to log everything you eat this week and how many times you eat. Make sure to meet a quota of six times per day. Read this week's Eat Smart tips; you can also track your eating habits on My Wellness Center.

Be more active all day. You can eat more if you move more. But to avoid gaining weight, you'll have to eat less if you don't move much. So the key to avoiding the starving-yourself feeling of deprivation that you get on many diets is to be more active. If you're more active, you can eat and feel satisfied, but still control your weight.

Burn more calories by walking. Exercising at higher intensities increases your burn rate, which is one reason why the Walk-the-Fat-Off routines include intervals of walking faster or more vigorously. And exercising harder provides another payoff: After a longer, high-intensity workout, your body stays revved up, burning extra calories even after you've gotten off the treadmill. A post-cardio afterburn could mean a loss of anywhere from 15 to 50 extra calories on top of what you burned while exercising.

This week's routines include more high-intensity intervals. Push yourself to work as hard as you comfortably can. Simply walking fast may be intense enough if you're new to exercise. If you're a seasoned walker, slipping in a few seconds of jogging or stair climbing may give you the boost you need. Challenge yourself a little more this week. (See "Walk the Fat Off" to the right.)

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