If you're cutting calories to lose weight, add 200-300 to your daily intake once in a while, says Amanda Bonfiglio Cunningham, a senior Yoga Medicine instructor. "The body will get used to a calorie deficit diet, adjusting by slowing the metabolic rate. By allowing yourself a day of indulgence (not overindulgence!), you're creating a healthy balance," she explains. "The extra calories raise leptin production, a hormone that regulates appetite and energy. This rise triggers thermogenesis, the body's natural tendency to create heat, which results in burning calories." Pass the dessert menu!
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If you don't personally experience symptoms after eating something like cheese or bread, omitting a beloved food a la your favorite celebrity probably won't affect your body in a measurable way—unless, Dr. Seltzer explains, that change ultimately impacts the total number of calories you eat in a day. If you replace your daily pizza slice with a gluten- and lactose-free alternative with roughly the same number of calories, you'll end up where you started...with cravings for the OG alternative you actually wanted. 6 Exercises Men Over 40 Need To Start Doing Correctly
Thinking about having a cocktail — or two — before dinner? Think again. Having a drink before a meal causes people to eat around 200 calories more, several studies show. Drinking with dinner isn't such a good idea either: Other research has found that the body burns off alcohol first, meaning that the calories in the rest of the meal are more likely to be stored as fat. If you do have a cocktail craving, stick to wine, which packs only 80 calories a glass — or minimize the calories by drinking a white-wine spritzer (two ounces of wine mixed with two ounces of seltzer). How to start a healthly lifesyle and lose weight after 40 I Get fit and healthy
However, just like those rehab-loving design gurus on HGTV, your body breaks down muscle as regularly as it builds it. "All of the cells in your body need protein to function. When there aren't enough amino acids from food available in the bloodstream, the body will start to break down and harvest amino acids from your muscle in order to keep more vital cells—like the ones in your brain and other organs—functioning," says Dr. Paddon-Jones. "This is a natural, continuing cycle. Muscle-protein synthesis goes up after you eat a meal with protein, and your body switches back to muscle-breakdown mode a few hours after you've eaten. Normally, the ups and downs equal out and your muscle mass stays the same." However, eat too little protein for too long and your muscles start to shrink, eventually causing your metabolism to take a nosedive.
After suffering for many years with everything from bullying to bulimia, Lady Gaga dropped 25 to 30 pounds with a low-glycemic index diet. Gaga is said to have followed the 5-Factor Diet, only eating healthy foods from five categories – healthy fats, fiber, "low-glycemic" carbohydrates, protein and sugarless drinks. (The glycemic index ranks foods by the speed at which they raise blood sugar levels as they get digested.) She avoided highly-processed meats, fried foods, foods high in saturated fat (like butter, ice cream and desserts), simple carbohydrates (including white bread and white rice) and sugary treats. Her plan included eating five times per day, usually broken down into two meals and three light snacks.
That 16-ounce rib eye at your favorite restaurant may tout well over 100 g of protein, but you'll have the greatest chance of offsetting muscle loss if you spread out your total daily protein intake evenly, aiming for 20 to 30 g at each meal and snack. "Remember, over the course of a day, there's a natural balance between muscle breakdown and muscle building," says Dr. Paddon-Jones. "By eating protein at regular intervals throughout the day, you'll avoid dipping into breakdown mode for too long at one time."
Kick off your weight loss today by skipping the artificial sweeteners. Researchers at Yale University have found a link between artificial sweetener consumption and an increased risk of obesity and excess belly fat, but nixing them from your diet could help you get rid of those unwanted pounds. Skipping the sweeteners may have another benefit for women of a certain age, too: many women find that artificial sweeteners can trigger hot flashes, so cutting them from your diet can help you keep your cool.
"The main culprit that slows metabolism and often leads to yo-yo dieting is what I call shrinking muscle syndrome," says Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center and the author of The Overnight Diet: The Proven Plan for Fast and Permanent Weight Loss. Starting at age 30, most people begin to lose about half a pound of the metabolism-revving tissue each year. Poof! Gone, just like that. And at age 50, the rate doubles. "The average sedentary woman may have lost nearly 15 pounds of muscle by the time she reaches her late 50s, a change that could cause her to gain nearly the same amount in body fat," says Wayne Westcott, PhD, a Prevention advisory board member and the director of fitness research at Quincy College in Massachusetts.