Things That Slow Metabolism

Things That Slow Metabolism

Can a slow metabolism be fixed? And is the problem really your metabolism? I ran across a great post, 8 Things that Slow Down Your Metabolism, by ACE Fitness today. It’s informative yet not overwhelming, and I’d like to share the highlights here.

1. Stress

Stress increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and makes us reach for comfort foods. It can decrease our desire for exercise, slow digestion, and impact both the quality of sleep and number hours we sleep. Speaking of which…

2. Getting Too Little Sleep

Aim for 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night. When we do not get enough sleep, hunger hormones go haywire. Excess cortisol increases cravings for starchy, sugary and fatty foods. Adding insult to injury, the calories you eat are burned less efficiently.

3. Not Enough Water / Too Much Alcohol

All your body’s functions require water, so sip it often. Aim for at least 2 liters of water a day. Not drinking enough water leads to dehydration, which causes you to burn fewer calories. On the other hand, too much alcohol lowers your metabolism because your liver focuses on breaking down alcohol molecules instead of burning fat. Plus, the calories are no joke – especially from mixed drinks – and weight gain can creep up slowly and steadily.

4. Sitting Too Much

If you exercise an hour a day, but spend the other 23 hours sitting or lying down, your metabolism will slow down. Sitting for longer than 20 minutes can put your body into a more relaxed, non-energy-burning state. If your job keeps you chained to a desk or behind the wheel, get up once an hour to move around for a few minutes. Periodically moving helps cause a small spike in metabolism.

5. Not Eating Enough

If you are “dieting” to lose weight, eating too few calories can actually backfire and keep you from achieving your goal. Yes, creating a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, but there is a point in each individual that cutting calories too low will put the body into starvation mode and slow down metabolism to keep you alive. Make sure you get enough calories and a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) to keep your metabolism from crashing.

6. Skipping Out on Strength Training

Most people make the mistake of only doing cardio (aerobic) exercise because it burns a good amount of calories while it’s being done. But after the exercise is over, calorie burn returns to resting levels. Strength training is key for increasing metabolism because the more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.

7. Inconsistent Meal Times

When your meals times come at regularly spaced intervals, your body uses up the calories for fuel and burns more calories in between meals. If your eating pattern is erratic, your body gets confused and isn’t quite sure when the next meal is coming, so it goes into conservation mode. Calorie burn is reduced and more food is put into fat cells for storage .

8. Needing More Calcium

The mineral best known for building strong bones plays a key role in fat metabolism, which determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat. Have your doctor check your bloodwork to determine if you are calcium-deficient.

See the full article by Tiffani Bachus at ACE.

Winter Walking Challenge

Winter Walking Challenge

This Winter Walking Challenge is designed to encourage you to move more during the hectic holiday times and the ho-hum January doldrums. With generally mid winters in the Atlanta area, we should get outside and move more. So grab a co-worker, a neighbor, your spouse or kid, and get outside!

Walking is something we can control – it’s free, easy, and doesn’t require a gym or a huge block of time Having several brief walking breaks throughout your day is just as good for you as going on one big long walk, and can often be more easily incorporated into your busy life.

After a walk, you’ll feel more energetic and have better mental focus. Plus, you’ll have that smug satisfaction from knowing you just did something good for your heart and for your waistline.

The Goal

For the Winter Walking Challenge, your goal is to walk 30 minutes/day. You may walk anywhere, anytime. Want to do a 15-minute walk in the morning and again in the afternoon? Sweet. How about a 30-minute walk with a colleague at lunch time? That works. Got time for a long 60-minute walk or hike on a weekend afternoon? Bonus! Even if you can only get out for a few minutes? Yep, that counts, too —whatever works for you.

I’m starting over the holiday break and continuing throughout the month of January. I think it will help with stress, fatigue, and staying socially connected (via some walking buddies) during these winter months. And that’s a goal I can get behind.

Join me! Friend me on Facebook, or post progress and comments on my Facebook page. If Santa brings me a new Fitbit, I’ll share the info and you can compete with me for steps.

The Challenge

  • Encourage a friend or co-worker to participate. Walking with a buddy increases accountability toward personal fitness goals.
  • Use your fitness tracker to count steps and have a competition on daily or weekly step goals.
  • Try to incorporate walking activity into your daily routine.
  • Recruit your friends to take this challenge with you! It’s easy… just decide to do it, and let others know!

The Fine Print

  • Haven’t moved around much in a while? Talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Dress appropriately and drink water before, during, and after your walk.
  • Avoid walking alone at night. It’s safer and more fun to go with a friend.
Simple Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Simple Spaghetti Squash Skillet

There’s life beyond wheat noodles – save calories and dial up the nutrition with veggies masquerading as noodles. Pure genius.

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground Beef (grass fed, if possible) or lean ground Turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans organic diced tomatoes, OR 3 cups FRESH diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can organic tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sprinkling of all-natural parmesan cheese (optional, omit for dairy-free)

For the spaghetti squash prep:

    1. Cut a medium spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds.
    2. Very lightly coat the inside with olive oil.
    3. Bake @375°F skin side up, on a flat sheet pan for about 45 minutes.
    4. Cool just a bit and use a fork to shred “spaghetti” out of the skin.

For the Skillet:

  1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, crumble in meat and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain fat, set cooked meat aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet, once hot and add onion and green peppers and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes, adding in garlic & mushrooms during last 30 seconds of sautéing.
  3. Pour in diced tomatoes, and sauce. Stir in fresh parsley, the basil, oregano, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring just to a gentle boil then add cooked spaghetti squash noodles and cooked meat, stir and submerge noodles in liquid, then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes until heated through.
  5. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and a touch of parmesan, serve warm.

Find this and more delicious eats here at CleanFoodCrush.

 

 

Scruffy Hospitality

Scruffy Hospitality

So many women I know are outgoing and sociable, and would love to have friends over more often. But the stress of menu planning, house cleaning and trying to be a gracious host can be daunting. Sometimes it seems like too much hassle, and we give up entertaining altogether.

I say yes, let’s do that, let’s give up entertaining, with its inherent feelings of not being good enough. When I think of “entertaining”, I immediately start thinking about deep-cleaning the house. Ugh. While a clean house is manna from heaven, oh yes it is, I don’t want to feel like I don’t deserve to have a few people over for brunch because the hardwood floors need a new coat of wax.

Checking in with friends, staying connected to people, is important to me. It centers me, and makes me feel like part of a community. I need to generate more of those welcoming, accepting vibes, and less of the everything-must-be-perfect vibes.

So I have been working on that. And I think I can strike a balance between unrealistically high ideals and unacceptable low reality.

Unmade bed = okay. Cat throwup on carpet = not okay. Fingerprints on bathroom mirror = okay. Rust rings in toilet = not okay. Dusty chandelier = okay. Stinky leotards on sofa = not okay.

I found an article about a lovely concept called In Praise of Scruffy Hospitality. It challenges us to embrace the simple pleasure of having friends come to share a meal. Dust bunnies be damned. While it can hard to let go of the deeply ingrained belief that our homes need to be “Pinterest-perfect” before we can have guests over, we need to try. Waiting for the day when everything is perfect stops us from sharing our lives with each other now.

So call up a few friends, invite them over this weekend. Focus on quality conversation and ignore the leaves gathering in the yard. Serve a simple meal of whatever is on hand. Maybe ask everyone to bring the leftovers in their fridge for an impromptu potluck. Got a slow-cooker? I can personally vouch for this Chicken Parmesan soup.

Whatever you serve, even if your order pizza, if you’re enjoying a meal with people you love, it will be a glorious feast.

Source articles can be found at The Kitchn and Mother Nature Network.

Chicken Parmesan Soup

Chicken Parmesan Soup

This Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup has all of the flavors of decadent Chicken Parmesan in a waistline-friendly crockpot soup! Bonus: It takes just minutes to prepare. Crock pots really are a great way to make soup, as the ingredients have all day to slowly simmer, release their flavors, and come together into one harmonious bowl of deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound (raw) boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1 large breast)
  • 5 cups chicken broth, plus additional if needed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces (uncooked) dry gemelli or penne pasta
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. In slow cooker, stir together garlic, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, chicken, broth, 1/2 cup cheese, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook on high 3-1/2 hours or on low 7 hours.
  2. Transfer chicken to cutting board and use forks to coarsely shred; return to slow cooker. Stir in pasta. Cook on high 20-30 minutes longer or until pasta is cooked al dente. If soup becomes too thick after pasta is cooked, stir in additional broth or water until desired consistency is reached, and warm through.
  3. Serve garnished with extra Parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley.

Find more pictures and author’s notes for this gem on FoxesLovesLemons.

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