Pump up your Metabolism
A: This is such a good question — I'm so glad you asked! Many people suffer from the backlash that can result from years of yo-yo diets. What happens is this: When people let their calorie levels drop too low, their body's survival mechanism kicks in, lowering their metabolic set point (or basal metabolic rate). When they go off that crash diet and begin to eat normally again, they gain back any weight lost — plus. And what follows that? Yup, another crash diet.
The cycle is often very frustrating, but it CAN be reversed with time, consistency, and patience. What you'll need to do is the exact opposite of what we call shocking the metabolism; you have to allow your body time to adapt to a new metabolic set point — by being consistent, you'll force your body to adapt.
Okay, here's the game plan: First, set your daily caloric intake at 12 calories per pound of body weight. (For example, my weight is 117; 117 x 12 = 1,404 calories a day.) Then stick like glue to that calorie allowance for at least one to two months, depending on your metabolism. This will allow your body time to readjust your metabolic set point accordingly.
Now, here's the other part of the equation: The absolute best way to pump up your metabolism is to EXERCISE. You'll be burning calories not only during your workout but also up to 48 hours after — all the while increasing lean muscle tissue, which speeds the metabolism over the long term. Aim for five hours of exercise a week if possible, but no fewer than three hours a week.