By Hallie Levine and Diana Vilibert for Redbook Magazine.
Ever wonder why your best friend can go through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s without gaining a pound while just one spoonful goes straight to your hips? The answer lies in your metabolism, that little engine in your body that burns calories all day, every day. Because of genetics, some women burn fat faster than others. But age, weight, diet, and exercise habits also play a role.
“As women age, their metabolisms slow down. This is mainly because they are losing five or six pounds of muscle each decade starting in the mid-20s,” explains fitness expert Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director of the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. Translation: You may be burning 100 fewer calories a day at 35 than at 25.
But there are easy things you can do to stoke your fat-burning potential
. “There’s no reason you can’t have the same metabolism in your 30s and 40s that you had in your 20s,” stresses Pamela Peeke, M.D., author of Fight Fat After Forty
. Here are some experts’ tips on how to boost your metabolism — so you, too, can guiltlessly binge on Ben & Jerry’s every now and then.
Sneak peek at #15: Treat Yourself
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 teacher. “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!
Check out the full Redbook article here.