5 Ways to Lose Weight With Lemons

Lemons are often seen as a garnish, or something to squirt on salads, but did you know that lemons can help you lose weight?  There are plenty of ways to use lemons to lose weight, but I’ve chosen the top five ways to work into your daily habits! Keep reading to see how you can use something as simple as a lemon to lose weight!

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Season Veggies and Other Food with Lemon

Vegetables are must in any healthy diet, so try seasoning them with lemon juice after roasting, steaming, or stirfrying.  This will boost the flavor as well as the vitamin C content!  You can do the same trick with fish or chicken as well!

 

Add Lemon to Green Tea

We already know that 4-5 cups of green tea per day can help you burn more fat, but did you know that by adding slices of lemon to your tea, you preserve the natural polyphenols that exist in lemons, helping your body take full advantage of their fat burning properties!

Make a Homemade Salad Dressing

Ditch the store-bought dressings that are packed with sugar, fat, and sodium (yes, even the diet and low-fat ones).  Make your own by squeezing lemons and adding other healthy ingredients like olive oil or avocado oil, lemons zest, honey, salt and pepper, and any other spices you like to cook with!

Make Healthier Cocktails

Cocktails are famous for being packed with sugar, but you can make them healthier with lemons!  Lemon juice, club soda, and vodka or gin make for a great cocktail that you don’t have to feel guilty about later– the lemon will keep your taste buds happy without overdosing you on sugar!

 

Make Infused Water

If you’re having trouble getting enough water each day, try infused water!  Staying hydrated is an important aspect of your health, especially if you’re trying to lose weight!  You can make infused water very easily– gather the ingredients you want to use– Lemon, obviously, but maybe you’d like to add mint or basil, rosemary, or other fruits (think strawberries, kiwis, etc.) Adding a bit of flavor to your water will make it more tempting to drink, but the good news is it’s got just a bit of juice and sugar from the things you’ve put in it, and no mystery ingredients that you sometimes get from fancy coffee drinks or energy drinks!

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Top 4 Teas that Melt Fat

 

Did you know that there are teas that will help you burn fat?  That’s right!  Exercise and a balanced diet are important tools in melting fat, but there are teas that can help you get the job done, too! Keep reading  below to find out which four teas will melt fat and get you even closer to your fitness goals!

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Pu-Erh Tea

Never heard of it?  That’s ok! Originally from China, this fermented tea can shrink fat cells and lowers triglyceride concentrations, which are dangerous fat accumulations in the blood.  Have a glass or two of this tea each day to reap the benefits!

 

Barberry Tea

Barberry is a shrub, and the stems, roots, and leaves can all be used to make tea!  They contain berberine, a fat-burning compound.  Studies show that they can also reduce the surface area of fat receptors, meaning that even when  you do consume high-fat foods, this tea could keep your body from absorbing it and adding more body fat!

 

White Tea

White tea has the amazing ability to block fat cells’ formation while simultaneously boosting lipolysis, the body’s natural process of breaking up fats that are already stored.  On top of that, white tea is high in catechins, which are antioxidants that signal for the release of fat in cells.  Even better, white tea can make your liver more efficient at converting fat into energy!

 

Rooibos Tea

This South African tea is a natural fat melter! The compounds contained in this tea can help to inhibit the formation of new fat cells, and they also help boost the metabolism of fat.  Processing existing fat more quickly and blocking new fat from forming?  Yes, please!

Try to replace your coffee habit with a tea habit (or at least one cup a day!) and remember that you can do a lot with a cup of tea! Try adding fresh herbs, lemon or orange slices, and other interesting flavors, but watch out for adding too much sugar.  If you aren’t a fan of hot beverages, try brewing them and drinking them cold!

Try a combination of at least 2 of these teas each day, combined with your healthy diet and exercise routines, and see  how much fat you melt in a month!

 

What’s your favorite way to drink tea?

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5 Ways to Curb Your Sugar Cravings

Sugar cravings are tough– they often make us willing to go straigh for candy or junk food as the quickest vehicle to get some glucose pumping through out veins.  But you don’t have to run and grab a soda just because you feel like getting some sugar!  Find out 5 ways to curb your sugar cravings below!

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Eat Fruit.

Ok, it technically has sugar, so if you’re very specifically trying to cut sugar out of your diet, this isn’t the tip for you.  Most of us are trying to avoid added sugar or refined sugar, though, and fruit is packed with natural sugar and tons of vitamins, making it a great way to stop your sugar craving before you head to the junk food aisle!  Just beware– eat whole fruit so you get all the benefits of its vitamins and fiber.  Skip the juices, as they often have added sugar or other ingredients, and you won’t get the benefits of fiber!

 

Use Honey.

If you just can’t stomach straight tea or black coffee but you’re kicking the sugar habit, try adding a bit of honey.  You can also go with stevia if you’d like, but the goal is to stop dumping spoonfuls of sugar on everything!  Add honey to your toast with nut butter or to your yogurt as a natural source of sweetness!

Have an Egg.

I know if you’re craving sugar hardcore, an egg is probably the last thing you want, but hear me out!  Eggs are the number one top food for choline, a nutrient our bodies need for basic functioning.  Because eggs contain a bit of fat, choline, and protein all packed together, having a serving of eggs (scrambled, hard boiled, you name it) can help your stomach to chill out and regulate your blood sugar to a healthy level so you can kill almost any craving you’re having without undoing your diet.

 

Have a Flavorful Snack.

Your body might be wanting sugar, but it’s very likely that you’re actually BORED when craving sugar!  IF you can definitely tell that you’re also hungry, have a snack, but pack in the flavor!  Have some hummus with oregano or sri racha on top, make a bowl of guacamole with carrot sticks, have a salad with an intense cheese grated on top, eat some eggs with paprika sprinkled on top– the key is to get a healthy snack and then up the flavor levels for things that aren’t necessarily sweet but will definitely hold your attention while you’re eating them.  From there, your body will regulate your blood sugar and your mouth and brain will be happy about the flavors they just experienced!

 

Get Enough Sleep.

When we’re tired and worn out, sugar is always an easy, fast, and cheap way to boost our energy– temporarily.  We all know that the crash is what comes next, and if you keep using sugar to up your energy, you end up in the cycle of sugar addiction because you need more sugar to get over the crash from your previous dose!  Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and on top of that, make sure that each meal you’re eating has a healthy mix of good carbs, protein, and healthy fats.  You won’t crave sugar nearly as much when your body has the proper fuel it needs to get you through the day!

What are your best tricks for curbing your sugar cravings?

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Top 10 Foods Your Abs Will Love

Everybody wants to have great abs, and we know it takes a lot of work in the gym to get them.  But have you heard the saying ”Abs are made in the kitchen” before?  It’s true!  And there are special foods that your abs will absolutely love!  Keep reading below to see how to stock your kitchen while working on your abs!

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Bell Peppers

Because of their high vitamin C content, foods like bell peppers (and broccoli, citrus fruits, and brussel sprouts) are great for your abs because they fight back against the stress hormone cortisol.  If unchecked, cortisol will encourage your body to store fat around your midsection.  To prevent that, try adding bell peppers and other vitamin C-rich foods to your diet, especially when you’re feeling a bit stressed!

 

Green Tea

We know there are a billion health benefits to drinking more green tea, but did you know that the cachetins that it contains will hinder the storage of belly fat?  Drink 3-5 cups of green tea per day to see results!

 

Sweet Potatoes

Althought sweet potatoes are carb-heavy, they’re good carbs!  They’re packed with fiber and nutrients, and will take time to digest.  That means you’ll feel fuller for longer!  Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which lower insulin resistance and prevent calories from being converted into fat!  They’re incredibly versatile as well, so you’re sure to be able to find a place for them on the table!

 

Tuna (or other coldwater fish)

The protein boost from fish is great for your abs after hitting the gym, and coldwater fish are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to prevent fat cells in the belly area from expanding.  Broiled, grilled, in sushi, or on top of a salad- there are so many ways to enjoy fish!  The FDA suggests consuming fish at least 3 days per week, and your abs will probably agree with them.

 

Broccoli

Did you know that broccoli contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane?  Sulforaphane increases testosterone and helps fight belly fat storage and contains a great dose of vitamin C, which will help your body combat cortisol and it’s fat-storing tendencies.  Related cruciferous vegetables, like Kale, will get you the same effects!

 

Chocolate Milk

It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does!  If you want to burn more fat, you need more muscle!  Researchers have found that the ideal amount of protein to build muscle is 20 grams– half before working out and half after.  Drinking a serving of chocolate milk before and after each workout will give your body the perfect dose of whey protein to rebuild and repair your muscles after an intense workout!

 

Legumes

Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are great additions to a diet that needs more protein!  They can lower your ”bad” LDL cholesterol and have been proven to help with fat loss.  Try adding them to your diet in salads, chilis, and soups, or eat them as a side dish to your fish or chicken!

 

Lean Poultry

Eating lean cuts of chicken and turkey each day will boost your protein intake (muscle building, anyone?) and help you feel fuller for longer.  On top of that, lean poultry has been found to have an after-eating calorie burning effect 35% stronger than other foods.  Salads, soups, wraps, tacos– lean poultry can make an appearance almost anywhere you want!

 

Bananas

Bananas are THE go-to food for cutting out bloating, and you’ll want to do that if you’re trying to show off your abs!  They’re also a great source of potassium, meaning they’ll help you fight water retention as well!

 

Eggs

Eggs contain a nutrient called choline.  Choline has the power to turn off the genes that are responsible for belly fat storage, and they can help you feel fuller for longer.  Additionally, eggs are a complete protein, so they’re a great addition (or main) to your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks!  Because there are so many ways to cook them, eggs are extremely versatile and easy to work into your diet, too!

 

What are your favorite foods to nourish your abs?

 


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Is Coffee Linked To Weight Gain?

Did you know that coffee can cause weight gain?

Coffee is the first step for most of us each day.  Many people depend on it to get them through the week, but have you ever thought about what it might be doing to your body?  New research shows that moderate coffee intake could have some serious effects on our health.  Read more below!

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While previous research shows that drinking a cup or two of coffee each day can lower blood pressure and even prevent weight gain, news shows that consuming more than 4 cups of coffee per day could have the opposite effect.

There’s plenty of evidence that the extras we add to our coffee can pack in calories to our diets that we aren’t counting properly, but even if you’re drinking your coffee black, the amount you’re drinking is important.  Upwards of 4 cups per day could cause you to store more fat and become resistant to insulin, putting you at risk for diabetes and other diseases associated with being overweight.

Scientists conclude that the benefits or risks are associated with the dose of coffee consumed and not with the sole consumption of coffee.  So what are some ways you can avoid these nasty side effects?

  • Limit your coffee intake to fewer than 4 cups per day.
  • Replace one cup of coffee each day with an antioxidant-rich green tea.
  • Try infused waters if you’re bored with water but trying to cut back on coffee.
  • Water down your cups of coffee with more hot water.  You won’t notice the difference much, but you’ll be consuming less coffee in each cup (so if you DO need to 5 cups per day, make sure they’re not a full dose).
  • Drink hot tea instead of coffee if you’re using it as a way to keep warm.
  • Avoid meetings or working in cafes if coffee is a huge temptation for you.  Stay hydrated and follow a proper diet and sleep schedule and you should find that you don’t need so much caffeine per day.

 

What are your best tips for cutting your coffee intake down to a healthy level?

 

Did you know that coffee can cause weight gain?

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5 Steps To Changing Your Tastebuds

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

Taste is one of our most important senses, and it can get us in trouble if we have cravings for certain tastes!  Potato chips, chocolate, or sugar– the list of tastes we love (but that are actually bad for us) goes on and on!  But did you know that you can CHANGE your taste buds?  I’m serious!  Use these five steps to reprogram your taste buds to keep you from craving foods that will derail your progress!

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Fight the Addiction.

Addiction?  What addiction?  Let me tell you:  science says that the serious overdoses of sugar and fat in our diet are addictive to our taste buds, and that they also dull them!  That means that you’ll crave those tastes but constantly need more and more to get your fix, and you might not be able to register new tastes as they actually are.  So step 1 to changing your taste buds is to make a serious commitment to swearing off large amounts of these ingredients.  You don’t have to go cold turkey!  Try weaning yourself off of them and finding enjoyable replacements for fatty or sugary foods and drinks.  Over time, it will get easier to avoid (but warning: you might pass a couple of grumpy days as your body and brain adjusts!).

Try it Again and Again.

It can be difficult to try foods that we’re sure we don’t like, but it’s an important step in reprogramming your taste buds.  If you have bad memories of hating broccoli as a child, maybe it’s time to try it again.  And if you find that you don’t like it, you’re not done!  Try it with a minimum of 2 ways of preparation:  Maybe you don’t like sauteed broccoli, but you might like it roasted, in a creamy soup, or raw in a salad.  Sometimes we think we don’t like the taste of something when really it’s the texture.  When it comes to vegetables, texture can change so much just by cooking ingredients differently.  Set a goal to try 3 foods each week that you normally don’t eat.  Kale, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and lentils might be a great place to start, but go with what will work for your personally!

 

Trick your Brain!

If you’re still not a fan of something that you KNOW you should be including in your diet, try and pair it with something that you do like.  For example, if you’re still not a fan of brussel sprouts, try sprinkling them with parmesan cheese after cooking.  At first you’re just masking the taste a bit, but you’re brain will start to associate BOTH tastes with happy feelings instead of just the cheese.  After trying this magical combo a few times together, you’re likely to find that brussel sprouts are a new dish in your regular rotation!

Become a Mouth Breather.

A big part of our sense of taste comes from our nose (shocking, right?), so sometimes you may think you don’t like the taste of something, but what you actually don’t like is the smell!  Quite a few vegetables have scents that are different from their actual tastes, but if you’re smelling it in front of your mouth for 15 seconds while you debate whether you’re going to eat it or not, all you ever get is the disagreeable smell.  Take stinky vegetables and try boiling or roasting them to help remove the sulfurous compounds that cause their odors.  Another good tip?  Your sense of smell is weakest in the evening, so save dinner for the time of day when you get wild and adventurous with new and healthy foods. Try to avoid taking huge whiffs of food before taking a bite if you know it’s a food that you have a complicated past with.

 

Spice Things Up!

If you’re really craving salty, fatty, or sugary flavors but you’re being so so good by avoiding them, try to keep your mouth entertained with other flavors!  Soy sauce, chili pepper, sri racha, vinegar (and all of its variants!  Rice vinegar is a great and interesting taste to add depth to stirfrys, for example), mustard, lemon, and fresh herbs are all great ways to create interesting tastes that will liven up any pot of green beans or lentils!

Make Small Changes

If you consider yourself a really picky eater, this is an important step to consider.  If you’re a fan of butter, don’t drop straight into dark olive oil– try a lighter one to ease yourself into the transition.  If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t move from milk chocolate to 80% pure cacao!  Start with smaller percentages of cacao and work your way up.  Water down your juices or sodas with a bit of water until eventually you don’t need such intense sugary tastes to get your sweet fix!  Sometimes making huge and sweeping changes is really setting yourself up for failuer.  Humans are creatures of habit and that’s ok.  Start small but stay constant and you’ll end up where you need to be!

 

What are your best tricks for trying new foods and tastes?

 

 

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

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Comfort Food Cure

Use these strategies to get your Comfort Food Cure!

Everybody has a few favorite comfort foods that get them through stressful periods and bring back happy memories from the past.  Unfortunately, many of these comfort foods go straight to our base instincts to consume sugar, fat, and sodium in as large a quantity as possible.  Pasta, ice cream, fast food, and fried foods all fit into the comfort food category because while they offer little nutrition, they’re packed full of these feel-good ingredients.  So how can we get around the comfort food trap?

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Swap out unhealthy ingredients for healthy ingredients.  

Is your comfort food something that, as a base, isn’t the end of the nutrition world, but often packs an unhealthy punch?  Take pasta for example– By itself, it’s not the healthiest option, but it doesn’t have to get knocked off your list totally!  While it’s often served in heavy cream sauces, you can lighten up the sauce ingredients and still get your pasta fix.  Try a vegetarian sauce packed with veggies, or substitute meat for shrimp or other seafood.  Try to hack your comfort food ingredients when you can, because you’ll still get that happy little fix but you’ll be able to avoid some of the less healthy ingredients!

Let’s say you love the pizza from one specific pizza place in town.  Not just any pizza, but THIS pizza.  It can be tough to swap out ingredients if you like it just the way it’s made with this one special recipe.  You don’t have to cut it out of your diet forever, though!  Order the smallest pizza (or other portion of food) that’s possible, and box half of it up immediately to go to the fridge for a meal later in the week, or to go in the freezer if you want to really space out your comfort food fixes.  One or two slices of pizza isn’t going to upset your entire diet or the last 3 months of going to the gym, so have at it!  Just don’t eat the whole pizza (or nibble on the leftovers for 3 consecutive days!).

 

Find self-care strategies that help you avoid comfort food binges. 

The occasional comfort food binge might not do too much damage, but if you are going through a bout of depression, are dealing with constant stress, or other reasons that might lead you to frequently seek out comfort food, you’ve got to find something to take it’s place!  Instead of eating a tub of ice cream, go for a manicure.  Instead of diving into a bag of fast food, buy yourself a nice wine.  Instead of caving to your comfort food cravings, find other ways to take care of yourself or make yourself feel good that don’t involve food.  Taking a new exercise class, getting your car washed, going to the salon, or buying a new outfit might be ways that work for you!

 

What’s your biggest struggle with comfort food?

 

Use these strategies to get your Comfort Food Cure!

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What to Do After a Food Binge

How to get back on track after a food binge!

We’ve all had food-related moments that we’re not proud of– eating a whole pizza or bag of chips, breaking our diet plans and going all out on lunch, or losing our patience and hitting up the junk food aisle of the grocery store. Everyone has moments of weakness, and we live in a culture that capitalizes on our moments of weakness. A food binge doesn’t have to be the drama to end all dramas, though. Here’s what to do next:

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1. Forgive yourself. 

You can’t get a perfect body in one day.  We all know that!  It’s important to remember the flip side of that coin, too– you can’t ruin your body in one day just because of a food binge.  Take a few moments to recognize that you’re human and you let yourself slip into a couple of bad food choices.  In a few days, all of those ingredients will be out of your system.  It’s not a long-lasting mistake, and you haven’t set yourself back lightyears from your fitness and nutrition goals.  Everyone has a moment of weakness here and there.  You’ve had yours, now it’s time to move on.

 

2.  Identify your triggers. 

Something triggered you to make you throw progress and caution and diet rules to the wind and binge on chocolate cake (or whatever your binge food of choice may have been).  Was it stress?  Impatience with your fitness goals?  A craving for a specific food or ingredient?  There is so much psychology behind why we eat what we eat, and it’s important to pay attention to that.  If nostalgia for treats you ate as a child is your trigger, find another way to fill that space by calling an old friend or listening to music from your childhood.  If stress is what brings on a food binge for you, try finding ways to cut back your stress levels, and be proactive by taking up yoga, boxing, or something else that will serve as an outlet for that negative energy before it triggers you again!

 

3. Make a plan. 

How are you going to avoid the things that make you want to food binge in the future?  If you know that walking past a donut shop is too much temptation, make a plan to cross the street before you get there.  If you know that your night out with the girls is going to lead you straight to a drunken McDonald’s run, try eating a filling dinner before catching your cab out for the night.  Having a plan in place will give you a firm alternative when food temptation starts creeping up on you.

 

4. Treat yourself to some self-care.

You’ve forgiven yourself, identified your triggers, and made plans for how to avoid them in the future.  Now it’s time to be kind to your body.  Treat yourself to a night in with a face mask and a detox smoothie, or a hot bath.  Go to a yoga class and then get a manicure.  Do something kind for your body that makes you feel really good about yourself.  Dedicate some time to yourself as a way to get back on track to doing what feels best for your body and your mind.

 

A food binge doesn’t erase all of the progress you’ve made.  In fact, you can even use it as motivation to get back on track!  Just make sure you don’t fall into a cycle of negativity or punishments because you’ve slipped up with a few meals!

 

What’s your go-to way to get back on track after a food binge?

 

How to get back on track after a food binge!

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How Many Calories Are In Your Coffee?

Cut out the sneaky calories lurking in your morning coffee!

Everybody loves a good cup of coffee (or 2… or 3…) to get going in the  morning and stay alert throughout the day, and we know that coffee has some great health benefits to contribute to our diets.  But do you know how many sneaky calories are lurking in your morning cup of joe?

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A typical cup of black coffee (no milk, no sugar, no nothing!) has very few calories — 1 to 2 calories depending on the type (instant, fresh, espresso, etc.).  That’s great news, right?

 

Of course it is, but very few of us drink our coffee black.  It’s easy to go overboard with extras to add more texture and sugar or flavor.  If you go by tablespoon, sugar adds 49 calories to your cup.  Fat-free milk adds 5 calories, Half-and-half adds 20, and heavy whipping cream adds 52 calories! You can see how quickly someone could arrive at a 300 calorie cup of coffee without even noticing it! Not only could your coffee be holding extra calories, but they’re generally empty calories– you’re not getting a good amount of vitamins or nutrients from the ingredients that add all those extra calories!

Even worse, if you drink popular coffee drinks from fast food or cafe type restaurants, you could be getting AN ENTIRE MEAL’S WORTH of calories in a cup!  The ever popular White Mocha Latte (with whole milk, without whipped cream) from starbucks will set you back 429 calories if you order the grande (medium).  And the sacred Pumpkin Spice Latte?  That’s 350 calories with whole milk and without the whipped cream.

 

If you’re looking for ways to cut back on calories in your coffee, try the following tips:

  • Try replacing at least 1 cup of coffee per day with a green tea.  Sweeten with natural sweetener or honey, or go straight green!
  • Limit your coffee orders from cafes.  It’s easy to go overboard and you don’t always know what other ingredients (flavor syrups, etc.) might be stacking on calories.
  • Use low-fat milk and natural sweeteners instead of table sugar and processed dairy creamer powders or liquids.

How do you drink your coffee?  Do you think there are any caloric surprises waiting in your cup?

 

Cut out the sneaky calories lurking in your morning coffee!

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Meal Timing Tricks

 

Try these meal timing tricks to make the most of your metabolism!

Many people have their meals at specific times each day because they fit into our schedules– we wake up at the same time most days, take lunch at the same time most days, and arrive home for dinner at the same time most days.  But did you know that there are meal timing tricks that will help you to reach your fitness and nutrition goals?

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Eat as soon as you wake up.

Eating as soon as you wake up helps prime your metabolism for the rest of the day.  Even if you don’t eat much, try to have an apple, a yogurt, or a small serving of oatmeal.  You can eat more later if you’re not too hungry now, but it’s important to kickstart your metabolism once you’re up for the day.

 

Give yourself 4-5 hours between meals.

If you add new food on top of food that hasn’t yet been digested, your body won’t digest the new food quite as efficiently.  Try to give yourself 4-5 hours between meals to let your metabolic functions do their work.

Make space between dinner and bedtime.

If you go to bed right after dinner, those calories can turn to fat.  Instead, give yourself a few hours between dinner and bedtime to let your body start to burn some of those calories.  You’ll go to bed still satisfied but with your body in its proper digestion mode.

 

Time your pre-workout meal correctly.

If you work out during the afternoon or evening, then your pre-workout meal should come 1-3 hours before your session.  If you work out right when you wake up (and thus haven’t eaten much), then dinner the night before should be packed with your favorite workout fuel.

Time your post-workout protein correctly.

The process of recovery lasts around 12 hours after your workout ends, but the first 30 minutes after you finish is an important window of opportunity to pack in the protein.  After that, try consuming 25g of protein every 3-4 hours for the 12 hour period.  The post-workout protein is important, but remember to consume protein at every meal throughout the day as well!

What are your favorite meal timing tricks to keep your metabolism on track?

 

Try these meal timing tricks to make the most of your metabolism!

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