by Susan Aston of http://www.UltimateWeightLossForYou.com
To achieve weight loss success, and get your body into shape, it is essential that your metabolism is working effectively.
Poor eating habits, lack of exercise and not enough sleep can all add up to a sluggish metabolism - and no matter what you do, you never seem to be able to lose those extra pounds.
It's a bit like the engine of a car - if you don't change the oil and you put in poor quality gas it's not going to win any races!
But all is not lost! If there are things you are doing to slow your metabolism down, then there are things you can do to speed it back up again.
The good news is that if you follow 6 simple rules your metabolism will be back up to speed in no time at all and your body will become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine that will work with you to get you into great shape.
Rule #1: Early to Bed!
So, how can getting more sleep help with weight loss?
Research shows that a lack of sleep can seriously disrupt your natural hunger and appetite control hormones. When sleep deprivation occurs, Leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone, decreases while Ghrelin, a hunger-increasing hormone, rises.
Consequently you are likely to experience food cravings and hunger pangs and the amount you eat will be significantly higher leading to additional body weight.
Experts recommend that you get 7 to 8 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep each night. This is not always easy to do, but well worth it as a starting point for kick-starting your metabolism.
Rule #2: Early to Rise!
Your morning routine is important for a healthy metabolism.
Eating breakfast is vital. A bowl of oatmeal with milk, or eggs and wholemeal bread provide a good balance of nutrients and will keep hunger pangs at bay until lunch time. Many people believe that they can skip breakfast and use the extra calories later in the day, but they in fact cause their metabolism to slow down and that is not a good way to start the day.
Exercise in the morning - even jogging for just ten or fifteen minutes - gives you a great boost and speeds up your metabolism so that you burn off more calories all day long.
Rule #3: Drink, Drink, Drink!
The body is made up of around 70% water and we need to drink a large amount of it just to maintain its daily functions and keep the metabolism in optimum condition. Drinking water flushes out the system and removes harmful toxins. When you don't drink enough of it, your body actually retains water leaving you feeling bloated. In order to release the retained water, you need to consume at least six to eight glasses throughout the day.
A large glass of water before a meal is also a fantastic way of curbing your appetite naturally. Try drinking it ice cold to actually burn more calories. Your body needs to heat up the ice cold water and it uses energy (calories) to do so. This is what's called the "thermogenic effect". You can burn an additional 100 calories a day by drinking one gallon of ice cold water! Over the course of month, this equates to almost one pound of body weight or 12 pounds of weight loss a year!
Rule #4: Keep Moving
Exercise should be part of your daily routine. But it doesn't have to be in the form of dedicated exercise sessions or classes. Increase your level of activity by walking to work instead of driving, or get off the bus a few blocks further away and walk the rest.
The two main types of exercise are: cardiovascular exercise (including walking, running, swimming, cycling, aerobics etc) and strength or weight training.
Your program of exercise should include both. Cardio exercise stimulates your metabolism and burns up a lot of calories.
Strength training, although using up fewer calories per minute, tones your muscles and increases lean tissue mass. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the higher the number of calories you burn.
Rule #5: Eat Frequently
Eating five or six small meals throughout the day maintains the fuel available to your body. This boosts both your metabolism and your brain power. You should have three main meals, but these should be slightly smaller than normal to allow for the "mini-meals" you will now eat daily.
Keep a stock of healthy snacks like raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and yogurt at hand, to make sure that you are not tempted by high-fat and high-calorie alternatives.
Rule #6: Spice Up Your Life
Adding spices to your food is a tasty way to benefit your metabolism. "Hot" foods, such as chili peppers, curry, jalapeņos and cayenne, may actually increase body temperature and metabolism rates, so that you burn off more calories.
But what really makes them a must have in your diet is that spicy foods are more satisfying and filling and you tend to eat less, therefore saving on lots of calories at each mealtime. This is the most delicious way of giving your metabolism a great boost and way to create lots of interesting meal options so that you don't get bored.
Follow these rules and your metabolism will soon be revving to go.