8. Turn up the heat with hot peppers. Some studies show that very spicy foods can temporarily increase your metabolism. Gourmet groceries often stock a dozen different kinds of peppers. Buy one a week and practice adding some to various meals. Spice up your scrambled eggs with minced jalapeño, add a little fire to your beef stew with half a diced banana pepper, or pull together a spicy jambalaya (using turkey sausage and lots of veggies).
9. Eat five small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. You might think you should eat less often if you want to lose weight, but that’s just not the case. By eating every few hours, you keep your metabolism fired up and ensure it doesn’t slow between meals in order to hang on to calories. A “meal” can be as small as a cup of soup.
10. Sip a couple of cups of coffee throughout the day. Studies find that the caffeine in coffee increases the rate at which your body burns calories. This does not mean, however, that you can order one of those fancy calorie-packed frappuccinos! And skip the java if it makes you toss and turn at night.
11. Don’t get discouraged because you’ve been yo-yo dieting. Somehow the myth got started that if you’ve spent your life losing and gaining the same 10 or 20 pounds, your metabolism gets out of whack and winds up slower than an airport security line. Don’t believe it. When researchers reviewed 43 studies on the topic, they found no difference in the metabolic rates of yo-yo dieters versus those of everyone else.
12. Walk with intent — and intensity. Burn more calories in the same amount of time with these strategies:
- Swing your arms when you walk. You’ll burn 5-10 percent more calories.
- Wear a weighted vest. Another great way to crank up the calorie burn. Leave the hand and ankle weights at home, though. They throw you off balance and could result in injury.
- Walk on grass, sand, or a gravel trail instead of the road. It takes more muscle power to glide smoothly over these uneven surfaces (especially sand) than over asphalt.
- Use walking poles. A University of Wisconsin study found you get a much more intense workout than without the poles.
- Walk along the shoreline of a beach, lake, or pond with your ankles in the water. The resistance will cause you to burn more calories and give your muscles an added workout.
13. Bump up the protein in your diet. There is some evidence that by taking protein to the upper end of the recommended range (roughly 20 percent of your overall calories), the amount of energy you expend while resting remains the same even as you’re losing weight (normally, it falls).