You need to cut calories to lose weight. But going too low delivers a double whammy to your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 1,200 calories for most women), your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. It also begins to break down precious, calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy, says Dan Benardot. “Eat just enough so you’re not hungry — a 150-calorie snack midmorning and midafternoon between three meals (about 430 calories each) will keep your metabolism humming.”
Rev up in the morning
Eating breakfast jump-starts metabolism and keeps energy high all day. It’s no accident that women who skip this meal are 4 1/2 times as likely to be obese.
Drink coffee or tea
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java jolts can rev your metabolism 5 percent to 8 percent — about 98 to 174 calories a day. A cup of brewed tea can raise your metabolism by 12 percent, according to one Japanese study. Researchers believe the antioxidant catechins in tea provide the boost.
Fight fat with fiber
Research shows that some fiber can rev your fat burn by as much as 30 percent. Studies find that women who eat the most fiber gain the least weight over time. Aim for about 25 g a day — the amount in about three servings each of fruits and vegetables.
Buy the big bottle
German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day (that’s 48 ounces) can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily — enough to shed 5 pounds in a year. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature.