Fire Up Your Engines

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 09:57

One of the keys to successful, sustainable weight loss is to keep your metabolism working at top speed, burning as many calories as possible. When you start to eat less, however, your metabolism will slow down in order to conserve energy. This is what causes the bane of every dieter's existence: the plateau. Every dieter encounters a plateau at some point in the weight-loss journey, and sometimes the best policy is just to wait it out. Stick with your eating and exercise routines for a few weeks and your weight will most likely continue its downward swing. But there are also measures you can take to try to keep your metabolism fired up even as you eat fewer calories.

To begin with, you should never let your caloric intake drop below 1,500 each day if you're a man and 1,200 each day if you're a woman. Restricting yourself any further will bring your metabolism to a screeching halt. Also, don't go too long without eating. Four hours without food is a reasonable maximum. Don't skip meals, and always eat breakfast. This will keep your blood sugar stable and your cravings under control.

Another way to prevent your metabolism from slowing down is to vary your caloric intake from day to day. Your body can't adjust to a reduced caloric intake if your intake isn't fixed, so dig in, and remember that in this one case, inconsistency pays.