What not to do if you want to burn calories in a short time

Calories have a bad reputation. We immediately equate calluses with fat, but it’s not that simple. Calories are the units we use to measure the energy we use as fuel. All input, ie food, is energy, and we need it to function. Not just voluntary functions either, but also involuntary functions, like breathing or our heartbeat.

However, there are too many calories. When we consume more calories than we need to function, we store that extra energy as fat. And it doesn’t burn as easily in the reserves as you might think.

Our body tends to burn stored glucose and other things before it goes straight to that extra reserve in your upper arms, for example. So being strategic in your calorie burning tactics is the best way to lose weight, and that doesn’t include starving yourself. Here are five no-no’s and their solutions to consider when you’re in a rush to stoke that inner fire.

don’t lose sleep

We may feel like the more we do, the more calories we burn. But staying up later to accommodate that extra workout or more self-care is actually detrimental to our well-being, including our weight loss efforts.

Instead: aim to get a good eight hours of sleep a night, which requires you to go to bed nearly nine hours before you wake up. You’ll burn more calories while you sleep and reap greater benefits from your calorie-burning efforts during your waking hours.

Don’t skip meals

It’s easy to take that feeling of hunger as an indication that you’re magically losing weight in real time. But in reality, your body is sending you an important signal that you are choosing to ignore. Because our bodies use food for fuel, running out of fuel when we need it signals our metabolism to slow down, which will affect how quickly we burn calories when we decide to refuel.

Instead: eat regular meals when you are hungry. If you are not hungry first thing in the morning, you can wait until you are hungry closer to lunchtime. Just plan a healthy, high-protein snack later in the day and a dinner that will keep you full enough to sleep through the night. This will keep your metabolism fast and fiery.

Don’t sit all day

We get it, most of our jobs require us to sit in front of a computer. But dieting won’t save you here.

Instead: Be sure to exercise in the morning to keep your calories burning while you sit for the rest of the day. And don’t forget to get up and walk around periodically, even if it’s just around the office or around the block.

Don’t train harder just to make yourself happy more

If only it were so easy to burn off precisely what we want – that second slice of cake, that pitcher of happy hour margs. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and training harder doesn’t automatically mean we can do more and lose weight.

Instead: train smart and eat smarter. Increase your heart rate with intense workouts here and there and do some cardio, but be sure to select workouts that suit your lifestyle and burn more calories while you rest, like strength training.

Don’t Skip Protein

Although it may seem like the lighter choice is a fresh salad or steamed vegetables, skipping protein will slow down the rate at which your body burns calories and leave you feeling hungry.

Instead: aim to get 15-20g of protein at each meal to meet your daily intake, stay full and reduce cravings. Protein encourages our cells to burn more calories – no need to overdo it, but don’t overdo it.

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