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Give your metabolism a boost

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If, no matter how hard you work on diet and exercise, you just can't seem to get the scale to budge, you may have an issue with your metabolism.

There are ways to speed it up a little.

Exercise is your friend! Do it regularly.

Of course you burn calories when you do cardio, but Covenant dietitian, Ann Hoffman says, make sure you throw in some weight or resistence training, "We certainly know, the more muscle mass we have, the more efficiently we're going to burn calories. So, of course, exercise is going to help with that."

As we age, our metabolisms slow naturally. So, Hoffman says, exercise is even more important when we get older, "It seems that it's mostly because as we get older our muscle mass decreases. And so all the more reason, if we are physcially able, to stay as active as possible, to help maintain muscle function."

What you put into your body can also help you build more muscle. Hoffman says make sure your meals always include protein, "Lean protein sources, lean chicken, turkey, fish. Milk, dairy foods, and also beans, peanut butter, nuts are all going to be good protein sources."

Make sure you get a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat every time you eat. That formula may help you make healthier choices, too.

Hoffman says it's not just what you eat, but when and how often, "Eat regularly. And this is a challenge for many people, but eat three meals a day at least, perhaps snacks in between."

Spreading out meals over the course of your day, from the time you wake up, is important.

Yes, Hoffman says, you need to eat breakfast, "Feeding that machine, earlier in the day, so that your body doesn't fear starvation, and doesn't slow down. You're going to keep your body working efficieintly if it's fueled efficiently throughout the day."

If you're mot a breakfast person, eating early can be tricky. Hoffman says breakfast doesn't have to be complicated, and you can even plan it like a snack, "Something simple, like a piece of toast with peanut butter on it. Something with carbohydrate and something with protein. Something to start giving your body fuel and getting them ready for the day."

A good night's sleep makes for a good start to the day, too. Getting in 7 to 8 hours a night, can also help regulate your metabolism. Studies link lack of sleep with being obese or overweight.

Finally, make sure you get in enough water every day. Eight, eight ounce glasses, or even half your body weight in ounces, will help your body and all of your organs function properly.

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