YOU know those lucky naturally thin people that eat loads? Well, they’ve won a genetic lottery of sorts. Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Lausanne found that around one in 2,000 people have a duplicated gene making them many times more likely to be skinny (23 times more if you’re a man; five times if you’re a woman). So, while these human gazelles get to eat what they like without so much as a backward glance at the scales, how can the rest of us crank up our metabolic rate? It’s all in the exercise (and the coffee).
CLOCK-UP YOUR CALORIE BURN
Burn as you go without even realising it. The US National Weight Control Registry followed 5,000 people who’d each shed two stone and kept it off for more than five years. The thing they all had in common? Each of them burnt around 400 calories a day in exercise (mainly walking). But what about the other everyday stuff? Dancing burns about 45 minutes for every three quarters of an hour you’re at it, while an hour of five-aside with work colleagues will burn around 600 calories.
DON’T FORGET WEIGHTS
Different exercise does different things to your metabolic rate. Training with weights will increase your percentage of muscle tissue over time which is metabolically more active than fat tissue, but aerobic exercise will give you a higher cal burn both during and immediately after your workout. This “afterburn” is, however, no longer considered to be the cure-all for a bulging waistline – scientists now believe that the afterburn effect of exercise is just an extra 20 to 30 calories a day.
RACK UP YOUR STARBUCKS CARD
The evidence for caffeine as chief weight loss aid continues to stack up: caffeine can raise your metabolic rate by as much as 10 per cent for as long as two hours after you’ve ingested it. It alters the way your body uses fuel so that you’re burning fat for energy instead of glucose. So, yes, there is a case for a double espresso before your spinning class.