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Health, Dr. Mao, Fitness, Santa Monica, Columnist

Boost Your Metabolism For The Holidays: Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
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Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted Dec. 15, 2012, 10:00 pm

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

Does this scenario seem familiar: Your friend devours two bowls of linguini and never gains an ounce, yet you feel like you’ve packed on five pounds by just looking at a slice of pizza! As much as we’d like to blame Mother Nature, our genes account for only 5 percent of our total daily caloric expenditure. Therefore, we are left with the other 95 percent to decide how to boost our body’s metabolism. The good news is that we have the power to kick-start our metabolism into fat-burning mode, just in time for the holidays.

Master Your Metabolism

1. Exercise, exercise, and yes, more exercise!

It is important to include a combination of aerobics and strength training in your workout routine. Aerobics requires oxygen to burn fat so you need to sustain a minimum of 20 minutes aerobic activity before your body shifts into fat-burning mode. Don’t underestimate the power of walking as an excellent form of aerobic activity. However, it cannot be a stroll through the park; you need a brisk walk that will elevate your heart rate and increase your energy levels!

Also, strength training will increase muscle mass and give your metabolism a nice boost. Muscle increases your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which measures how fast your body burns calories. For every pound of muscle you gain, your body burns an extra 50 calories. Don’t be alarmed if the scale goes up after a few days – muscle weighs more than fat. You may weigh more, but you will usually look leaner. Muscle also takes up less space than fat, which means your clothes will fit better.

2. Eat more, weigh less: Skipping meals sets your body into starvation mode. As a result, your body will hold onto every calorie longer while decreasing your metabolic rate dramatically. To reverse this process, you must eat food if you want to burn it up. As a general rule of thumb, try not to go more than 3.5 or 4 hours without a meal or snack. In this vein, try five smaller meals a day instead of three bigger ones and see if this doesn’t boost your metabolism! Include protein and fiber in your meals because your body uses more energy trying to digest both. A whole food supplement can satisfy your hunger cravings and help you get your daily serving of nutrients. High performance is a combination of unique healing herbs, exotic seeds and wholesome grains that improves your digestion and boosts your energy level.

3. Drink up! Like planet Earth, our bodies are comprised of 60-70 percent water. Our body needs water to help us metabolize and digest the food we eat. Dehydration leads to fatigue so try to consume about 64 fluid oz. daily. You may need more fluid if you are physically active. Tired of the same old plain water? Spruce it up with some lemon, orange, lime slices, or basil for a flavor boost! Choose filtered water for your health.

4. Get slim with green tea: Sip on some soothing green tea while enjoying a metabolic boost. Green tea contains a polyphenol called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been shown to boost metabolism. Clinical trials in the University of Geneva and University of Birmingham demonstrated that green tea increased metabolic rates and fat oxidation. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involved 10 men who either drank green tea extract, took a 50 mg capsule of caffeine, or took a placebo pill. Those who drank green tea extract demonstrated a 4% increase in thermogenesis, the number of calories burned by the body.

5. Beauty rest is best: Chronic sleep deprivation can induce aging, lack of concentration, and fatigue. Getting enough sleep is essential to maintain healthy hormone function, digestion, and metabolism. Your body replenishes and repairs itself during REM, the deepest cycle of sleep. For most adults 7-9 hours of restorative sleep will help your body function its best. A study from the University of Chicago examined the effect of sleep deprivation and its effect on hormones and metabolism. The subjects who received less than 8 hours of sleep had increased cortisol levels, altered thyroid function, and impaired glucose tolerance. The thyroid hormones affect metabolism while elevated cortisol levels contribute to rapid aging.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit

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