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6 Easy tricks to burn calories

Life change expert, healthy living coach, nutritionist and media personality Laura Lewis is the author of the newly released book 52 Ways to a Healthy You and is the host of the national television series, "Empty Nesters" on Veria TV, a ...

Feel the burn

How do women such as Kelly Ripa do it? Gwyneth Paltrow? Madonna? Angelina Jolie? Keeping their bodies so svelte in spite of motherhood? Oh, that's right. They have the luxury of nannies, housekeepers, cooks and trainers at their beck and call and can arrange to work out every day -- only to arrive home to eat healthful food as prescribed by their personal nutritionists and cooks. For those of us in the real world, however, staying fit is not so easy. Try these six simple tricks that will help you burn more calories -- without the help of a celebrity trainer.

Woman chewing gum

Drink cold water

Drinking an 8-ounce glass of cold water burns 9.25 calories more than drinking water that is room temperature. Studies also show that drinking water enhances weight loss in overweight, dieting women. And it is speculated that the higher the consumption of water, the lower the amount of fat deposited or stored in the body. Want another reason to increase water intake? It turns out that, when cells are low in water, they store more fat instead of metabolizing it for energy. Bottom line? Drink more water and burn more fat. Sounds simple enough.

Walk fast, then slow

By now, you should know about interval training and how much more effective it is at burning calories than walking or running at the same pace. Try this: When going up a flight of stairs, take large steps, skipping a stair each time, and you will use larger muscle groups. Do this swiftly for 10 seconds, then slow it down. Or run up stairs quickly for eight to 10 seconds, then back off to a slower pace for 15 seconds. You can do the same thing when you are walking. Instead of pushing your toddler in the jogger stroller at the same pace, mix it up: Run fast, then slow it down. The variation will keep your toddler entertained, and your metabolism will stay revved longer throughout the day.

Eat protein

Your body uses more calories to metabolize protein than carbohydrates. "A protein-based meal will elicit a thermic effect that is close to 30 percent of the total calories," explains Jack Groppel, PhD, co-founder of LGE Performance Systems in Orlando. For example, if you consume a meal that contains 600 calories of protein, you'll burn approximately 180 calories just by eating it. 

Spice it up!

Cinnamon can make fat cells more responsive to insulin and may enhance weight loss. Try adding a dash to your coffee. Researchers have found by adding 1 teaspoon of red-pepper sauce and 1 teaspoon of mustard to meals, study participants experienced an increase of in metabolic rates by as much as 25 percent. Spicy foods also cause you to drink more water, which may also enhance weight loss. Drinking moderate amounts of coffee may also increase the rate at which you burn calories by up to 10 percent. Be sure not to fill your coffee with cream, sugar and other syrups, or you'll defeat the purpose of a fat-burning coffee break!

Fidget more

People who are natural "fidgeters" burn more calories overall than non-fidgeters. Researchers call this activity NEAT -- short for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. And obese people may have less of a biological need to fidget. An obese person sits, on average, 150 minutes more each day than naturally lean individuals. Due to a lower NEAT score or tendency to fidget, obese people burn 350 fewer calories a day than do lean people. Even after losing weight, those who had been obese still had a tendency to sit more and were less likely to have a high NEAT score. Fidgeting may significantly increase your metabolic output. Try standing instead of sitting. Bounce on your heels. Shift positions while sitting. Move around more. Fidget away fat! 

Chew gum

Chewing gum can help burn 11 more calories per hour. So says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, author of Nutrition for Serious Athletes. Due to questions about some artificial sweeteners, play it safe and chew gum sweetened with xylitol or maltitol, or look for naturally sweetened gum at a health food store. If you chew gum all day without changing your food or fitness habits, it's estimated you may lose 10 pounds of body fat in one year.

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