Feb. 6, 2012 at 4:52 PM ET
Day 1: Check Your Metabolism
To begin, you need to figure out your metabolic rate based on your age, height, weight and activity level. This data will help determine how may calories your body can consume before you actually start putting on weight. Then you’ll learn how to adjust that number so you can boost your metabolism and start losing pounds. Click here for a Metabolism Calculator.
Day 2:Cut 100 Calories a Day
When you diet aggressively and make drastic cuts in your daily calorie intake, your body panics, signaling starvation mode; this actually slows metabolism. The best way to diet effectively is to cut 100 calories from what you normally would eat.
Day 3: Add Protein
If you want a faster metabolism, think protein. Here’s why: Your body burns twice as many calories by digesting proteins than it does when digesting carbs. Add more protein to your diet with two fish-based meals per week. Packed with protein, fish, such as halibut or salmon, also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which increase fat-burning enzymes in the body. Click here to learn the other benefits of including fish on your dish.
Day 4:Eat Every 3 Hours
Here’s a surprising fact about metabolism: If you eat more often, you’ll speed it up. Make sure to eat regularly, which means three meals a day, plus two healthy snacks. And remember to eat within an hour of waking up to keep your body from going into hunger overdrive. To keep your metabolism humming, adhere to this schedule:
Don’t eat after 8 p.m. Don’t skip your snacks. Research has shown that people who snack on 250 calories three times per day eat less at regular meals and have higher metabolic rates. Click here to learn about the best time of day to fight fat.
Day 5: Drink 3 Iced Drinks a Day: Iced Coffee, Green Tea or Water
Coffee and green tea contain caffeine, a substance that naturally steps up metabolism. Add ice and you’ll boost it even more. Iced drinks force your body to work to warm up, which burns more energy.
Day 6: Take Zinc
Zinc reduces hunger by increasing your level of leptin, a key hormone that alerts the body when you’re full so you won’t keep eating when you’re no longer hungry. You can buy zinc in 15mg packets or simply get it from your multivitamin, which usually contains about 12mg of this essential mineral.
Day 7: Exercise in Short Bursts
When you exercise in short bursts, you wake up your muscles, causing them to immediately demand more calories and then burn them fast. A short dance or walking up a sudden hill are examples of such sudden bursts that can give your metabolism a boost.
Do-It-Anytime Metabolism-boosting Exercise: Start by sitting in a chair. Stand up but don’t use your arms. Instead use your quads and your glutes to get up. Repeat a few times for a burst that’ll build muscle and burn fat.
Work your arms, legs, butt, back and core in only five minutes. Click here for Dr. Oz's Fit in Five workout series.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.