I would definitely mix the cardiovascular workouts with weights as Daywalker suggests. One of the best foods that I've found for helping to shed body fat is flaxseed. I recommend 2 tablespoons daily (pre-ground).
Here's some advice by Dr. Neal Barnard that may prove useful to you:
HERE ARE THE KEYS TO FASTER CALORIE BURNING:
1. By far, the biggest increase in metabolism comes with physical activity, particularly aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, running, dancing or singles tennis. Your calorie burn is dramatically higher than at rest, and the effect may persist briefly after you stop.
2. Weight training helps, too, because it increases--or at least maintains--your muscle mass. Muscles burn calories more quickly than most other body tissues.
3. If you limit your calories, be careful. Even if you're eager to lose weight, very low-calorie diets tend to slow down your metabolism. Here's my rule of thumb: Take your ideal body weight, and multiply it by 10. This gives you your calorie minimum. For example, if I would like to weigh 150 pounds, my calorie minimum would be 1,500. I can eat more than this, but if I'm restricting calories, I cannot go below this number. If I do, I risk slowing down my metabolism.
4. Increase your after-meal burn. Your body has to work to digest the food you've just eaten, and, in the process, it burns some calories as body heat. This after-meal burn is sometimes called the thermic effect of food. It turns out that vegetarians seem to have a better after-meal burn than meat eaters do, as we here at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine observed in lab experiments done in 2000 and 2001 at George Washington University.
We measured the after-meal burn in 59 overweight, postmenopausal women consuming the same liquid breakfast drink. Then half of the group went on a low-fat, vegetarian diet, while the others went on a low-fat diet that included modest amounts of animal products. After 14 weeks, we brought each participant back into the lab and checked her after-meal calorie burn again. It turned out that members of the vegetarian group had significantly increased their after-meal burn while the others had not. We measured the effect for about three hours after the meal, but it likely persists a bit longer than that.
Here's at least part of what seems to be going on: The vegan diet improves insulin sensitivity, which means it's easier to turn the nutrients you eat into energy. Because the after-meal burn comes largely from carbohydrates, not fatty foods, vegetarian diets are ideal. They are generally rich in complex carbs and low in fat, so they generate a better after-meal burn naturally, which may be part of why most people lose weight when they go vegetarian.
Now, the after-meal burn is small, totaling about 10 percent of your calorie expenditure (about 200 calories each day). However, small changes can add up, so it may well be that plant-based diets help with weight loss because they are lower in calories to begin with, and they may also increase metabolism after meals.
So, yes, you can rev up your metabolism and burn calories faster. By using aerobic exercise and weight training, maintaining an adequate calorie intake and increasing your after-meal burn, you will give yourself an edge.
Neal Barnard, MD, the founder and president of the Physicians Committee Jar Responsible Medicine (PCRM), is an advocate for health and plan-based nutrition. He maintains a healthy weight with a little help from a vegan diet.
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