Metabolism Rate and Weight Loss

Learn how your metabolism affects your weight, the truth about a slow metabolism rate, and how to burn more calories.

You’ve likely heard people attribute their weight to slow metabolism, but what exactly does this mean? Is metabolism truly to blame? And if so, is it possible to accelerate your metabolism in order to burn more calories?

It is true that metabolism and weight are linked. However, contrary to popular belief, slow metabolism is rarely the cause of obesity. Although your metabolism rate affects your body’s basic energy requirements, what you eat and drink as well as your level of physical activity ultimately determine your weight.

The Conversion Of Food Into Energy

The metabolic process is the body’s conversion of food and drinks into energy. During this intricate biochemical process, calories from food and beverages are combined with oxygen to produce the energy your body needs to function.

Even at rest, your body requires energy for “invisible” processes such as breathing, blood circulation, hormone regulation, and cell growth and repair. The number of calories your body uses to perform these fundamental functions is referred to as your basal metabolic rate or metabolism.

Several variables influence an individual’s basal metabolic rate, including:

  • The size and composition of your body: Even at rest, larger or more muscular individuals burn more calories.
  • Your sex: Men typically have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age and weight, resulting in a greater caloric expenditure.
  • Your age: As you age, the proportion of fat to muscle tends to increase, resulting in a decrease in calorie expenditure.

slow metabolism

The energy requirements for your body’s fundamental functions are relatively constant and inflexible.

In addition to your basal metabolic rate, two other factors influence the number of calories your body burns daily:

  • Food preparation (thermogenesis): It takes calories to digest, absorb, transport, and store the food you consume. Approximately 10% of the calories from the carbohydrates and protein you consume are utilized during digestion and absorption.
  • Physical exercise: Physical activity and exercise, such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog, and any other movement, account for the remaining daily calories burned. Physical activity is the variable that influences daily calorie expenditure the most.

Scientists refer to the activities you perform throughout the day that are not deliberate exercises as nonexercise activity (NEAT). This activity includes moving from one room to another, gardening, and even fidgeting. NEAT accounts for 100 to 800 daily calories burned.

Physiology and Weight

It may be tempting to blame weight gain on your metabolism. However, because metabolism is a natural process, your body has numerous mechanisms to regulate it according to your specific requirements. Rarely does a medical condition that slows metabolism, such as Cushing’s syndrome or an underactive thyroid gland, cause excessive weight gain (hypothyroidism).

Unfortunately, gaining weight is a complex process. It’s likely a combination of genetics, hormonal controls, dietary composition, and environmental factors, such as sleep, physical activity, and stress.

All of these factors result in an energy equation imbalance. When you consume more calories than you burn, or when you burn fewer calories than you consume, you gain weight.

While some people may appear to be able to lose weight more quickly and easily than others, everyone loses weight when they burn more calories than they consume. To lose weight, you must create an energy deficit by consuming fewer calories, engaging in more physical activity, or both.

slow metabolism

A Comprehensive Analysis of Physical Activity and Metabolism

While you have little control over the rate of your basal metabolism, you can influence the number of calories you burn through physical activity. The greater your activity level, the more calories you will burn. Some individuals who are said to have a fast metabolism are likely just more active and perhaps fidgetier than others.

More calories can be burned with:

  • Regular aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise, which includes activities like walking, bicycling, and swimming, is the most effective way to burn calories. Include at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity as a general objective. If you want to lose weight or achieve certain fitness goals, you may need to increase the amount of time you spend engaging in physical activity. If you are unable to commit to a longer workout, try performing 10-minute intervals of activity throughout the day. Remember that the benefits are greater the more active you are.
  • Resistance training: At least twice per week, experts recommend strength training exercises, such as weightlifting. Strength training is essential because it helps prevent the age-related loss of muscle mass. Moreover, because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, muscle mass is a crucial factor in weight loss.
  • Lifestyle activities: Any additional activity helps burn calories. Look for opportunities to walk and move around for a few extra minutes each day.

Simple ways to burn more calories are to take the stairs more often and park further away from the store. Even activities such as gardening, car washing, and housework contribute to weight loss by burning calories.

No Magic Bullet

Do not rely on dietary supplements to aid in calorie burning or weight loss. Oftentimes, products that claim to increase your metabolism are more of a gimmick than an actual benefit, and some of them may cause undesirable or even dangerous side effects.

Manufacturers of dietary supplements are not required by the Food and Drug Administration to demonstrate that their products are safe or effective; therefore, you should approach these products with caution and skepticism. Always inform your physicians of any supplements you take.

There is no simple method to lose weight. Physical activity and diet continue to serve as the foundation for weight loss. When you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

500 to 700 fewer calories per day are suggested by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in order to lose 1 to 1.5 pounds (0.5 to 0.7 kilograms) per week. If you can incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, you will achieve your weight-loss objectives more quickly.

Increasing knowledge of the mechanisms that influence appetite, food selection, and how the body processes and burns food. Your physician or a registered dietitian can help you explore weight loss interventions.

  • What are your thoughts on the role of exercise in boosting metabolism and supporting weight loss?

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