Do You Have a Slow Metabolism?
I’ve heard it many times – people blaming their physical condition or weight loss woes on their metabolism.
“I was born with it.”
“I can’t change what I am.”
This most commonly happens when you reach a plateau. You’ve exercised well and changed your diet, and you’ve even seen some results for all your effort, willpower and self control. You have great ambition though, so you’ve set yourself some lofty but attainable goals, and you’ve not got there yet.
Then suddenly, your regime isn’t producing results anymore. You find you can’t lose another pound after cutting back on the calories and exercising frequently. The only logical solution left is that your metabolism is slow and at the heart of your problems.
This isn’t always the correct diagnosis however, as we shall see. First, it’s important to get an understanding of what your metabolism is and how it really affects your ability to lose weight.
What is Metabolism?
The word ‘metabolism’ is quite broad and encompasses quite a lot.
What it really boils down to is all of the chemical reactions going in inside your body that keep you alive, digesting your food and processing it properly.
Every chemical reaction in your body (be it repairing cell tissues, digestion, or breathing through oxygen and carbon dioxide reactions) requires energy.
In my previous post on calories, I mentioned the ‘basal metabolic rate’, or BMR. This is basically the minimum required energy to carry out all the chemical processes your body needs. In terms of your daily energy requirements, the BMR accounts for between 40% and 70% of it.
So when someone says they have a ‘slow metabolism’, what they really are trying to say is that they have a low BMR.
Natural Variety in Metabolism
Everybody is different and there are many factors that will determine your metabolic rate.
The ratio of muscle to fat, for instance. Muscles require more energy to maintain than fat cells. So if you are more muscular, you will have a higher BMR.
This also explains some patterns we notice – that men tend to have a higher BMR, and that BMR tends to decrease as we age (as we lose muscle density).
So your body size, your gender and age all play a role. It is also thought that your genes will have some role, but it is not fully understood yet. However, that is not a valid reason to throw in the towel if you have reached a workout plateau and are looking for a scapegoat… not in my eyes anyway.
I believe that is excuse-making. There are always solutions, and people who blame their bodies are just saying,
“I give up.”
I won’t let that happen to me, and I encourage others to seek solutions, rather than get beaten by problems.
Does A Slow Metabolism Make You Fat?
It’s now a commonly held belief that a slow metabolism makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Did you know however that overweight people tend to have a faster metabolism? It’s true – because it takes more energy to meet the requirements of the body when it is overweight.
There may be other factors at work causing you to struggle to shed the pounds. Many people underestimate how much food they eat, especially if they aren’t recording it in a food diary along with the exact number of calories.
Next time I will discuss how you can boost your metabolism through exercise and foods, so stay tuned!