Understanding Metabolism for Weight Loss

Nutritionist giving consultation to patient with healthy fruits and vegetables

You’ve heard people say, “I have a slow metabolism. That’s why I can’t lose weight.” Others may claim they can eat anything and not gain an ounce because they have a good metabolism. How does metabolism play into your efforts to lose weight?

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is basically multiple biochemical processes going on in your body that takes the food you eat and turns it into energy. Oxygen teams up with the calories from food to provide energy. You need this energy for everything, from breathing to running a race. It takes energy for the processes in your body to work.

Each person has a different metabolic rate or the rate at which they use calories. Some factors that determine your rate include:

  • Age – older people tend to burn fewer calories because they have less muscle and more fat
  • Gender – men usually have less fat and more muscle and burn more calories
  • Size and body type – people who have more muscle or are larger burn more calories

Metabolism and Weight Loss

It’s difficult to change your metabolism, especially through diet. As you build more muscle, your metabolic rate will increase to burn more calories. This is one reason exercise is so important in weight loss.

Many times, a person who seems to have a faster metabolism is just more active. They may move more even when they’re resting.

You will see ads promoting supplements and foods that speed up your metabolism. Unfortunately, the best way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than what your body is using. Exercising regularly will help you use up more of those calories and build muscle so it seems like your metabolism is working better.

There really is no shortcut to healthy, long-term weight loss that you can maintain in the future. You can help your metabolism by making smart choices in life.