How does metabolism influence weight loss?

In the context of weight loss, metabolism is considered how fast and how many calories you burn daily, therefore theoretically, metabolism should dictate how quickly or easy it would be for someone to lose, gain or control their weight. Unfortunately, fast and slow resting metabolisms are more of a myth than reality. Although two people of the same weight, height and body composition may burn calories at a slightly different rate, the difference is so small it’s virtually insignificant in the big picture. And no matter who you are,the heavier the body, the more calories it burns in all activities. Contrary to what most people believe, we do have control over our metabolisms, meaning control over how fast we lose weight. As an example, simply standing up instead of sitting burns more calories, so minimizing the time spent sitting will boost your overall metabolism. If you start walking or doing any activity on a regular basis, your metabolism will increase significantly.

There are 3-parts to our metabolism, one of which we have full control:

 Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): The amount of calories burned while in a resting/quiet state. RMR for an average person is the largest part of total metabolism accounting for 65-75% of calories burned daily. We have little control over RMR unless we add a significant amount of muscle or weight leading to an increase of calories burned (3-6cals/day/pound depending on muscle to fat content).

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): This is the energy used by the body to digest and absorb food. The energy used for TEF accounts for ~ 10% of calories burned. We have little control over TEF.

Physical activity: the amount of energy the body burns during daily activities such as exercise, recreation, work, housework, etc. Daily physical activities can account for 10-50% of calories burned each day depending on the individual’s activity. Therefore we have complete control over this aspect of metabolism. A sedentary person will require fewer calories to maintain weight than a more active counterpart. So the moral of the story is never sit if you can perform the same activity standing or pacing, whether it’s phone work, reading, watching your kids, meetings or even working at your desk (many people now use standup desks). So you see, you have complete control over your daily metabolism so move it and lose it.

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