Summer has now begun and the costume fitting has already put the unprepared to the test. She rushed to the diet, but it does not always manage to come to our quick rescue. In addition, sometimes reducing calories and increasing physical activity is not enough lose weight. Other physical factors, such as the metabolism, can in fact affect the success of the desired weight loss.
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But what is metabolism? “Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that continually take place within your body to keep you alive and your organs function normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food,” according to the definition of the National Health System. These chemical processes require energy. The minimum amount of energy the body needs to perform these processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
BMR can account for up to 80% of the body’s daily energy needs, depending on age and lifestyle. A “slow metabolism“is more accurately described as a low BMR. There are many online calculators that can calculate your daily energy requirement, many of which use the Harris-Benedict equation.
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What does metabolism depend on?
According to the NHs, body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in the speed of metabolism. Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with more muscle than fat tend to have a faster metabolism. As we age, we tend to gain weight and lose muscle. This explains why the metabolism can slow down as we age. In general, men tend to have a faster metabolism because they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women.
The metabolism can also be partly determined by one’s genes, although this is not yet fully scientifically proven. Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and the ability to grow muscle, both of which affect metabolism.
Overweight due to slow metabolism?
People struggling to lose weight often blame their failure on their slow metabolism. But there is actually little evidence to support this claim. Research shows that overweight people actually have faster metabolisms than leaner people. Larger bodies require more energy to perform basic bodily functions.
Putting aside the “slow metabolism” cause, there could be other reasons for being overweight. Science suggests that people tend to eat more than they think. When asked to write down everything they consumed in a day, many people tend to report eating a lot less than they actually do. It can be hard to accept, but maintaining the number of calories you eat is the key to losing weight and keeping it at bay.
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According to the NHS, crash diets and other low-calorie diets can also slow down your metabolism. With some diets, the body is forced to break down muscles to be used for energy. The lower the muscle mass, the slower the metabolism. With less muscle and a slower metabolism, it becomes much easier to replenish body fat after exiting the diet.
How to speed up the metabolism
Some foods and drinks are claimed to boost metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices, and energy drinks. The evidence behind these claims is either weak or they are not effective long-term solutions. Even if you don’t have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your physical activity level.
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Here are the 3 most effective ways to burn calories:
Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn calories. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling, and swimming, per week. An achievable goal by doing 30 minutes, 5 days a week and breaking your activity sessions into 10-minute blocks. To lose weight, more than 150 minutes of exercise per week is recommended and combined with the diet.
Muscles burn more calories than fat, so gaining muscle mass will help you lose weight. Try to do muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on 2 or more days a week. Examples of muscle strengthening activities include weight lifting and high intensity exercise sessions. Heavy gardening can do the job too.
Try to make activity part of your daily routine. This could include walking or cycling all or part of your trip to work. It even helps to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
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