What is the relationship between weight and a slow metabolism? Is it really a cause of metabolism? Can you speed up your metabolism to burn more calories?
Whether you are fitness, or if you simply want to improve your figure or lose a few kilos, the answer is clear: yes, metabolism is related to weight. But, contrary to popular belief, a slow metabolism is rarely the cause of excess weight.
Although metabolism can affect a person's energy needs, in the end it is the activity and physical activity along with the food and drink that is ingested that really determines someone's weight. But what can we do to speed up our metabolism to burn more calories?
Convert food into energy
Metabolism is basically defined by the process your body goes through to transform everything you eat into energy. It is a biochemical process where calories from food combine with oxygen to release the energy the body needs to function.
The reality is that even at rest, the body consumes energy: breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels and regenerating cells are some of the basic and "hidden" functions that the human body performs. This is known as the basal metabolic rate, or what is the same: metabolism.
Individual basal metabolic rate is determined by:
- The size and composition of the body.
- Energy needs.
In other words, people who are bigger or with more muscle tend to burn more calories even while at rest. In addition, men tend to have lower body fat and greater muscle mass than women of the same age and weight.
As we age, the amount of muscle tends to decrease, and it is replaced by fat, which causes calories to be burned more slowly.
In addition to the basal metabolic rate, there are other aspects that affect the number of calories burned:
- Thermogenesis: Food processing, or what is the same, the absorption, transport and storage of food, is also a process that consumes calories. About 10% of calories from carbohydrates and protein are used during digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
- Physical activity: Physical exercise, such as running, walking, cooking, walking, and any other activity that includes movement, represents the rest of the calories that the body burns day after day. The most variable part of calories that are burned each day depends on physical activity.
Know your metabolism and weight
Many people simply tend to blame their metabolism when they notice that they gain weight. But metabolism is a natural process, where the body executes the multiple processes that regulate basic needs.
However, it is true that there are rare cases where excessive weight gain can be attributed to a medical problem, such as Cushing's syndrome or an overactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
Weight gain is a complex process, where a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition and the touch of the environment in lifestyle (which includes sleep, physical activity and stress, are responsible for a person's weight gain.
In short: a person gains weight when they eat more calories than they burn, or when they burn fewer calories than they take in.
However, it is also true that many people seem to be able to lose weight faster and easier than others, but all lose weight when they burn more calories than they eat.
If you want to lose weight, focus on creating an energy deficit, where you eat fewer calories or burn more calories through physical activity. The optimum is a combination of both.
Know in depth the implication of physical activity and metabolism
Although you cannot control the speed of metabolism, you can control the amount of calories burned through physical exercise. The more active you are, the more calories will be burned. The reality is that many of the people who say they have a fast metabolism is probably because they are more active.
To burn a greater number of calories you have several options:
Get regular aerobic exercise
Physical exercise is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories. From walking, swimming, cycling, to running or dancing. You simply need to include a half hour of physical activity in your daily routine.
The amount of time you spend in physical activity is directly related to your specific fitness goals. If you don't have enough time for a more extensive workout, try doing 10-minute physical activities throughout the day. The formula is simple: the more activity, the greater the benefits.
Get strength training
Lifting weights a couple of days a week can help you counteract the muscle loss associated with aging.
Understanding that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, it is easy to understand why muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.
Do more daily activities
Any movement is helpful for burning calories. Find ways to move a few more minutes each day than the day before. For example, you can take the stairs more often, or park your car further away to burn more calories. Then there are other activities, like housework, gardening, or washing the car, that can help you lose weight.
Be wary of miracle formulas
It is useless to look for dietary supplements that help you burn calories or lose weight. Products that claim to speed up metabolism often exaggerate their benefits. Some can also have unexpected side effects.
Losing weight is up to you. The basis of weight loss is physical activity and diet. Focus on eating fewer calories than you consume, and you will lose weight.