Weight Loss and Metabolism


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What if I told you that blaming your metabolism for your weight gain and difficulty in losing weight is just a bunch of hogwash?

Did that get your attention? If so, that was precisely my intent. Yes, your metabolism plays a role in your weight, but it is not the reason you have difficulties with your weight loss. Your troubles with weight loss are because you are consuming more calories than your body burns, no matter your metabolic rate.

Does a high metabolism allow others to eat more than you and not gain weight?

Yes, it does. But when it comes to taking off those unwanted pounds, it still requires the same reductions in calories for one with a higher metabolism as it does for one with a slower metabolism. If one person requires 3000 calories per day to maintain homeostasis and another requires 2000 calories per day, it still requires a reduction of 500 calories per day for both individuals to lose one pound per week, and the struggle to reduce that 500 calories is the same for both individuals. Your body wants to maintain itself at a certain body fat percentage, even  if that percentage is not healthy for you. But, you can not use this as an excuse for not being able to lose weight. You can do little to change your metabolism, but what you do have direct control over is the foods you fuel your body with. As long as you continue to feed your body junk fuels, you will struggle to lose weight. The reason most diets fail you, even the expensive plans you can join, are because they allow you to continue to fuel your body with poor food choices as long as you “track” them. This sets people up for failure every time.

What role exactly does metabolism play in weight gain or weight loss?

Let’s first begin with defining metabolism. Metabolism or metabolic rate is defined as the series of chemical reactions in a living organism that create and break down energy necessary for life. More simply, it’s the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories.

Our bodies burn calories in several ways:

  • Through the energy required to keep the body functioning at rest; this is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is partly determined by the genes you inherit.
  • Through everyday activities, including how much or how little you fidget.
  • Through exercise

Your metabolism is not your fault since it is largely based on your genetics. Some people are blessed with a faster metabolism, others are not so blessed. This is the reason why some people can eat more than others without gaining weight. You may not feel this is fair, but that does not change the fact you still have the control over the content and quantity of the foods you consume each day.  It is not even debatable that a person with a slow metabolism will burn fewer calories at rest and during activity and therefore has to eat less to avoid becoming overweight. But the mechanism to lose weight is identical for both individuals and can be just as difficult for each. The struggle to lose body fat is the same for those who want to drop weight no matter whether they are beginning at 40% body fat or 20% body fat. The difference in the ability to lose weight is the discipline it takes to control your food intake which should be high nutrition, low calorie foods and to then not exceed the total amount of calories required to meet your goal.

You have to be an active participant in your weight loss goals, and not by taking bogus supplements that promise to raise your metabolism, or through fad diets. These will fail you every time.

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The rising tide of obesity in this country cannot be blamed on an inherited tendency to have a slow metabolism. Genes do not change that quickly in any species. The causes can be tied to an abundance of poor food choices coupled with sedentary lifestyles. Consider this, how many times have you ever sat down in front of the television with a plate or bowl full of less than healthy food and then proceeded to continue eating past the point of feeling full? If we are being intellectually honest, every single one of us who have ever had a weight problem have done this. Regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, our bodies are designed to store excess energy in fat cells. When you eat and drink more calories than your body expends  you will gain weight. Conversely, if you eat and drink fewer calories than are burned through everyday activities (including exercise, rest and sleep), you’ll lose weight. While you don’t have much control over the speed of your basal metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are usually just more active and fidgety than others. There’s no easy way to lose weight.

The foundation for weight loss will always be based on physical activity and diet. Take in fewer calories than you burn, and you will lose weight.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. lindavviolet says:

    Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner (as long as it’s not fried right?)! More excellent information David, a very confusing topic and thank you for the clarity. I just read a post from a poor, misinformed soul that she thinks she needs 3,000 calories a day to survive because of her BMR, even though she needs to lose 150. I am sending her this.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Thanks Linda. Your friend is very misguided if she believes that she needs 3000 calories a day to survive. I have a quite physical job and I work out heavy 4 days a week and only eat 2200 calories to maintain my body fat percentage.

      1. lindavviolet says:

        Exactly, which is why she needs to see this. You have some excellent timing, like this was written just for someone like her 🙂

      2. David Yochim says:

        Have your friend go to our Calorie Counter Pro and see what she needs to lose or maintain weight. Her total will be far less than 3000.

    2. Brenda Sue says:

      Linda, your friend’s error is a common one. We know a woman who added an inflated BMR number AND all of her exercise calories to justify binge eating at a dessert buffet every weekend…didn’t work for her either.

      1. lindavviolet says:

        We can trick ourselves all day long but the pants never lie.

      2. David Yochim says:

        No they never lie. They often shout out the truth from the roof tops for all to hear.

      3. Brenda Sue says:

        Actually, this ladies bikini didn’t lie either. It had an infomercial.

  2. word4happy says:

    Some weight loss programs do really have positive results, I did struggle with weight for some time and eating right through the weight loss program did help.  
    Note: Dieting and workout are the keys in losing weight.

    1. David Yochim says:

      The key to successful weight loss is to be able to maintain that loss once you reach your goal weight. This is why creating a healthy lifestyle is far superior to dieting. 95% of diets fail once the individual goes off of it, especially keto when one begins eating carbs again.

  3. My personal tip…
    Do not skip meals. Skipping meals slicks the body into slowing down the metabolism, attempting to conserve calories during a period where limited fats and fuel are available. Remember that eating increases metabolism.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Thank you for the tip. That is something I have written about in numerous articles.

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