Tag: metabolism

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.

Ladies, Forget About Getting Bulky from Strength Training

Young healthy woman training Woman photo created by master1305 – www.freepik.comupper body with weights at the beach. Single caucasian female model practicing at the river side in sunny day. Concept of healthy lifestyle, sport, fitness, bodybuilding.

Resistance training with weights is the best form of exercise for anyone, male or female. Yet far too often women will shy away from it. Besides having a lack of knowledge on how to proceed with a good strength training program, many women shun it because they are afraid of getting too bulky. News flash; You will never get bulky from lifting weights on accident. Weight training takes a considerable amount of work even for men to get bulky. The female body does not produce the testosterone to do so. If you think you will become bulky, lose your femininity, and look like a freak, it will be only because at some point you made the conscious decision to become a She-Hulk. It will never just happen. But what will happen is you will become mentally stronger as well as physically. Your self esteem and sense of self worth will increase as you begin to enjoy your new look. Ladies, strength training will improve your life in countless ways as every time you get under the iron, you will feel more and more formidable. It is guaranteed to make you better across the full spectrum of your life.

Why care about muscles?

When it comes to weight loss, many of you might go on on too large of a caloric deficit, and will lose muscle along with your body fat.

This is not a good thing!

It will only serve to keep you at a high body fat percentage even if you have hit your goal weight. The loss of muscle will slow your metabolism, and it will also make you weaker.

This is a fact.

And then for the downside; if you regain the weight you have lost without also replacing the lost lean muscle mass, your body fat will only be at a higher percentage than before. Therefore your metabolism will be slowed even more than it was before your initial weight loss. When you yo-yo diet, you are only compounding the problem with each and every up and down cycle you take your body through this insanity. Any time you lose your lean muscle mass, you are only making yourself physically weaker. At some point there could be severe consequences from not maintaining lean muscle mass.

We all know that our muscles give us the power to lift heavy objects, whether it is a bag full of groceries or a crying baby we need to comfort. They give us the power to stroll around the zoo with our children and or grandchildren, and the ability to accomplish a multitude of fun activities. None of these activities require us to be star athletes, but they do require a modicum of strength and endurance to take part in. You need, and should desire that your muscles have the ability to accomplish the basic functions of life and then some. Yet many, lose these simple abilities that most of us took for granted before our nation’s obesity problem became an epidemic. Resistance training is of great importance for a healthy body, while hormones are directly responsible for a large portion of your metabolism, your muscles ramp up your ability to burn off unhealthy and undesirable fat, your muscles will expedite the burning of calories while at work or when at rest.

Our body’s lean muscle mass give us the metabolic ability to more efficiently burn calories every time we move. This is true whether we are under the iron, swimming in a pool, or even just getting up and pushing a vacuum cleaner around our living room. Our lean muscle is constantly burning calories, therefore, the more you have, the more calories you will burn even at rest. A simple factoid for you; Our muscles will burn 40 to 120 calories a day just to sustain it’s existence, while fat will only feed on 1 to 3 calories per day. That is a pretty stark contrast between the two components of our body’s. Just by adding about 16 ounces of lean muscle mass to your body , about enough to fill a soda pop bottle, your metabolism will continue to increase your ability to burn off body fat.

Ladies, when you think of strength training, no matter the form in mind, forget the idea of becoming the female equivalent to Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not going to happen without a lot of hours expended in the gym, and then only with the help of illegal steroids. You are not going to bulk up, but your muscles will appear fuller as your body fat decreases. This will make you look as healthy as you will feel with your newfound body.

By focusing on compound muscle groups in your workouts, and following the right workout plan, you will firm up and stimulate the amount of growth your body requires to burn more calories each day. The best thing is, you do not need expensive equipment or gym memberships in order to realize a difference. You can accomplish everything you need from the comfort of your own home while using your own body weight to get there. If you have questions about strength training, Brenda Sue would be happy to answer them. I began training her in free weights about 3 years ago. When she began, she could only dead lift about 50 pounds. She now dead lifts 210 pounds for multiple repetitions. And she has not become a bulky She-Hulk, nor has she lost any of her femininity in the process. Despite me now referring to her as the “Beast of Bama”, she is still a proud and petite Southern Belle in all aspects of how she lives and conducts her life.

What’s The Difference in Burning Calories and Fat?

In my last article I wrote about what calories are, in this one, I will explain what happens when we burn calories and fat. We hear and use the expression “burning calories” and “burning fat” all the time, but how many of you actually know what this means?

We know that we burn calories when we exert ourselves.

We know if we consume more than we burn, we will get fat.

But, when you ask people what actually happens in your body when you burn calories or fat, you will often be met with a blank stare.

When you lose weight, where does the lost body fat go?

In short, it helps to remember that fat is basically stored energy in your body. During the day when you are moving about, or even at rest, your body converts fat to usable energy for your muscles and other tissues through a series of complex metabolic processes. This causes your fat cells to shrink. These metabolic processes generate heat, which helps maintain your body temperature, and waste products. These waste products are water and carbon dioxide, which are excreted in your urine and sweat or exhaled from your lungs.

Are these two women burning calories or are they burning fat?

Is there a difference between these terms?

This is a simple fact for all of us, to lose weight and get in shape you have to commit yourself to maintaining a good diet coupled with regular exercise in order to burn that unsightly body fat. The first thing you must comprehend about a physical fitness regimen is that just because you are burning through calories, it does not mean you are burning fat. It takes about twenty minutes of moderate exercise for your body to get into the fat burning stage. You will not burn even an ounce of fat until you have exhausted your glycogen stores. If you want your exercise to be meaningful to your overall health, your main focus when you exercise should on burning body fat. You simply can’t lose body fat just from burning calories.

When we exercise, for it to have much benefit we must get our heart rate into the fat burning zone for a minimum of twenty minutes before we start burning body fat for energy.  Of course our bodies will start burning calories from the start, however the calories we burn are from the carbohydrates in our system.

For weight loss, it is not enough to just burn through calories alone!

In order to burn calories from your body fat stores, your body requires the presence of oxygen. There is a certain amount of oxygen that your body needs in order to start burning fat and the only way for you to measure the amount needed for your own body is to keep up with your target heart rate during exercise. We have seen on more than a couple of weight loss sites where they allow their clients to figure into their caloric needs the calories burned through activities such as cleaning house. Unless you are huffing and puffing when pushing your vacuum cleaner around your house, these calories burned are pretty insignificant towards losing body fat. It irritates me to no end that these businesses who promote this actually do know, or damn well should know, this kind of calorie burn is next to meaningless. If pushing a vacuum cleaner did not help their clients to never gain weight, this activity is not going to help them lose that weight either.

Understand this, if you only burn calories from carbohydrates, you will lose almost exclusively “water weight”, this actually leads to a decrease in your metabolism instead of an increase.

When you begin an exercise regimen of any type your diet and exercise become a balancing act. The calories burned from carbohydrates are your energy calories. You must manage your caloric intake when you are on an exercise program to replace your burned energy calories. A common mistake that people make is when they reduce their caloric intake too far. They manage to slow down their metabolism when they actually need to increase it. This is why we advise to adjust your daily intake of calories for only a one to two pound maximum of weight loss per week. If you need to lose faster than this, you really should consider doing so only under the supervision of a doctor.

Burning Fat Calories during Exercise

When we exercise, our body goes through a few stages before it reaches the point where we are actually burning body fat. For the most part, you are only burning sugar (carbohydrates) and little to no fat during about the first 20 minutes of exercise.  You have to get your heart rate into the fat burning zone  past the 20 minute mark if you want to burn fat. And, you must increase your intake of oxygen in order to burn that fat. If you are not working out hard enough for your body to want more oxygen, or conversely, if you are working out too hard, you can”t supply your body with enough oxygen for fat burning.

When you do cardio exercise, you must move at a steady pace so your body will utilize your stored fat as its energy source. You must also bear in mind that once you have reached the fat burning stage, it does not necessarily  mean you will stay there. Remaining in the fat burning zone depends on you moving at a pace that is right for your body. Make sure that you are within your target heart rate range.

If you can speak easy, your heart rate needs to increase.

If you can carry on a labored conversation, you are in the fat burning zone.

If you cannot speak, you have gone anaerobic and need to slow down your pace as you are no longer burning fat because of a lack of oxygen to your muscles.

Burning Fat Calories at Rest

Could burning fat while at rest be any better of an option?

Sounds like a  fantastic idea for the lazy among us I would guess. However, in order to burn fat while at rest comes from paying your dues to the resistance exercise, weight training either with weights or your body weight.

The way for you to continue to burn fat calories at rest takes effort beforehand. This is possible through the anaerobic exercise of weight training.

Weight training is the key to burning fat at rest.

Weight training is an anaerobic activity that will cause you to burn more calories than aerobic exercise.

The calories that you are burning during a weight training session are mostly calories from carbohydrates. However, the calories you burn at rest afterwards are mostly from fat. The scientific and biological reason you are burning fat at rest after weight training is because it increases your metabolism which uses your stored fat as energy.  When you boost your metabolism at rest,  you will be more efficient at burning fat calories.

How is this possible?

Muscles grow through protein synthesis, which is one of the most energy consuming processes in the cell . If you’re building muscles, it is not just the workout itself but also the growth of muscles that consumes energy and burns calories. Additionally, muscle tissue is metabolically more active and burns more calories than fat tissue. The more muscles you have, the bigger your resting energy expenditure, which means that your body burns more calories and fat “while doing nothing”.

Live well, Be Well!

Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone!