Have you ever wondered why your friend can eat anything and everything and still look the same? And you might wonder about the relationship between metabolism and weight loss and then continue to blame your metabolism? In fact, if you have ever tried to lose weight you must have heard about having a slow metabolism as well.
Thus, further in this article, we will look at what exactly is metabolism and the factors that affect your metabolism. You will also learn the role of physical activity, and lastly, what can you do to improve your metabolism. So, let’s explore everything you need to learn about metabolism and how it affects weight loss.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which the body converts the food you consume into energy. It determines the rate at which your body burns calories. Since it’s a complex process that combines calories and oxygen to create and release energy, it is broken down into two separate processes:
- Catabolism: It is the breakdown of food into simpler components, releasing energy.
- Anabolism: It uses the energy from catabolism to build and repair cells as well as for bodily functions.
These both processes come together to make up your metabolism which helps in your daily bodily functions.
What is BMR?
Your body burns calories even while doing basic functions such as respiration, digestion, nervous functions, and more even while being at rest. And the rate at which your body burns calories to keep the body functioning at rest is determined by BMR i.e. Basal Metabolic Rate. In fact, it accounts for about 60-70% of the daily calories burned because of which BMR can affect weight loss as well.
Slow v/s Fast Metabolism for Weight Loss
In the past, you may have heard about having a slow or a fast metabolism. So, let’s see why different metabolism exists. The speed of metabolism varies from person to person and some part of it depends on genetics as well. Hence, you can have a slow or fast metabolism irrespective of your body size.
If your body is burning fewer calories than required, then the excess energy is stored in the form of fat. Hence, if you have a slow metabolism with a slower calorie-burning rate, it can result in difficulty in losing weight. While on the flip side, if you have a fast metabolism, your body burns calories at a faster rate which explains why your friend still looks the same even after having literally anything in their diet.
Major factors that define how your metabolism is the way it is are lifestyle-related; so you may be able to control how your metabolism works.
Metabolism and Weight Loss
The reason you are not able to see changes in your weight cannot entirely be your metabolism’s fault. The process of weight loss or weight gain is a complicated one, so there’s no one specific factor that affects your progress.
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit which essentially means consuming fewer calories than what you burn in an entire day. If you are gaining weight, then it is most probably because you are consuming more calories than you are burning. Metabolism can affect your weight loss as it can be a bit easier to lose for those with a fast metabolism. Because if you have a fast metabolism, you will be burning more calories which can make up for the calories that you consume throughout the day. However, a slow metabolism cannot make you gain excess weight unless you have some sort of medical condition or you are in a calorie surplus.
Factors affecting Metabolism and Weight Loss
Genetics are just a small part of the reason why your metabolism might be affected. Instead, a major part is played by two types of factors including lifestyle and medical factors which are as follows:
Lifestyle factors affecting Metabolism
Unlike what you would expect, your metabolism is not only affected by medical factors but also lifestyle factors like the following:
- Age: With increasing age, BMR lowers and people tend to lose muscle mass which causes their metabolism to slow down.
- Physical Activity: With regular workouts, you can burn more calories than your BMR and build lean muscle mass which can effectively fasten up the metabolism.
- Body size and composition: Higher the weight, the higher is the BMR. Hence, it is more likely that a person with a higher weight will burn calories at a faster rate.
- Gender: Men have relatively more muscles than women of the same age and weight which helps them burn more calories.
- Sleep: Sleep plays an important role in keeping your metabolism normal. Lack of sleep slows down your metabolism and can trigger food cravings as well.
- Stress: Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body produces naturally. An increase in stress levels can increase cortisol levels which can affect your carbohydrate and fat metabolism. While this is useful for basic human survival, it can cause cravings which can cause weight gain due to increased calorie consumption.
Medical factors affecting Metabolism
Medical conditions can play a significant role in determining the cause behind your metabolism as well. Hence, it is important to be aware of these factors:
- Hypothyroidism: It happens when there isn’t enough thyroid hormone in the bloodstream which slows down the metabolism.
- Cushing’s disease: Here, the cortisol levels are high which leads to increased appetite resulting in an effective slower metabolism.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: Women with PCOS, particularly with insulin resistance, have a low BMR which leads to a slower metabolism that can hinder weight loss.
- Pituitary gland disorders: The pituitary gland secretes hormones for the proper functioning of your body. Hence, any disturbance in this process can cause hormone imbalances which can affect your metabolism.
Improving your Metabolism for Weight Loss
By now we know what metabolism is, what all types are there, and the factors affecting this process. Thus, now it’s time to find some answers on how to improve your metabolism if you want to lose weight.
- Include strength training/resistance training: Strength training helps in building muscles which also requires more energy. Hence, the body will burn more calories helping in weight loss.
- Take proper sleep: Having too little sleep can increase your cortisol levels which increases your appetite. Therefore, it’s important to take proper 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Increase protein intake: Protein helps in burning more calories due to several factors. Hence, a high protein diet can help in boosting your metabolism.
- Drink enough water: Drinking a minimum of 2-3 liters of water a day can improve your metabolism and can also make you feel fuller without adding any calories.
- Add more fiber to your diet: High-fiber food takes more time to chew. Thus, you feel full even with lesser calories which helps to improve slow metabolism.
- Reduce stress: Lastly don’t stress about your weight much as we have seen above how increased cortisol level can cause weight gain.
With these small changes, you can bring a lot of improvements to your health and metabolism. These changes can help you in working on your slow metabolism which should help with weight loss. If we helped you in learning about metabolism and how it affects weight loss, make sure to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments down below.