I do not over-eat, I just have a slow metabolism

… cue eye-roll…

I am sure those of you who do suffer from the dreaded ‘slow metabolism burden’ are used to getting some smirks and eye-rolls when you blame a ‘sluggish metabolism’, but is there truth in it?

Why can your super-skinny friend who is also a couch potato eat that daily donut with no visible impact while you inhale a crumb and expand?

Because… wait for it… metabolism DOES matter!

In this blog (Part 1) we look at the factors that influence your metabolism, or rather your metabolic rate (see the difference below). In Part 2 (tomorrow) we discuss specific ways in which you can influence your metabolic rate to improve your weight-loss. And in Part 3 (Friday) we discuss specific Foods you can incorporate into your TLC-Program to trigger a faster Metabolic Rate.

What is metabolism:
Metabolism is a combination of biochemical processes that your body uses to convert food into energy. Even when you’re at rest, your body needs energy for all its “hidden” functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate. When we use the word “metabolism” in terms of weight-loss or -gain, we are describing the rate at which our bodies burn calories- this is called metabolic rate.

Everyone’s metabolic rate is different (this explains those fortunate individuals who can eat whatever they like!). There are many different factors that affect metabolism:

Age.
As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. Muscle mass decreases, while fat mass increases, cutting down the rate at which we burn calories.

Gender.
Men generally have a higher metabolism than women as they tend to have a lower body fat percentage and higher muscle mass than women of the same age. One of the reasons is that men produce ninety percent more testosterone than women. Testosterone is a sex hormone that helps increase muscle mass and decrease fat mass.

Body size and composition:
Athletic and muscular people burn more calories, even when they are resting, so they are more likely to have a faster RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) than obese individuals.

Body temperature.
Metabolism increases when the body is exposed to extreme temperatures.

Caffeine or stimulant intake.
Your metabolism may increase if you consume a stimulant like caffeine.

Hormonal imbalance:
If thyroid hormones are not produced properly by your body, your metabolism may increase or decrease depending on the hormone level. The lack of oestrogen in women and the amount of testosterone in both men and women can change the muscle/fat ratio.

Pregnancy.
Women who are pregnant have a faster metabolism.

Poor nutrition/frequent crash diets.
People who tend to eat food high in refined sugars and/or saturated fat, food with poor nutritional value or those ones who are on a very poor crash diet on a regular basis tend to have slower metabolism.

Activity level.
When you move more during the day, either through exercise or routine daily movements (like walking or standing) your body burns more calories. Regular exercise and high intensity interval training can boost your metabolism over the long term

Stress:
Emotional stress causes your level of the hormone cortisol to rise, which can harm your metabolism. Increased cortisol levels can cause you to overeat, therefore, causing weight gain (fat gain).

Insomnia:
Regular sleep deprivation may affect RMR. Chronic insomnia can cause a dysregulation of certain hormones (cortisol, insulin and leptin). Insulin is a hormone that tells your body to store fat. Sleep deprivation appears to have a harmful impact on carbohydrate metabolism. When carbohydrates are not metabolized properly, your blood sugar levels increase. High blood sugar levels spike insulin levels, signalling your body to store unused energy as fat.

Medications:
The metabolic rate can be affected by some drugs, such as antidepressants, diabetic medications, steroids, anti-thyroid agents and hormone therapies. Talk with your doctor if you suspect that a medicine is causing weight gain. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication or change your dosage.

Chronic diseases:
Certain medical conditions such as obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes or Cushing’s syndrome can slow down metabolism.

There are things you can do to ‘speed up’ your metabolism. Read Part 2 of our Metabolism Blog for some tips and guidelines.

Also follow our Social media for answers and solutions this week!

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FB page: @TLCforWeightLossSA
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twitter: @TLCFATLOSS

Written by SE More