Metabolism and Weight Loss

Our metabolisms are often blamed for our struggles to lose weight, but many people don’t understand exactly what role metabolism plays in weight loss. Understand how much of your body weight is controlled by metabolism and what, if anything, you can do to boost it.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism refers to the process of changing the food you consume into energy your body uses to function. Although metabolism technically refers to the process itself, most people use the word metabolism to describe basal metabolic rate, or how many calories your body burns during this process. People with a “high metabolism” naturally burn more calories during this process than people with a “low metabolism.”

Some people do have a higher basal metabolic rate than others. Basal metabolic rate is generally determined by age, sex, and body size and composition. People who are larger or have more muscle mass will generally have a higher basal metabolic rate than smaller people. This is one of the reasons that men, who tend to have more muscle mass than women, usually have higher metabolisms.

So is your metabolism—or your basal metabolic rate—to blame for weight loss difficulty? Your metabolism is only responsible for 60-75% of your daily calorie expenditure. The remaining calories are burned through physical activity. In other words, being more active can easily overcome a slower metabolism. You can also increase your metabolism by increasing the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

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