I Just Have a Slow Metabolism!

Blaming a slow metabolism is a common catch cry from those trying to lose weight, but failing.

Your metabolism is the energy you require to complete all the tasks your body needs, to complete all of its internal and external tasks, from thinking about what you want for dinner, maintaining body temperature, to walking to the grocery store to buy the food that fuels these processes. Just like many things in life, balance is the most important aspect of either meeting or exceeding the energy requirements of your metabolism.

Instead of blaming a slow metabolism, individuals trying to lose weight need to be looking at the food they are eating, or the exercise they are NOT doing.

Your metabolic requirements are influenced by many things, including:

  • Surface area – the taller you are, the greater amount of heat lost to the atmosphere, which requires energy for your metabolism to maintain.
  • Times of growth – puberty and pregnancy are times of heightened energy requirements, as the body works hard to form new cells.
  • Sickness – your immune systems requires energy to fight off illness, i.e. a fever is a hypermetobolic state, in which your metabolism requires additional energy.
  • Body composition – lean body tissue, such as muscle, has a higher metabolic footprint, and therefore having a higher proportion of muscle mass equates to a higher metabolism.
  • Smoking – smoking places additional pressure on your respiratory system, and this causes an increase in metabolism of around 10%.
  • The thermic effect of food – this makes up around 10% of your overall energy use and is the energy required to digest, absorb and transport nutrients from food.

Can a slow metabolism really be blamed for difficulty in losing weight ? No. Outside of hypothyroidism and other endocrine related diseases, it isn’t a slow metabolism that’s preventing you from losing weight.

There are many things that can distort the reality of your actual intake.

For instance, there are many social influences on what we perceive to be a normal portion of food. For instance, an average serving of food in restaurants has increased significantly of the last 20 years. There is also good evidence that under reporting is common among those trying to lose weight. A study in the American Journal of Nutrition details that under reporting is more common in women than in men, and in older persons than in younger people. Being obese is also associated with under reporting. Interestingly, under reporters tend to be less physically active, and more likely to diet.

If your weight loss is stalled, then its time to stop blaming your metabolism. It’s time to assess your diet and exercise levels.

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