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What is Metabolism? Understanding the Factors that influences it (Part 1 of 4)

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Donnar's Two Cents:

A client of mine threw me a very interesting topic to ponder about. Are there hacks to increase your metabolism? So what is metabolism?

From a food perspective, metabolism is the biochemical processes your body uses to convert calories into energy. Your metabolism works to process whatever you consume. Besides processing food and drink, it is also responsible for life processes such as:

  • Digesting food

  • Breathing

  • Delivering nutrients to the cells

  • Helping muscles, nerves and cells use energy

  • Eliminating waste from the body

The rate anyone can burn calories defined as their “metabolic rate”, varies from person to person. As a general rule of thumb, the higher your metabolism is, the more calories you burn.

To avoid a long introduction which most of us would just skim through, lets just cut to the chase and dive right into it.

Factors Influencing your Metabolism:

Age :

Your metabolism slows down as you age. Some studies indicate that this is because the body composition changes. For instance, the more muscle you have, the more fat you can burn. Hence, as your muscle mass decreases, your ability to process calories dwindles.

Diet :

While severely restricting your calorie intake might seem like a good way to shed pounds fast, it can negatively affect your metabolism. When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories.

Sex :

Males typically have higher metabolic rates than females. They have more muscle mass, larger bones and less body fat.

Genes :

You might be able to blame your genes for weighing more and increasing your risk of obesity, but you can no longer blame your genes for failing to lose weight. A comprehensive study found that improving your diet and being more physically active will help you lose weight.

Temperature :

If you’re exposed to more extreme temperatures, your body has to work harder. The harder you work, the better the metabolism boost. Environmental changes such as increased heat or cold forces the body to work harder to maintain its normal temperature and increases BMR.

Body Composition :

Your body composition refers to the amount of fat, muscle, and lean muscle that makes up your body. Lean muscle mass burns more calories, even when you’re not doing anything. Hence, the more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll naturally burn.

Hormones :

Our hormone balance has a huge impact on metabolism. If your body isn’t producing the right thyroid hormones, the metabolism slows down, which can result in weight gain.

Sleep :

If you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly. A lack of sleep can increase appetite by changing hormones, makes us more likely to eat unhealthy foods, and influences how body fat is lost while counting our calories.

How does metabolism affect weight?

It's quite often that people blame metabolic problems for weight struggles. However, your metabolism naturally regulates itself to meet your body’s needs. It’s rarely the cause of weight gain or loss. In general, anyone who takes in more calories than they burn will gain weight.

What’s the difference between a fast metabolism and slow metabolism?

Someone with a fast metabolism or fast BMR burns a lot of calories even while at rest. If you have a slow metabolism or slow BMR, your body needs fewer calories to keep it going.

“You control your exposome by your daily habits of body and mind, both conscious and unconscious.”

You control your exposome by your daily habits of body and mind, both conscious and unconscious, including how often you move and what form that movement takes, what environmental exposures you have in your home and office, what you eat and drink, and how you manage or mismanage your hormones.

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