Do you feel like you’ve been dieting forever?
Do you feel like no matter what, you’ll never lose weight?
Some decide it must be their metabolism. They’re doing everything right, cooking the diet food, and exercising to no avail.
It’s a word often thrown out in diet books. “Increase your metabolism and burn twice as many calories in half the time!” It’s heard often in conversations too, “I can’t lose weight very easy, I think I have a slow metabolism.”
Is my metabolism cheating me?
Do you know what metabolism means? And do you know what influences it?
Most people don’t really know if they have a slow metabolism.
Metabolism is a science-y word that refers all the life-sustaining chemical reactions that keep your heart beating.
The term that measures the calories you need to stay alive is called Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). If you were to stay in a hospital bed (or watch movies all day) with little to no activity, this is the amount of calories you need day to day to stay alive and maintain your weight. This fuels everything related from brain function to kidney function to breathing.
Ok, so BMR. I think that’s the culprit.
I’m going to say something you probably won’t like:
most people don’t have abnormal metabolisms.
Most people’s BMR is perfectly normal. There’s definitely variance from person to person with their BMR, but it’s mostly determined by fat-free mass. Unfortunately, adding a few pounds of muscle doesn’t dramatically increase your metabolism, it does increase but not as much as you’d probably like.
It’s not that those claims that “lifting weights increases your metabolism” isn’t true, but it’s pretty insignificant in comparison. Your height, weight and age are much bigger factors in this amount of calories that you hope is really high (everyone wants a “fast metabolism” right?).
Some people do have a “slow metabolism” but it’s likely due to a serious condition.
The numbers that are spit out of calorie calculators add other figures to your BMR, like the calories expended from digesting food (very little) and activity from the day. Some use body fat percentage too, since fat-free body mass provides a more accurate estimation of calorie expenditure.
To be perfectly honest, a lot of people’s weight loss struggles have to do with what they eat.
Consistency is key in losing weight
Are you consistently under calories? Are you consistently over? Are you eating enough protein be satisfied? I find that many of my clients (women between the ages of 25-55) think they’re eating low carb, but once they start logging food, they find that carbohydrates and fats account for most of the foods they eat!
This is definitely fallout from the popularity of Atkins, South Beach and other low carb diets. There’s so many “low carb” foods available, people buy them and think they’re eating right when the opposite is true!
Ok fine, I’ll look at my diet again
Log your calories in MyFitnessPal. I’m serious, log it all! Make sure your portions are correct (weigh them if you don’t know what 3oz looks like or take a look at PhotoCalorie) and make sure you choose the correct one. Raw chicken does not weigh the same as cooked chicken, so get specific.
If you’re eating 1200 calories a day, you’re doing it wrong
MyFitnessPal underestimates the calories you need. I have a great article called “The Starter Guide to Getting Healthy” that tells you exactly how to plug in the numbers, how to start exercising, and whats most important for maintaining a healthy body.