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How Metabolism Affects Weight Loss

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

When it comes to weight loss, you have likely considered how your metabolism might impede you from seeing results and affect your progress.

It doesn’t help that there are numerous companies selling magic teas and supplements, claiming to increase your metabolism for faster weight loss.

While there are certain predispositions to having a slower or faster metabolism, having a fast metabolism does not always correlate to having a smaller body. Therefore, your weight is not limited by your metabolism.

While various “metabolism-boosting” supplements might claim to be the solution to all your problems, their effect on weight loss is often insignificant.

So, how much of your ability to lose weight can be attributed to your metabolism?

Well, to answer this, let’s first get a clear definition of what your metabolism does.

Metabolism is defined as the various biochemical reactions that occur within the body - essentially, it is the amount of energy (or calories) the body burns to sustain itself. Our bodies use a significant amount of energy to support functions necessary for survival, which is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR can vary between individuals based on genetics, age, sex, & muscle mass.

We also burn calories to fuel physical movements & convert food into energy. It’s primarily these components of your metabolism that can be influenced through lifestyle changes.

So, with all this being said, what are some actionable steps you can take to best support your metabolism?

1. Lift more heavy stuff…correctly.

Muscle is more metabolically active compared with fat. In other words, muscle burns more calories at rest. Additionally, high-intensity activities, such as weightlifting, have been shown to increase lean body mass and reduce body-fat percentage.

2. Eat the rainbow.

As mentioned above, calories are burned in the process of converting food into energy. Your body burns a higher amount of calories digesting protein & high-fiber foods.

3. Don’t forget to eat.

Skipping meals or decreasing intake significantly can be the worst thing for your metabolism. Our bodies go into “starvation mode” & our metabolism slows down to compensate for not receiving adequate nutrition.

4. Sleep :)

Sleep deprivation has been shown to cause changes in hormonal secretion, specifically affecting how our bodies metabolize carbohydrates. Not getting adequate sleep can also dysregulate our appetite and inhibit our ability to eat intuitively.

5. Hakunah Matata

Chronic stress can have vast impacts on the body, from how we digest & absorb nutrients to our ability to build & repair muscle tissue. Finding ways to manage stress, through therapy, meditation, having a healthy social network, etc. can be beneficial for long-term weight management.

Dietitian Arlington VA

Here are some great post-workout snacks that are high in protein & fiber to help fuel your metabolism!

*Key word being SNACKS!!!! Have a nice full meal later on.*

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