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How Metabolism Works
“Your metabolism is designed to regulate your body weight. It’s a really healthy design and overall, metabolism doesn’t affect your weight loss or gain. It can, but it’s not the biggest factor when it comes to weight loss or gain.” – Devon Dionne
This week’s episode is all about metabolism and how it affects our ability to lose weight. Many people believe that we can burn calories and get fit based on the old-fashioned energy in, energy out model. However, there’s so much more to living a healthy lifestyle than just that and metabolism plays a huge part in it.
Each person has their own metabolism based on many factors:
- Genetic makeup
- Food processing of thermogenesis
- Gut bacteria
General thoughts on metabolism: Weight loss = energy in – energy out
There are many metabolism myths out there such as:
- “I think I have a broken metabolism.”
- “You can’t change your metabolic rate.”
- “Eating at night slows down your metabolism.”
- “Low-calorie diets can jump start your metabolism.”
- “Your metabolism is fixed for life whether that’s good or bad.”
If you eat less and move more, you’ll be fine, but why are you hitting a plateau if that’s true? There are so many other factors involved in metabolism and weight loss or gain.
“This is the problem with getting hooked on counting calories. You have two people standing next to each other and they could be exactly the same weight, body type, height – everything! They could even consume the same amount of calories, but because of multiple different factors like gut bacteria or genetics, that will define how much calories they can actually absorb and utilize.” – Rob Dionne
The Truth About
Resting Metabolic Rate
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR) is how your body converts energy and food at rest.
The amount of calories that we absorb depends on what food we eat. If we eat whole foods that are unprocessed, we’ll absorb less than if we were to eat processed foods.
The USDA is able to have a 20-25% range of amount of calories they put on the nutrition labels. So, it’s easy to be way off on how much we’re actually consuming every day. We could be eating 20% more or less than what’s actually stated on the label.
Several factors can mess with our resting metabolic rate such as:
- Body mass weight
- Body composition: How much is fat, muscle, and bone plus your muscle requires more energy to stabilize and sustain.
- Aging: As you age, you tend to lose muscle mass.
- Gender: Men typically burn more than women.
- Hormones: Thyroid, low testosterone, insulin & insulin resistance.
- Caffeine and nicotine can increase RMR but only if you take them all day can it be bad for you. Anything that speeds up your heart rate will affect your metabolism, but it’s not a healthy choice.
- Pharmaceutical drugs – speed based drugs can increase metabolism. Can completely decrease the RMR and there can be other side effects.
- Stress and negative feelings can affect RMR and cortisol levels
Improve Your Metabolic Rate
“When you eat protein, it takes your body 20-30% of the calories that you just consumed to digest the food. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the nutrition density of the foods that you’re eating because your body will process whole-wheat bread differently than white, processed bread.” – Rob Dionne
There are many different methods we can use to increase our metabolic rate:
- Gut bacteria
- Nutrition and portion size
- NEAT: Non- Exercise Activity Thermogensis
- Sleep and relaxation
Fitness and Building Muscle
Adding muscle can increase your rate for long-term because it changes your body composition. Muscle burns more than fat when the body is resting. So the more muscle mass you put on, the more muscle you’ll burn.
Cardio helps to burn a lot of calories in the moment, but it doesn’t affect the metabolic rate in the long-term. A ton of cardio can actually stress out the body by changing your cortisol levels which keeps fat on and it burns muscle mass. A little bit of cardio can be beneficial but too much causes issues for the long-term.
Spend a couple of days a week weight training or include it into your weekly circuit workout at the gym if you add some cardio.
Create a Healthy Microbiome
Our gut bacteria is also important factor as far as our ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. Depending on the type and amount of gut bacteria that we have in our microbiomes, we can absorb more or less food.
Nutrition and Portion Sizes
When you lose a lot of weight, your metabolism slows down and could stay that way for a long time or for live. Rather than focusing on low-calorie diets and intense cardio training that will burn both fat AND muscle mass, focus on portion sizes and eating whole foods such as protein. Don’t even pay attention to nutrition labels or calories.
Just focus on eating good portions of whole foods like meat, vegetables, fruit, and healthy grains. The more whole the food is, the more energy your body needs to consume and process the food.
Non- Exercise Activity Thermogensis
Non- Exercise Activity Thermogensis aka NEAT happens if you’re fidgety and need to stand all day, pace, or walk around a lot all day because you simply can’t stay still. Do you walk around a lot for work? Different jobs can affect this. If you’re walking around all day, you’re going to burn more calories compared to someone who has a desk job or sits on the couch all day.
If you sit all day at a desk job, then you’re not able to access your NEAT. Get up to go for a walk a couple of times a day or get a stand-up desk.
Relax and Socialize
Sleep is recovery and healing for the body. It’s better to sleep more than only sleep for 4 hours and get up early to go workout. Make sure you’re giving your body and mind plenty of rest throughout the week.
On the other hand, sociliazing can also boost your body as well as positive thinking. In return, this can help your metabolism as well. Go spend time with friends and family to further help you unwind and relax. Pets like a dog can also be great because then you’ll have something to look after and take care of 24/7 who’ll give you attention in return.
Thursday Night Live
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What You’ll Hear on This Episode
00:00 Open Sky Fitness Introduction
1:15 Opening comments with Rob and Devon
2:15 Today’s topic – Metabolism!
2:50 Learn more about our Open Sky Fitness Facebook Group
3:20 Get One-On-One Coaching Sessions with either Rob or Devon
4:40 How metabolism affects fat loss
6:00 Different weight loss and gain factors
10:20 Energy in – The amount of calories that we daily eat
12:00 How cooking and processing foods can affect how much calories we actually absorb.
14:20 Why our gut bacteria affects our calorie intake.
17:20 Energy out with the resting metabolic rate
24:10 Using exercise to improve the metabolic rate
24:45 The thermal effect on food
30:40 Physical activity and the metabolic rate
33:20 The energy out part of exercise.
35:00 The Biggest Lose Dilemma
40:00 How to improve your metabolism
48:15 Closing comments with Rob and Devon
49:45 Open Sky Fitness Closing
RESOURCES MENTIONED DURING THE SHOW:
- Leave us an iTunes review
- Join the The Open Sky Fitness Podcast Group on Facebook
- Contact Rob and Devon to apply for One-On-One Coaching Sessions
- Check out the two episodes from last week:
- Learn more about calories with OSF 133 – Should I Count Calories? Why or why not?
- Discover the Keys to a Healthy Gut with OSF 121
- Check out OSF 95: NY Times Article is One-Sided About the Biggest Loser
- Listen to OSF 49 Kicking Your Fat in the Nuts with T.C. Hale
- Read Kick Your Fat in the Nuts by T.C. Hale
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Thanks for listening/reading Episode 160 – Metabolism: How It Impacts Your Weight Loss! We hope you have gained more knowledge on how to be a healthier you.