Metabolism?

Metabolism. Is it part of our genetics? Is there a magic pill or food that can increase it? How does eating breakfast play a part of our metabolism – or does it play a part at all?

This past weekend, I attended a three-hour seminar for Weight Watchers that I found quite fascinating. Some of you may find it boring and that’s okay. I found it quite intriguing. Really, I did. Part of it had to do with our metabolism, which I am going to share with you, even though I am not sure I am supposed to, but we will be sharing it with our members. Oh, whatever, here is what I learned.

Metabolism is basically calories burned. You can interchange the word metabolism with the word calories burned or burning calories. For instance, if people say they are overweight because they have a slow metabolism, it basically comes down to, they are overweight because they are not burning calories. If an older people say their metabolism is slow because they are old, it basically means they are not burning calories. Overweight people, along with the older generation (in general) don’t move as much, which means they are not burning calories, which means they are either not losing weight or they are gaining weight. Sounds kind of confusing, but really, it isn’t.

There are three components of metabolism and none of them have to do with our genetics or how we were born. Well, sort of.

The first component is called resting metabolic/metabolism, which accounts for between 67 and 75 percent of the calories we burn in a day. Resting metabolism consists of the calories used to keep the body going. Resting metabolism is the biggest part of our whole metabolism as it burns between two-thirds to three-quarters of the calories our bodies use every single day. Kind of crazy, isn’t it?

The engine of resting metabolism is lean body mass, which includes parts of the body like your muscles, bone mass, blood, organs…basically, everything except the fat. Lean body mass is the biggest factor of how many calories your resting metabolisms requires. So think about that for a minute. If you are chubby, like I used to be, you don’t have as much lean body mass, therefore you don’t burn as many calories. And sitting on the couch eating a bucket of ice cream isn’t going to help that I guess, which is what I used to do.

So, the greater your lean body mass is, the greater amount of calories you will burn. Period. Makes sense, doesn’t it.

The second part of your metabolism is the calories burned during physical activity. Meaning, physical activity. Meaning, you have to get up off that couch and move people. Do something. Just move. Sitting there isn’t going to help you burn calories and it sure isn’t going to help your metabolism. This part of your metabolism is the most variable part and is also the component you have the most control over. Period. Moving more = more calories burned = better metabolism. Increasing your bodies muscle mass, not necessarily building big huge muscles like a body builder, but building lean muscle mass while also increasing your heart rate can boost your metabolism.

For the next sentence, read it as if I am shouting it on a rooftop: THERE ARE NO PILLS, NO SINGLE FOOD OR COMBINATION OF FOODS THAT CAN SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM. PERIOD.

Whew, that felt good. Now, to only get people to listen to that and to believe it. That’s the hard part.

The third component of your metabolism is the calories used to process food. I didn’t learn much about this or maybe I didn’t particularly pay attention to this, but I do know that this accounts for 10 percent of the calories we burn each and every day.

Now, here’s something interesting I learned and something I wished I would have known earlier. If people, particularly females, say they have a slower metabolism because they are female and not male, they are somewhat right. A man, just because he is a man, typically has more lean mass and less body fat than a woman. Men have more lean body tissue. Therefore, at rest, men need more calories to keep that lean body tissue going and they burn more calories throughout the course of the day. 

Is this fair? Nope, not at all. But, sometimes, us women, just have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt. 

And so, what about breakfast? Can it "jump start" my metabolism? No, not really. Your metabolism burns calories 24 hours a day. But eating a healthy, light breakfast can, however, provide you with energy, which may make you move more, which in turn, helps you burn calories. See,it’s that simple. However, keep in mind that I said eat a healthy, lighter breakfast. If you eat a heavy breakfast, it will set the tone for the day and will probably make you sluggish, which in turns will make you less likely to get up and move.

So, there you go, everything and a whole lot more of what you ever wanted to know about your metabolism.

I really, truly found it interesting. I hope you did, too!

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One thought on “Metabolism?

  1. Well done! We will get this message out to everyone, one way or another! I wrote a blog on the same topic March 20th entitled “A Metabolism Primer,” if you’re interested.

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