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How to hack UR metabolism to lose weight

Jen Thomas

Muscle Trainer, Pre & Post-Natal Exercise Expert, and Nutrition Coach

7 min read

Are U working out consistently but not losing any weight? Can the reason be attributed to a “broken” metabolism? We, often, hear a lot of trendy buzz-phrases on metabolism such as “I need to kickstart my metabolism” or “I have a slow metabolism”, but what does this even mean?

This article sets out to answer the questions: what is metabolism? How does it work? Can a good metabolism help U to lose weight and become healthy? How can we measure our metabolism, and, can U boost UR metabolism to help U lose weight and stay healthy?

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the process by which UR body stays alive. It’s a reflection of numerous, intricate processes and chemical pathways that use energy in order to help U think, move, sleep, digest and much more. One way to visualise what a metabolism is to imagine it as one of the complex aerial images that we see at traffic jams on a busy, multilayer highways. Metabolism, in the very simple sense, is organised chaos.

It’s therefore easy to assume that if you’re unable to lose weight, this highly complex system is broken. However, UR metabolism never stays the same; is an adaptive beast – it adapts to UR life choices, UR environment, is shaped by UR genetics and can change day to day.

Metabolism 101: How it works (And why it matters)

Here are few key concepts that come into play while discussing about metabolism. Understanding these can help U to link UR weight with metabolism.

Basic things that make up metabolism
  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): Resting metabolic rate is the number of calories U burn at rest. This accounts for almost 60% of UR total calorific burning.
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): Did U know that U burn calories while U eat? Yes, eating is a process which requires energy. So, eating can burn some calories. It is interesting to note that some macronutrients burn more calories during the digestion process than the others.
  • Physical Activity: It includes all the purposeful activities that U do in the day such as working out. It takes in account of the calories that U burn by sweating.
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): It includes all the excess moves U do during UR day such as fidgeting, walking around, moving, adjusting your legs and so on.

Have you ever absent-mindedly ate the food remaining on UR child’s plate, or nibbled from the fridge as U looked for the orange juice? These are examples of mindless eating that are easily forgotten and not recorded as we assume that “they don’t matter”. However, every calorie adds up.

Calories, Metabolism, and UR ability to lose weight

When we talk about exercise and fitness, we often come across a term called ‘calories’. This term is also used when speaking of UR metabolism. What is a calorie? A calorie is the amount of energy used to heat 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. To find out how many calories an item of food contains, researchers burn a piece of food in a closed container to check the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of water by 1 degree Celsius.

Because U intake calories through UR food consumption and burn them via your daily activities, there is something called an “Energy Balance Equation” – which is an incredibly simple concept.
The acronym for the concept is CICO (Calories-in, Calories-out).

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CICO is about creating the balance in calories. When we are out of balance, it leads to two other scenarios called calorie ‘surplus’ and calorie ‘deficit’. When we take-in extra calories than what the body can burn in a day, we are in a calorie surplus. On the other hand, when we take-in less calories than what our body can burn, we are in a calorie deficit.

When UR body is in a state of surplus, those extra calories are stored as fat. When UR body is in a state of deficit, the calories you consumed are used up and there is nothing remaining to store.

How can we measure metabolism?

The right question to ask is how many calories do U need in a day to maintain a balanced CICO? The answer differs for person to person.

How many calories UR body requires and how it uses them is dependent on number of factors such as body’s size, intensity of workout, amount of muscles, genes, epigenetics, hormones and more. As mentioned above, it can change daily, or with your life choices and your environment. It’s hard (and extremely expensive) to determine our exact calorie needs, but we can get a rough estimate by using online calculators or activity trackers that require you to input data and register your workouts.

Activity Trackers

However, it is important to note that these technologies have some margin of error. Workout studies have shown that there’s a range of 9-23% error, both plus and minus, in an activity tracker. That’s quite a much of error! This may mean you that your workout sessions may not be quite as intense as you thought, or you could burn more without knowing.
These tracking apps are not precisely built to guide a person in a customized way. For example, it cannot produce results based on the complexity of UR body. No matter how advanced the tech is, it cannot account for every single small chemical processes that makes UR metabolism unique to U.

Calorie Counters

Similarly, a calorie tracker cannot precisely report the calories found in the food that U eat. Results vary when the food is raw versus cooked, fresh versus stale and others. Fruits and vegetables will vary in calories depending on when they were picked, their exact size, and so much more. Therefore, the calorie amount in a range of 10 apples will all be different from the next!

The Verdict on Counters:

Taking into account this discrepancy of logging calories through our activity trackers and calorie counters, it’s easy to to believe that we are in a calorie deficit and should be losing weight, when in actuality, we may be eating more or burning less without realising it. This doesn’t mean that your metabolism is broken, it just means we don’t have the precise means to adequately measure and monitor everyone’s unique metabolic rate.

However, this doesn’t mean that calorie counters and activity trackers aren’t useful tools. These tools can help bring awareness to your daily needs and motivate you to make positive changes in your lifestyle. The caution is only to use the trackers as they were meant, as general tools, not as precise measurements.

Lifestyle Choices

The awareness U bring to UR food consumption plays an important role. Also, exercise is one of the biggest tools in UR metabolism toolbox.

It’s human nature to underestimate the food intake and overestimate the workout amount. Have you ever absent-mindedly ate the food remaining on UR child’s plate, or nibbled from the fridge as U looked for the orange juice? These are examples of mindless eating that are easily forgotten and not recorded as we assume that “they don’t matter”. However, every calorie adds up.

Additionally, you’re not alone, if when scrolling through UR calorie counter you find three different calorie amounts for the same food, and you instinctively choose the lower calorie amount in order to “wedge in” more calories during the day.

These are simple but unconscious decisions that we make on a daily basis that can have a seemingly minor, but long term impact on our ability to lose weight.

Boost UR metabolism with these tips!

Here are some basic tips to boost UR metabolism.

  • Sleep well. Sleep deprivation, even for one single night, can impact your calorific burn by 20%. So, put down UR laptops and mobiles at night, shut off UR light and get some sleep.
  • Second tip is to move around as much as U can. For example, walk around in the room when U are on the phone.
  • Help carry the groceries by URself. It can act as weigh-lifting.
  • Take the stairs and avoid using lift (unless you are injured or medically unfit).
  • Take regular breaks from UR desk. Keep UR body in motion.
  • Prioritize UR protein and fiber intake. These take longer to digest than the other foods.
  • Eat according to UR portion sizes rather than relying on calorie trackers.
  • Learn to make informed choices about UR food.
  • Get some exercise! Cardiovascular activity (walking, jogging, cycling, etc) can have a fantastic calorific burn in the session, however, resistance training can enable you to burn calories at a higher rate for the remainder of the day. Mix both cardiovascular and resistance training into your week.

By doing all these, you achieve in doing UR bit to rep-up UR metabolism. Good metabolism supports fitness goals, and a fit life leads to a healthy, happy one!