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How is it that two people of the same age, gender, and height can eat the same foods and be equally active, but one gains weight while the other loses it?
One piece of the puzzle is metabolism. How well your body burns energy to keep up basic functions like heartbeat, breathing, and thinking is called your basal metabolic rate. We often just call it "metabolism."
Can you change your metabolism? Yes. Whether you're born with a fast, average, or slow metabolism, there are things you can do to speed yours up or slow it down. That means you can tweak your metabolism to help manage your weight.
As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down. This is one of several reasons why most people gain weight as they get older. And any extra body fat you gain slows your metabolism further.
But here's the good news—your metabolism and weight are not out of your control. You can boost your metabolism by following some basic tips.
Taking steps to raise your metabolism helps you to:
When you eat more calories than your body burns in a day, they're stored mainly in your fat cells as body fat. So if your goal is to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories, burn more of the calories you eat, or even better, do both.
You can think of this in terms of boosting your metabolism. To boost your metabolism and help manage your weight:
To avoid slowing your metabolism:
McArdle WD, et al. (2010). Human energy expenditure during rest and physical activity. In Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance, 7th ed., pp. 192–205. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Other Works Consulted
Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2013). Energy metabolism. In Understanding Nutrition, 13th ed., pp. 195–219. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2011). Fitness: Physical activity, nutrients, and body adaptations. In Understanding Nutrition, 12th ed., pp. 456–490. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2011). Weight management: Overweight, obesity, and underweight. In Understanding Nutrition, 12th ed., pp. 271–282. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
September 23, 2013
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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