A friend asked the pertinent question the other day – where has my metabolism gone? I thought that was a fair question, especially when you hit a certain age!
As I shared with you recently, I just found out my thyroid is not fully functioning and I’ve been struggling with a slow (very slow metabolism). But we all know that as we get older our metabolism slows down too, and there are ways of stoking the fire again so our ‘internal fire’ burns more efficiently. But it can get extremely frustrating when you feel that you’re doing all the right things – such as changing your diet and exercise – and yet you’re always sputtering and fluttering along. Nothing seems to change.
The flip side of that is you know you’re not doing everything you should – such as changing your diet and exercise – and you’re just struggling to get through some days because of stress and life circumstances. And then there’s always ‘health issues’ that can cause your metabolism to slow (or stop).
Weirdly enough our metabolism can get stuck whether we’re really trying (and nothing is happening with the scale), or life is so stressful and you’re not doing anything about your weight situation. So I thought it might be helpful to look at what metabolism is and what it does (health line.com).
Metabolism is simply how many calories you burn in a day. Your Resting Metabolism makes up the majority of your total metabolism.
Total metabolism for the day is made up of:
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): the number of calories it takes to keep your body going without any movement (brain function, heart, lungs, muscle, etc)
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): the number of calories that your body actually burns digesting food
Physical Activity (PA): the number of calories you burn moving around all day during your normal activities
Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE): the number of calories you burn doing planned exercise
Most people’s total metabolism each day is about 1800-2200 for women and 2200-2600 for men. The more you move, the higher your metabolism.
Factors that influence metabolism:
Gender: Men tend to have a faster metabolism (burn more calories) than women. Ladies, do you think this isn’t fair? What do men have more of than women?
Muscle Mass: The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn all day long. Muscle is metabolically active 24 hours per day. If you have more muscle, you will burn more calories while you sit at your computer reading these blogs, drive in your car, and most importantly, you will burn more calories while you sleep. How awesome is that?
Age: The number one reason people’s metabolism slows as they age……..they lose muscle.
Heredity: Some people are just genetically gifted with a faster metabolism than others. They can eat a lot more calories than most people and not gain weight. If you are one of these people, thank your parents for good genes!