Nutrition Realm
Metabolism & Weight Loss

The Metabolism Series: Understanding Metabolism & Weight Loss

weight loss and metabolism

Welcome to the third article of the Metabolism series on Nutrition Realm. If you've missed the other two articles I've published in the series Please make sure to read them as I've attached them below:

Metabolism. There isn’t perhaps a more frequently used word in the weight loss (and weight gain) vocabulary than this. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to overhear people talking about their struggles – or triumphs – over the holiday bulge or love handles in terms of whether their metabolism is working, or not.

Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!

​Doctors, too, often refer to metabolism when they try and explain why starvation and water-loss diets aren’t scientifically of medically responsible; since, alas, they do not influence or take into account metabolism (there’s that word again!).

So, for all of the usage that this rather daunting and biologically charged word enjoys in our world, you’d comfortably assume that people understand it, right? Or, at least, they have some fundamental information when it comes to how to speed up their metabolism, right?

Wrong!​

Your Misconception Towards Metabolism

Regrettably, many people simply don’t understand the concept of metabolism and metabolic change. This, equally as regrettably, is hardly their fault.

​Many people (quite understandably) mistake their own weight gain and loss episodes as a matter of metabolic change. Sometimes this is true, and sometimes it isn’t.

For example, as we will discuss in this article series, there are scientific ways to increase the rate of metabolic change, and thus enable the body to burn more calories.

​Eating certain foods more frequently is one way to do this (again, we look closer at these in this book). Yet another way to visibly lose weight – at least on a perceived, temporary level – is to sit in a steam room for a few hours.

metabolism and healthy eating

Whereas the former method (eating the right foods) is a real, proven weight loss method through increased metabolic change, the latter method (the steam room) is just temporary because the lost weight is merely water, and will return as swiftly as it “melted away”.

​The point to remember here is that some people mistake their own weight loss attempts as being related to metabolic change; and, as you can see with the steam room example, that isn’t always the case.

Metabolism and Weight Loss

By now, you already have a sense of how metabolism relates to weight loss (catabolic metabolism, or breaking cells down and transforming them into energy).



To understand this process even more clearly, we can introduce a very important player in the weight loss game: the calorie.

Calories



Calories are simply units of measure. They aren’t actually things in and of themselves; they are labels for other things, just like how an inch really isn’t anything, but it measures the distance between two points.



So what do calories measure? Easy: they measure energy. Yup, the evil calorie – the bane of the dieter’s existence – is really just a 3-syllable label for energy. And it’s important to highlight this, because the body itself, despite its vast intelligence (much of which medical science cannot yet understand, only appreciate in awe) does not really do a very intelligent job of distinguishing good energy from bad.

high calories food



Actually, to be blunt, the body doesn’t care about where the energy comes from. Let’s explore this a little more, because it’s very important to the overall understanding of how to boost your metabolism, particularly when we look at food choices.



In our choice-laden grocery stores, with dozens of varieties of foods – hundreds, perhaps – there seems to be a fairly clear awareness of what’s good food, and what’s bad or junk food.



For example, we don’t need a book to remind us that, all else being equal, a plum is a good food, whereas a tub of thick and creamy double-fudge ice cream is a bad food. Not bad tasting, of course; but, really, you won’t find many fit people eating a vat of ice cream a day, for obvious reasons. So what does this have to do with calories and energy?



It’s this: while you and I can evaluate our food choices and say that something (like a plum) is a healthy source of energy, and something else (like a tub of ice cream) is an unhealthy source of energy, the body doesn’t evaluate. Really.

The Body and Calories

It sounds strange and amazing, but the body really doesn’t care. To the body, energy is energy. It takes whatever it gets, and doesn’t really know that some foods are healthier than others. It’s kind of like a garbage disposal: it takes what you put down it, whether it should go down or not.

So let’s apply this to the body, and to weight gain. When the body receives a calorie – which, as we know, is merely a label for energy – it must do something with that energy.

calories burning facts and chart

In other words, putting all other nutrients and minerals aside, if a plum delivers 100 calories to the body, it has to accept those 100 calories. The same goes for 500 calories from a (small) tub of ice cream: those 500 calories have to be dealt with.

Now, the body does two things to that energy: it either metabolizes it via anabolism, or it metabolizes it via catabolism. That is, it will either convert the energy (calories) into cells/tissue, or it will use that energy (calories) to break down cells. Now the link between calories/energy, metabolism, and weight loss becomes rather clear and direct.

When there is an excess of energy, and the body can’t use this energy to deal with any needs at the time, it will be forced to create cells with that extra energy. It has to. It doesn’t necessarily want to, but after figuring out that the energy can’t be used to do anything (such as help you exercise or digest some food), it has to turn it into cells through anabolism.

Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!

And those extra cells? Yup, you guessed it: added weight! In a nutshell (and nuts have lots of calories by the way, so watch out and eat them in small portions…), the whole calorie/metabolism/weight gain thing is really just about excess energy.

In Conclusion.

​When there are too many calories in the body – that is, when there’s too much energy from food – then the body transforms those calories into stuff. And that stuff, most of the time, is fat. Sometimes, of course, those extra calories are transformed into muscle; and this is usually a good thing for those watching their weight or trying to maintain an optimal body fat ratio. In fact, because muscles require calories to maintain, people with strong muscle tone burn calories without actually doing anything; their metabolism burns it for them.

healthy eating quotes

This is the primary reason why exercising and building lean muscle is part of an overall program to boost your metabolism; because the more lean muscle you have, the more places excess calories can go before they’re turned into fat.

People believe fat cells are permanent in the body, In fact you must've heard that too.

Most experts conceded that fat cells – once created – are there for life. Yet this doesn’t spell doom and gloom to those of us who could stand to drop a few pounds. Because even though experts believe that fat cells are permanent, they also agree that fat cells can be shrunk. So even if the absolute number of fat cells in your body remains the same, their size – and hence their appearance and percentage of your overall weight – can be reduced.

Now that we've fully understand how metabolism and weight loss are related, In our next article we'll be looking at tips and strategies to boosting metabolism in the body. Who's ready? Click HERE to subscribe once it's out and Please share 🙂

Add comment