How Metabolism Affects Weight

The Truth Behind Slow Metabolism and How to Burn More Calories.

You've probably heard people blame their weight on a “slow metabolism”, but what does that mean? Is metabolism really the culprit? And if so, is it possible to rev up your metabolism to burn more calories?

While it's true that metabolism is linked to weight, it may not be in the way you expect. In fact, contrary to common belief, a slow metabolism is rarely the actual cause of excess weight gain. Although your metabolism influences your body's basic energy needs, it's your food and fluid intake and your physical activity that ultimately determine how much you weigh.

Metabolism: Converting food into energy

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function. Even when you're at rest, your body needs energy for all its "hidden" functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells.

The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate — what you might call metabolism. Several factors determine your individual basal metabolic rate:

Your body size and composition. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.

Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.

Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.

Energy needs for your body's basic functions stay fairly consistent and aren't easily changed. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75 percent of the calories you burn every day.

In addition to your basal metabolic rate, two other factors determine how many calories your body burns each day:

Food processing (thermogenesis). Digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you consume also takes calories. This accounts for about 10 percent of the calories used each day. For the most part, your body's energy requirement to process food stays relatively steady and isn't easily changed.

Physical activity. Physical activity and exercise — such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog and any other movement — account for the rest of the calories your body burns up each day. Physical activity is by far the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn each day.

Metabolism and weight

It may be tempting to blame your metabolism for weight gain. But because metabolism is a natural process, your body generally balances it to meet your individual needs. That's why if you try so-called starvation diets, your body compensates by slowing down these bodily processes and conserving calories for survival.

Unfortunately, weight gain is most commonly the result of eating more calories than you burn. To lose weight, then, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories, increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or both.

Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories

A closer look at physical activity and metabolism

While you don't have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active — and maybe more fidgety — than are others.

You can burn more calories with:

Regular aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories and includes activities such as walking, cycling and swimming. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase the time you spend on physical activity even more. If you can't set aside time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks of activity throughout the day. Remember, the more active you are, the greater the benefits.

Strength training. Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, are important because they help counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.

Lifestyle activities. Any extra movement helps burn calories. Look for ways to walk and move around a few minutes more each day than the day before. Taking the stairs more often, parking farther away at the shops or even using the upstairs loo are simple ways to burn more calories. Even activities such as gardening, washing your car and housework burn calories and contribute to weight loss.

10 Ways to Speed Up You Metabolism

1 The first thing you need to do is add breakfast to your daily meal planner. Although many people don’t like eating breakfast, it gives your body the rev up it needs to launch your metabolism. A 250 calorie snack is all it takes to boost your metabolism in the morning.

2 Get active - it's a sure-fire way to increase the amount of muscle you have, which in turn will speed up your metabolism. Do a mixture of aerobic and resistance training for best results. And don't forget to be more active in your daily life too.

3 Eat little and often - there's evidence that eating small, regular meals throughout the day, rather than one or two large meals, may help to keep your metabolism ticking over. Because around 10 percent of the calories we use each day go on digesting and absorbing food, the more times you eat, the greater this effect is likely to be.

4 Eat plenty of protein-rich foods - research shows that around 25 percent of calories in a protein-rich meal may be burnt off. But make sure you choose low-fat protein foods such as lean meat, skinless chicken and low-fat dairy products.

5 Spice up meals - it's not an old wives tale after all! Spices like chilli are thought to raise metabolism by up to 50 percent for up to three hours after eating, due to increasing your heart rate. But before putting the local Indian takeaway on speed dial, work out which curries have the lowest calorie and fat content.

6 Swap you daily cuppa for green tea - there's evidence that it contains antioxidants that speed up metabolism.

7 Chill out - research shows that being very cold can increase metabolism by up to 20 percent.

8.Have a sauna - being very hot is also thought to boost metabolism by about 20 percent (but check you don't have any underlying medical problems that mean you shouldn't go in saunas or steam rooms).

9 While you’re planning your meals, you may want to add kiwi fruit to your diet. Kiwis pack a lot of vitamin C, but if you add 500 mg of it to your day, you can burn up to 40 percent more fat when you’re exercising. Don’t get too much C, though, because once you get to the 2,000 mg mark, you can start experiencing adverse effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.

10 Another metabolism boosting measure is to watch what you drink. Adding ice to a drink makes your body work harder because it has to heat it up in your stomach, which increases your metabolism. Also, drinking coffee or tea can raise your heart rate and increase your metabolism, but do remember to also drink water, in order to counteract caffeins dehydrating effects.

In The News

One or two interesting stories already in the news so far this year.

Hypnosis is the Fast Route to Weight Loss according to the Express, who also point out that Hypnosis Gastric Procedures carry a higher success rate then the real thing! Click the link below;-

Women Warned Against Cut-Price Gastric Surgery reports the Independent, as more and more people are seeking cheaper procedures overseas. Click the link below;-

There was a very interesting story this week about a mother who lost six stone, whilst being completely unaware that the Gastric Band she’d had fitted was broken! Click the link below;-

You may have noticed the Mum in that article is now a keen Zumba fan. In terms of an enjoyable way of speeding up your metabolism, Zumba is probably amongst the very best of activities and is gaining in popularity, fast. In fact, Zumba Fitness for consoles such as PlayStation and Wii are continuing to outsell conventional games. Click the link below;-

More next month, when we'll also be revealing how some of the first Client Experiences of 2012 are shaping up!

Best wishes



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you, in case we haven't already spoken. I hope you've got 2012 off to a great start and are back up and running after the holidays, with some clear goals in mind as to what you'd like to achieve.

This is always a great time of year, once the tinsel's all packed away, to take stock of any areas of self improvement we're on with such as losing weight, and looking at what we can do to make some more progress and get the momentum going again.

The vast majority of clients I've spoken with over the last few days have done really well over the Christmas and have kept things pretty much under control. I've also had a few conversations with people who have just let things "slip" a little, which is understandable at this time of year and certainly isn't the end of the world.

The interesting thing is that apart from one exception, every single client that has experienced things "slipping" over the festive period, has also admitted to allowing their water intake to go by the wayside!

As I've pointed out to people many times, there isn't a single diet plan, diet pill, implant, hypnotherapy course or gastric procedure that can override our bodys natural demand for water.

Back in November, in the Essentials of Staying Hydrated blog post, I outlined a few ideas that can help us stay hydrated. In this post, I just wanted to go a bit deeper into what water actually does for us.


We’ve all heard people say they don’t like water or don’t drink water. Instead they drink all sorts of other things, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, soft drinks, and alcohol. However, there is no substitute for drinking water, particularly if you want to lose weight.

Not only does water help us lose weight, but it offers many health benefits. Water can make you look younger, decrease your appetite, contributes to brain health, flushes out toxins, and so much more …

So, here is an ‘At A Glance’ look at some of the key points to help highlight the massively important role water plays.

At A Glance – Water and Us

Water is the most abundant nutrient found in the body, accounting for roughly two-thirds of our total body weight.

The average adult body contains 50 litres of water and loses about 2 to 3 litres per day through excretion and perspiration.

The air we exhale is saturated with moisture. Our skin, daily gives off 1 to 2 pints of water of invisible perspiration, in the form of sweat during strenuous exercise.

Rate of water loss depends almost entirely upon level of activity and environmental conditions. It may range from 1 litre per day for a sedentary person in a temperate climate, to more than 10 litres per day in a desert.

At A Glance - What Water Actually Does

Water is essential for proper circulation of nutrients to organs and cells throughout the body.

Water is essential for removing all toxic wastes from metabolism and the breakdown products of harmful substances that get into our bodies one way or another.

Water helps to maintain and regulate body temperature.

Adequate levels of water are important for hydration during exercise.

Water provides a protective cushion around body organs, such as the brain and spinal cord.

Water serves as a lubricant for moving parts such as the joints.

Water is essential for the peristalsis of the intestines. Insufficient water can cause constipation.

Water plays an indispensable part in the function of our sense organs. Taste and smell result from the stimulation of chemical compounds in a solution.

Water is important for moistening the surface of the lungs.

The kidneys and liver are both master filters for the body, and especially susceptible to dangerous infections when too little water is taken into the body.

At A Glance – How Much Water We Need

As a guide, each day our bodies need about 200ml (about a third of a pint) of water for each stone in body weight.

Using that ‘rule of thumb’, the recommended amount for a ten stone person is exactly 2 litres.

On top of this, we need to make to drink more when we’re exercising, or when we’re perspiring through heat (in the sun, sauna or steam room, etc).

During exercise you can lose anything from 2 to 8 pounds in weight in an hour, which would require an addition 1 to 4 pints of water to compensate.

Remember, this amount of fluid can come from water naturally contained in our food as well as bottled or tap water. In fact, pretty much any fluid that doesn’t contain sugar, salt, alcohol or caffeine can be counted toward your daily intake.

Avoid fluorinated and chlorinated water; both of these chemical inhibit enzyme functions in the body.

Research has indicated that fluorides decrease the function of the thyroid gland by 30 to 40 percent.

At A Glance – Water and Fat Cells

Toxins are stored within fat cells in the body.

As fat cells release this stored energy into the bloodstream, these toxins follow.

The heart, blood and kidneys are a single functional unit that constantly cleanses and purifies itself, removing all the toxic wastes of metabolism.

Water is essential for flushing away the body's chemical waste.

This purification system can operate only if the volume of water flowing through it is sufficient to carry away the chemical waste.

When there is not sufficient water intake, the liver must do some of the kidney's work.

One of the liver's primary functions is to metabolize fat into usable energy for the body.

If the liver is involved in additional detoxifying processes, it will metabolize less fat, meaning more fat will remain stored in the body.

At A Glance – Essential Functions of Water In Weight Loss.

The more protein we eat, the more water we need. The use of protein by the cells leaves a waste called urea.

When burning fat, some of the fat may be burned incompletely. These partially burned fat by-products are called Ketones (or ketones). The more water you drink, the more urine you make, the more ketones will pass out in the urine, the more fat you lose.

More fibre is needed during weight loss. Fibre helps to absorb toxins and waste products from the body.

The intestines cannot function normally without water and when more fibre is added, more water is needed.

Twice as much water is needed to complete digestion in the stomach and in the upper intestine as is contained in the entire bloodstream.

Alkalizing the body with pure water, lemon and fresh green vegetables will also help to break down the acid deposits (body fat) throughout the body.

At A Glance – Symptoms Relating to Water Deficiency

Headaches/Neck Pain
Urinary Problems
High Blood Pressure
Chronic Constipation
Chronic Fatigue
High Blood Cholesterol
Dry Skin/Chapped Lips
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Varicose Veins
Muscle Cramps
Water Retention/Edema

At A Glance – Exercise and Hydration

When you exercise, the chemical reaction of muscle movement creates acid waste from the fats and sugars that the body uses as fuel. Water and alkaline minerals are needed to flush these wastes from the system.

Exercising in the heat, indoors or outdoors, and exercising for a long period of time should alert you to drink more water than your thirst suggests.

It is common to dehydrate from 2 to 6 percent of your body weight during exercise in the heat.

Plan ahead and drink a pint or so of water, 15 to 20 minutes before you exercise or work outdoors.

Drinking from a water bottle as you work out or taking frequent small water breaks is recommended, rather than taking one large water break.

Weigh yourself before and after exercise. Drink half a pint of water after exercise for each pound of bodyweight lost.

Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol; they increase dehydration.

Avoid fruit juices or soft drinks; sugar can aggravate dehydration and cause bloating.

Sports drinks are generally not necessary unless you are exerting yourself for 90 minutes or
more (60 minutes if the activity is intense or the weather is hot), even then, if choosing a sports drink, limit the carbohydrate intake to no more than 45 calories per 200ml serving.

Lastly, your body can't process more than 2 litres of water per hour, no matter how dehydrated you are.

The Key to Fat Burning: Keeping the body in a hydrated state.

Research shows that increasing the volume of fluid in your body can lead to an increase in fat breakdown.

This can be achieved by drinking enough water throughout the day, so that you never approach a dehydrated state. Maintaining the body's water percentage is so important; even if your fluid level drops just one percent; dehydration sets in. By the time you feel thirsty, you're already one percent dehydrated.

So, if the Christmas and New Year period has meant that you've fallen out with the scales, the message is clear and the great news is that it's a relatively quick fix!!

Take care for now and I'll catch up with you again soon.