Metabolism – what is it and how can it help me lose weight?

I’m sure you heard claims like “These 10 food will boost your metabolism”, or ”drink this and you will lose weight by increasing your metabolic rate!”. But have you ever wondered; what does that mean exactly?

The metabolic rate is simply the rate at which your body burn calories in order to keep you alive (calories burnt to breath, to make your brain and digestive system work etc.). It is the number of calories you should be eating in a day if you just want to stay the same. There are websites out there that are kind enough to do the equations, for us to know approximately what our magic number is. Such as this one. (or you can just google ”calculate my metabolic rate” too!)

Me, I went on 3-4 websites that gave me a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) of around 1400 calories a day. This means that in order to just stay the same I would have to eat 1400 calories and do pretty much nothing. Or, if I eat 1400 calories and go to the gym, I’ll lose weight! (yay!)

Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is a very simple problem, if I eat less than 1400 I’ll lose weight and I won’t even have to go to the gym! Perfect right? Well, it might work for a week or two, but the consequences are not worth it. If you eat below your BMR, your body will think that you’re starving and put itself into a “starving mode”, it will lower your BMR and you’ll have to eat less and less to be able to lose weight, or to just keep it the same. Worse than that, when you go back to eating normally, you’ll just gain weight at a really faster rate! While you were able to eat a whole pizza without gaining a pound, now you’d gain two pounds by eating a slice!

As if the consequences weren’t bad enough already, eating below your BMR will also impact your mood. You will feel tired, grumpy, depressed and will not enjoy life as you used to be. Believe me, I tried to lose weight that way, it was not a pleasant experience! Not only was I depressed and very tired all the time, had no motivation and was grumpy, but I did not lost that much weight (maybe 2 or 3 pounds total). After just 2 or 3 weeks of eating about 1200 calories a day (nothing!) I simply stopped losing weight and I had enough of all that! I gained the exact same amount I’ve lost by just eating normally after that. So, don’t try this at home!

So how do I lose weight then? 

It is quite simple; you eat according to your BMR and workout to have that negative number! This way, you will burn more calories than you eat, you will not feel depressed or tired and you will lose weight! No deprivation, no starving, just a little exercise! If you go to the gym every day and have a medium intensity workout for just 30 minutes, it’s enough to see a difference! Also, if you gain muscles, you will boost your metabolic rate, and be able to eat even more without gaining a pound! Isn’t that fantastic? So stop starving yourself right now! If you don’t have time to go to the gym, here are some ideas on how to burn those calories anyway!

Your metabolism is just your body, trying to keep you alive. If you are too hard on yourself and start starving or workout too much, it will react accordingly. Stay balanced, have fun and keep in mind that losing weight slowly but surely is always more efficient and sustainable than fast weight lost, like dieting or hardcore training.

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