Understanding your MetabolismFeb 14, 2022
Metabolism is the process the body uses to convert food into energy.
So, YES, to lose weight, we need to expend MORE energy than we take in.
It is practically impossible to count calories accurately.
Here is why calorie counting alone is faulty:
- People are not great at eyeballing calories.
- Food labels can have a % of error.
- Cooking and preparing foods can alter the calories and nutrients.
- Energy burned through digestion varies depending on macronutrients.
- The body burns calories in various ways, and every person differs.
- It is hard to know how many calories we burn when we exercise.
- Different forms of exercise have other calorie-burning effects.
Your body burns energy in various ways:
- Basal metabolic rate - energy to keep you alive
- Thermal effect of food - calories to chew, swallow, churn the stomach, make the acid in the stomach, make the enzymes, etc.)
- Physical activity - exercise
- Movement - everyday activities
Unfortunately, as we age, our resting metabolic rate naturally goes down. Is what it is.
We do need to keep in mind is that everyBODY is different. One size doesn't fit all, and there is always more to the story.
Every person processes, absorbs, and uses food differently. This is also known as our metabolism.
Here's an example:
An athlete is eating mainly carbs on a 2000 cal diet. Despite her hard training and relatively healthy eating, she's having a hard time losing weight. She changed her diet to more protein and increased the calories by 1000. On her new diet of 3000 cal and more protein, she lost weight.
How can this be?
For one, the body has to work harder to break protein down, so she is burning more calories just by digesting the food.
On average, a person uses about 10% of their daily energy expenditure digesting and absorbing food, but this percentage changes depending on the food type.
Protein takes the most energy to digest (20-30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it), carbohydrates (5-10%), and fats (0-3%).
For two, the extra calories gave her more energy, allowing her to work out even harder. She may not have even realized that she was exerting more energy during her workout or even just during her everyday life.
The body is good at maintaining homeostasis. So if you are not eating many calories, your body will do whatever it takes not to make you move as much. If you have extra energy, you are more likely to get up and run up the stairs or do a workout.
I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes adding calories is what your body needs. Specifically from protein.
This is the case with 90% of the clients I coach. They come to me not only undereating but severely under-consuming protein. We make a plan to slowly increase calories from protein, and magic happens! They have more energy, they can work out harder, they have better digestion, they have less bloating, and sometimes, they even start to lose weight!
Are you curious about how much protein you should be eating? You can read more about that HERE.