Most people who are in the process of losing weight complain that their “metabolism is slow” and that this makes it difficult to achieve the desired results. But is slow metabolism really an obstacle to weight loss?
Metabolism is a complex process, it translates into the body's ability to produce energy through the nutrients ingested in the diet and the way it stores this energy. Traditionally, when we talk about metabolism we are referring to the metabolic rate, which is defined by the amount of calories that the body spends to perform its basic functions (ex: breathing) or to practice physical activity, that is the number of calories that the body burns in a certain period of time.
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Metabolism involves 3 factors:
- Basal metabolic rate: is the energy expended in maintaining vital functions, equivalent to about 60 to 70% of the day's energy expenditure. It depends on genetics and modifiable factors (e.g.: amount of muscle mass).
- Food thermogenic effect: the energy needed to carry out various processes such as digestion, chewing and secretion of enzymes, corresponding to about 10% of the energy spent by the body during the day.
- Physical activity: of the 3 factors mentioned, this is the most variable, as it depends on the daily physical activity of each one, representing a consumption of 20 to 30% of the daily caloric expenditure. So the more sedentary you are, the greater the tendency for a slow metabolism.
There are still other factors that can interfere with metabolism, such as hormonal imbalance and thyroid disease.
To stimulate the metabolism there are some simple tips to follow that facilitate weight loss:
- Food: eat meals every 3 hours and increase the daily consumption of protein;
- Physical exercise: increase daily physical activity, both in number of times, intensity and strength.
- Restful sleep: sleep well and reduce daily stress levels.
For weight loss to occur, we must eat less calories than we expend and these calories must come from a balance of nutrients. Thus, we cannot blame the metabolism for the failure of weight loss. Metabolism is not an obstacle to weight loss, but misadjusted goals and restrictive patterns.
Always consult with a qualified professional. We have specialized nutritional advice, online and free of charge for any further clarification. Book here.
By Adriana Martins, Nutritionist
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