The Myth of a Slow Metabolism

February 1, 2012

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One of the biggest myths that still exist out there in the weight loss world is the one that says that people who are overweight must have a slow metabolism. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and in fact, the exact opposite is true. However, in order to understand why so many people believe that this is the case, and the reason that they have so much trouble losing weight, one must first understand how the metabolism works, and how weight loss works in general.

Slow MetabolismThe metabolism is the process of the body breaking down food for energy. However, the process of metabolism can be much more simply defined as, the number of calories that your body burns each day through keeping your heart beating, your brain working and blood moving through the cardiovascular system. This includes your basal metabolic rate, and the exercise that you do throughout the day. In order to understand how it is impossible for those that are overweight to have a “slower” metabolism than those at a healthy weight, let’s take a look at how weight loss works.

How Weight Loss Works

Weight loss happens when the body burns more calories than a person takes in. So, if a person normally burns 2000 calories in a day, and eats 1500, they will lose the amount of fat equivalent to 500 calories, which is exactly 1/7 of a pound. In other words, a person that has a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day will lose a pound in a week. A person that has a calorie deficit of 1500 on the other hand, will lose three pounds a week. Additional calories can be burned through exercise, and some combination of diet and exercise should get rid of enough calories to lose some weight.

The Myth That Slow Metabolisms Cause Obesity

The fact is, that a person’s metabolism, or the number of calories that they burn in a day, is dependent on four different factors. First, what gender they are. Second, how much they weight and how tall they are. Finally, their age. Physical activity can be thrown in there too, or it can be calculated separately.

A person that is overweight has to burn a much larger number of calories to keep the body going. It takes a lot more energy for an overweight person’s heart to beat, blood to flow through the veins and it burns a lot more calories doing physical activity as well.

Therefore, it is impossible for the person that is overweight to have a slower metabolism than someone who is at a healthy weight. In fact, someone that is overweight can burn as many as four times as many calories than a person at a healthy weight, and those that start eating a healthy diet and actually stay under the amount of calories it would take to maintain their healthy weight, will notice huge losses in the first few weeks. As more and more weight is lost, the metabolism slows down, and that is often where people run into trouble, because their weight loss levels off. They don’t realize that they have to continually adjust for a slower metabolism the more weight that they lose.

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