By Jenilee Matz, MPH
Most people know that a fast metabolism aids weight loss. And while your metabolism is directly related to your ability to lose weight, don't jump to blame your metabolism for weight gain — very few people actually have a medical condition that causes their metabolism to slow down. Here are some basic facts about your metabolism — including how to rev it up, and how much it really affects your waistline.
Metabolism is the body's biochemical process of converting what you eat and drink into energy. Your body needs energy to work properly. Breathing, circulating blood, growing and repairing cells and other bodily functions all require energy.
The number of calories your body needs to support these basic functions is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Each person's BMR is different. Your personal BMR is based on:
Your hormones and genetics also play a part in determining your BMR.
Having a faster metabolism helps you lose weight. So what's the secret for kicking your metabolism into high gear? Well, there's no quick fix, says James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist with the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute at St. Vincent's Hospital in Portland, Oregon, and MedHelp's weight loss expert. It really comes down to burning more calories than your body takes in each day.
"If there was a secret, everyone would find it," Beckerman says. "And if a fix seems quick, it usually doesn't last. Exercising more and eating healthier take work — for all of us."
Being overweight is usually the result of eating more calories than you burn. Following these six steps can give your metabolism a boost and help you meet your weight loss goals:
Published January 31, 2012.
Jenilee is a medical writer, health educator and triathlete based in Charlotte, NC.
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