Is metabolism the key to weight loss?

What is metabolism and what does it have to do with weight loss?

Metabolism, specifically called your resting metabolic rate, is the amount of energy or calories your body burns just to keep you alive – such as making your heart beat, pumping blood, breathing, and more.

Surprisingly, your body burns more calories just maintaining itself – about 1500 calories a day for an average-sized 150-pound person – than it does doing activities such as walking or exercising (about 300 to 500 a day on average).

So what does all of this have to do with weight loss? When you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. (If you take in more than you burn, you’ll gain weight.) Some obvious ways to shift the balance so you lose weight are to eat fewer calories or to burn more calories through exercise. Another way is to increase your metabolism.

Your muscles are your body’s metabolic engines. Every pound of muscle you have burns about 50 calories a day, compared to a pound of fat, which burns a measly 2 calories a day. So say you have two women, Olive and Clara, who are both 5′ 5″ and weigh 130 pounds, but Olive has more fat and less muscle than Clara — 30% body fat vs. 20% body fat, respectively. So Sara would have a higher metabolism, meaning that she burns more calories throughout the day than Beth because Sara has more muscle. By increasing the amount of muscle you have, you can boost your metabolism. The best way to do that is by lifting weights two to three times a week.

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