Wellness Challenge #29- Is Your Metabolism Broken?
In short the answer to this question is no. But you don’t just have to take my word for it, I will back it up with science (if you believe in that sort of thing).
The confusion surrounding the energy balance equation is not a new phenomenon.
Energy Balance Equation:
Energy In (Calories) - Energy Out (Calories) = Change In Body Stores.
I have fallen into this trap before myself. I think, man I have really cut back my calorie intake and increased my exercise but I’m still not losing weight. My metabolism must be broken.
The problem with this mindset is that it doesn’t reflect the reality of what is going and it is a defeatist mentality. It’s much easier to go back to eating brownies and watching Netflix when you believe your not to blame it’s your metabolism’s fault. Can’t do anything about it so might as well just stop trying.
Don’t stop trying! The truth is that the energy balance equation is based on the first law of thermodynamics; energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transferred from one state to the other. It’s not your metabolism that’s broken, it’s much more complicated than that. When you consume energy and when you expend energy many factors play a role in how that food is used and how your body can get rid of it. Here is list of a few ways energy can be affected by a range of factors.
Factors that influence energy in: Appetite: hormones that regulate appetite and satiety Food Consumed: availability, density, cost Calories Absorbed: food prep, age, microbiome Psychological factors: Stress, mindset, sleep quality, etc Factors that influence energy out: Energy burned at rest: body size, health status, age, etc Energy burned through exercise: ability, intensity, duration, etc Energy burned by non-exercise activity: health status, energy status, stress, hormones Energy burned by metabolizing food: Macronutrient makeup and amount of food processing
So looking at all these factors it’s easy to understand that if you change a few things, these factors can play a role in whether or not that change is immediately noticeable or not in terms of weight loss or body composition change.
Don’t get discouraged, if you are trying to lose weight try these tactics and see if it helps.
To reduce calories in: Eat more fiber rich vegetables and protein Eat slowly and stopped before you are overfull Watch your portion sizes Get enough sleep To increase calories out: Spend more time doing cardio AND add strength training to build muscle Increase daily activity by parking far away, taking the stairs, etc Practice self-care to reduce stress
Your body is a VERY complex piece of machinery and it doesn’t like to feel unstable. It has all sorts of compensatory mechanisms to keep you in check and healthy so if you are reducing your energy intake AND increasing your energy output your body kind of freaks out. But by keeping things consistent and not mentally stressing about your lack of progress you can help your body let go of some of those energy stores and start to see progress.
Of course, if you need more assistance from a coach or mentor, I’m always here to help you navigate these complex processes as well.
Lisa and Myles