A “slow metabolism” due to issues with your thyroid is not the typical cause of weight gain for most people. In fact, only about 4.6 percent of Americans suffer from hypothyroidism[i]. Hypothyroidism is a disease that can make maintaining a healthy weight difficult. Although hypothyroidism does present some major challenges, Real Stories’ Nicole Snedden is a great example of how even someone with hypothyroidism can still maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

For most people, their metabolism is not the cause of their weight gain. Instead, the issue is typically their lifestyle and food choices. You might hear people who are struggling with their weight say that they have a “slow metabolism,” and you may even think that this is true for yourself. But unless you have been diagnosed by a doctor, then the odds are that a “slow metabolism” is not the cause of your weight issues. Unfortunately, most people do not understand what their metabolism is.  Combine this misunderstanding with frustration, and your weight and “metabolism” ends up taking the blame.

Metabolism is regularly made as a reference to your basal metabolic rate. This is the amount of calories that your body burns to perform all of your vital functions to live; breathing, digestion, circulating your blood and repairing your cells and tissues. In other words, your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day. Your metabolism is primarily influenced by your size and the amount of muscle that you have. This is where the most common misconception and misunderstanding comes into play because the larger you are, the higher your basal metabolic rate.

For example, a woman who is 180 pounds almost always has a higher basal metabolic rate than a woman who is 100 pounds. This is contrary to what many people believe. The fact is that if two people are the same height and one is 80 pounds heavier, the heavier person actually burns more calories by doing nothing more than living. The bigger and heavier person has what many refer to as a “higher metabolism.”

People who are very thin simply tend to move more and eat less than those who are not.

Though your metabolism does play a role in how many calories you burn, losing weight is dependent upon burning more calories than you consume. It can be frustrating when you are eating better and making healthier choices and not losing weight. Sometimes this is a result of not sufficiently reducing the amount of calories that you are eating and not burning more calories with exercise or other activities. This is because you can eat better and consume fewer calories than you did before, but if you don’t reduce your caloric intake enough, you won’t lose weight. A general rule of thumb is that you have to burn about 500 calories more than you eat each day to lose about one pound per week.

For those of you that feel there is a medical reason associated with your weight, it is of the utmost importance that you discuss this matter with your primary care physician, since medical issues that affect your weight can have severe health implications if not addressed.

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your primary care physician.

[i] Information obtained from the US National Library of Medicine, PubMed.gov  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11836274



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