We all know that a healthy diet is a key component to sustained weight loss. But why? What exactly is happening in our bodies that makes us gain or lose weight based on the food that we eat?

To understand the science behind our diets, we need to understand our metabolisms. The metabolism is a chemical process that takes the calories we consume and converts them into energy. The speed at which our metabolisms operate directly affects how we lose and maintain our weight.

There are many factors that dictate the speed of our metabolisms including what we eat, how active we are, and how old we are.

The first and most important factor is what we put in our bodies. We need to be intentional about the food we consume. Many believe that big breakfasts, intermittent fasting, or eating late at night can speed up or slow down your metabolic rate. However, there’s simply not enough research or evidence to support these theories. Instead, we should look at the kind of calories we’re consuming and how many calories we’re consuming. If you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning, you will slowly put on more and more fat and slow the metabolic rate.

The second factor in determining our metabolic rates is how active we are in our lifestyles. Just walking a couple hundred extra steps a day can greatly impact your metabolic rate. Keeping your heart rate up can give your metabolism a boost and burn calories faster and faster.

Many are under the impression that if you’re small or thin, then your metabolism must be fast. But that’s not necessarily true. Those who weigh more tend to have a metabolism that’s working very hard. A larger person requires more energy and therefore exhibits higher metabolic rates to keep burning the necessary calories everyday. However, fat is not an efficient calorie burner compared to muscle. Those with a higher muscle mass tend to burn more calories than those who have more fat or are super thin and small-framed.

The final factor that affects the speed of our metabolisms is our age. Unfortunately, as we get older, our metabolisms slow down. This happens for a number of reasons. As we age, we tend to become less active, we have less muscle mass, and we experience hormonal changes that all affect our metabolisms.

Now that you’ve got your metabolism down to a science, where do you begin? The reality is, even when you understand your body, weight loss is very difficult to do on your own. This is where the support of a medical weight loss center can be a huge help. Having a team of weight loss doctors, nutritionists, trainers, and psychologists can set you on the right path toward reaching your goals.

If you’re ready to get started, contact your local Options clinic to schedule an appointment today.