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Every living thing has a way of taking raw materials from its environment, turning those materials into energy, and disposing of the waste products it no longer needs. While this process is not the only definition of the word metabolism, it is this digestive process that most people think of when you use the word. Although not every organism uses the same process to create energy (plants use photosynthesis, for example), humans all have to eat food in order to gain energy. The way your body uses that energy is often called a metabolism.


What kinds of metabolism are there?

You might hear someone refer to their own metabolism as being “slow” or “fast.” These distinctions, while simplistic, are generally true for most of us. The speed or efficiency of our own metabolisms, also called a basic metabolic rate (or BMR), is largely out of our control. It’s what our bodies do all by themselves and when we are at rest. Your BMR is determined by your genes.


We all know that person who can eat anything and never seem to gain any weight. Their body has a BMR that tends to burn through calories faster than others. A slower BMR can result in more calories sent off for storage in the form of fat. 

What does metabolism have to do with gaining weight?

A body’s metabolism is the addition of calories subtracted by the calories expended, as a combination of the body’s natural process (the BMR) and exercise. If you intake more calories than you use, your body tends to store that excess energy as fat. In other words, if you were to break down the essence of weight loss, it would be the formula of calories taken in minus calories used. 


Can I change my metabolism to lose weight?

The answer to this is yes, but maybe not in the way you think. You can’t change your body’s natural BMR, but you can definitely change the number of calories your body uses in a few ways. 


The best way, and probably the easiest for most people, is by moving it around a lot. This activity is also called “exercise!” Although experts disagree on how much you can change your metabolism through exercise, a steady, reliable regimen of physical activity will definitely help keep your body operating at its optimum capacity. 


Other factors that can change your metabolism include medications that can slow it or speed it up (though that’s definitely not the way we recommend losing weight). Eating breakfast every day has also been shown to increase your metabolism, and food in the morning is essential to fueling your body through to lunch. Also, age is a factor, too–older people tend to have to work harder to make their bodies spend enough calories to make a difference in how much weight they gain or lose.


As always, get in touch with your friends at Starks for more information.


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