What it Is & What it Does
If you’ve ever heard a skinny person muse about their “fast metabolism,” you might have felt a tinge of envy. “Why does my metabolism have to be so…slow?” you may have wondered to yourself. But is weight really determined simply by fast metabolism vs. slow?
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a word used to describe all of the biochemical processes in the body that work to use energy. Essentially, it’s what converts the food you eat into fuel to power your body. Because the word refers to a complicated set of physical and chemical processes, it can be easy to simplify it in your mind as just something that influences weight gain or loss. But in reality, it’s far more complicated than that.
How is it related to weight then?
Increases (or decreases) in body weight are tied to the amount of energy released in your body, or catabolism, minus the amount of energy it creates and stores, or anabolism.
So what’s the culprit behind your new pounds? More than likely, it’s having an excess of energy resulting from your daily diet, exercise routine, and metabolic rate. If you consume more calories than your body needs for energy, those excess calories end up being stored as glycogen (glucose which the body stores in the muscles for later use) or fat.
How much energy you burn is affected by exercise, your ratio of fat to muscle, and your basal metabolic rate – how much energy in the form of calories you burn while at rest. So your thin friend might have a faster metabolic rate than you, but it’s also likely that she has found a good ratio of calories to eat vs. exercise for her particular body makeup.
Because of the nature of your metabolism, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to avoid weight gain. A healthy diet starts with choosing foods without excess calories and avoiding mindless snacking. Read on to find a few healthy snacking tips.