The body’s metabolism along with body composition go hand in hand. The higher the metabolism the faster the body burns calories. The slower the metabolism the longer it takes and leads to fat storage as well as other issues, which include:
- Excess gas
- Sugar cravings
- Continued weight gain
- Weight loss difficulties
- Constant Feeling of Bloatedness
- Easy cellulite development
- High blood sugar
Metabolism is linked with weight gain and loss because it is a biological process involved with energy and calories. The process of the body converting food and drink into energy. The process involves the calories in food and drinks that get combined with oxygen to release energy that the body needs to operate.
Body Composition Linked To Body’s Metabolism
Metabolism varies for every individual. Here are two body composition profiles.
Individual A has a much smaller Basal Metabolic Rate than Individual B. This means individual B needs more calories than individual A to provide the body with the proper energy to function without losing weight. Because the Basal Metabolic Rate is bigger, the metabolism is bigger. The most important factor playing into Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of Lean Body Mass every individual has.
The more Lean Body Mass the greater the Basal Metabolic Rate will be. Strength training for muscle gain will increase lean body mass and is recommended to increase metabolism. For example: Take a look at Jane and Sarah, two individuals who are similar in age, height, weight, and gender.
Despite being similar in age, height, weight, and gender, these two individuals have very different body compositions, as well as have different Basal Metabolic Rates.
Metabolism and Weight Gain
Take a deeper look at slow metabolism. It is not about being fast or slow but weight gain is almost always the result of caloric imbalance that goes on over a period of time. Two major factors are:
- An individual’s energy level and how active they are
- The thermic effect of food or the energy the body uses when digesting food
- These taken together with Basal Metabolic Rate provide Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is the number of calories the body burns in a day.
To take a closer look into the body’s metabolism and weight gain, take the two individuals above, Jane and Sarah, and see what could happen in real treatment development that includes diet and exercise. First, the TDEE for Jane and Sarah needs to be estimated, using their BMRs as a guide. Based on their compositions, it’s fair to assume that Jane is involved in less physical activity/exercise than Sarah. So an activity level of sedentary for Jane will be assigned and light activity will be assigned for Sarah.
Using these numbers and multiplying them by the appropriate activity factor, Jane’s TDEE can be estimated to be 1573 calories and Sarah’s 1953 calories, a difference of 380 calories. When activity levels are factored in, the difference in actual caloric needs gets magnified. This is an estimate of the calories Jane and Sarah will need to burn in a day. The nutritionist and/or health coach place both of them on a diet of 1,800 calories a day. This is the estimated calorie intake recommended by the USDA for sedentary women between 26-30 years of age.
Let’s say they both follow the diet perfectly without any extra, high-calorie snacks/treats. Jane will end each day with a surplus of 227 calories, while Sarah ends each day with a slight calorie deficit of 153 calories a day. When in a calorie surplus taking more calories and living a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain, specifically, fat storage will be experienced. 227 extra calories a day doesn’t seem like a lot, but that is a single soda. However, over time, 227 calories a day becomes 1,589 extra calories a week and 7,037 extra calories a month, which is around 2 pounds of fat gain every month.
So despite the same height, gender, similar weight, and similar ages, the difference between Jane and Sarah is their body compositions. Jane will experience weight gain over time while Sarah might experience some weight loss because of the calorie deficit, even though the diets are the same. This is because each individual’s caloric needs are different and may seem small at first, but increases to significant differences over time.
Making The Body’s Metabolism Work
With the correct exercise and dietary plan, an individual can make their metabolism work for them. Because the body needs more energy to support itself when it has more Lean Body Mass, working to increase Lean Body Mass will increase Basal Metabolic Rate. Avoiding a decrease in metabolism can be done by maintaining the Lean Body Mass that is already present and also means maintaining Skeletal Muscle Mass. Skeletal Muscle Mass is not the same as Lean Body Mass but is the overall largest contributor. It is the muscles that will grow and develop through exercise.
Skeletal Muscle Mass is effectively developed through strength training, resistance exercise, and a healthy diet. This will help maintain Skeletal Muscle Mass. This is especially important as the body ages. Activity levels tend to drop and a healthy diet can become harder to maintain as responsibilities increase. Poor nutrition can lead to loss of Lean Body Mass over time, which leads to a decrease in overall metabolism. Balancing diet and metabolism. The example of Jane shows a well-intentioned dietary plan that does not match the metabolism of the person practicing it.
Even though Jane was told that 1,800 calories are right for her based on age and gender, her metabolism does not require that calorie intake. This will cause weight gain despite any efforts to eat a healthy diet. This is where a health coach and nutritionist come in. The first step is to get the information needed to get the answers by getting an accurate body composition analysis.
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Westerterp, Klaas R. “Exercise, energy balance, and body composition.” European journal of clinical nutrition vol. 72,9 (2018): 1246-1250. doi:10.1038/s41430-018-0180-4
Mazzoccoli, Gianluigi. “Body composition: Where and when.” European journal of radiology vol. 85,8 (2016): 1456-60. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2015.10.020