Metabolism and Weight
Updated: Jul 20
Clients often ask me how they can increase their metabolism naturally to lose weight. Of course this seems like a viable option since we are bombarded with products in stores and online that promise to boost our metabolism for weight loss. Unfortunately, these products often aren’t effective and may even cause harmful side effects. If you’re considering using a product that claims to boost your metabolism, be sure to talk with a qualified healthcare provider.
It’s helpful to first understand what metabolism is. Metabolism is the rate at which our bodies burn calories to produce the energy needed for all body functions. The energy we need in a 24-hour period is made up of three basic things:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the minimum number of calories a person needs each 24-hour period to sustain basic life functions at rest, and varies from person to person as it is impacted by genetics, body size and composition, gender and age. This equals approximately 60-70% of the total number of calories burned in a day.
How our body uses food. Our body uses about 10% of our calorie intake for digestion and absorption of nutrients.
How much we move our bodies. Any movement, from smaller/lower intensity to larger/higher intensity movement, requires energy. The amount of calories needed in a day will therefore vary greatly from person to person.
Now let’s look at some natural ways we may be able to support a healthy metabolism:
Nutrition: Begin your day by eating a balanced healthy breakfast, eat at regular times throughout the day, and avoid severe restriction of calories as this will ultimately reduce metabolism. Daily intake should include a variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and protein.
Hydration: Choose water or green tea over sugary drinks and soda. A good rule of thumb for adequate daily hydration is half your body weight in ounces daily.
Exercise: Any movement during your day will burn calories. Resistance training will also support development of lean muscle mass to encourage a healthy metabolism.
Stress Management: Stress impacts hormones, appetite and eating patterns, as well as sleep cycles which can all influence metabolism and weight. Explore options to help you identify causes of stress in your life and healthy ways to manage your stress, including coaching or mental health counseling.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Many people blame metabolic problems for weight struggles. But your metabolism naturally regulates itself to meet your body’s needs. It’s rarely the cause of weight gain or loss.” The majority of factors that impact our metabolism are outside of our control. Yet with that said, there are factors that may impact our metabolism and certainly influence our weight that are within our control: nutrition, hydration, movement/exercise, and stress management.
~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition Coach