Well, one of the most famous New Year resolutions of majority of the people is to lose weight. However, hardly few of them stick to it and others find some or the other excuse justifying the reason of breaking their own resolution. Some even blame their weight on their metabolism saying “My metabolic rate is slow”. However, if we go by science, metabolic rate doesn’t differ much from person to person.

So let’s first understand what is metabolism?

Majority of the people understand metabolism as the rate at which one’s body burns calories. Well, this is just a part of the metabolism. There is much more to it. It is the process by which one’s body breaks down food and converts that food into energy.

According to the UK’S National Health Service “Metabolism refers to all the chemical processes that go on inside your body to keep you alive. Energy is needed to carry out these chemical processes efficiently. Our body uses around 70 percent energy to keep us alive even if we are not involved in physical activities. This is called the BMR or the basic metabolic rate.

Another way of understanding what metabolism is- the ability of your body to transform food into energy which is then used for all kinds of processes in your body. There are two ways of measuring one’s metabolic rate- 1. By measuring the heat one’s body releases. 2. By monitoring the level of carbon dioxide one exhales.

Does the metabolic rate differ from person to person and in some people it is slow while in others it is fast?

Dr. Thomas Barber, an associate professor and honorary consultant endocrinologist from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire in England says, “People do differ in their metabolic rate, but if you look at people’s metabolism per unit or per kilogram of lean mass, then actually, metabolic rate in those terms is remarkably constant across the population.” Here lean mass includes not just the muscles but also organs like brain , kidney and liver.

The cause of variation in metabolism happens due to difference in the amounts of fat compared to lean mass in one’s body. The less body fat you have and the more lean mass, the better and efficient metabolism rate you have.
Suppose there are two people A and B and both have exactly the same weight but A has 50 percent body fat and 50 percent lean mass and B has 15 or 20 percent body fat, then the metabolic rate of the person with more lean mass will be higher.

Can you change your metabolic rate?

You can’t change it drastically but yes you can definitely make some difference! If you change your fat to lean mass ratio, there would be a change in your metabolic rate. It means that if you increase your physical activity, that would reduce the fat and hence the fat to lean mass ratio would change resulting in the change in the metabolic rate.

Way to improve your metabolic rate

One of the ways to improve your metabolic rate is to increase your lean mass and reduce your fat mass and this can be done through exercise. The more you exercise the more lean mass you build.
Another way is to take small frequent meals (low calorie, high protein) throughout the day. This helps in keeping your blood sugar level stable which in turn reduces cravings and thus keeping the metabolic rate high. This keeps the energy supply to the body constant and calories are steadily converted into energy which means the metabolic rate is working at a high speed.

Check out these myths about metabolism

Myth: Metabolism is genetic and you can’t change it.

Fact: You can make a difference in your metabolic rate by exercising.

Myth: Metabolism of men and women are same

Fact: Men have more lean mass in comparison to women, so their metabolic rate is faster than the metabolic rate of women.

Myth: Hot peppers and green tea increase the metabolic rate.

Fact: The change because of green tea and hot peppers is temporary and lasts for around 30 minutes. After that the metabolic rate comes back to its normal. And this has no influence of weight loss.

Myth: Taking one big meal a day or skipping meals can speed up metabolism.

Fact: Not eating or skipping meals ultimately slows down metabolism. Your cells will not get sufficient nutrients and they will start storing fat in anticipation of nutrition deprived periods.

So start exercising today and eat right for your metabolism to work efficiently. Then no one can stop you from achieving your goal of weight loss and to enjoy a healthy body!