Often times we blame our inability to lose weight on a “slowing metabolism” or poor genetics that cause a “slow metabolism” which often times is not the cause at all! Yes, there are issues out there that reduce an individual’s metabolic rate. However, this is not as often the cause as people like to state.
Calories are burned by a combination of resting metabolic rate (RMR), the thermic effect of food (TE) and the additional movement and activity that we do throughout the day. There is not much we can do to change the RMR and TE. There are multiple formulas and methods for calculating RMR, however, as a very simple and general rule multiply your weight in pounds x 10 to get your RMR. So, if you weigh 120 lbs. your RMR = 1200 calories. This will account for approximately 60% of your daily caloric needs and covers energy needed for functioning of the organs, metabolic processes and essentially all things that are necessary to keep one alive. TE accounts for about 10 to 15 percent of your total caloric needs. This is the energy needed to break down the food that you are consuming. Lastly, your activity levels account for the rest of the calories needed. If you move very little the additional calories burned will be very small maybe 10% of calories needed. However, if you move more in a combination of planned exercise and what we call non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) you will have a much higher calorie burn and result in faster weight loss! Movement is often the key!
Even if you do go to the gym for an hour each day this may not be enough. If you work in an office setting or find yourself sitting for most of the day outside of that one hour workout then you aren’t moving as much as you need to be for a negative calorie balance. By incorporating a higher amount of NEAT into your day you will quickly see more positive results on the scale. NEAT activity includes everything from walking from the back space of the parking lot into the store, doing calf raises while you are standing in line, tapping your toes or shaking your foot while you are sitting at your office desk, getting up and stretching or walking during TV commercials and as basic as standing while you are working at your computer rather than sitting at a desk. There are so many simple ways to increase the amount of movement that you have in your day. By doing these simple little movements they add up and eventually you will find that your calorie burn from NEAT alone could add up to over 500 + calories per day. Without consuming any additional calories and adding this extra movement you would lose one pound in 7 days!
Next time someone tells you that they have a slow metabolism ask them how much they move! This is likely the cause of their inability to get to their goal weight.