The chemical engine that keeps you alive is your metabolism.

The speed at which it runs varies by person. Those with a slow metabolism appear to have more calories left over that are accumulated as fat.

Those with a high metabolism, on the other hand, burn more calories and are less likely to accumulate a lot of fat.

What is Metabolism?

While it is often referred to in isolation, metabolism is actually a set of complex processes in which food and drink (calories) are converted into energy by the body in order to maintain itself. Not only is the body physically driven by metabolism, but it is the process that gives our bodies energy to live our everyday lives.

The quicker your metabolism, the higher the calories your body requires.

Metabolism is the reason why, without adding weight, some people can eat a lot, while others seem to need less to accumulate fat.

The metabolic rate is widely known as the speed of your metabolism. It's the number of calories that you burn, also known as calorie expenditure, in a given amount of time.

Metabolic rate can be divided into several categories:

Basal metabolic rate (BMR): Your metabolic rate during sleep or a deep rest. To keep your lungs breathing, heart pumping, brain ticking, and body warm, this is the minimum metabolic rate needed.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR): The minimum metabolic rate required to keep you alive and functioning while at rest. On average, it accounts for up to 50–75% of total calorie expenditure.

Thermic effect of food (TEF): The number of calories burned as food is being digested and processed by your body. TEF usually represents about 10% of your total energy expenditure.

Thermic effect of exercise (TEE): The increase in calories burned during exercise.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): The number of calories required for activities other than exercise. This includes fidgeting, changing posture, standing, and walking around.

How Metabolism Changes with Age

It's a common misconception that metabolism slows down naturally as individuals age. While there is some truth to that, it is not just age that plays a part. Basal metabolism, physical activity, and a decline in the NEAT rate are the key factors in this calculation, since people appear to be less involved as they grow older. Simple body functions also slow down with age, such as digestion, which plays a part in the resting metabolic rate.

In addition, with age, muscle mass decreases. Starting at age 30, every year we lose a little bit. It is incremental, but over time, the results add up. Muscle is a important contributor to metabolism. Our bodies need more energy (calories) to retain muscle mass, which means that, with increased muscle mass, we need to eat more calories.

What Is Starvation Mode?

Metabolic adaptation can also play an important role in the development of obesity, also known as adaptive thermogenesis or 'starvation mode.'

Starvation mode is the reaction of your body to a calorie deficit. It seeks to compensate if the body doesn't get enough food by reducing its metabolic rate and the amount of calories it burns.

During calorie restriction and weight loss, the degree to which the metabolic rate decreases is highly variable between individuals.

In certain individuals, especially those who are obese, this metabolic slowdown is more pronounced. By dieting or fasting, the greater the slowdown, the harder it is to lose weight.

Starvation mode is possibly partially caused by biology, but it may also play a role in prior weight loss attempts or physical health.

To Sum It Up

While your basal metabolic rate is essentially beyond your control, the amount of calories you burn can be increased in different ways.

The techniques mentioned in this article will help you increase your metabolism.

However, when it comes to weight loss, metabolism isn't anything. It's also important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

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