Weight-Loss Metabolism Myths
“My problem is I have a slow metabolism,” complained the larger of the two.
Of course, I didn’t stride up and pronounce: “Excuse me madam but I’m afraid you’re mistaken.”
There were three reasons for not doing so: 1) I’m not in the habit of using the word madam; 2) It’s not very polite to eavesdrop; 3) I wasn’t actually afraid she was mistaken – I was glad she was wrong because had she been correct it would mean that the difficulty so many people have in losing weight is much more a physiological issue than a psychological one.
But the woman was making an excuse (even if she sincerely believed she had a low metabolism and even if she happened to have an underactive thyroid gland (hypothydroidism) ).
By blaming her metabolism, she was avoiding responsibility – in other words she was saying it wasn’t her fault she was fat.
It’s understandable, of course, because people don’t want to think they’re to blame for a particular predicament.
But one of the key factors I teach clients who come to see me is to accept responsibility – and that means: ditch the excuses.
For those who like facts, there are plenty of details about metabolism to be found on medical websites and journals. A basic explanation is that metabolism is a chemical process within the body which helps us function and this process demands energy. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) refers to the minimum amount of energy that the body needs for this process. Factors affecting BMR are indeed size, age and gender but these are linked to muscle. Our muscle cells need more energy than fat cells. So it’s true that women who, in general, tend naturally to have less muscle and more fat than men, burn less energy than men and, therefore, require fewer calories in their daily food intake.
It doesn’t follow, though, that overweight people have a lower metabolism than thin people – the opposite appears to be the case – the fatter person requires more energy to maintain his or her weight and is therefore burning off more calories. The good news, though, is that heavier people, as a consequence, can lose more pounds quicker than thinner people by simply eating less. The main problem, however, is that too many people underestimate just how much they really do eat and drink on a daily basis.
And that is the fundamental issue I address with clients. Because I know that people can change, I guide clients towards adopting a new lifestyle attitude and to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. It’s not a matter of faddy diets or punishing gym regimes – it’s a matter of self-awareness.
I’m happy to say that I have the results to prove it works.
Oh, and by the way, if you happen to be chatting in the park any time soon I promise not to eavesdrop.