What is Metabolism? - It is the rate at which your body burns calories!
A typical new year starts with most of us resolving to shed those extra pounds. We usually start by starving ourselves, eating tiny portions of food and feeling weak and irritable all the time, and finally giving up in exasperation after the dreaded weighing scales refuse to budge. So what went wrong? Let’s find out.
An extremely low calorie diet hampers metabolism and causes our body to go into Starvation mode, which is a mechanism evolved as a defence against starvation. In this, our body tries to protect its fat fuels by breaking down lean tissues and muscles to provide the energy it requires for proper functioning. This ultimately leads to muscle breakdown and muscle loss which in turn reduces the metabolism and slows down weight loss process.
The metabolic rate is partially determined by the amount of muscle we have. The more the muscle , the higher the metabolism. This is why men have a higher metabolic rate as compared to women. The metabolic rate also depends on age; an 18 year old will have a higher metabolic rate as compared to an 80 year old. Muscle burns way more calories than fat and therefore it is crucial to not lose muscle when dieting.
Weight loss plateau - After you lose a certain amount of weight, you tend to hit plateau weight, which is a phase during which your weight remains constant for a certain period of time, no matter how hard you train at the gym or how many calories you cut off from diet. But don’t fret! This is absolutely normal and only temporary. Plateau weight can be overcome by a proper high calorific diet with adequate nutrition, and ‘starving’ is a strict no-no.
Metabolic Rate slows down when you lose weight, not because you are losing muscle, but because less body weight requires less calories. In short , your calorific requirements changes in relationship to your body statistics and progress. Your body doesn’t have to work as hard as it did in past , which means your calorific goals need to be updated regularly according to your progress.
Fad diets - Thou shalt not indulge in fad diets! These are temporary solutions which ruin your metabolism and ultimately hinder your weight loss process. They initially help you to lose water weight (which you regain easily) and later attack your muscle tissues (instead of the body fat you’re targeting), thus slowing down metabolic rate. This is the reason people gain weight so quickly the moment they take a break from dieting.
On the other hand, if one loses weight by following a sensible diet according to their body statistics and a proper fitness plan, they lose body fat, which boosts metabolism and helps avoid weight gain even when you take some time off from the diet and workout routine.
To summarise, say NO to fad diets and ‘starvation’, and a big YES to a proper diet and fitness plan that suits your needs.
Contributor: Janki Rana (Coach - GetSetGo Fitness)