Friday, June 29, 2012

Metabolism--food or exercise?

How many of you believe it is exercise that most impacts your metabolism? After all, if you listen to almost anyone in our society, what you will hear is, "If you want to increase your metabolism, you need to exercise more!"

This is one of my pet peeves. Sure, exercise, or more specifically, increased muscle mass will increase your metabolism. But, BUT....the primary way to increase your metabolism? Well, it's food. Now, again, I am far from being trained as a physiologist, so I cannot say to what extent exercise versus food increases your metabolism, though I must admit, I would likely relish in knowing the exact numbers so I could hammer my point home even more solidly. But, I don't know, so all I can do is describe how what really happens conflicts with what you will hear out there in society.

Food drives our metabolism. And if you really think about it, this really is one of the only ways we can make sense of how our bodies function. When healthy, we don't eat the same number of calories every day, yet our weight stays stable. Our metabolism responds appropriately to normal variation in food. If one day, you eat much more than usual, your metabolism increases to compensate. Same for if you eat less. Now, over time, if you keep eating more than what your body needs, you will gain weight. If you keep eating less, and your body kept burning at the same rate of speed, well, you would actually disappear, right? You'd just keep losing and losing until there was no more you. But that's not how it works.

Think of a time in your life when you went on a diet (and never do it again!!! But that's another post). If it actually caused weight loss, at first you lost weight and then you hit "the plateau," right? Well, the plateau is caused by your drop in metabolism. Your body compensated by lowering metabolism so you burned less calories. Ahhh, just one way diets are shams!

So, back to the original point. If all I have written above is true, here you have the evidence that, in order to increase your metabolism, you need to eat. So, if you exercise, but don't eat enough, metabolism drops. If you consistently eat too little, yep, metabolism drops. A healthy metabolism depends, at least partially, on sufficient food intake. So, all you dieters out there? SERIOUSLY reconsider!!!

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