“I Have No Metabolism”
When weight loss feels slow after bariatric surgery
Updated August 2018
Have you ever heard someone say this before?
Perhaps you’ve said it yourself?
Metabolism is one of those words that is often heard, but not often explained clearly. I can tell it’s not very well understood when someone tells me “they have no metabolism.” Is a slow metabolism really to blame for weight gain?
Metabolism is certainly related to weight, but it may not be in the way you expect. Let’s start with the basics:
⇒ Metabolism is when your body takes your food or drinks and converts it into energy (Calories = Energy)
⇒ Even when you are at rest, your body needs energy and is utilizing calories for breathing, moving blood, growing cells, etc.
⇒ If you were to lay around and do nothing all day, you would be burning calories. The amount of calories you would burn doing nothing is called your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). You might call this your metabolism.
⇒ Several factors go into the resting metabolic rate. Age, Gender, Height, Weight and so on. A large young male is going to have a much bigger RMR than a little old lady.
⇒ There are tests available to find out your RMR. You wear a mask and lay down for 20 minutes while the masks measures the gases released in your breath. This can determine calorie burn and that number is calculated for a 24 hour period and that’s your RMR.
⇒ I have seen hundreds of RMR results and they are totally across the board. The highest I’ve ever seen was 2600 calories burnt at rest (not counting any daily activities or exercise). The lowest I’ve seen was 600 calories (a sweet older lady).
So it is, in fact, not possible to have no metabolism. If we are breathing, we are using calories!
BUT…..can we control our metabolism? Can we improve it? Sabotage it?
Yes, yes and yes. To some degree. There are certain habits that we know slow down metabolism. The good news? We can reverse those habits and improve metabolism. Here are habits to start today if you haven’t already:
⇒ Eat breakfast within 60 minutes of waking up. I know you’ve heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but I don’t like giving any one meal preference over another. You do want to eat something within an hour of waking up to “break the fast” (get it?? Breakfast??) and get your metabolism moving for the day.
⇒ Avoid going more than 4-5 hours without eating. If you go too long without eating, your body will say “I don’t know when I’m going to get fed again, so I better conserve energy” and therefore you burn less energy (calories). Do not skip meals! Even a piece of string cheese is enough. Plan out your meals along a consistent timeline each day.
⇒ Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep will throw off the body. It will increase cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body and it will deflate your energy burn. Sleep is a very important thing for weight control!
⇒ Follow a good exercise routine. Exercise is not included in the resting metabolic rate because it’s not the calories you burn resting. But! You can increase your resting calorie burn by having a consistent amount of exercise in your life. It’s a double whammy because you burn calories during your workout and continue to when you are resting later on!
In my opinion, attitude is everything. Avoid negative self talk or the desire to blame genetics or metabolism on your weight. You DO have a metabolism and there IS something you can do to improve it further! There is hope in this!!!