Metabolism is the process the body uses to convert food into energy.
So, YES in order to lose weight, we need to expend MORE energy than we take in.
It is practically impossible to accurately count calories. Here is why calorie counting alone is faulty:
People are not great at eyeballing calories.
Food labels can have a % of error.
Cooking and preparing foods can alter the calories and nutrients.
Energy burned through digestion varies depending on macronutrients.
The body burns calories in various ways and every person differs.
It is hard to know how many calories we burn when we exercise.
Different forms of exercise have different calorie-burning effects. Your body burns energy in various ways:
Basal metabolic rate - energy to keep you alive
Thermal effect of food - calories to chew, swallow, churn the stomach, make the acid in the stomach, make the enzymes, etc.)
Physical activity - exercise
Movement - every day activities
Unfortunately, as we age, our resting metabolic rate naturally goes down. Is what it is.
And, I know it sounds obvious, but the we do need to keep in mind is that everyBODY is different. One size doesn’t fit all and there is always more to the story.
Everybody processes, absorbs, and uses food differently… also known as our metabolism.
Here’s an example:
An athlete is eating mainly carbs on a 2000 cal diet. Despite her hard training and relatively healthy eating she’s having a hard time losing weight. She changed her diet to more protein and increase the calories by 1000. On her new diet of 3000 cal and more protein she lost weight.
How can this be?
For one, the body has to work harder to break protein down, so she is burning more calories just by digesting the food.
On average, a person uses about 10% of their daily energy expenditure digesting and absorbing food, but this percentage changes depending on the type of food you eat.
Protein takes the most energy to digest (20-30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it), carbohydrates (5-10%) and then fats (0-3%).
For two, the extra calories gave her more energy, allowing her to work out even harder. She may not have even realized that she was exerting more energy during her work out or even just during her everyday life. The body is really good at maintaining homeostasis. So if you are not eating a lot of calories, your body will do whatever it takes to not make you move as much. If you have extra energy, you are more likely to get up and run up the stairs or go do a work out.
TAKE ACTION Just like you schedule time for meal prep and other important things in life, plan and schedule your exercise this week.
Tip: If you plan to workout early... when the alarm goes off, just tell yourself, "feet on the floor." Putting your feet on the floor is the first step to getting out of bed and starting your day. If you plan to workout later in the day, set out your gym clothes where you can see them. If you are lacking motivation when it is time to workout, just get dressed and then decide if you will workout or change your clothes again.