The human body is funny…one minute, you’re eating cookies all the time and thinking it’s great if you actually managed to get in four hours of sleep – and still can fit all your clothes. The next minute, umm…not so much.
What Does My Metabolism Have To Do With It?
The metabolism sounds like a mysterious and complicated thing, but it’s actually just the amount of energy (translation: calories) that your body needs on a daily basis.
“About 70 percent of those calories are used for basic functions, such as breathing and blood circulation,” says Rochelle Goldsmith, PhD, director of the Exercise Physiology Lab at Columbia University Medical Center. “Another 20 percent is fuel for physical activity, including working out, fidgeting, walking, and even holding our bodies upright while standing. The remaining 10 percent helps us digest what we eat.”
The trouble begins when you consume more calories than your body needs to do these things: this is when those extra pounds start showing up.
Why Does My Metabolism Slow Down?
• Genetics. You can partly thank your parents for the speed of your metabolism. Genes contribute to the levels of appetite-control hormones we have floating around in our bodies, Goldsmith explains.
“Some people are genetically programmed to be active; they’re naturally restless and use more energy,” she says. Those are the lucky high-metabolism types.
• Gender. We know, we know, it’s not fair, but women and men do tend to have different metabolism speeds.
“The average man’s metabolism is about 10 to 15 percent higher than a woman’s,” Goldsmith notes. That’s mainly because men have more muscle mass than women do, which means they burn more calories since muscle does the work to help you move, while fat just sits there.