How many times have you or someone you know, when discussing diet, weight loss, and exercise, groaned and complained about a slow metabolism? The phrase “I can just look at food and gain weight!” is something I’ve heard many times. Yes, many people do have endocrine problems that make weight loss harder. But, the vast majority of people who complain about their slow metabolisms don’t have a metabolism problem at all. They have a movement problem. A lack of movement, that is.
“But wait, I work out everyday. I’m super active! I definitely have a slow metabolism,” you might be saying. And maybe you do. But, let’s think about this for a minute or two. When it comes to weight loss or gain, we are playing a game of numbers for the most part. Too much food and not enough energy expenditure causes you to gain weight (be it fat or muscle or both, depending on the circumstances). The opposite is also true. Eat less and move more and you lose weight. Yes, folks, I’m simplifying things quite a bit here, but for the most part this is how it works. So, if we are having difficulty losing weight and blaming it on our metabolism but our blood work and hormones are actually in line, then we have to start thinking about where the problem really lies.
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), plus the thermic effect of the foods you eat, added to something often referred to as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) or Non-Exercise Physical Activity (NEPA) makes up your energy requirements for each day. NEAT or NEPA is a huge part of that equation and I’ll explain how.
BMR + thermic effect of food + NEAT/NEPA = daily energy requirement
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