by Patricia Chaney December 04, 2020 3 min read

When it comes to dieting and weight loss, you've probably heard people talk about metabolism — and how having a fast or slow metabolism can affect your ability to lose weight. But, what is metabolism? Simply, it refers to the chemical reactions in your body that break down food and convert it into energy.

How Does Metabolism Work?

Food provides you with energy in the form of calories. Your metabolism is the process by which your body burns that energy. This process involves thousands of chemical reactions. Your body breaks down proteins into amino acids, fat into fatty acids and carbs into simple sugars.

You not only burn energy when you exercise but also when you're resting. Your body burns calories to maintain normal bodily functions like breathing and circulating blood. How much energy your body uses when at rest is your basal metabolic rate.

How Metabolism Relates to Weight

Back to a fast or slow metabolism. A fast, or high, metabolism means you burn more calories when at rest than someone with a slower metabolism. A slower metabolism can make it harder for you to lose weight. But another consideration when it comes to weightloss is how many calories you take in during the day. If you consistently consume more calories than you burn day to day, your body will begin to store the excess as fat.

You can maintain your weight by taking in the same amount of calories as you burn, or lose weight by cutting back on calories or increasing your daily exercise to burn more.

Factors That Affect Metabolism

Maintaining a healthy body weight is key to overall health. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, being overweight can increase your risk of major known causes of morbidity, like heart disease, sleep apnea and other chronic conditions.

Genetics, age, weight, muscle mass and activity level can all contribute to your metabolic rate. But many lifestyle factors can also affect your body's ability to burn fat.

Hormonal imbalance, too much stress or too little sleep can also disrupt your metabolism and cause you to hold on to belly fat and stall your weight loss efforts. You can support your metabolic rate by helping your body achieve a healthy balance, both hormonally and in terms of your lifestyle. With your metabolism in check, plus a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can support your body's natural ability to achieve and maintain a healthy weight over time without overtaxing yourself physically or mentally.

It can be hard to know where you may have a possible hormonal imbalance that is affecting your metabolism and ability to achieve a desired body weight.This is where a functional medicine lab test can give you the answers you need. A Complete Candida, Metabolic & Vitamins Test can assess how well your digestive system is working and identify any underlying nutrient deficiencies or microbial imbalances. This gives you great insight into your current metabolism so you can develop a tailored long term weight management strategy.

Metabolism is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to weight loss. Learning more about how your body works and how to support it naturally can help you skip restrictive diets and overly intensive workout sessions. With the proper balance, you can relax, enjoy life and reach a healthy weight.

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