Metabolism Woes, Plateaus and My Take on the FitBit Tracker
Have you ever been able to lose weight fairly easily? There are some times in life when the weight seems to drop off quickly, often without effort. But sometimes, it feels as if we are doing all the right things and the scales simply won’t budge – or even worse, they go higher!
According to Webster, metabolism is “the chemical and physical processes continuously going on in living organisms.”
Some sources claim that not all of us have metabolisms that “process continuously” the same way. Most scientific studies indicate that some people have slow metabolisms and others have fast ones.
Slow or fast metabolism?
There are some studies that say you can’t change your metabolism – but many people may have anecdotal evidence that this is not true. Some people say that there have been periods of their life where their body seems to be chewing through the calories. For a start, being at a higher altitude will make you burn more calories, and as we age we burn fewer calories too.
What is your Basal Metabolic Rate?
You can actually calculate your BMR – this is your Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the amount your body (supposedly burns) each day based on your age, gender, height and weight.
A 34 your old woman at 168 centimetres (5 feet 6 inches) and weighing 61 kilograms or 135 pounds (such as yours truly) would have a BMR of 2164 calories if I engaged in moderate activity each day.
If I remain completely sedentary (for example, sick in bed all day) my body would only burn 1396 calories each day.
That’s according to this particular calendar. Of course the calendar doesn’t really know about my particular body, only statistics of a body matching mine. It has been my personal theory for a while that maybe our bodies burn different calorie amounts at different times of the year (winter/summer) different times of the day (midnight/midday) and even through different emotions (having prolonged stress vs. a very happy period).
How to calculate your BMR
Lots of people report weight loss plateaus when they lose weight – when their weight seems to stop going down and seems to stagnate or even go higher. In the past, this has been attributed to our bodies getting used to a program of eating and exercising and adjusting its metabolic needs to this. But new research has indicated that we’re just getting lazy.
Are you simply returning to your old habits?
A report has suggested that a weight loss plateau is largely to the fact that people tend to relax their eating habits over time and this easing leads to slight gains.
From the Huffington Post: “It would take the body three years to reach a metabolic plateau,” says lead author Dr. Kevin D. Hall from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “If you stick to a diet exactly, you should expect your weight loss to continue for years, albeit not at the same rate.”
The Mayo Clinic seems to think differently: ‘A plateau occurs because your metabolism — the process of burning calories for energy — slows as you lose muscle. You burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight even doing the same activities. Your weight-loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with your now slower metabolism.’
Information on metabolism contradicts
So – we have contradicting pieces of information here. Personally I think we should abandon the search for a cure for cancer and move more money in researching how metabolism and calories really work on the individual and in finding ways of giving people methods of accurately tracking their own body’s metabolism.
FitBit to track your calories, activities and metabolic rate
At the moment, there are things like FitBit and the indiegoo – and I personally think these are pretty inaccurate and crappy. I was given a FitBit and really, it aint nothing but an incredibly flashy and expensive pedometer. All the other gadgets and features it boasts are inferior to other apps and programs you find online, for example it’s inbuilt calorie counter is LOUSY compared to Calorie King (check for your country’s version) or My Fitness Pal and it’s tracking facility is inferior to apps like Run Keeper.
Photo by Alex E. Proimos