Is Your Metabolism – Stalling Your Weight Loss Goals?

As our age increases, our metabolism decreases. You feel you are doing everything right, watching what you eat and moving more, but still see no gains in the weight loss department.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism refers to your metabolic rate, or rather, the amount of energy that your body uses every day. A major part of this is your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the number of calories/kilojoules (energy) your body burns AT REST.

Amazingly, 60-80% of your daily energy is spent on functions like keeping your blood circulating and heart pumping as well as breathing and repairing cells. The remaining energy spent is roughly 10-30% on exercise and 10% on digesting food.

Muscle Mass

Age plays a big factor in resting metabolic rates as well as amount of muscle on your body. Men in general have a bigger muscle mass which is one reason why they find it easier to lose weight while watching their intake.

Women 45+ often find themselves with a slowing down of their metabolism combined with menopause related shift where their body stores fat as well as a loss of muscle mass, and a reduction in physical activity.  

This decrease in muscle mass can be slowed or avoided with simple resistance training exercises such as yoga, Pilates or using weights to help you retain and build muscle mass.

Do not resort to supplements to boost your metabolism

Certain supplements that contain chilli or caffeine might have a short-term transient effect, but it does not last long and have little effect on weight loss.

Having an actual "slow metabolism" is rare and is due to an underactive thyroid. Having a fast metabolism (like my husband who eats like a horse) means your body uses energy (the food you eat) more quickly, you can still gain weight if you have a fast metabolism if you consume more calories than what your body needs.

Research has shown that many people underestimate exactly how much they eat and drink throughout the day and how much energy is burnt. Weight control is heavily influenced by our genetics, environment, what we eat and how much we eat. 


Eating protein with each meal takes longer for the body to burn, therefore it has a higher "thermic effect" than carbohydrates or fats, which means it increases your metabolic rate immediately after a meal. This is referred to as thermogenesis and contributes a very small amount to the energy your body burns each day.

The positive effects of protein help you to stabilise your blood sugar levels and feel fuller for longer without energy highs and lows often felt with high carbohydrate meals. 

Julie Dargan

BHSc, Diploma Nursing, Author & Speaker

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