Let’s talk about how your metabolism works and why you feel like yours is broken- but it’s not; you just don’t understand it. 

So, let’s dive in and understand metabolism to help you with your weight loss journey.

Metabolism is the process by which your body changes the food and beverages you consume into energy.

During this process, calories in food and drinks mix with oxygen to make the energy the body needs. Even at rest, a body needs energy for all it does. Simply put, it is the internal process of your body that burns calories for the energy required for every bit of your daily activities – from breathing to physical work. 

Exercise Will Affect Your Metabolism in a Positive Way

You can’t do much to affect your resting metabolism, accounting for most of the calories people burn daily. But building muscle is one way to help your body burn more calories because muscle tissue uses more energy than fat tissue, even when you’re at rest. Adding in resistance training helps with excess fat loss by increasing both after-burn after exercise, and by increasing muscle size, thereby increasing the number of calories we burn at rest. Paring movement alongside eating balanced meals with ENOUGH protein will only further increase the loss of excess body fat—and may also provide other positive health benefits.

Drastic Calorie Cutting Can Affect Your Metabolism but Negatively

Yes, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. But regardless of your weight, eating too little can backfire by slowing the rate at which your body burns calories. For instance, some people skip breakfast and lunch and eat dinner. But not eating all day signals to your body a food shortage, so your metabolism DROPS. And as soon as you eat anything, your body tries to store every calorie in that food. Even if you want and need to lose weight, you should aim to eat three meals a day, mostly vegetables, whole grains (think bulgur wheat, kamut, quinoa), lean proteins (think tofu/edamame, textured vegetable protein, lentils, seitan) and healthy fats (think nuts, seeds). 

Speaking of Protein

Your metabolism increases whenever you eat, digest, and store food, a process called the thermic effect of food. Protein has a higher thermic effect than fats and carbohydrates because it takes longer for your body to burn and absorb them. So, it is imperative for several reasons (one being your metabolism) to start eating enough protein-rich foods!

There is no magic to metabolism

Please don’t look for diet pills to help burn calories or lose weight. Products that claim to speed up metabolism don’t live up to their claims. Some may cause harmful side effects. Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t ask for proof that diet pills are safe or even work as claimed. Always let your healthcare providers know about the supplements you take.

Plant-Based Diets and Weight loss

A clinical trial found that a plant-based diet is an effective tool for reducing body weight and increasing insulin sensitivity and metabolism. If you are having trouble figuring out your metabolism and the proper combination of nutrition and exercise, let’s chat – Click to Apply! It’s important to understand how to plan balanced meals and eat ENOUGH protein for YOU to be successful in reaching your healthy weight as a Vegan.

Keep calm, and don’t worry about your metabolism! Just make healthy choices. Your body will do the rest. 

Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN