1. The Basics
Your body’s energy needs are regulated (somewhat) by the following system:
a) your metabolic rate: you burn calories by burning oxygen from the body to get oxygen.
b) food consumption: the higher the body’s metabolic rate, the more energy is needed to provide food and maintain body weight.
c) physical activity: physical activity, whether it’s sports like running, or playing an instrument, or being active in other ways, provides body energy directly; physical activity and exercise have different effects on the body.
You can control your metabolism by consuming more calories per day, burning more calories per day, or both.
If you’re overweight/obese but in healthy shape, and you consume an adequate amount of calories per day to maintain your weight, you’ll maintain your weight more easily by exercising more frequently.
As with all medical treatments, you have to choose the right treatment to make the most out of it.
If I’m overweight, will there be a difference between losing and gaining weight?
Yes, there will in theory be a difference. There is actually a body fat distribution, although the exact proportion isn’t known. But even if you were to lose all of your body fat, if you’re still losing fat (by being more active; it doesn’t mean you’re gaining weight), the body won’t make up the difference. So if your weight is going up, for example, if the number one recommendation for losing weight is to exercise more frequently, your loss will likely be small.
Your body weight and metabolism will also be different. In other words, if you’ve lost weight while keeping your weight the same, you’re losing energy because of more body fat, and the increase in metabolism can’t be overcome.
Your body will also need to burn more calories and lose weight more quickly if you get fatter. This effect is called “dieting rebound.” This is why your doctor recommends starting your dieting treatment when you’re still within the normal range of your weight.
There aren’t necessarily differences in your metabolism between the normal range and overweight/obese. Your body is just different in size.
What causes metabolic syndrome?
There are several factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome, which includes:
High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
High glucose intake, as part of the typical Western diet
High sodium intake
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