Metabolism and Weight Management

By Susan Donovan

Metabolism is a wide-ranging term that describes the constant work happening in each of the body’s cells. This includes pumping molecules from the blood into the cells, as well as sending other molecules out of the cell, to be used for fuel. Energy is then released giving your body what it needs to function, in addition to the energy required to do the work within each cell. Your metabolism affects your health and certainly impacts your weight loss or weight maintenance efforts. Here are some basic definitions to better understand the role metabolism plays in your body:
Total daily energy expenditure is a term that encompasses all of the components of human calorie expenditure. 
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy required to maintain homeostatic processes when a body is at rest. RMR contributes to about 60%–70% of your total daily energy expenditure.
Calories: By definition a calorie is the total energy needed to bump the temperature of one gram of water by 1.8° Fahrenheit (note: A 1/4 teaspoon of water = 1.42 g.), thus the phrase ‘burn calories’ has been coined.
Energy balance is the difference between calories consumed and calories expended over a sustained period of time. Decreasing the number of calories consumed and/or increasing the number of calories expended is the basic formula for a losing and managing body weight maintenance.
Metabolism and Weight Loss: According to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that people who want to lose weight may need to do more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. Muscle-strengthening activities are also important since muscle tissue accounts for approximately 40% of a person’s body weight making it the largest overall metabolically active tissue. Therefore, resistance training should be a priority since muscle-strengthening exercises are a most effective way to increase a persons’ resting metabolic rate.
A recent study showed that participants who were successful losing and maintaining weight loss spent more time doing light physical activity, significantly less time in sedentary behaviors, and made healthy, sustainable dietary changes with a consumption of less calories.

A few ways to lead a more active lifestyle:

  • Walk more: before or after you eat lunch / dinner, while you are talking on the phone, and around the house when you wake up in the mornings
  • Walk around the grocery store before you start shopping
  • Bring your grocery bags in the house one at a time
  • Walk instead of drive whenever you can
  • Try doing walking meetings with co-workers
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator or escalator
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot
  • Stand and do alternating knee lifts during commercials when TV watching
  • Wash your car by hand
  • Turn on some music and dance around the kitchen when preparing meals

As exercise has a profound effect on energy metabolism - move more, eat less, and make your health a priority! 
Need some help, motivation, and support? We have movement specialists, health coaches and weight management professionals at our JCC Fitness Center. Contact for more information. 

Susan Donovan
JCC Director of Group Ex & Wellness

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