Metabolism and Weight
Janet Jones, who has type 2 diabetes, visited her doctor because she was having trouble losing weight after years of dieting. She wondered if something was wrong with her metabolism. Her doctor agreed that her metabolism may have slowed. But to her surprise, he recommended that she eat more, not less, to speed it up.
Come again? Eat more to lose weight? Welcome to the complex relationship between metabolism and weight.
In research studies, metabolism is measured by metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body burns in a day. That includes the calories you spend moving around, but also those you burn by simply being wired into your body's functions: breathing, digesting, repairing cells, and thinking. There's no test at a regular doctor's office to measure this rate, however.
Your metabolism requires food for energy, so when you aren't eating enough, it compensates. Janet's metabolism may have slowed because her body wasn't getting enough fuel to sustain a higher pace.
Undereating is a mistake many people make when trying to lose weight. The effort can backfire when your metabolism takes a dive as it tries to conserve calories.