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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Metabolism 101

Metabolism is a big word and I often get asked exactly what it means. Metabolism is simply how many calories you burn in a day. Your Resting Metabolism makes up the majority of your total metabolism.

Total metabolism for the day is made up of:
  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): the number of calories it takes to keep your body going without any movement (brain function, heart, lungs, muscle, etc)
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): the number of calories that your body actually burns digesting food
  • Physical Activity (PA): the number of calories you burn moving around all day during your normal activities
  • Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE): the number of calories you burn doing planned exercise

Most people's total metabolism each day is about 1800-2200 for women and 2200-2600 for men. The more you move, the higher your metabolism.
Factors that influence metabolism:
  1. Gender: Men tend to have a faster metabolism (burn more calories) than women. Ladies, do you think this isn't fair? What do men have more of than women? See number 2.
  2. Muscle Mass: The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn all day long. Muscle is metabolically active 24 hours per day. If you have more muscle, you will burn more calories while you sit at your computer reading these blogs, drive in your car, and most importantly, you will burn more calories while you sleep. How awesome is that?
  3. Age: The number one reason people's metabolism slows as they age........they lose muscle. See number 2 above!
  4. Heredity: Some people are just genetically gifted with a faster metabolism than others. They can eat a lot more calories than most people and not gain weight. If you are one of these people, thank your parents for good genes!
Tune in next time to learn how you can improve your metabolism and start to burn, burn, burn!

Photo courtesy of mscaprickell
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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