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Metabolism and Weight: Why Some People Struggle With Weight More Than Others

Ever felt like the scales aren’t tipping in your favor, even when you’re trying your best? Well, it’s not just you. Many face this issue, and often, the culprit is something we hear about yet may not fully understand: metabolism and weight.  

In this blog, we will hone into the metabolic battle and discuss why some people struggle more than others with weight. We will also provide tips on how to boost your metabolism for better results! Learn about the:

  • Link Between Metabolism and Weight
  • Reasons Why Some People Struggle to Lose Weight
  • Ways to Boost Metabolism for Weight Loss

Discovering The Link Between Metabolism And Weight

Metabolism is how your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. It’s happening every moment, even when you’re relaxing or sleeping.

Think of your body like a car engine. Suppose your engine (or metabolism) runs fast. In that case, you burn more fuel (or calories), even when just sitting or doing regular things. It is why some people can eat a lot and not gain weight.

If your engine runs slower, you burn less fuel. So, if you have a slower metabolism, you must eat less to avoid gaining extra pounds. This can make it more difficult for people with a slower metabolism to lose weight.

Metabolism is also how your body uses energy. Imagine your body’s energy use in a day as a pie chart. The energy you burn daily, or Total Energy Expenditure (TEE), has three main parts. The biggest slice, 60%-75%, is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Think of BMR as the energy your body needs even if you lay in bed all day.

The second slice, about 25%-30%, is the energy burned through daily activities, like walking or working out. The smallest slice, 5%-10%, is the energy you burn when you digest food. So, most of your daily energy is spent on basic body functions and a smaller part on activities and food digestion.   

Understanding Why Some People Struggle More Than Others

Your metabolic rate determines the number of calories you burn. And naturally, some people have a higher rate than others. But why?

For example, people burn calories differently when resting. Muscles play the biggest role in this, with fat and age also having some impact. Other factors like gender don’t matter much. But, some experts suggest women have a slower metabolism than men. Some mysteries remain, like why certain hormones only affect men.

So, here’s how genetics, age, lifestyle choices or habits, diet, and hormones influence metabolism and weight:

1. Genetics

Some are naturally endowed with a speedy metabolism, while others are not. Genes play a big role in how your body handles weight. Everyone is different in how they gain or lose weight and a lot of this is because of DNA. Research has shown that between 30 to 70% of weight issues can come from genes.

There are also some very rare conditions where people gain weight because of their genes, like Prader-Willi or Bardet-Biedl.

2. Age 

Metabolism slows down with age. This is one of the reasons why it can be more difficult to lose weight as you get older.

Studies have shown that the average weight of Americans, measured by body mass index or BMI, tends to go up until people are in their 50s or 60s. This pattern is seen in men and women and different ethnic groups. But as people get into their 70s and 80s, they often start to lose weight. So, most weight issues are usually seen in middle-aged adults.

As you age, your body’s energy-burning slows down mainly because you lose muscle and gain more fat. Muscles use a lot of your energy, and less muscle means you need less energy (calories). If you eat more than needed, you gain belly fat.

3. Lifestyle Choices

An active lifestyle boosts metabolism. However, years of reduced physical activity and poor diet choices can make the metabolic rate plummet.

Experts note that the quick increase in people gaining weight in the past 20 years is probably because of the modern lifestyle: eating more and moving less. Thanks to cars and gadgets, people don’t have to move as much as they used to. Not moving around a lot can make you gain weight.

Also, people who lack sleep and have more daily stress could notice they’re adding pounds!

4. Diet

When we talk about the energy in food, we’re looking at protein, fat, carbs, and sometimes alcohol. Diets heavy in fats often don’t have a lot of complex carbs like fiber. There’s still some debate about whether the type of diet or the total calories eaten is more important for maintaining a healthy weight.

There’s also been debate about whether overweight people eat more than thinner people. However, experts suggest that overweight people who aren’t gaining or losing weight burn more energy in a day than thinner people. This means they must also be eating more. Lastly, your social and cultural backgrounds can influence what and how much you eat.

5. Hormones

The body’s endocrine system is like a symphony. It’s composed of different hormones, which need to work in harmony to keep everything in check. However, when it comes to weight issues, it seems that this system can sometimes play out of tune.

For example, people with low thyroid levels have slower metabolism. Moreover, ghrelin, cortisol, insulin, leptin, and GLP-1 hormones have been studied extensively; they play many roles in your body, especially regarding weight and how your body uses and stores energy. So, anything that disrupts these hormones could affect weight.

Balancing Act: Diet, Exercise, Healthy Habits, and Supplements

“The Biggest Loser” was a weight-loss show where people tried to lose weight quickly through a lot of exercise. A study suggests that exercising too much made their bodies burn fewer calories at rest, making it hard to keep off the weight they lost. So, finding a balanced way to lose weight is important for long-term success!

Remember what we said about the things you can change? These factors you have control over are food choices or diet, exercise, sleep, stress, and supplements.


When you exercise, you burn fat. The more active you are, the better your body gets at using fat for energy. Exercising more than the basic recommendation (more than 150 minutes a week) seems to help keep weight off in the long run.

Muscles are the main parts of your body that use fat. But as you age, you’re not as good at burning fat, even if you exercise the same amount. Still, staying active is a good idea for everyone. Even if someone is more likely to gain weight because of their genes, exercise can still make a difference. Staying active not only helps your weight, but it’s also great for your general health.

For example, in aerobic exercises like running or cycling, your muscles and fat cells work together to use energy efficiently. During this process, a molecule called DICER increases in your fat cells, which helps produce microRNAs.

One of these, microRNA-203-3p, makes sure fat cells don’t use up too much sugar. This helps your muscles get the energy they need.

Diet For Metabolism And Weight Management

Eating more calories than your body can burn? You’ll gain weight. Conversely, a calorie deficit often leads to weight loss. But be wary – too significant a deficit can slow down metabolism.

To maintain a healthy weight, the energy (calories) you eat should match the energy you use. If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. All overweight people have stored more energy than they’ve used, which leads to more body fat.

Moreover, gaining weight as you grow older can sneak up on you. It might be a little bit each year, but it adds up. To stay healthy and avoid gaining weight, it helps to eat natural foods like veggies, fruits, and whole grains.

Avoid too many sugary drinks, junk food, and processed meats. Even if each healthy choice seems small, they can make a big difference over time.

Also, researchers found that people on a high-protein diet burned more energy and fat. So, it could mean that if you eat more protein, it might help you lose fat better than a usual diet.

Healthy Habits: Get Enough Sleep and Manage Stress

Lack of sleep can make you gain weight. Why? When you don’t sleep enough, you feel hungrier. You eat more than your body needs, especially yummy, tempting foods. It’s like your body craves treats just for fun, not because you’re really hungry.

A study found that when you lack sleep, your body produces more of a chemical called endocannabinoids. It makes you want tasty foods even more. So, get adequate sleep for better food choices.

Having high-stress hormone (cortisol) levels for many months can lead to gaining more weight or fat. It means when you’re stressed for a long time, your body tends to store more fat.

Moreover, feeling stressed or having a history of depression can change how the body handles fatty foods. A study found that people who faced more stress burned calories slower after eating a fatty meal. If this keeps happening, it could lead to gaining about 11 pounds in a year!

It’s like your emotions play a part in weight gain. This stress can lead to weight gain and a slower metabolism. So, caring for your mind might help you keep a healthy weight. Find ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Supplements For Metabolism And Weight Control

Take heed: researchers studied over 10,000 US women for 15 years. They found that women who took diet pills and laxatives were more likely to develop an eating disorder. It’s a red flag, showing the importance of safe weight control methods.

Also, many people are getting liver problems from certain supplements in the U.S.    Products like Hydroxycut have caused serious issues because they utilize a harmful ingredient called Ephedra. So, always be cautious with supplements and know what’s inside them!

On the other hand, some weight loss supplements have ingredients like green tea extract and substances from chili peppers called capsaicinoids. Some people worry about their safety, but research says they’re generally safe if you follow the directions. They not only help with weight but can also improve blood sugar and blood fats or cholesterol.

Warning! Some supplements can be risky. For instance, even though green tea (from the plant Camellia sinensis) is popular for health, taking too much, especially in extract form, can harm the liver. Another ingredient, Garcinia cambogia, which is used for weight loss, has been linked to liver problems, too. 

In contrast, some natural supplements target hormones linked to metabolism. Remember GLP-1 mentioned earlier? It stands for glucagon-like peptide-1.

Your body has a special fat called Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT), which helps you stay warm. But BAT also plays a big role in how your body uses energy. Many scientists study how the brain and hormones control BAT’s activity.

They found that GLP-1 affects your appetite and how much energy you use. This GLP-1 comes from the intestines and helps you eat less. It positively affects conditions like obesity and high blood sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions About Metabolism And Weight

Question 1: Is my slow metabolism the sole reason I’m gaining weight?

Metabolism and weight are closely linked because a person’s metabolic rate determines how many calories they burn. While metabolism is a factor, it’s one piece of the puzzle. Dietary habits, activity levels, and other medical conditions can contribute to weight gain.

Question 2: Can I speed up my metabolism to lose weight?

To some extent, yes. Incorporating high-intensity or aerobic training and ensuring adequate protein intake can boost metabolism. But remember, every person is different. Understanding the relationship between metabolism and weight can help you make informed choices about diet and exercise to achieve the desired body composition.

Question 3: Do metabolism boosters like supplements work?

Some people have a fast metabolism and weight loss comes naturally to them. While others with a slower metabolism may find it more challenging to shed pounds. There’s ongoing research about metabolism and weight supplements. Some might offer advantages on top of a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Key Takeaways

  • Metabolism is your body’s engine, determining eating capacity, energy usage, and the priority of functions over activities and digestion.
  • Metabolic rate is your calorie-burning speedometer. Genetics, age, and lifestyle affect it. Manage your weight by adjusting activity, diet, and controllable factors.
  •  Balance is crucial for lasting weight loss. Avoid over-exercising, prioritize sleep, manage stress, and maintain a balanced diet for sustainable success. Supplements could be helpful, but seek advice and guidance from a healthcare professional.

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