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How Metabolism Works: Understanding Your Weight

By Fernando Garcia on November 02, 2017

A patient talking to her doctorAt Tijuana Bariatrics, we've helped many patients determine if bariatric surgery is an ideal option for their needs. Surgical weight loss can be extremely beneficial to people who've struggled with weight loss, allowing them to achieve a more ideal body mass.

Metabolism is one of the keys to understanding weight gain and weight loss. We've found that many patients don't understand how metabolism works, however. Let's go over the basics of metabolism and explain how it affects your weight.

The Basics of Metabolism

In the simplest of terms, metabolism refers to the way that your body transforms the things you ingest into energy. This is a complicated biochemical process, with three basic purposes:

  • Converting fuel into energy to run cellular processes
  • Converting fuel into the building blocks for the body
  • Eliminating waste following the conversion of fuel into energy

In order to carry out these functions, your body has to burn calories. This energy expenditure is known as your base metabolism, or your basal metabolic rate.

Factors That Can Affect Your Metabolism

There are a number of factors that can affect and determine your metabolism. Some of the most important factors include:

  • Sex and Gender – In general, men typically have less body fat and more muscle mass than women who are of the same age, weight, and height. Because of this, mean then to burn more calories than women.

  • Age – As people get older, they tend to lose muscle mass and gain more body fat, which leads to fewer calories being burned.

  • Body Size and Composition – People who are larger in size or have a lot of muscle tend to burn more calories than other people, even when they are at rest.

  • Genetics – A host of family and genetic factors can lead to issues with your base metabolism, resulting in unexpectedly high or low calorie burning each day.

Factors That Affect the Calories You Burn Each Day

Your basal metabolic rate covers the amount of energy needed for your body to function each day. In addition to your base metabolism, there are two important factors that can impact the amount of calories your body burns.

  • Processing Food (Thermogenesis) – For the digestion process to work properly, your body needs to burn calories. It's estimated that 10 percent of the energy taken from protein and carbohydrates that are ingested go toward the digestive process.

  • Physical Activity – Walking, day-to-day actions, exercise, and other kinds of physical exertion requires calories to be burned. The actions you perform each day that are not exercise are known as nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which burns between 100 to 800 calories per day. If you exercise, the amount of additional calories you burn can vary a great deal.

The Link Between Metabolism and Weight

In the most basic of terms, if you consume more calories that you burn, you gain weight. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This means exercising more and/or consuming fewer calories.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Weight and body mass are a tricky equation given all of the genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors involved.

When Is Bariatric Surgery a Good Idea?

In the vast majority of cases, bariatric surgery is considered a good idea when you suffer from obesity or morbid obesity, suffer from a comorbidity (e.g., hypertension, diabetes), and have had limited success losing weight through diet and exercise alone.

Contact Tijuana Bariatrics

If you would like more information about losing weight through safe and effective bariatric surgery, be sure to contact the weight loss surgery experts of Tijuana Bariatrics today. We look forward to your visit and discussing all of these matters in much greater detail.

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Dr. Garcia is awesome. I chose bariatrics vertical sleeve surgery. I've lost 85 lbs. since January 2017. No complications... I regret not doing this years ago. Debbie M.

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