This is a series of articles pertaining to metabolism; what it is, how it affects weight loss and its’ implications in overall health. The wealth of information, in regards to metabolism and how it affects us, is too much to contain into just one article. Hence, needing a series.
The best way to start off this series, is to obviously start with defining what metabolism is, so one can understand a little bit on how important it is to our every day living.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is simply defined as the process of using food for energy. This energy is what drives the function of our internal system. To maintain organ function, we need this energy. You can think of our body as a factory, the machines in the factory as our organs and the fuel used to run those machines as the energy. Without the energy, we will cease to exist. Hence why prolong starvation, leads to death. It starts off with the shutting down of one’s organs; as the body uses internal sources of energy (muscle, fat, etc). This internal energy or conserved energy is limited, but the external source, is heavily infinite (at least in modern times).
The amount of energy that we use up in one day, is defined as the total daily energy expenditure; also known as TDEE. This total daily energy expenditure, TDEE, is subdivided into 3 parts; our basal metabolic rate, digestion and physical activity.
Basal Metabolic Rate, also known as BMR (which you may have heard of already), is the amount of energy that we need to sustain life. When I say this, it is the basic amount of energy, that one needs for normal organ function. This is an energy amount that is expended through activities like breathing. It doesn’t require any activity, for it to be used. Yet again, it’s like the fuel that is needed for the machines to work in a factory, without any input from the mechanics. Apparently BMR makes up 60 percent of the total daily expenditure.
Obviously physical activity, would involve all the activities we do throughout the day, as we go about our daily tasks. Every form of activity, requires energy. Just getting up to go get a drink from the fridge, is deemed as an activity that requires energy. Shifting around on the couch or reaching for the remote, is a form of activity. It may be deemed as a sedentary lifestyle activity, but an activity nevertheless. This makes up just 30 percent of our overall metabolism.
Finally, we have digestion. Surprising to some, but after we have consumed a meal, there’s a lot of energy that goes into digesting that meal. This only makes up the remaining 10 percent of our overall metabolism.
Now our metabolic rates, change throughout the day in relation to daily activities. It is known the hours before awakening, you are in a conservative state of metabolism, while in the afternoon and evening, one’s metabolism is at its’ highest and the lowest tends to be at night. This all tends to be based on our evolutionary development; where the mornings we need more energy and as darkness comes, and its’ time for bed, our need for energy reduces.
How this all relates to our health, weight loss and more, will be discussed in a later part of The Metabolism Series.