Metabolism. There is not at all a more frequently used word in the weight loss (and weight gain) vocabulary than this. Indeed, it's not uncommon to overhear people talking about their struggles – or triumphs – over the holiday bulge or love handles in terms of whether their metabolism is working, or not. Doctors, too, often refer to metabolism when they try and explain why starvation and water-loss diets are not scientifically or medically responsible; since, they do not influence or take into account
metabolism (there's that word again!).
So, for all of the use that this rather daunting and biologically-charged word enjoys in our world, you're comfortably assuming that people understand it, right? Or, at least, they have some fundamental information when it comes to how to speed up their metabolism, right?
Regrettably, many people simply do not understand the concept of metabolism and metabolic change. This, equally as regrettably, is hardly their fault. There is so much information floating around out there, much of it over the 'net or through a "friend of a friend who has a personal trainer", that there's bound to be some confusion and conflicting messages.
Furthermore, many people (quite understandably) mistake their own weight gain and loss episodes as a matter of metabolic change. Sometimes this is true, and sometimes it is not. For example, there are scientific ways to increase the rate of metabolic change, and then enable the body to burn more calories. Eating certain foods more frequently is one way to do this. Yet another way to visibly lose weight – at least on a perceivable, temporary level – is to sit in a steam room for a few hours.
Whereas the former method (eating the right foods) is a real, proven weight loss method through increased metabolic change, the latter method (the steam room) is only temporary because the lost weight is merely water, and will return as swiftly as it " melted away ".
The point to remember here is that some people mistake their own weight loss attempts as being related to metabolic change; and, as you can see with the steam room example, that is not always the case.
Another big reason that people do not have clear, consistent on this topic is because, unfortunately, there are a lot of food and supplement companies on the market who do not want you to know fact from fiction. They want you to believe that regularly buying "low fat" foods is going
to somehow speed up your metabolism. While, yes, some low fat foods can play a role in an overall eating program that is designed to speed up metabolism, specifically eating foods that come from packaging that screams "LOW FAT!" will not do anything.
In fact, believe it or not, but many people actually gain weight when they eat too many "low fat" products. Many of these products are laden with calories from carbohydrates or proteins (which are still
calories and still must be burned off or they turn into body fat).
As you can see, and probably feel from years of trying to unravel this whole metabolic mystery, this is a confusing, stressful, and indeed, potentially depressing situation.