#9 – Effective weight loss is a result of an increased metabolism
This is probably the most consistent myth that simply will not go away. I think the problem comes from people not understand what the word ‘metabolism’ even means.
Metabolism is simply a word that describes the total processes of your body at a given point in time.
The processes of your body require a certain amount of energy to keep them going. When we eat just enough to keep everything humming along we will not gain or lose weight. When we eat more than our body need it will simply store the excess for a later date. When we eat less than it needs your body will use up some of the stored energy it has in fat cells.
Even very lean people have weeks and weeks of stored energy in their fat cells. Obese people have months and sometimes YEARS of stored energy.
In reality if you did a measurement of the metabolic rate of overweight or obese people and a group of lean people (at the same age and height) you would find that the overweight and obese people have a ‘higher’ metabolism and burn MORE calories per day. This is because they simply have more body mass to deal with and have more stuff going on.
The fallacy is thinking that there is a ‘speed’ that your metabolism can go and that you can somehow speed it up to burn more calories. This is not the case.
At one point in the mid 80’s up to the mid to late 90’s there was an underground drug that could do this exact thing. It was called DNP and bodybuilders took it to get shredded. The problem is it caused such a dramatic change that people would run a fatal fever and die. You could say that some of these guys actually cooked themselves from the inside out!
The point is this. Any drug or supplement or intervention that could actually melt fat off your body without eating less will also be so dangerous that it could easily kill you.
Anything intervention (drug, supplement, infection, disease) that actually changes your metabolism to any great degree is dangerous and usually requires medical attention.
Just think of how little wiggle room you have with a fever. Normal body temp (oral) is around 98.2 degree F. If you increase your ‘metabolism’ to a point where you are just a few degrees higher (around 102-3 degrees F) you’re in big trouble. So what makes anyone think increasing their metabolic rate is a good thing, or even possible?
Things like working out cause transient increases in energy expenditure which are not to be confused with ‘metabolic rate’.
There’s nothing you can really do to change the rate at which your metabolism functions, so the only two things you can do is exercise more to burn some more energy and eat a bit less to force your body to dip into fat stores to make up the difference.