Metabolism 101


There are articles upon articles on how to trick your metabolism into working faster. How Can I Speed Up My Metabolism? Nine EASY Ways to Rev It Up! Seldom do they define what the metabolism process actually is and how it works. Here I will break it down for you to explain what your metabolism really is and what affects it.

So what is it, really?
Your metabolism is a system of chemical reactions that take place in the body’s cells. Hormones and enzymes work together to convert food into fuel, in order to power everything we do from thinking to moving.

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) measures the rate at which a person’s body “burns” energy while at rest. So someone with a low BMR, burns fewer calories while resting or sleeping, while someone with a high BMR burns more in the same conditions.

What does it affect?
The metabolism process affects how your body burns that fuel. It influences the rate at which you burn calories, thus determining how quickly you gain and lose weight. Calories are a unit of energy that you get from food. If the amount of calories you consume is greater than the amount you burn off, your body stores it as fat.

What affects your metabolism?
Your metabolic rate depends on a variety of factors. To a certain extent, personal BMR is genetic, inherited by parents. However, BMR can be influenced in certain ways. Both exercise and body composition can affect your metabolism.

What increases your metabolism?
The best way to increase your metabolism is to increase the amount of energy your body needs. Regular exercise will not only burn calories and energy from the activity itself, but it also keeps you fit by boosting how much energy your body needs even at rest. A combination of cardio and strength training has been shown to increase energy usage and raise the BMR, sometimes up to 24 hours after a workout.

What decreases your metabolism?
There are two main reasons for a decrease in resting metabolism that you should understand. The first is that a smaller body requires fewer calories to maintain the same physiological functions. The second reason is that during weight loss, the body may try to conserve energy in response to a calorie restricted diet. Your metabolism slows down because it doesn’t need to burn as much energy as before.

Kid’s Health

Jennifer Christman, RD, LDN

Author: Jennifer Christman, RD, LDN

As the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Medifast, Inc., Jennifer helps to organize all of the nutrition content that goes into our marketing materials. When she is not busy keeping up on the latest and greatest nutrition information, she is helping to guide our clients and customers on their weight-loss journey. Jennifer brings 10-plus years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and is super passionate about getting you healthy!


  1. I don’t have any thyroid function any longer and I am on synthroid. Would this medifast plan still work for me?

    • Hallie Falquet Sovesky

      Hi Charla, We’d be happy to talk to you about how the program will work with your unique situation. Please call our Nutrition Support team at 1-800-509-1281 or email them at and they’ll be happy to give you all the answers you need. Thank you!

  2. I lost 10 lbs in the first two weeks. I haven’t lost anything in 5 weeks. HELP!

    • Hallie Falquet Sovesky

      Hi Bridget, If you’re at a plateau, we suggest you go back to your Quick Start Guide to be sure you’re following the basic rules: 64 oz of water a day, weighing the portions for your Lean & Green, including the Healthy Fat servings, eating the Medifast Meals every 2-3 hours, etc. If you’re doing everything by the book, give a call to Nutrition Support at 1-800-509-1281 and they can help you figure it out!

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