Losing weight has an effect not only on the outside and your physical appearance, but on the inside and how your body functions as well. Specifically on how your metabolism changes through your journey.

If your health and fitness goal has included weight loss, you may have experienced a plateau at some point. The reason behind it could very well be that your weight loss has changed your metabolism, while your diet hasn’t changed.

When we’re talking about metabolism we’re referring to the chemical process that happens in order for your body to function. There are three ways your metabolism burns calories, your basal or resting metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). BMR is how much energy (or calories) your body needs just to stay alive, so even when you’re asleep your body uses calories to pump blood. TEF is the calories you burn just eating food, but it’s usually a small amount and doesn’t outweigh the ones you intake. NEAT refers to the calories you burn through during your daily activities like going up the stairs, walking to work and even fidgeting.

A fast or slow metabolism can be linked to your genetics, as well as your age, sex and body composition. But losing weight can also have an effect on your metabolism and it’s important to remember this if you want to keep that weight off. As you begin to lose weight, your metabolism actually slows down because you’re burning fewer calories as a smaller body so you need less food.

Everyone has different caloric needs to stay healthy and that number is based on your age, gender, weight, height and activity level. To ensure you’re eating enough food to keep your body functioning you should determine what yours is and adjust as you continue on your journey. There are online tools to help you calculate how many calories you should be consuming a day, so you don’t have to guess.