Positive energy balance

Causes << >> Dietary errors

A so-called positive energy balance is the prerequisite for fat storage to grow in the body at all. Without excess energy, the body is not able to build up fat deposits.

The term positive energy balance means that one absorbs more energy in the form of food than one consumes.

This sounds very simple and most people only think about the amount of food and exercise.

But even the observation in everyday life shows that it can't be that simple.

Almost every overweight person knows other people who eat much more than he does and still stay slim. Some of these slim eaters move a lot and thus increase consumption. But other eaters hardly move and still remain slim.

The basal metabolic rate

The most important difference is the basal metabolic rate.

The basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy the body needs in absolute rest, without work and sporting activity.

It is determined by the muscle mass, temperature, age and metabolic activity of the internal organs, among other things.

A reasonably strong man has a basal metabolic rate of about 2,000 kilocalories per day, in an average woman it is about 1,500 kilocalories.

However, in a woman who has a lot of diets behind her, her basal metabolic rate can drop below 800 kilocalories per day. Such a woman would have to eat 700 kilocalories less than an average woman to maintain her weight.

To a certain extent, the amount of basal metabolic rate is probably congenital. But much more is the effect of how people have lived and how they currently live.

By its behavior one can lower or increase the basal metabolic rate.

Diets lower the basal metabolic rate because the body learns to get by with less energy through the diet. This applies in particular to crash diets with extremely reduced calorie amounts (e.g. below 1,200 kcal per day). With every strict diet you follow, the basal metabolic rate is further reduced. It's getting harder and harder to lose weight.

Rich fat cushions also have a lowering effect on the basal metabolic rate, because the body shape and the fat layer have an insulating effect against cold. This insulation effect and the associated energy savings can be quite considerable. That's why fat people sweat easier than thin people. The temperature factor has a significant effect on the basal metabolic rate, as the body uses 70% to 80% of the food energy to maintain body temperature.

Muscles, on the other hand, have an increasing effect on the basal metabolic rate. The more muscle mass you have, the more energy is consumed. With more muscles, you consume more energy during exercise as well as lying on the sofa or in bed at rest. Muscle-building strength training can therefore increase your basal metabolic rate particularly effectively.

The increased muscle mass is a major reason why men generally consume more energy than women.

Shrinking muscles are one of the main reasons why people consume less and less energy over the years and therefore lose weight more easily. Already from the age of 30 years the natural muscle degradation begins. On average, one percent is lost per year. By active muscle training, however, one can demand or even reverse this muscle degradation.

However, the decreasing basal metabolic rate in old age is probably also due to the fact that the body learns over the years to make better use of food and to use energy more sparingly. This is very useful for bad times, but in good times it makes older people overweight. Beyond 40, you have to consider that you need less food. If you continue to eat exactly as much as you did at 20, you will probably gradually become thicker and thicker.

There are numerous formulas for determining the basal metabolic rate, which more or less complexly calculate several factors, such as weight, height and age. However, the actual individual basal metabolic rate cannot be calculated with these formulas.

The personal basal metabolic rate can be determined more precisely with the help of calorimetry. But this is a complex and expensive procedure and is therefore not used in everyday life.

In normal life it is therefore not easy to know how high your basal metabolic rate is.

That leaves only practical experience. If you gain weight even though you eat little and exercise regularly, then your basal metabolic rate is probably very low. You can learn how to increase the basal metabolic rate later on this website.

The thyroid gland

An important factor for the basal metabolic rate is the activity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces hormones that have a decisive effect on energy consumption. When many thyroid hormones circulate in the body, the metabolism is very active and the body consumes a lot of energy.

The opposite is the case when too few thyroid hormones are produced. Then the metabolic activity is reduced and the body consumes only little energy.

It is therefore not surprising that people with hyperthyroidism are usually very slim to lean and people with hypothyroidism tend to be overweight. Many people with hypothyroidism suffer from considerable obesity.

Hypothyroidism is not even very rare. About one third of all women over 40 have a more or less pronounced underactive thyroid gland. Therefore it is worthwhile to have the thyroid values checked if you ask yourself as a woman in the best years why you suddenly gain so much weight.

However, overactive thyroid is just as undesirable as underactive thyroid. Although one usually becomes slim when the thyroid gland is too active, most of those affected have a high blood pressure. This increases your risk of strokes and heart attacks. They often suffer from tormenting tachycardia and constant restlessness.

It is therefore best if the thyroid gland functions in a balanced manner and produces exactly the right amount of thyroid hormones.

Effective utilisation of food calories

If the calorie consumption is so complex, one could think that at least the calorie supply by food is a clear and unequivocal thing. But by no means!

Depending on who eats, a food has different calories.

The usual calorie tables are therefore only approximate guide values. In truth, calorie levels vary from person to person. Even in one and the same person, the calorie values per food can fluctuate if, for example, he changes his diet or decreases or increases.

If you eat a food regularly, your body learns to make better and better use of it. The calorie content for the body thus gradually increases. How strong this calorie increase is varies from person to person and from food to food. Therefore, you cannot specify any generally valid values for this.

From the increase in calories through habituation one can conclude that it is helpful for the slim figure to eat a varied diet. The body will not become too accustomed to a constant diet.

Despite the increase in calories through habituation, however, the calorie content of individual foods remains roughly the same. Chocolate or potato chips remain high in calories and salad leaves remain low in calories.

High-calorie dietary fibres

What is astonishing, however, is the fact that dietary fibres can be used by some people like high-calorie carbohydrates.

Dietary fibres are generally considered to be particularly healthy and beneficial for the slim line.

However, this does not apply to all people.

Some people can digest and utilize dietary fibers as if they were nutritious carbohydrates.

This ability is very valuable in times of need, because you can literally bite the grass and get food energy.

However, in lush times this ability is very impractical, because if you eat particularly high-fibre food for the sake of the slim line, you still unexpectedly gain weight.

The conversion of dietary fibres into carbohydrates is also usually accompanied by flatulence and abdominal pain. The ability to use dietary fibres as food has several disadvantages in good times.

If you find that after eating wholemeal products and other fibre-rich foods you are prone to stomach ache, you are suspected of being a fibre user. If you also gain weight, even though you are low in calories and high in ballast, this suspicion is confirmed.

In this case, it makes sense to ignore the general recommendations for a fibre-rich diet and to eat in the way that best suits you.

Losing weight in this case is achieved by reducing the amount of food and not by switching to wholemeal products.

Causes << >> Dietary errors

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