Doc, Is My Metabolism Slow?


As you might imagine (given my profession) I spend a great deal of time talking to patients about weight, weight loss, calories and why sometimes it seems so darn hard to lose those last 10 (or 20 or 30 or you name it) pounds….

Such discussions often lead to questions about metabolism.  Many patients think they have "slow metabolism" or have been told by someone who seemed knowledgeable that they have a slow metabolism.  Many patients think this is why they have a weight problem or why they have trouble losing weight.

Most patients actually have a pretty normal metabolism.  Of course you should have your thyroid checked out (very easy to do with a simple blood test) as an underactive thyroid can give you a slow metabolism.  If your thyroid is underactive it is very easy to treat with a medicine you take once per day.  So, lets assume your metabolism is 'normal'…what does that actually mean?  Is there anything you can do to increase it?  And what does that have to do with losing the last 10,. 20 or 30 pounds?

First of all, everyone's metabolism is a little different.  An easy way to understand this is:  We are not all the same height and so we don't all have the exact same metabolism but we are all in a pretty close range.  If you want to get an idea of what yours is simply type "basal metabolic rate" into Googles search engine and it will take you to any number of sites which can give you an idea of what your metabolism is.

If you want to lose weight you have to make sure that the number of calories you consume everyday is less than your metabolic rate, we call that a "caloric deficit".  When the caloric deficit equals 3500 calories you lose about 1 pound.  So if you have a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day you will lose one pound per week.  (500 calories/day x 7 days = 3500 calories, which equals one pound weight loss).

Now,  two questions I frequently get from my female patients is: Why is it so much easier for my husband to lose weight?  Why was it so much easier to lose weight when I was 20 years old?

The answer to both questions is really the same: muscle mass!  The more muscle a person has the higher the metabolism.  So, for instance if there is a 20 year old and a 40 year old who are the exact same height and weight the 20 year old will have more muscle mass.  Similarly if we have a man and a woman of the same age, height and weight the man will likely have more muscle mass (sorry ladies, its true!).  Since muscle is what the body uses to do work it makes sense that the more muscle tissue a person has the higher the metabolism.

If you are following me here than I hope you figured out the punch line:  If  you want to increase your metabolism, how do you do it?  You need to increase your muscle mass, and how do we increase muscle mass?  Exercise!! This is why exercise is so important.  Exercise helps you lose weight in the first place and while you are exercising you build the muscle mass which will increase your metabolism which then keeps the weight off!

Now, many patients tell me that it feels like it gets harder to lose weight once they've already lost a bunch of weight..don't worry, your not crazy.   There is a good reason for this which I think is pretty easy to understand, but to understand it we first have to talk about one of my favorite topics….cars!   Pop Quiz:  Which uses more gas a 6000 lb Hummer or a 3000 lb Camry?  Pretty simple right, the Hummer, of course.

Now lets compare two people, one weighs 350 lbs and one weighs 200 lbs.  If both people spend 30 minutes walking which person will burn more calories?  Since the 350 lb person is moving around a bigger body they will use more energy walking 30 minutes.  Since they are burning more calories they will lose weight faster.  So, if you now weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose another 20  you will have to work a little harder than when you weighed 50 or 100 lbs more.

You will either have to work out for a longer period of time (say 45 minutes) or work out more intensely (by walking 3 miles in 30 minutes instead of 2 miles, for example).  The good news is that once you've lost a bunch of weight most people find that it is easier to work out for a longer period of time or do a more intense work out (or both) which will then continue the weight loss.  And, of course as we learned earlier the exercise builds the muscle mass which then increases your metabolism which is what keeps the weight off!

Speaking of exercise, regular readers know that one of my patients, Glynn Fluitt, contributes to my newsletter with a patients perspective.  His column is below and is called "From the Gut"…well this week Glynn is in Iowa doing a 471 mile bike ride..way to go Glynn!

Also Marisol's Nutritional Corner has a IPhone app (Lose It) to help you keep track of how many calories are in various foods, see it below, Thanks Marisol

From the Gut... by Glynn Fluitt
Mr. Fluitt is a patient that has graciously offered to contribute to the newsletter – his column is a welcomed addition to the GSBWC newsletter and its readers!



Blending in… "Point Two?"


So many years of my adult life I've been conscientious about sticking out

— the fat guy at the pool, the guy who's suit didn't quite fit.


Just so you know, I'm 3.5 years post surgery and that hasn't gone away yet.


I'm sitting in a diner in Clinton, Iowa waiting to join 8,500 other bike riders in an intra-state, border to border bike ride — described as 471.2 miles. "Point two"? At that point, does "point two" really matter??!


What I notice, however, is that no one is staring at me wondering if I'm going to make it without medical assistance. No one seems to be thinking "that poor fat guy, hope he doesn't have a heart attack!". I seem to blend in — through THEIR eyes.


Through MINE? I'm still the morbidly obese dude trying to fit in and be accepted. It is amazing what training your mental attitude and self confidence go through. Perhaps one day I'll see myself as a guy t
hat needs to loose a little weight, but doesn't draw the stares akin to a circus side-show attraction.


So, sitting right here — right now — I've decided on 3 new mantras that I need to repeat to myself:


1 I look good

2 I belong

3 I took care of myself FOR myself


I believe that repeating that enough times will counteract the training my brain went through when I used to say "I hope I don't have to take my shirt off during PE class!".


Okay — that was a long time ago, but it obviously had long lasting effects. It was the first thing that came to my mind as I was typing.


Follow me @BariatricDude


Now go out there and participate — as an equal!


Be well.




follow me @BariatricDude        

Looking for a cool refreshing smoothie that is healthy and tastes great? Here is a recipe from my favorite cook book 'Essentials of Healthful Cooking by Williams-Sonoma.'.


Mango-Yogurt Smoothie

makes 2 servings



    1 cup diced mango
    1 cup light cranberry juice
    1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (Fage Total 0%)
    1/2 cup ice cubes


    Combine all ingredients in a blender & blend until frothy and smooth.  



Patients are frequently asking for suggestions on how to keep track of what they eat and how they know the mix of what is in what they eat – Protein, Sodium, Fiber,Carbs, Good and Bad Fats) especially when they are out or do not have access to the labels of the food they are eating.  If you want a mobile application to assist you when on the run, out eating or just like having it at your fingertips at all times…there is a Free Smartphone App called "LOSE IT!" that I have been suggesting to patients as an option to work the menu and menu the work for before, during and after surgery.  I have reviewed the app and find it to be a good way to help you work your plan.  

If you are using it now – would love to hear how it is working for you.  

We are not associated with the app in any way or receive any compensation for recommending the application 🙂 –



Upcoming Free Seminars
The next Free Informational seminar is at our Millburn office on July 25th  2012 starting at 6:30pm.  Dr. Yurcisin leads the discussion on weight loss, your surgical options and if 'Bariatric Surgery is Right for Me?'.
If you or your guests cannot make the 7/25/12 seminar, August 8th 2012 will be the next available seminar in our Millburn office.

To Find out more, simply click here for Dates and Locations of Seminars!
We welcome your guests and anyone that wants to know more about the benefits of bariatric surgery.

In This Issue MetabolismFrom the GutMarisol's Nutritional Corner

This Designation  is the 1st line of Defense for All Patients when looking for a Certified Center of Excellence Bariatric Surgeon.  GSBWC has proudly been Certified since we began our practice.

August Team Happenings!

August 18th is Happy Birthday for Anna – our amazing  RD that our Bayville patients have worked with for years!

August will also welcome in birthdays of another type – Bella will be going out on Maternity Leave in a couple of weeks…
 Dr. Yurcisin will also be welcoming in a new addition to his family at the beginning of August
We wish Bella and her growing family and Dr. Yurcisin and his growing family health, happiness and joy all around

Upcoming Dates and Locations of Support Group in Your Area:

Next Support Group at ACC in Livingston, NJ is August 8th 2012 from 6pm to 7:30pm.  Support Groups are designed for YOU and what you need for sustainable weight loss and reclaimed health! Hope to see you there. To register for the the 8/8/12 support group, call 973.322.7433.   

Thanks For Trusting Us with Your Health!



Yours in Good Health,
Michael Bilof, MD
Basil Yurcisin, MD

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