View Full Version : slow metabolism, see doc?

02-26-2005, 12:33 PM
Hey all, first a little background: I'm 6'1", between 220 - 228 lbs, have a decent bit of muscle. That said, I also still have a decent bit of fat. Not enough that I really look "fat" when dressed, etc, but its noticeable. I strongly believe I am an endomorph, as I have a "big" build and have had this fat to some degree or another for most of my life. I was fattest around my freshman year of college (230lbs, almost no muscle). I started lifting and paying attention to diet a bit more sophomore year. I got down to 190 around the time I graduated. Since then, I've been in law school, getting less exercise (mostly just lifting). I have gained a good bit more muscle, but also some fat back.

Now to my question: Except for occasional cheating, I limit my calories to around 2500 a day. Most formulas I have seen suggest as an endomorph at my weight my maintenance level should be in the neighborhood of 2800-2900 calories. Yet, I know for a fact, if I ate that much, I'd blow up like a balloon in no time. Even down at 2500 I seem to lose no fat. Cutting lower than that is hard for me, as I find myself hungry, and it also becomes difficult to eat every 3-4 hours when you have so few cals to work with. I also worry cutting back so far for a guy my size will result in significant loss of muscle and poor performance in the gym.

All in all I'd say my diet is BETTER now than it was when I was my lightest. I do less cardio, mainly due to time - law school and resulting lack of sleep barely lets me lift 2-3 times a week, let alone play racquetball and such like I did in college. I'm guessing perhaps that is the difference. Still, I feel like a 6'1" guy weighing 220, lifting with reasonable frequency, should be able to lose fat on 2500 cals a day.

Am I just in the "very slow" metabolism range that I have to live with (ie, just cut back the calories more, maybe lose one of my midday snacks)? Or would someone say this is low enough I should consider seeing a doc?


02-26-2005, 12:49 PM
You've given some good background info, but we need more specifics to help you figure out what you need to do/change. The following info would be helpful:
1. Bodyfat %: it makes a big difference whether those pounds are muscle, which requires energy to maintain, or fat
2. Diet
3. Experience with higher caloric levels: 2500 calories seems pretty low for someone with your weight and a decent amount of muscle. It's possible that your body has adapted to a below-maintenance caloric intake by slowing your metabolism.

Also, cardio is an essential complement to any lifting program. You can put on muscle (and fat) by lifting and eating enough, but if you want to lose some of that fat without severely restricting your cals and losing a lot of muscle, you'll need to find some time for cardio, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.

02-27-2005, 12:27 PM
1) I'm not certain - my guess would be upper teens, maybe 20. Dunno for sure. Like I say, I don't have a gut that stretches my shirt or anything (ie, I'm not noticably fat), at the same time, I'm far from ripped. Bit of a spare tire, plus a bit of a layer of fat most places except legs and arms.

2) Diet I would describe as decent but not great. It is fairly good in terms of staying away from bad stuff. The bad is probably the spacing of my protein - most of it comes in the evenings, simply because thats when I have time to cook. Thats not to say I don't get protein throughout the day - I do - just mostly in liquid form (I drink that Carb Smart milk stuff - which has whey in it (I checked to be sure it was whey and not some other crap) so it has more protein and less carbs/fat than normal milk - that stuff gives me 24g or so a shot). So I get protein throughout the day, the biggest "burst" just comes in the evenings - which maybe isn't so bad since I lift in the evening. Also, I tend to cheat one meal a week or so. It keeps me sane (and my roommate and I have a tradition of Sunday night Mexican) - if this has to go I guess I can live with it, though I'd rather not get rid of one of my few remaining social occsassions (law school sucks).

3) Every time I have upped calories it seems I gain fat - that said, the times I have upped calories are times I have been "bad" (ie, at Christmas), so those extra cals weren't from good food. Maybe I should try "zig-zagging" a bit with good food?

4) Other factors - I think there may be other factors at play here too. First, I need to drink more water. I'm not sure how directly that effects fat loss, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt. Second, I need to sleep enough - something law school (combined with an enjoyment of computer games) frequently prevents. Third, as you mention, I need to do some cardio. The workout I'm doing has provision for lifting 3 times a week, or 2 (A, B, C or A, B; C, A; B, C; and so on), so I figure if I have time constraints I can always fall back to the 2/week plan and keep in the cardio.

02-27-2005, 01:02 PM
It's simple enough to test, a little blood and they can tell you your TSH, which tells them (and you) how well your thyriod is working. The higher the number, the slower your metabolism, the lower the number the faster your metabolism. And there are drugs to correct this.

PS-If you do get it done know that just this year acceptable TSH levels have changed, and many Dr's don't know this yet. The old system was 0.5 to 5.0 was OK but now they go from 0.5 to 3.0.