How often have you heard, "I gain weight if I so much as look at food because my metabolism is too slow." Or "I hate that she can eat anything she wants because her metabolism is so fast, she just burns it up." Of all the myths surrounding weight loss, metabolism (pardon the expression!) takes the cake. Exactly what does it mean? Are you born with a metabolism that stays the same through your life? Is it really harder for some of us to lose weight than others? Peruse these facts. We bet some will surprise you. Define Metabolism —Did you know... Metabolism is the term used to describe the calories you burn during a typical day. Although it varies widely, most people burn 1800 –2800 calories per day. Who has a higher metabolism is determined by lifestyle, activities, muscle tissue and genetics. You burn calories whether you're trying to or not, 24/7, at different rates depending on what you're doing. The more muscle mass involved in what you're doing, the more calories you will burn. You lose weight when you burn up more calories than you eat. That's all there is to it. You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. A 20-minute walk burns 100 calories, the equivalent of a tablespoon of butter. You would think that a calorie is a calorie whether it comes from cottage cheese or French fires or ice cream, but it's not. Calories that come from fat are actually more fattening because your body uses very little energy converting food fat to body fat. When you body turns carbohydrates or protein into body fat, it burns off 23% of the calories in the process! To lose weight, watch where your calories come from. As we get older, our metabolism slows down. Fit people have a higher metabolism because they burn a large amount of calories not only while exercising, but also at rest. A good rule of thumb is that for every 100 calories you burn during an activity, you'll burn an additional 15 or so from the "after burn effect." Digestion itself burns a large amount of calories. If you skip meals, you're not feeding your body. It reacts by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy. Small meals, containing green vegetables, grains, and lean protein keep metabolism high, burning fat to build muscle. A heavier person will burn more calories than a lighter person because of the extra effort it takes to move more mass. Watching television may be worse for your metabolism than doing nothing at all! Research suggests that just 30 minutes of zoning out you know, when the lights are on but nobody is home, can cause your metabolism to drop 14%! Once your brain revs up again, the metabolic drop is reversed. Super low-fat diets can have a negative effect on your metabolism. A moderate calorie balanced eating plan that is higher in protein and good fats (like olive oil), and lower in carbohydrates is the way to go. If your parents are overweight and you are overweight, don't buy into the old, "I'm big-boned, and I'm always going to be heavy," excuse. We are not born with slow metabolisms. We can all lose and gain weight. Being "big-boned" does not mean being fat. Weight gain or weight loss has a cause and effect relationship. It is simply positive and negative calorie balancing. You are not a victim of your metabolism —you are the result of your personal choices. Looking to define metabolism? Learn tips and tricks for living healthy at BeingGirl.com.