The Metabolic Sloth and Squirrel

We all require the same principles but assuming we all require the same protocols is incredibly short sighted. Yes, you can estimate what calories you require using scientific formulas.

However, the accuracy of the answer will always vary especially as the conditions do. We are all unique and respond differently to under and over feeding. 

Some people are more INEFFICIENT with their energy expenditure while others are more EFFICIENT. The degree to which someone is inefficient or efficient exists across a continuum. Efficiency is a good thing in most cases but an undesirable one when trying to change your physique. 

Inefficient metabolic types are like Squirrels 🐿. These people generally can’t stop fidgeting and struggle to sit still. This can result in an accumulation of additional calorie expenditure over the course of the day. They’re also often constantly stressed about their acorns and crazy human stuff. 

Inefficient metabolic types typically respond well to under feeding and lose body fat relatively easily. Adaption is less of a concern during under feeding which means the protocols won’t have to be as severe. Conversely, if you increase their calories it’s far harder for them to gain weight. They just fidget even more and bounce off the walls with extra energy. Here adaption works more as a preventative mechanism to weight gain. 

On the other end of the spectrum we have Sloths 🦥 who are efficient with their energy expenditure. They respond differently to over and under feeding. They’re less likely to burn off higher calories which can result in a greater or easier accumulation of body fat in this instance. 

Conversely, on lower calories they are more likely to need a greater nudge to continually lose body fat. These people respond differently to under feeding and are more efficient with their energy expenditure. Generally, they adapt quicker meaning they’ll typically need lower calories and / or more energy output. On a positive, if lost in the wilderness this means they’re less likely to die of starvation first versus an inefficient type.

So where do you fall on the efficiency versus inefficiency scale? Some people will fall in the middle and be neither. Their metabolism will be more stable with their needs and progress being more predictable according to the conditions. Others will tend towards one end of the continuum but are less extreme versions of other outliers. For instance, for many people weight loss can be a struggle when dieting is attempted. With under feeding they become more increasingly efficient with their energy expenditure as their body’s innate response to under feeding is to conserve fuel. However, to what degree this will occur and when will vary greatly. 

Ultimately, given current obesity levels you could make the claim that more people skew towards efficiency rather than inefficiency when it comes to their innate metabolism. However, there are numerous factors impacting obesity outside of your metabolism and everyone can lose weight. The key is finding the right protocols to match each individual, then adapting over time to ensure continued progress. For some though, the reality is weight loss will be more challenging than for others. 

The take home message is that you can predict your calorie needs based off formulas. However, some people will be more efficient or inefficient with their energy expenditure. As such, different people will require different protocols, especially as your conditions change. Thus, it’s crucial you base your decisions off the reality of what’s occurring rather than just theory.