Your metabolism is NOT an excuse: Extreme Weight Loss medical director blogs about Sara's Journey

AURORA, Colo. - Editor's note: ABC's Extreme Weight Loss is back for season four and this year participants will start their journey with a three-month boot camp at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC).

The non-competitive TV show follows super-obese participants through a 365-day journey as they try to safely loose half of their body weight.

The participants are guided by trainer/transformation specialists Chris and Heidi Powell.

Dr. Holly Wyatt, Medical Director at AHWC and Medical Director for the show, reflects on episode ten featuring Sara:

"In this episode of 'Extreme Weight Loss' Sara’s journey should inspire us all to not let excuses get in the way of our dreams. Sara is the first little person featured on the television show. Standing just 4’5” tall, she lost 136 pounds, a record-setting 56% of her body weight. Starting at 245 pounds, Sara ended her year-long journey weighing in at an astonishing 109 pounds."

Read on for Dr. Wyatt's observations on Sara's Journey:

-- Extra challenges --

Sara was faced with the lifelong challenge of her short stature, coupled with her extreme body weight.

On top of that, it was discovered that she had a lower than expected metabolism -- potentially good excuses for lack of success.

But Sara didn’t use excuses, she worked hard. And, guess what, she DID it!

-- No excuses --

Sara believed she could do it, she got past what’s not fair, she ran a marathon and transformed her life forever. 

I wish all my patients at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center would watch Sara’s episode. It shows that even if the deck is NOT stacked in your favor, even if life is NOT fair and even if NOT everyone in your family is supportive -- you CAN lose weight and change your life.

Sara embraces the "no excuses" attitude that’s required to successfully lose more than half of her starting body weight.

Her amazing 56 percent weight loss was a new "Extreme Weight Loss" record.

In achieving the historic mark, Sara just said "no" to excuses. 

-- Metabolism revealed --

One of the most common excuses I hear my CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center patients using as a reason that they can’t lose weight, is a slow or broken metabolism.

Metabolism is a word that is used in many ways, but in the science world we call it resting metabolic rate (RMR) and it represents the number of calories you would burn in a 24 hour period of time if you just laid perfectly still all day long.

It’s basically the calories your body uses or burns to keep you alive with minimal effort on your part.

Any movement, even sitting or standing, physical activity or exercise will increase the number of calories you’re burning above your resting metabolic rate.

We can directly measure a person’s resting metabolic rate and we can use this number to determine how many calories one can eat and still lose weight.

-- Measured eating --

Sara’s short stature contributed to making her resting metabolism relatively lower than most of the other "Extreme Weight Loss" participants we saw in past episodes.

In other words, she got very little help from her resting metabolism rate and it could be seen to be working against her.

Her low metabolic rate meant that Sara had to really watch everything she was eating, no slip ups or sloppily measured portions. 

-- Massive movement --

Sara also had to move a lot more to get the same weight reduction as participants with higher resting metabolisms. 

Not fair? Absolutely.

Is a low metabolism a reason you can’t lose weight? Absolutely NOT.

I find that some of my patients at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center have a slower resting metabolism than others, but this slower RMR doesn’t mean they can’t succeed at weight loss.

In fact, I find that a low metabolism rarely predicts weight loss failure -- unless the patient allows it to.

While a low RMR sounds like a great reason (or excuse) that you can’t get the scale to move, there are many more important things impacting weight loss success or failure in most people.

-- You can overcome a low metabolism --

Sara just proved to the world that a low or slow metabolism does not have to slow you down or be the reason you don’t hit your weight loss goals.

Sara’s low metabolism didn’t keep her from setting an "Extreme Weight Loss" record.

Why? Because she didn’t let her RMR and excuses get in the way. She did what she needed to do to burn the calories and lose the weight.

If you have a low metabolism it doesn’t have to stand in the way of your success either.

You, too, can take Sara’s "no excuses" attitude and win the weight loss war. Don’t let your low metabolism block your way to success-you can absolutely outsmart (or outrun) it!

Watch Sara's story:

Extreme Weight Loss airs Tuesdays on ABC and Channel 7, KMGH-TV, in Denver.

Learn more about the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

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