Though the above formula is a good estimate, it is not completely accurate. Individuals with the same body weight can have vastly different basal metabolic rates, studies have shown, by up to 200 calories per day. That explains why Person A can eat whatever they want and never worry about weight gain while Person B has to hit the gym every day to prevent it.

Basal Metabolic Rate is largely genetic, there's not a whole lot you can do about it. If you have a slow metabolism, you're always going to have to work harder at weight control than someone who was born with a naturally fast metabolism. However, there are some ways to boost the metabolism that you have:

  • Lift weights: Muscle burns more calories even when idle, then does fat. A pound of muscle needs about 36 calories per day to function while a pound of fat only needs about five. Doing the math, replacing five pounds of fat with five pounds of muscle leads to an extra caloric burn of about 150 calories per day. Not too shabby, and not hard to attain either.
  • Drink your coffee: caffeine has a stimulant effect on the body, raising heart rate, and thus basal metabolic rate. However, it also has a dehydrating effect, so don't go crazy. Or better yet...
  • Drink your green tea: A Swiss study showed that participants who drank three cups of green tea throughout the day burned 80 more calories per day than those who didn't. Nobody knows for sure why green tea boosts metabolism, but it does work, and if you don't like green tea, health food stores sell green tea supplements.
  • Eat spicy foods. Digesting foods with peppers provides a small metabolic boost.
  • Just eat! Eating small meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism running at optimum speed. Starving yourself lowers your metabolism dramatically.
  • Drink lots of water. If you're dehydrated, your body runs less efficiently, in some cases reducing your metabolism by about 15%.