Monday, June 13, 2016

Do you know your BMR?

After the reports in the news revolving around some studies and people who have lost a great deal of weight (you can read one of those articles here), a fear shock wave was felt by some of us who have long said things like "My metabolism is probably so jacked up that I just look at food and gain weight".

The fear was..."Holy frosted cupcakes, what if my metabolism really DOES suck".

So, just to find out, my sister and I decided to go to my bariatric clinic (you don't have to be a patient or have had WLS, anyone can do the test for $50) to have our basal metabolic rate tested.  Your BMR is the amount of energy you expend while at rest.  For the test we had to fast after midnight and not workout before the test.

My lapband doctor actually recommended I have this done last year, but I have better ways I can spend $50 and also...I didn't really care.  I don't count calories anymore and don't really intend on counting calories in the near future, so it didn't matter to me what my BMR was.  BUT, my sister wanted to go and after the studies in the news...I was a little curious.

The test itself is simple.  You wear a nose plug and breathe into that little machine for 6-10 minutes.  Then, they upload your info in the computer and you get a little report that tells you things.

This is a totally wretched scan of one of my reports:

Basically-based on my reported exercise level, my weight, height, age, sex and my breathing machine report...I can maintain my current weight of 180 by eating a relatively generous 1640 calories a day!  If I want to lose 1 pound a week, without factoring in exercise calorie burn, I can still eat around 1400 calories a day.

In otherwords, my metabolism ain't that shabby!  Which makes me feel a touch of pride...because although there are many factors that can help increase your metabolism...the main one is STRENGTH TRAINING.

The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.  

My sister's report was close to her prediction.  She is doomed.  Okay, not doomed.  But even though she and I are at the same weight, her daily allotment to maintain is around 1100 calories!  And if she wants to lose 2 pounds a week, she has to keep her calories around 999 (without factoring in exercise).  What is she supposed to eat?  ICE CHIPS?  But she is 16 years my senior and although she has been lifting for several years, she is still in the process of building her mass.

Where Heather works, they have a body comp scale.  I have been getting these reports for years, but this report was from the same day as my BMR test.  You can see over at the right, the BMR calculations from that report are pretty close.  If you have never done a body comp scale, I highly recommend it.  It measures your muscle mass, your fat, etc.  You can see that it recommends that I lose 16.3 more pounds of fat.  And it bases that off of your body comp, not a stupid BMI chart.
So there you go!  If you are a calorie counter, than knowing your BMR could be really helpful.  If you are starting a diet or exercise program, body comp scales are wonderful for measuring your progress.  That way, if you think "I'm probably not losing weight because I am building muscles" have a way to really check!

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