Thursday, December 22, 2011

What "Calories in vs Calories out" Actually Means

...Because what you think it means is most likely wrong. Which is cool because I was wrong once and it was terrible. So let's talk about BMR. BMR= Basal Metabolic Rate. Basically what that means is that your body burns a certain amount of calories all by itself. Your body burns calories throughout the day in order to preform necessary bodily functions. Everything from standing up, breathing, to your heart pumping blood through your body, burns calories. Your BMR tells you the number of calories you burn to live through the day. This number can help you figure out your total net calories and know how much you should be eating to lose/maintain/gain weight.

To be honest, this is what I thought: I thought if I went to the gym and burned 600 calories on the elliptical, then I had to eat 600 calories to maintain my weight, and under than to lose. Long story short: That was wrong and I seriously messed up my metabolism. The amount of calories I should have been eating was my BMR + the 600 calories I burned to maintain, or my BMR + the 600 I burned - like 100 to lose weight.

So how do you figure out your BMR? Well, there's an online calculator but I am not super fond of that one because it doesn't take your activity level into account. Also, I like doing things like this myself, it makes me feel mega-smart and uber-cool

The formula is: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

So here's mine (because it helps me to see so maybe it'll help you, if not, ignore this):

655 + (4.35 x 125lbs) + (4.7 x 63 inches) - (4.7 x 21 years)
655 + (543.75) + (296.1) - (98.7)
BMR= 1,396.15 calories

I even showed my work. My high school math teacher would be proud.

Now let's factor in activity level. Multiply your BMR by:
1.2 = sedentary
1.375 = lightly active
1.55 = moderately active
1.725 = very active
1.9 = extremely active

So my true BMR is 1,396.15 x 1.55 (moderately active) = 2,164 calories.

So in order to maintain  my weight (which you all know now is 125 lbs. So many secrets I'm sharing. If you're reading this we're basically BFF now since you know that), I need to eat around 2,000 calories a day. To lose weight, you need to eat 300 to 500 calories less than your BMR.

Yes Kitty, you CAN haz cheezburger.

NO MORE THAN 500 CALORIES UNDER. Why you ask? I will tell you. (Look Mom, me having an 'answer for everything' actually IS getting me ahead in life!)

If you eat more than 500 calories under your BMR, your body will actually do the opposite of losing fat. Meaning it will gain fat. Will you lose weight? Probably. But as you learned in my previous post, losing weight and losing fat are two different things. Eating more than 500 calories under your BMR causes your body to go into starvation mode. Your body needs calories, and if you don't give them to it, it's going to get them from somewhere else. It's going to get them from the most potent energy source in your body, which is your muscle, not your fat. Bummer. So if your body is in starvation mode, you will lose muscle and gain body fat. Even if you're lifting weights. You are lifting weights, gaining muscle, and losing it right away because your body needs it. You may not look fat, but believe you me, your body fat percentage has gone up. Ever hear of a girl being "skinny fat"? This is why.

Not to mention, being in starvation mode causes:
-bad breath
-hair loss
-feeling weak
-mood swings
-low immune system
-and basically just being a total raving bitch (trust me, my family knows that one first hand)

So, this holiday season, eat anything you want and don't beat yourself up over it. You deserve it. You need it. Your body deserves it. Your body needs it. Strong is sexy. Happy Holidays everyone! x

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