Thursday, January 22, 2009

BMR and Math 101

Recently, I read about calculating your BMR - Base Metabolic Rate - or what you need to eat, calorie-wise, to stay alive. I've noticed that for me, I have to stay at around 1,000 calories per day for most days of the week in order to lose weight. Since my weight loss has become noticeable, several people have asked me what I've done to get where I am, and when I mention "counting calories, keeping to 1,000 most days" I get the "that's not enough, you're starving yourself!" comments.

But it works for me. And, because I wanted to have something besides my own experience to back this up, I got out my calculator, pencil and paper, and actually took the time to calculate my BMR. Then I calculated my activity factor (I chose sedentary, since I haven't been consistent with my exercising), which gave me an additional 300 or so calories/day. Then I subtracted 1000 calories per day, because as we all know, one pound equals 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound a week you would have to eat 500 less calories/day...but I want to lose closer to two pounds a week...and I came up with around 950. Then I discovered that I could have done all this with a few clicks of my mouse on this website. Oh well, I guess my brain needed a little exercise!

But, to get back to my point (and I do have one), I have finally realized that with my ahem, short stature (I'm 5' 1 1/2"), I can't eat that much and still lose weight. And I'm (getting to be) OK with that. Happily for me, I've found that I can eat a couple of higher calorie meals throughout the week and most of the time still see a loss. I'm thinking that it must trick my body out of the starvation mode and therefore quit holding onto the fat. But even when I do that, my calorie count for the day might be in the 1600 - 1800 range, which is still reasonable. I've been pretty content with this. I can't believe I just wrote that...content with my eating? Maybe this new lifestyle/healthy eating is finally starting to sink in!


  1. I'm going to be completely honest. I really think you are not eating enough. 1000 calories a day is not sufficient for a woman. 1200 is the minimum and that is for a woman who is completely sedentary. If you are eating that little then you probably should not be losing two pounds a week. Good luck!

  2. I have to agree with Tony. I am 5.2" and I eat 1450 calories per day, whether I exercise or not. Could you maybe try eating 1300 calories for a week and see how it goes?

    You need fuel to do the basics, and your body will hang on to anything if it thinks its not going to get enough from food.

    Just my two cents though!

    Hope you are having a good weekend!

  3. chiming in here at 5 foot 3.
    I think you need more calories as well.

    at *least* 1500.

    they can be cleancleanclean foods---but more will help you LOSE!

    just my .02 as well

  4. I appreciate your comments, Tony, Biz and Miz (ok, I cracked up at that rhyme), and I will step up the calories when I start my 12-week workout challenge in February - but probably only up to 1200 - 1400. I don't know if I've messed up my metabolism over the years of yo-yo dieting, but for me, I just can't seem to be able to consume many calories and still lose the weight.

  5. What is my BMR? -Paco the Wonder Dog

  6. LOL! With the amount of running around YOU do, Paco, you probably could eat twice what you do and still stay skinny!

    P.S. I knew you were getting on the computer while I was gone!

  7. I've always wondered how a person could eat their minimum daily requirement and stay under about 1 million calories per day. That's right up there with those OB-GYNs you see when you're pregnant who will tell you IN THE SAME BREATH that you are gaining too much weight, and to keep your stomach full if you are having problems with nausea. Jerks.
    That said - I was told by a nutrition counselor that the reason I am overweight is because I have a high metabolism, and my body makes a lot of smoke (fat), not a lot of fire (energy). Which makes a certain amount of sense, as throughout the years I have gained rather amazing amounts of weight under some pretty amazing conditions (25 lbs in 3 months while breastfeeding a 10.5 lb baby). The upshot is, she told me I need to eat a lot of protein at breakfast, then every two hours throughout the day. Doesn't have to be a ton, but if I want to keep my energy level up, I gotta eat. Know what? She was right. I feel way better the days I do well on that, than the days I hardly eat a thing.
    Hey - guess what my codeword I have to type in to prove I'm human is?
    cousn - fancy that, cuz!

  8. I think when you find what works for you.......stick with it until you stall and then change things up :0 As long as you have the energy at that calorie level....go for it! Just make sure they are good calories ;)

  9. LOL on the code word, Jill!

    Thanks, Annette - that's what I'll do.

  10. Confession: Ive lost my weight by using a 1200 calorie limit. The last three weeks I dipped to 1000 because the weight wasnt coming off and because I got sick. I have now jump started my weight loss and Im trying to ease that number back up with protien. I say do whatever works and when you're thin worry about the consequences.

    (Yikes that was such bad advice I know, I know, people!!!)


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