Understanding your Body’s Caloric Need: HOW, WHY, and then WHAT?
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy, expressed in calories, that your body needs to function at 100%. Simply put, its a full tank of gas for your body’s processes. Now, BMR expresses the calories for function, not for activity. Consider this: you wake up tomorrow morning and instead of getting up, you stay in bed watching movies and reading books all day. Your BMR would be the calories your body uses.
So what? Well, if we know how many calories we need to function, we can build a nutritional approach to our health goals: weight loss or muscle gain.
Weight loss? ABSOLUTELY! Most of us diet through the trends we hear, the recommendations from friends, or with the tricks that have worked in the past. Shortened version: salads all day every day. When many of us diet, we more often than not eat below our BMR. When we do that, our body, in an energy starved state, begins to limit some of the processes that make us efficient organisms. We see decreased metabolic function, decreased burning of fat, decreased energy, and decreased ability to focus. Frankly, our body goes on “emergency protocol” much like a building operating on a backup generator.
What should I do? Understand your BMR, have it calculated. THEN build a daily meal plan that provides you those calories (ideally equally spaced over several meals throughout the day). If you eat this caloric load, then when you do exercise, walk, move, etc you will be sure that all of your effort goes to burning that extra fat.