Sunday, December 16, 2012

Small Changes to Lose That Last Six Pounds

This morning my scales registered 206.6 pounds. That's really good when you know that two years ago the number I saw was 367.  However, today it is disappointing because it's about the same as six months ago. I want the number to be 199.9 so that my BMI will be 24.9 or less and my weight will be in the "normal" range. Okay, quit laughing.

What could I do to get that last few pounds off? Create a calorie deficit by exercising more or eating less or both. Last week I posted a picture showing the weight loss formula. In order to lose 6.6 pounds I will need a deficit of 23,100 calories. If I try for a half pound a week, my daily deficit needs to be 250. At that rate it will take 92 days to be "normal."  :)

At the  left are some ideas for change suggested in a Pinterest post by a college student from her blog. She also posted the one below that shows how many calories need to be burned to lose fractions of a pound.

The challenge is where to start. What is the right amount of calories to set as a daily goal? How many calories do I need just to maintain my current weight? How do I factor in my activity level, or do I? The folks at MyFitnessPal.Com use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. It looks complicated, but easy to do if you have a pencil and paper handy.  (that's a hint - get a pencil and some paper; I'll wait.)

Today we are going to use the Harris-Benedict formula to calculate BMR. A good article can be found here. After we have the BMR number we are going to modify it to arrive at the Active Metabolic Rate (AMR). Here is part of that article.

Since you get out of bed and move around every day, you need to adjust this number (BMR). You can determine your active metabolic rate (AMR) by multiplying your BMR by a number representing on your activity levels. This number ranges from 1.2 for being sedentary, up to 1.9 for being extra active. Here's how it works:
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
Calculate your active metabolic rate by starting with your basal metabolic rate and adjusting it by estimating your current level of activity. If you are:
  • Sedentary (little or no exercise) - your AMR = BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise/work 1-3 days per week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/work 3-5 days per week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/work 6-7 days a week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.725
  • Extra active (very hard exercise/work 6-7 days a week) - your AMR = BMR x 1.9
Want some help with the math? Watch this short video from

The calculations I did produced a surprise. I am not eating enough each day to keep my metabolism engine firing as fast as it should I think my body is hanging onto a little extra because it wants to keep a supply handy for the next day. More about that in a future post. For now, let me just remind you to eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest.
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