Friday, March 16, 2012

Can You Lose Weight Without Knowing Your BMR?

Of course you can! I did. For a while that is. In fact, for the first two or three weeks on my journey to losing 156 pounds, I didn't even count calories. Oh, sure, I did do some rough calculations of the likely amount for each meal by reading the package labels, or doing a quick Internet search for nutrition information. I learned that most bread slices are about 100 calories, that a large egg is about 70, and so on. So when I say that I just guessed at how much was the right amount of food to eat it was at least an educated guess. True story!

Now I am not suggesting that you take the same approach because I don't know anything about your BMR. When I started my journey I just wanted to look like the guy in the blue shirt holding his second daughter; that was more than 20 years ago when Falon was just over a year old. My best guess is that I weighed 225 pounds back then, and the day I set the goal I was at 367 pounds. My dream became losing  142 pounds by the end of 2011. It was time to change something and eat right and start exercising is the only thing I could think of. I did not know my BMR or that such a term existed.

If you have been following our story you know that I tracked my weight and other measurements using Google Docs. Then I discovered MyFitnessPal.Com while looking for nutrition information on something I wanted to eat. When I discovered there was an app for my phone it became easy to "count calories" by logging everything I ate. And it has tools to help set goals which all starts with knowing your BMR - basal metabolic rate. Here is what I read on their BMR page.

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is an estimate of how many calories you'd burn if you were to do nothing but rest for 24 hours. It represents the minimum amount of energy needed to keep your body functioning, including breathing and keeping your heart beating. Your BMR does not include the calories you burn from normal daily activities or exercise. Our calculator uses the Mifflin-St. Jeor equations to estimate BMR which is believed to be more accurate than the more commonly used Harris-Benedict equation.

Eighteen months ago my BMR was 2,903 calories per day. If I wanted to stay fat at 367 pounds and not exercise then I needed to eat that much. And I did and more. Today my BMR is 1,850. And because I am more active today, I eat about 2,300 calories. How does this help you? Why did I tell this story? Because when you are setting goals, you need to know what you are doing now so that you can change what you do tomorrow. 

Eat Right. Exercise. Get Plenty of Rest. Calculate your BMR. Set a goal.
(If you really want to understand BMR, try this Wikipedia article.)

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