Metabolism and Energy Requirements


Okay, so we’ve been through  the energy balance scale and how to track calories in, today it is time to talk about calories out! It’s called metabolism…..and if you are reading this post, you have one. I have had many clients who have tried to convince me that their metabolism has stopped working. I assure you, as I did them, that it hasn’t. You see, if your metabolism has stopped working, well then, you’re dead.

So what exactly is metabolism?  Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur in your body that provide energy for all of your vital actions to occur. Vital meaning extremely important, you know things like your heart beating, your lungs respiring and the myriad of actions that all of your other organs  perform. All of these processes that are taking place without you even having to think about it, require energy. Energy = Calories. Meaning that, just by being alive -having a heart rate and breathing- you are burning calories!

Now we all have what is called our basal metabolism. Usually referred to as BMR or basal metabolic rate. Your BMR is the amount of calories your body will burn in a fasting and resting (but awake) state in a warm and quiet environment. Basically, he amount of calories your body would use to keep you alive if you were to lay in bed all day, in a warm room, not eat anything, and not have a single interruption. You can find your basal metabolism by following these steps. First, divide your body weight (in pounds) by 2.2, that will give you your weight in kilograms.   Next take your body weight in kilograms and times it by .9 (for women). That will give you how many calories you burn an hour. Then take that number and times it by 24. That will tell you how many calories you burn in an awake, resting and  fasting state. Let’s use an example of a woman who weighs 130 pounds.

130 divided by 2.2= 59 kg

59 x .9= 53 calories an hour.

53 x 24= 1272

This gives you a starting point in figuring out how many calories a day you burn Obviously, anything you do to exert yourself above and beyond laying in bed all day and not eating, is going to burn extra calories. Getting the kids ready for school, making the bed, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, weeding the garden and even getting dressed, all burn additional calories. There are quite a few online calculators to help you figure out how many calories you burn doing a certain activity. Usually, it’s a fill-in-the-blank sorta thing. You’ll be asked to  enter your weight and how many minutes you spent doing a certain activity and then it will tell you how many calories you burned. The ones I have looked at  have a variety of different activities from gym exercises and cardio  to daily activities around the house.

In Nutrition Lesson #8, we talked a little bit about energy requirements. I gave you the formula to figure out how many calories you need a day to MAINTAIN your current weight. If  you happen to be one of the majority of us who is looking to lose a few pounds, you’ll want to subtract 500 from your EER. That gives you a 500 calorie deficit per day and puts you on the path to losing a pound a week! 🙂

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