We aren't proponents of dieting, and we absolutely hate the idea of restricting your diet, but some realities are hard to ignore. If you are overweight, you are at risk of countless lifestyle conditions which limit your enjoyment, restrict your movement, and alter your potential for old age. Each added pound also adds 3-4 extra pounds of pressure onto your joints so you owe it to yourself to SPRING FORWARD with a plan to get into the best shape of your life.
Knowing your estimated RMR, the number of calories that your body needs in order to keep your body working properly (i.e. keep your heart beating, and your brain functioning), is a great way to map out your journey. To determine your RMR, use the Harris Benedict formula. This formula is based on your height, weight and age, and can give you an estimate of the minimum amount of calories you should consume in a day. The formula differs for men and women, because as we know, the metabolic rates of men and women differ. Remember this formula tells you how many calories you need if you were laying in bed all day, and does not include your regular activities of daily life, or any additional exercise. You will need additional calories to support those activities.
Harris Benedict formula:
Women's RMR =
655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in in.) - (4.7 x age in yrs.)
Men's RMR =
66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs.) + (12.7 x height in in.) - (6.8 x age in yrs.)
Say you calculate you use this formula and get a the number 1500. This means you need 1500 calories in order to maintain your current weight, without any additional activities. As most of us don't just lay in bed all day it is important to remember to add additional calories in order to provide energy for extra activities. For example if you run 2 miles in the morning you should add about another 200 calories to your RMR. If you walk a mile to the train station for work you should add about 100 calories.
It is important to feed your body the correct number of calories in order to maintain a healthy weight, and knowing your RMR helps you do that within logical reason. This formula is a general estimate - it doesn't take into account body composition, so if you want an exact number, let us know. inSHAPE can perform a BodyGem RMR analysis that will provide and even more accurate calculation of your exact RMR.
For most people, the estimate is more than enough information to understand whether you generally consume the number of calories that your body needs and realistically burns on a regular basis. OR - whether your equation is significantly off balance.
Increasing Your Metabolic Rate
The first step is really understanding what your overall needs are, and that's what we've given you above. If you know how much food is needed to keep your body running without moving, you'll know how much you need to move.
That said, you can also do a few other things to rev up the engines:
1. Eat within an hour of waking up. NOT just a bagel or a scone. Eat a fresh fruit. Include a protein. Make it substantive so that you can get through most of the morning.
2. Don't stuff yourself. Ever. When you overeat, your stomach stretches, your hormone levels get all out of whack, and your metabolism will suffer.
3. Crazy thought: move more! Exercise is a must to keep your body operating on all cylinders. Even when you devote just 10 minutes to it.
4. Be a real food disciple! Packaged health foods, tons of processed carbs, and an overabundance of candies and other sweets, are powerful agents of your metabolic slowdown. Food that grows in the ground, spices, whole grains, and natural probiotics are ambassadors of high metabolism. Learn this stuff. Your body deserves the best, and you can eat well on any budget.