We’ve all heard that losing weight is as simple as eating fewer calories than you burn in a day. Sounds simple enough, right? But what does that truly mean and how do you know how many calories you are burning in a day? We can all track calories from food through food tracking apps but that is only one part of the equation. Do not worry! You can know how many calories you burn by calculating your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. We will dive deep into what is BMR and how it can help you lose weight. You will get the answers you are looking for. Losing weight does not have to be a mysterious and nebulous topic. Weight loss is truly all about some simple math calculations in addition to the implementation of healthy and sustainable habits.
Your body burns calories in several different ways. The calorie burn that most people are familiar with is exercise or physical activity. Going for a walk, jogging, dancing, hiking, swimming, or cycling: all of these are fun and useful exercises that you can do for your health. Exerting yourself through physical activity burns calories. It is important to note that there are other benefits to daily exercise other than calorie burn. You can feel more energy, mental clarity, stress relief, and have an improved mood if you exercise regularly. Another way your body burns calories is through your BMR.
What is BMR?
BMR is short for Basal Metabolic Rate. But what is BMR? It is the total number of calories that your body burns to literally sustain your life. It takes energy to carry out processes like breathing, circulation, protein synthesis, and cell repair and production. Even if you don’t move at all in a day, you are still burning calories. We all have a BMR that is different based on age, height, sex, weight, etc. Basal Metabolic Rate varies wildly from individual to individual because we all have a different genetic makeup. Men tend to have higher BMRs due to muscle mass and body size. It is important to know your specific BMR if you want to lose weight, gain weight, or even maintain your current weight. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less than your BMR or increase your energy expenditure (exercise more). If you exercise more, your BMR goes up. Weight loss comes from a calorie deficit. If weight loss is your goal, you want to implement a healthy and sustainable calorie deficit so that you can slowly lose weight and maintain your progress.
How can you calculate your BMR?
If you are very curious and have the resources, you can get your BMR calculated in a lab by scientists. For the rest of us, BMR can be calculated by using an online calculator where you can enter your personalized stats. The calculator then lets you know how many calories you expend daily. For example, a 5’5” female who weighs 140 pounds and is sedentary burns about 1657 calories in a day. If she consistently eats less than 1657 calories, she will lose weight. If she consistently eats about 1657 calories, her weight will stay relatively the same. If she consistently eats more than 1657 calories, she will surely gain weight. If she starts exercising lightly, about one to three times a week, her BMR goes up to 1899 calories. It is important to note that there are considerable limitations to these online calculators as they cannot possibly know your individual body’s needs, your genetics, and any other medical factors that may interfere with weight. However, it is still a very inexpensive and convenient way to have a frame of reference of your calorie burn.
Tracking your Activity
As you can see, if you increase your exercise levels, you increase your BMR. Along with tracking your calories from food, it is crucial to track your activity levels! On days that you exercise heavily, you may want to eat more calories to fuel your body well. On days that you are very sedentary, your body physically doesn’t need as many calories as your active days. It is important to keep balance in your activity levels and in your diet. Fitness apps can help you keep a balance and give you an accurate picture of how little or how much you are actually exercising. Most importantly, fitness tracker apps can give you the motivation to stay consistent with your workout routine.
Tools for Success
Weight loss is achievable if you have the proper knowledge and the right tools for success. If you have calculated your BMR, stay within your calorie goals with healthy, low-calorie, and nutrient-dense food, hydrate appropriately, exercise regularly and use a fitness tracker app, you will healthily and steadily lose weight. Rest assured that you can achieve your weight loss goals! Be confident and be consistent and witness your health improve before your eyes!