During my first visit with my nutritionist, she recommended that I get my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) tested. I wasn't sure what an RMR test was, but if was going to help me with my nutrition, I was all for it! Before my appointment, I did a little research and learned that this test essentially measures how many calories your body burns by doing nothing.
During the morning of my appointment, I was instructed not to exercise or eat anything. Since I usually eat breakfast as soon as I wake-up, I was lucky that my appointment was at 8 am so I didn't have to starve for very long.
I arrived at the Fitness Center and met with the Fitness Manager who was going to administer the test to me. I wasn't sure what to expect of the testing process, all I was told was that it wouldn't hurt. :)
I sat down in a comfortable chair and was given a nose clip to ensure that I only breathed through my mouth. Next, a plastic tube was attached to a machine and a mouth piece was attached to the other end. All I had to do was breath evenly into the mouth piece while the machine worked its magic. It took a few seconds to get used to breathing with the nose clip on and get into a breathing rhythm. After about 15 minutes the machine buzzed indicating that my results had been captured.
The Fitness Manager printed out my results and then we reviewed them together.
TerminologiesRMR: The number of calories a body burns by doing nothing. This number is related to your lean body mass; i.e., your muscles and organs. The findings of the test is supposed to tell my nutritionist exactly how many calories my body needs to function efficiently.
Lifestyle Activities: The number of calories burned by doing daily activities like walking, eating, driving, etc.
Exercise: This number is based upon a 30 minute workout at moderate level.
I was quite surprised at these results. Who knew that by doing absolutely nothing I would burn 1354 calories a day! And another 405 just by doing my daily activities.
The results indicate that to maintain my weight I should net 1354-1759 calories/day and to lose weight I should net 1084-1354 calories/day. If I stick to these numbers, it would take me 6 weeks to reach my goal weight, 5 if I burned more than 141 calories/day.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that my metabolism is slightly higher than normal.
Since I'm training for a marathon, and burning way more than 141 calories/day, the Fitness Manager advised me that I need to be eating more than the 1900 calories to make sure I'm properly fueled for all of the running and cross-training that I'm doing.
I've always struggled with the guessing game of how many calories should I be eating and burning. While there are a lot of tools and calculators out there to help give us an idea of what our target numbers should be, those formulas are based upon a general population. I think its really helpful to know what my energy balance should be, specifically for me.
When I was went through my 40 lb weight loss, it seemed so easy (once I was able to change my lifestyle) to drop the pounds. There was a time where I didn't even realize how many lbs I was losing. A colleague had to pull me into a conference room to tell me that it was time for me to get a new wardrobe because my clothes were too big. But then I hit a plateau and have been stuck here for the past 3 years; and I have actually gained some weight in the last couple of months. With all the training I have been doing, I just couldn't understand why this was happening. But thanks for my nutritionist, and tests like this, I now understand that its likely that I was depriving myself of the extra nutrients a body requires when training for something as intense as a marathon.
All of this being said, I realize that there are people out there who think that its too much work to count calories. Yes, its a little extra work, but for me, this is what helps me to stay in check and be honest with myself about what I'm putting in my body. It also helps me to see what the breakdown of my diet is; i.e., what percentage of it is carbs, proteins and fat. When I see an imbalance, I review what I've been eating and make modifications to even things out.
I'm now eating a little more, and next week I go back to my nutritionist with my RMR results so we can put together a customized nutrition plan for me.
I'm so grateful for these benefits that are available to me. I lnow that not everyone has these opportunities afforded to them - but if you do, I highly encourage to take advantage of them!