Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is YOUR Metabolic Rate?

Okay -- so I have been reading up a lot this last week on METABOLISM!!! Why? Well, cuz I'm kind of a dummy when it comes to all of these health terms I hear all the time and wanted to know what it is all about -- since it IS what everyone talks about when they are talking about weight loss. Then I thought maybe YOU all might want to know something about it as well, and maybe I even found something that you may have wondered about.

For this first post, let me just say that metabolism is essentially the rate at which your body processes and uses food (calories). Pretty simple, right? So if they say you have a slower metabolism, what they mean is that your body doesn't need as much food (as many calories) to sustain itself as the "average" (whatever THAT means) person. If you have a faster metabolism, then you need a few extra calories to meet your body's needs.

So, if you want to lose weight (or keep yourself from gaining weight as you get older, since your metabolism slows about 5% a decade after age 40) - you need to KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES YOUR BODY NEEDS TO SUSTAIN ITSELF. This is your METABOLIC RATE - how many calories you burn without doing ANYTHING at all. That's right -- if you were to just lay around all day long or sleep all day long (yeah. right. MOMS!!!!), the number of calories you would use for that is your BASAL METABOLIC RATE.

Once you figure out what your BASAL METABOLIC RATE is, you can look at how you need to tweak it in order to LOSE weight or MAINTAIN your weight if you are getting a little older or find yourself less "active" (which is ironic and nearly impossible for moms, right?).

So, I have looked at quite a few different calculators online and gotten a few different results. There are two basic formulas used to calculate your metabolic rate, though the one that is presumed to be the most accurate is the Mifflin-St Jeor equation (which is more reliable than the Harris-Benedict equation, or so "they" say).

Here is the formula. Grab a pen/pencil and paper and a calculator and figure out what YOUR METABOLIC RATE is:

1) Take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 and multiply that number by 9.99.
2) Take your height in inches, multiply it by 2.54 and multiply that number by 6.25.
3) Multiply your age by 4.92.
4) If you are female, add the answer for number one and the answer for number two, subtract the answer for number three and subtract 161. TADA!!! There you have it!
If you are male, add the answer for number one and the answer for number two, subtract the answer for number three and add five. TADA!!!! You're set!

My next post will be about what to do with your metabolic rate once you know it. But for today -- just have fun figuring out what it is and feeling just a tad bit smarter the next time you hear people throw around tidbits about metabolism and metabolic rate! And I'm going to go back to using my babies' naptime to figure out a few more things I can share with you to make sure you ARE just a little bit smarter and more confident about how YOUR body works!


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