How many calories do you REALLY need?

You may have heard people say that dieting is basic math: if you burn more calories than you consume, you should lose weight over time. But how many calories do you really need per day?

You many notice you can’t eat as much as you used to, even as little as a few years ago. This is because, as we get older, our metabolism (how we burn calories) slows down each year. This makes trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight a struggle for some of us, even if we are eating the same healthy foods. Knowing how many calories your body needs daily – basal metabolic rate (BMR) – is key to unlocking weight loss success. There are many online calculators and algebraic equations that you can use to estimate this number. These equations take age, gender, height, weight and activity level into consideration but do not include lean body mass (muscle) which is a major factor in metabolism. This is why exercise is so important! So how do we go about getting a more exact number?

There is an accurate way to find out EXACTLY how many calories you burn each day at rest. It’s called the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test. Our bodies take in a fixed amount of oxygen for each calorie we burn. Using a technique called indirect calorimetry, the test measures your oxygen-consumption rate as you breathe through a tube in a relaxing environment. The result is your RMR. Knowing how many calories your body burns at rest can help set calorie targets for weight loss, and it can also alert us to a disease or medical condition that might be affecting your metabolism such as thyroid, diabetes, COPD, heart disease…all which can be contributing factors to metabolic syndrome.

The RMR test is available at Edward Health & Fitness at Seven Bridges in Woodridge. It is offered daily by appointment, takes only 10-15 minutes and costs $40 for members and $65 for non-members. You will leave the appointment with your RMR results! Visit http://www.edward.org/body.cfm?id=92&action=detail&ref=392 for information on scheduling and other details. Please feel free to call our office to discuss your RMR results with us to determine a course of action to help you achieve your goals!