BMR… you kidding me?

Mrs. Nutrition Teacher

I am a high school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, and one of the courses I teach is Nutrition.  It is one of my favorite courses to teach because I have a personal interest in it, but also because I think basic nutrition is a topic EVERYONE should be informed about.  One of the topics that we discussed this week has really resonated with me… Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

I learned what this was when I was in college as a Health Education major, but I still did not really understand fully what it meant to me.  Through my many weight loss phases, I would eat 1200-1400 calories a day.  I only understood that I needed to burn more calories than I took in.  Even after my first pregnancy I used the features in MyFitnessPal to calculate how many calories I needed to intake in order to lose weight.  This was 1200 calories!! It was only after I hit a plateau and was sick of depriving myself that I sought for a better understanding of energy balance.


My personal basal metabolic rate based on my age, height and weight is approximately 1500-1600 calories.  There are many online calculators that will determine your BMR for you when you enter your information (so google it).  What they don’t tell you is that you should NEVER eat below that number.  Your BMR is a base number that shows your energy needs (calories) for just staying alive, not being active in any way.  So, from my BMR calculation and MyFitnessPal telling me to eat 1200 calories, I now know I was eating well below my needs.

There are many legitimate resources that will help the average person understand this concept much better (see Eat More 2 Weigh Less).  However, far too many people (especially women) are depriving themselves to achieve an unattainable goal.  My goal as a Nutrition teacher but also in my future goal of being a Certified Personal Trainer is to help use this information in a helpful and healthful way.  I want to help people understand what BMR is and how to use it along with their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to determine calorie needs for whatever goals they have.

What other nutrition concepts are confusing??


Ringing in the New Year-Part II


Becoming more fit, healthy and/or losing weight are the more popular New Year’s resolutions.  Don’t fall victim to the many quick fix plans, even scams that will be prevalent.  Here are some tips on what you SHOULD do to make change towards these type of resolutions.

One Step at a Time

Don’t try to go from 0 to 60 starting January 1st! Start by making one change at a time.  This can be difficult because the gratification will not be instant, but you will be happier when the next New Year’s rolls around. If you eat fast food frequently, try to reduce the number of times you go each week.  If you are not doing any exercise currently, try to go walking a couple of times each week.  Once you achieve that goal, move the frequency or difficulty up.  If you try to be perfect and change all your habits at once, you may find yourself giving up soon.  Even with these small changes you may start to see progress, just keep moving up to the next step of more nutritious choices and more movement.

Frequent, Small Goals

When you crash diet, you may see change quickly.  It is hard to go from that to less frequent milestones.  If you start to implement these smaller changes, you may find it helpful to create small goals for yourself.  If you reach the small goals it could keep your interest for longer.  Small goals could be exercising 3x that week, not eating fast food for a certain period of time, going out to eat and not going off plan, fitting into a certain clothing item, etc.  It is best to not have scale related goals because so many factors can influence your body weight.  Once you have achieved these small goals you have set, find a reward that you look forward to but will also not derail your progress.

Consistently Consistent

This tip has made the most significant impact for myself in losing over 75 pounds after my first pregnancy, and now losing about 45 pounds (still in progress) after my second pregnancy.  If I made any mistakes in my “diet” in the past I would just give up by bingeing that day or week or who knows how long.  Being consistent in eating well and working out or getting right back on that horse is key.  Now if I go off plan, I get right back to it or I adjust the rest of the day to accommodate for what I ate.

What do you do to create habit change?

Ringing in the New Year-Part I


The new year is approaching, and many quick fixes and fad diets will be coming along as well! Here are some tips on what to AVOID with the influx of quackery this New Year.

“Good” and “Bad” Foods

A red flag for many fad diets is to eliminate a certain food or an entire food group.  Others will market a certain food as a cure-all.  Many people will find that programs like this work for them, but the problem is how long will it work?  I do not think it is necessary to eliminate foods, but better to plan when you want to incorporate them.  Many Health and Fitness Professional will promote a 80/20 or 90/10 rule, where you eat “healthy” 80-90% of the time and fit in treats 10-20% of the time.  I have personally found this to be a concept I can stick to long-term, and it make those treats even more delicious!

“In (insert number) days you will…”

21 days, 30 days, 60 days, and so on…. If there is a time limit, what is it really telling you? Can you really lose all the fat you want in that amount of time? Is it fat that you’re losing? What will happen after the 30 days? Will you gain it all back? These are the things you need to ask yourself when a time limit is attached, and especially when a specific number of pounds is advertised.  I have had more success when I have implemented long-term habit changes consistently over time.

2018 and Beyond!

According to Business Insider, “80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February”.  Don’t fall into these quick fix traps! Use the above tips, and ask yourself  if it is something you can do long-term before you proceed.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Come back for Part II where I provide some tips on WHAT TO DO, since we have now identified what to AVOID.  Is there anything else you think others should avoid?