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.

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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??

 

Non-Scale Victories

*Note:  This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosure at the bottom of this post.

Weighing yourself on a scale can be very misleading.  The number on the scale can be influenced by fat loss, muscle gain, hormones, water retention, inflammation, and so on. It is important if you want to see real progress in fat loss (and not “weigh” yourself down mentally) to find other ways to measure progress.

Non-Scale Victories

Other Ways to Measure

There are two other ways that I like to physically measure my fat loss progress. A consistent measurement tool is using measuring tape to calculate the inches of each area of the body. Keep in mind that you should measure in the same spot each time and take measurements on a regular basis (i.e., every Friday or every 1st of the month).  See this article from Livestrong.com for the proper way to take body measurements. I have seen a lot of people gain weight on the scale, but their body measurements get smaller.

The other physical measurement of fat loss can be your clothing.  Water retention, muscle gains, etc. may also affect how your clothes fit, but this can be a good gauge on your progress.  I also like to give myself a goal outfit or piece of clothing to work toward as another way to motivate myself.

Lifestyle Wins

The weight on the scale is not going to be a straight downward slope, there will be ups and downs. To help keep your focus on the goal and motivate your through the journey it is important to find behaviors, daily tasks or mental shifts that have improved as a result of your healthy choices. Examples of these type of non-scale victories can be saving money by skipping the drive-thru, fitting into your old favorite jeans, having the confidence to cross over into the side of the gym with the heavy weights, walking up flights of stairs without having to catch your breath, and the list goes on.  Find what will motivate you based on your lifestyle, or search #nsv or #nonscalevictory on social media for inspiration.

Please share your #nonscalevictories in the comments!

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Checking in on 2018

January is almost over and I need to reformat my goals for this year.  It is a plan I would like to stick to for every month this year, to evaluate my progress and adjust to meet my needs.

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In my last post, Things That F*ck with My Balance-Vol. 1, I explained how illness has gotten me off course so far this year.  This has resulted in no progress for my weight loss and fitness goals.  I have also stopped any and all work to keep up with my 2018 planner.
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My specific goals for January were to increase my water intake and stick to my daily calorie goal.  I definitely did not keep up with these goals, and I should have been more specific about my water goal.  My daily calorie goal has also been too broad of a range.

For February, I am going to focus on the following goals:

  1. Stick to my calorie goal and macros breakdown that I had calculated. I had my macros calculated by Poppy Locks.
  2. Start the Jessie’s Girls Home Edition workout program that I bought a LONG time ago and never used.
  3. STOP eating leftover food from my son’s plate.  I have to stop this the rest of my life!
  4. Keep track of my goals by using my planner.

I am putting this out there for accountability, but I think this is a good strategy for everyone to reevaluate goals on a monthly or on regular basis.  New Year’s Resolutions are out, monthly goals are it!

Things That F*ck with My Balance-Vol. 1

I’ve been out of commission for the last couple weeks, but I’m finally getting back to blogging.  The 2018 flu hit half of the members of my household, and as many mothers know the workload increases ten fold! This brings me to my 1st volume of Things that Fuck with My Balance.

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Before having children I did not realize the impact that illness would have on my life, my work, my money, etc.  When I was single and got sick, for the most part I would just suck it up and continue life.  I rarely called in sick or even got sick for that matter.

Now, I have to leave work at a moments notice if one of my kids spikes a fever or their poop is too runny.  I am a big planner so this really fucks with my balance to drop everything and leave. I obviously want to run to take care of my child, but I don’t like leaving things left undone.  Also, if you’re a teacher you know that getting work ready for a Substitute is more work than just being at school.

Illness also affects my paycheck.  Fortunately as a teacher I have a lot of time off compared to others, but I still end up using more personal days than what I have available.  This occasionally leaves my paycheck several hundred dollars short.

Enough bitching.  So, how do I find balance amongst the recurrent illness? A positive mindset.  I know that the children get sick in waves, so it will return to normal.  My son was sick often the first year he attended daycare, but now is rarely sick.  So, I know that my daughter will soon (hopefully) be in the same boat.  Now, a husband getting sick… there is no good advice for that.  Just grin and bear it!

These times that unexpected illness or other trauma come into your life, just survive! Don’t worry about getting a workout in everyday or cooking the perfect meal.  Just make it through without any damage, and know you can return to normal soon enough.

Ringing in the New Year-Part II

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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?