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??


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.


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.

Luncheons and Parties and Banquets, Oh My!

Treat Yo' Self

The holidays themselves pose a lot of problems for those on a weight loss journey.  Being a teacher this time of year serves even more difficulty.  My department had a luncheon last week, we have school-wide gatherings next week, and then the students will start to give treats to their teachers before they leave for the break.  I have come up with a few strategies for myself to implement this year…

Keep on Movin’

I am doing the Kelsey Byers’ Merry Fitness Challenge until December 24th.  My goal is to not miss a workout for the entire challenge, and then find another program to start December 26th.  I have found in the past that if I splurge, I will just write the day off and keep eating and stop exercising.  Even if I have a few extra treats, I still need to workout in the way that I set out to do.  I used to be of the mindset that if I messed up, I would just give up until the next week.  I’m not sure what I was thinking, because when you really think about it logically it makes absolutely no sense!

Be Prepared

When I indulge, I usually choose foods that are bready, fruity, chocolatey or cheesy.  This skyrockets my fat and sugar intake.  In order to combat this, I need to meal prep all of my meals outside of the parties.  These meals need to provide sufficient protein and more veggies.  My goal is to offset some of the holiday treats and not derail myself from any progress I have made.

Treat Yo’ Self

It is inevitable to avoid ALL treats (at least for me).  So, I will make a plan on how and when I will indulge.  I may allow myself one dessert, or eat whatever I want on one plate without seconds.  When I eat something sugary I rarely can just eat one serving, so I really have to watch myself.  Even when an unplanned goody comes across my desk, I need to stop and think about how I can include it.  The goal is to avoid mindless eating!

Stick To It

All of the above strategies will work for me, but only if I stick to them! Planning is key, but following through with those plans is what creates real change.  A way that I can help myself stick with a plan is by telling someone else.  This creates accountability, knowing that if I tell my husband then I can prove it to more than just myself.

What strategies do you use to keep yourself in check?

About My Energy Balancing Act

Hello! My name is Lauren and this is my first blog post.  Currently I am a 30-something year old mother of a toddler and baby, a wife, a high school teacher, working on getting rid of the 2nd pregnancy weight, and improving my fitness.  These are all of the things I am working on balancing in my life.  I love all parts of my life, but I feel like I do not have enough time to spend on each of them.  This is a problem I’m sure many mothers deal with.  This blog and this time in my life is now dedicated to improving all of these areas.


I have chosen the name “My Energy Balancing Act” because of my constant search for balance, and because tracking my food and exercise (energy balance) is how I have and continue to lose weight.

I have struggled with my weight off and on my whole life.  You can see in my childhood pictures that around 9 or 10 years old I start to gain weight.  In 8th grade my mother made my older sister and I count Weight Watchers points with her.  I lost about 19 pounds (I always said it was 20 but was corrected that it was only 19) during 8th grade, and the compliments flowed because of it.  In high school my weight fluctuated some as well, which was in part due to being on 2 soccer teams and many fad diets that my mother was trying out.  But, getting my driver’s license and having the freedom to buy fast food whenever I wanted helped the number on the scale go up.

Freshman year of college I gained the well known “freshman 15” and more, and throughout the rest of college I discovered bulimia, changed my major to Health Education, changed my habits to healthy eating and exercise, and got to the size 8 I wanted.  After college I maintained my size 8 (sometimes tighter and sometimes looser) for over 6 or 7 years.  It wasn’t until my post-pregnancy body that I had weight issues again. During my pregnancy with my first child I gained over 55 pounds.  It took my over a year to lose that weight, and then I lost 20 more pounds.  I was back in a size 8, and it was loose enough that I was about to get into a size 6 when I started my 2nd pregnancy.  Once again, I gained over 55 pounds.  This is me now.


My daughter is now almost 10 months old and I have 15 pounds to go until I am back at my last pre-pregnancy weight.  This blog is to document the rest of this weight loss journey, improving my fitness, spending more time with my husband and children, and to accomplishing my next career goal of becoming a certified personal trainer and health coach.  I want to connect with the many women that I know are going through the same or similar struggles and trying to balance it all.