I just keep learning more and more about effective and healthy weight-loss, and I am kind of loving it. Finally, I think I actually might understand it. I have chipped away at that fossilized 1980s fad diet mentality, and I think I might now see scientifically-sound daylight.
If you don’t know about eating at your BMR or under your TDEE, and you are interested in losing weight, please continue reading. If you are totally hip to all this, or are a lucky bastard with no weight to lose, just skip to the bottom and cheer for my weight loss. :)
The most important thing I’ve learned is to always eat at, or above, your BMR. Your BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate. Go on, click it. Calculate your BMR. It’s kinda fun. It’s almost like checking your horoscope, only less full of shit.
Okay. Got it? Now, never eat fewer calories than the top number on that calculator. Why? Because your BMR is the rate at which your particular body burns calories every day just by being alive. If you were bedridden in a comatose state, your BMR represents the minimum number of calories it takes to keep all of your internal organs functioning during a single day. Eating below this number is risking sending a “famine” alert to your metabolism, and thus setting weight loss in slow motion.
Another important number to keep in mind is your TDEE, or, Total Daily Energy Expenditure. If you use the calculator I linked above, you should also have the means to calculate your TDEE (the bottom number). It is based on your typical daily activity level. This number is the total number of calories you burn on an average day doing your average activities. If you work out every day, factor it in. Every other day? There’s a way to adjust it. Hours spent sleeping, standing, walking — factor all of it in.
For weight loss, some folks like to subtract 15-20% from their TDEE number and eat that many calories per day. Some folks like to eat at their BMR number (like me). Some slightly above it. The key is to never eat under your BMR, and to not eat over your TDEE. If you are looking to maintain your weight, you eat at your TDEE number.
As you lose weight, your BMR number lowers, as well. So, you need to go back and recalculate your BMR every 15-20lbs lost or so. When you start a diet by eating at your BMR, this allows you to have steady, healthy weight loss every week, with a much smaller chance of plateauing as you begin to encroach on your goal weight. You are eating well the whole time, and hunger really stops being an enemy. It’s kind of extra-awesome.
Weight Watchers’ Points Plus system is based on the BMR/TDEE method. They just came up with a convenient way to allocate calories by using the points. They are the only weight loss system I know of that actually sets people up for healthy, steady weight loss.
Okay. I’m done lecturing and being a boring assface.
I lost 4 more pounds since my last post. But, I’m not getting excited, because I’ve had a terrible food and exercise week. Felt quite under the weather for most of it (thanks uterus!), and I half-way expect to gain something. We’ll see. In any case, as it stands, I am 5lbs away from a big personal milestone. It can’t get here soon enough.