Saturday, April 28, 2012

How and How much do I eat???

Today I want to discuss something that was very confusing to me, and is the real reason that most diets fail.  Over the last 18 months, I have learned a great deal about the way to diet.  Now mind you that I am not good at it.  I have learned the right way, and the wrong way.  I have also learned that it is a good idea, at least for me, to follow a meal plan.  Since I live in a small town, I don’t have the ability to buy certain foods, so I try to watch what I eat and how much.  One of the things I learned was how you eat is important.  No, I am not talking about the old advice that you should eat slowly, but it is a good idea.  What I am talking about is the idea of eating five small meals a day.  According to Sam Ellyn, “Eating five small meals throughout the day can help you control your appetite, raise your metabolism and reduce your chances of overeating”.(2011)  I have learned that eating five meals a day keeps me from being hungry so I do not over eat at mealtime.  It is easier to push away from the table.  I have also found that this, as Ellyn says, keeps my metabolism up and therefore it is easier to lose weight and keep it off.  I like many other people, have tried to eat less and lose weight.  You do need to eat less but there is a limit to how little you should eat.  If you eat too little, your metabolism slows down and your body tries to store energy.  This can actually cause you to gain weight, and potentially cause damage to your body.

Ok, so how do you know how much you need to eat?  Your body requires a certain amount of energy to maintain itself.  This is called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).   If you go below this rate, you risk the chance of causing damage to your body. You will lose weight over the short-term but could damage your body and you will eventually gain the weight back because you will not be able to maintain the low calorie intake indefinitely. 
There are several tools that can help you figure your BMR.  Beachbody has this tool, but you can find it elsewhere as well.  You can also figure it without an application. I am adding the calculations at the end of this blog so you don’t have to read through them to get the information about your diet.  My BMR is 1663 and my recommended caloric intake based on the BMR and exercise factor is about 2000.  I would divide this into my five meals so each meal should be around 400 calories.  You can adjust this to allow for family meals and make the meal plan fit your lifestyle.  You do need to watch what you eat, especially concerning fat content etc.  Here is the one mistake that dieters make.  When you lose weight, your BMR goes down, so you have to adjust your calorie intake to take into account that your body needs fewer calories and therefore if you continue to eat based don your original calculations you will plateau. 

Good luck on your weight loss goals.  Also, if you need to gain weight, you can use the same calculation, you just need to add calories to your BMR and exercise factor.  Just make sure you eat properly to build muscle and not store fat.

Bring It, but Don’t Bring it Weak


 According to Carla Diebold at you can figure it like this. 

Step 1

Determine your height in inches and weight in pounds. These two numbers are a critical part of the BMR formula and their accuracy is important. To determine your height in inches, multiply your height in feet by 12 (there are 12 inches in a foot) and add the remaining inches to that figure. For example, someone who is 5 feet, 2 inches would do the following equation: (5 x 12) + 2 = 62.

Step 2

Utilize a specific calculation for men. Multiply your weight in pounds by 6.23 and then multiply your height in inches by 12.7. Multiply your age in years by 6.8. Now, add 66 plus your factored weight and height together and subtract your factored age. This is your basal metabolic rate.

Step 3

Utilize a specific calculation for women. Multiply your weight in pounds by 4.35 and then multiply your height in inches by 4.7. Multiply your age in years by 4.7. Now, add 655 plus your factored weight and height together and subtract your factored age. This is your basal metabolic rate.

Step 4

Incorporate the Harris Benedict BMR equation to determine daily calorie requirements. The equation considers several activity levels:
1. Little or no exercise = BMR x 1.2
2. Light activity (some exercise one to three days a week) = BMR x 1.375
3. Moderately active (light to moderate exercise three to five days a week) = BMR x 1.55
4. Very active = (dedicated exercise or sports six to seven days a week) = BMR x 1.725
5. Extremely active = (strenuous exercise or sports as well as physical labor on the job or professional exercise or sports training) = BMR x 1.9
To determine an appropriate calorie intake for a typical day, multiply the calculated BMR by the appropriate activity level. (2011)

To put this into perspective, I am 56 years old, I weigh 185 pounds, and I am 61 inches tall (5”11”). So 185 x 6.23 = 1152.55.  61 x 12.7 = 774.7.  56 x 4.7 = 263.2   1152 + 774.7 – 263.2 = 1663.5.  This is my BMR.  If I add the exercise factor it will tell me what I need to maintain my weight.  I exercise five days a week, and stretch for two, so I would use the Moderately Active factor of 1.55.  1663.5 x 1.55 = 2578.43.  If I want to lose weight my calorie intake should be between 1663 and 2578.  I should stay around 2000 to keep from being tired.

Diebold, Carla (2011), How to Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate, Retrieved on April, 28, 2012 from:

Ellyn, Sam (2011) How to Eat Five Small Meals a Day to Lose Weight, Retrived April 28,2013 from:

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