Knowing the number of calories you burn when your body is at rest will help you determine how much physical activity you require, and better manage your nutritional input. Even a small change to your diet and lifestyle may help you reduce your risk for a number of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Difficulty losing fat pounds is not uncommon. Often, we attribute it to a slow metabolism, which may be correct, but how can you confirm this? Similarly, putting on weight can be challenging for some people. In this case, a fast metabolism is often blamed, but this is often a guess and other factors may be responsible.
The inability to maintain an appropriate weight is not as difficult as it may seem, once you have determined your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
You may have seen charts where you can calculate the number of calories needed to maintain a specific weight. The charts usually determine caloric intake based
on whether you are active, moderately active, or sedentary. While these can provide a general idea of how many calories you burn (metabolize) in a day, they fail to take into consideration your personal body composition or health conditions that may influence the rate at which your body burns calories.
Your BMR can be defined as the minimum number of calories required to maintain your body’s vital functions and processes when you are at rest. For the average adult, the BMR utilizes close to 70 per cent of the total daily calories and ranges between 1200 and 1800 kcal.
How many calories are you burning?
During a London Drugs Nutrition and Healthy Weight clinic, your London Drugs pharmacist will use specialized equipment to determine how many calories your body burns when at rest.
Once you know this figure, you can add to it the number of calories burned during your active periods, to assess the number of calories you require to sustain your weight. The pharmacist will then discuss with you the various ways and means for you to achieve your goals.
If you have a health condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, your dietary goals will differ from those who do not have these health concerns. For example, a woman with diabetes will need to keep her blood sugar levels stabilized, while a man with hypertension may need to keep his dietary salt intake in check.
Attending a clinic may also be beneficial if you are healthy but need to better understand the role of certain food groups in your diet. During the clinic, you will be able to determine if your existing daily meal plan provides the nutritional balance desirable for good health. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend often-minor changes that may result in improved health and well-being.
Small changes, big results
If you are overweight with additional risk factors, such as high LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, or elevated blood pressure, losing just 10 per cent of your current weight may help reduce your risk of disease.
When it comes to successful weight reduction/management it’s the little things that count. For example, substituting one per cent milk for whole milk in your coffee can result in a reduction of 15 calories a day (assuming three cups of coffee and two tablespoons of milk), or 5,475 calories a year. That’s a little over 1.5 pounds of weight lost.
If you combine this with a brisk 15-minute walk, four times a week, you will burn an extra 80 calories daily (assuming a weight of 140 pounds), or a loss of five pounds annually. If your health goal is to lose weight, small changes to activity level and food intake add up over the long term, allowing you to successfully achieve your goal without dieting.
The importance of lean body mass
The consumption of calories, exercise, and the amount of lean tissue (muscle) in your body all affect your personal BMR. If you are able to increase your BMR through the development of lean body mass, you will burn excess fat and lose fat weight. If you are overweight, an increase in your BMR will provide you with a number of health benefits including reduced risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack, and/or developing diabetes.
Schedule your Nutrition and Healthy Weight Clinic with your London Drugs Pharmacist today, to learn more about how you can create an action plan towards a healthier lifestyle.