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Friday, 09 January 2015 12:35

What is BMR, And Why Is It Important?

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Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy your body uses at rest. It is often used as a baseline to calculate how many calories you can eat, and how much exercise you should do, to maintain a healthy weight.

According to the Health Calculator at California Medical Weight Management, the BMR for an average woman (5'6", 150 lbs, 30 years old) is around 1450 calories. Coincidentally, the calories in a McDonalds Big Mac with large fries and a Coke is also around 1400. So does that mean it's okay to eat "super-sized" McDonalds meals every day? No!

Remember that weight loss and healthy weight maintenance is a numbers game: calories in (eating) minus calories out (exercise) equals weight gain or loss. While in theory, you could eat a super-sized McDonalds meal every day and still maintain a healthy weight, in practice people eat more than once a day. We eat several times a day, and sometimes more!

According to the U.S. government statistics, a moderately active 30 year old woman should eat around 2000 calories a day. (We find this number a little high, given the current epidemic of obesity in this country.) This leaves about 600 calories which need to be burned up through exercise in order to maintain a constant weight. If you are trying to lose weight, the numbers should be adjusted: eat less calories, and exercise more. Harvard Medical School provides a nice chart that shows how many calories you can burn in various leisure and exercise activities. To burn 600 calories, you would need to engage in several hours of moderate exercise (walking, swimming, jogging).

So remember the old adage: "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips."

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