The Basics of Weight Management

Growing up I was always the skinny girl. People who didn’t’ know me thought that I never ate; little did they know I ate everything in sight! I had a ridiculously fast metabolism, which made it difficult for me to put on any kind of weight. It wasn’t until I got into college that I was able to gain weight; this was also the time when I realized what you eat affects not only how your body looks, but how it feels.

I first began researching and really learning about nutrition and how to nourish the body properly during my freshman year of college. I learned how to eat to gain lean muscle and also how to eat when trying to lose that extra, unwanted fat.

IMG_3671I wanted to share with you guys some very basic information that is easy to understand and crucial to learning how to gain or lose weight. Everyone has a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which, simply put, is the amount of calories ones body burns in a day at rest.  Below is the formula used to estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate. You can also use the automatic calculator on this website.

For men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 × body weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) – (6.8 × age in years)

For women: BMR = 655 + (4.3 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) – (4.7 × age in years)

After finding your BMR, your next step would be to find your Active Metabolic Rate (AMR). Your AMR is the amount of calories you burn throughout the entire day, including calories burned from your activities such as what you do at work or during workouts. To find your AMR you first figure out what activity level you are from the options listed below. Next multiply your BMR by your activity level to get your AMR.

Activity Levels 

  • 1.2 if you’re sedentary (little or no exercise)
  • 1.375 if you’re lightly active (you exercise 1-3 times a week)
  • 1.55 if you’re moderately active (you exercise/workout about 4-5 times a week)
  • 1.725 if you’re very active (you train hard for 6-7 days a week)
  • 1.9 if you’re highly active (you’re a physical laborer or a professional athlete)
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Photograph by Logan Stumpf 

Your AMR is the amount of calories you should aim to eat each day if you want to stay at the same weight. If you eat above that amount of calories, you will gain weight and if you eat below that amount of calories you will lose weight. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So in order to lose one pound you need to burn 3500 calories. A safe way to lose weight is by aiming to lose a pound a week. For example, if you burn 500 calories a day, by the end of the week you will lose one pound (500 cal x 7 days =3500). You can either burn the 500 calories through exercise or eat 500 calories less than you AMR. So for example, if my AMR is 2200 calories, I would have to have a daily intake of 1700 calories a day for seven days to lose 1 pound in a week. Many people choose to use a combination of these methods. For example, eating 300 less calories and burning 200 extra calories through exercise. The same principle works for gaining weight. If you eat an excess of 500 calories everyday for a week you will gain one pound.

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Nutrition is as big of a factor as working out is (if not BIGGER) when it comes to changing the look of your body. Follow me so you are sure not to miss some of the upcoming posts that will help you to understand a whole lot more about how nutrition and exercise can help you achieve your goals!

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