Have you ever wondered how some people seem to stay thin with no effort at all while others have to fight to lose weight and keep the weight off? The answer most likely lies in their metabolism - more specifically related to their basal metabolic rate (BMR).
You expend energy (measured in calories) no matter what you are doing. Your basal metabolic rate is the rate of energy expenditure if you stayed in bed and slept all day long. It is your resting metabolic rate. Calories are burned by bodily processes such as respiration, pumping of blood around the body, digestion, and maintenance of body temperature.
Your BMR uses up between 50 and 70% of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE): people with sluggish BMRs use up the lower amounts around 50% and those with well developed BMRs may use up to 70% of their TDEE. Activity calories make up the remaining (between 50% and 30%) of your total daily energy expenditure. So the non resting movements of walking, lifting, etc, and exercising make up your activity calories. Your TDEE equals the sum of your BMR and your activity calories.
So if you could develop your BMR so that it burned 70% of your TDEE, you could lie in bed and burn more calories than a lot of people who were up and moving around. In effect you'd be burning fat while you're resting. Is this possible? Yes, it is.
Many factors affect your BMR. Perhaps the most important is muscle mass. It takes more calories to maintain muscles than fat. So by adding muscle you raise your BMR. This means that as you lose fat and add muscle mass your body will burn more calories at rest.
How do you develop muscle mass? By eating to lose fat coupled with a regular aerobic exercise program.
Take stock of what you eat during the day. How many calories do you eat? The average adult needs around 2,000 calories/day.
Do you eat a lot of fats? Lower the saturated fat content to 10% or less of your daily calories. Substitute good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) found in nuts and vegetable oils for bad fats found in meat, dairy products, off-the-shelf donuts, cupcakes, cookies, French fries, etc.
Start a regular aerobic exercise program. Walk, jog, swim, ride a bike, etc for one-half an hour a day for five or more days a week. Remember to check with your doctor first before starting a regular exercise program.
As the fat comes off and the muscle builds up you will see a whole new you. You'll feel better and your higher BMR will continue to work for burning fat even while you sleep.
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About the Author:
Tim Lazaro is a nutrition scholar and competitive, masters runner who writes on issues related to heart health, natural-food diets, and aerobic exercise. By employing the diets and life-style changes that he writes about, he has lowered his total cholesterol and lost weight.