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Obesity and Weight Management

RMR and number of calories to eat

04/20/2004

Question:

I am a 48 year old female, I weigh 143, and run 4 miles 5 days a week. I want to lose 10 pounds. I had my metabolism tested using MedGem and my results showed that my RMR was1950. I typically eat 1200 cal a day and I wasn`t losing wt. Do I need to increase my calories to more like 1950 in order to lose wt? I am a healthy eater and drink lots of water and don`t drink alcohol. I`m concerned that I`ll gain wt. if I eat more, but eating less isn`t working. If you could refer me to infomrmation on Metabolism and losing weight, it would be most helpful. Thanks

Answer:

Thank you for your question. I can understand your frustration. Your kilocalorie level is low (1200), and you do not see a change in your weight. Your RMR is higher than I see for most women of your age and weight so that is working in your favor. Your RMR is an indication of the number of kilocalories your body needs when you are resting. When you had your RMR measured, had you been fasting for 4 hours, no aerobic exercise for at least 4 hours, no caffeine for at least 3 hours, no smoking for at least 1 hour, and no supplements or over-the-counter medications that might raise your RMR? You should have sat quietly for at least 10 minutes prior to beginning the test. The RMR gives you a piece of the equation that answers the question, "How many kilocalories do I need to maintain my weight?" The rest of the information you need involves how active you are for most of your waking hours (occupational activity level), time spent sleeping, and planned exercise.

I would encourage you to visit the website, www.healthetech.com and click on the BalanceLog. You can download a two week trial of this software and in that time you should be able to get an idea of your kilocalorie needs. In setting your profile, you will get a more accurate picture of your actual kilocalorie needs, but remember, the information you get is only as good as the information you put in. Sometimes individuals do drop their kilocalorie level low enough to actually inhibit their weight loss. In these cases, the individuals are in a modified starvation mode where the body adjusts kilocalorie needs to preserve tissue. You probably would benefit from a few additional kilocalories.

If after using the BalanceLog and following the kilocalorie level suggested you do not see weight loss, I would encourage you to consult with a registered dietitian to review your food intake. You can locate one in your area by visiting the American Dietetic Association website at www.eatright.org.

Don`t get discouraged. You appear to have many healthy habits.

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Response by:

Shirley A Kindrick, PhD Shirley A Kindrick, PhD
Former Team Leader of Comprehensive Weight Management
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University