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When one is trying to lose or gain weight there are many things to consider, but one of the basic techniques comes in knowing what your Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR), and your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) are.  Before explaining how these can be used to help you gain, lose, or maintain weight; let’s first briefly describe what each are. Your BMR represents your metabolism, or more simply how many calories your body expends each day at rest (i.e., no activity). BMR does not take into account the activity you complete throughout the day such as walking, exercising, gardening, and so on.  Thus, your TDEE is your BMR + all your activity due to the fact that it takes into consideration your activity level.

Now, how this is helpful with regard to gaining, losing or maintaining weight is the fact that there are simple calculations that can calculate each of these numbers.  Go here to see the Mifflin Method which is one of the most commonly used calculations.  Understanding what our TDEE is allows us to gain some control over our metabolism and activity output, and make them adhere to our goals. So let’s put it to work

Let’s assume that we have completed our TDEE with the Mifflin method and found out that our TDEE is 3000 calories.  What this means is if we eat below 3000 calories we will lose weight, if eat above it we will gain weight, and if we eat at it we will maintain weight.  Now, let’s say our goal is to lose 10 pounds in ten weeks.  Well, science tells us that there is roughly 3500 calories in a pound of fat.  Thus, if we wanted to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks we would want  to be in a 3500 calorie deficit by the end of each week, and continue this for ten weeks  Thinking of this on the weekly scale may be more difficult than the daily scale however. If we wanted to find out what our daily deficit should be with regard to our weekly deficit we would need to divide 3500 by 7 (because there is 7 days in a week) and use that number as our daily deficit (which is 500).  Thus, for this individual to loose ten pounds in ten weeks they would need to eat 2500 calories per day. 

It’s really that simple.  It may get a little more complicated when you want to lose 8 pounds in say 7 weeks as the numbers don’t add up perfectly, but if one understands basic math you can make it work.  Using 8 pounds in 7 weeks as an example; if I know that there is 3500 calories in a pound of fat, and I want to lose 8 pounds, I first need to figure out what the total caloric amount that equals 8 pounds is (i.e., 8 x 3500 = 28,000cals).  Okay, so now we know the total caloric deficit we need to hit at the end of the 7 week period.  Now all’s we need to do is figure out what the weekly deficit should be (28,000/7 = 4000 cals) and then the daily deficit (4000/7 = 571.4cals).  Thus, we would need to be in a deficit of 571.4cals each day (i.e., 2428.6cals) to adhere to a weight loss of 6 pounds in 7 weeks.

A couple rules first.  You should never eat in a deficit that is more than 20% of your TDEE.  If we use the individual who has a 3000 calorie TDEE, 20% of this would be 600.  If a deficit was determined to be greater than 600 calories to acheive a weight loss goal in a certain amount of time it would be considered contraindicated with regard to what ACSM deems healthy.  If you are going to diet, plan the time to do it where it will be the healthiest for your body.  Furthermore, if you eat in too much of a deficit your body will not allow you to lose weight.  I’m sure you have heard of “starvation mode” which is exactly what this is.  If you are into much of a caloric deficit the body will do whatever it can to retain calories as survival comes first to our body, and energy (i.e., calories) is needed for that.  So don’t think you can go and put yourself in a 1,000 calorie deficit and lose weight extremely fast.  The body is smart and won’t allow for that.  Another rule is to not eat in more than a 20% surplus of your TDEE.

Here is a link to a page that can take you through a process step by step with regard to any goal.  There is plenty of work books on this site that will help take you through the process that I just briefly explained, and will also help you understand the use of macro and micro nutrients more. Enjoy!!!