Friday, February 8, 2013

{Metabolic Testing}

Over the past few months (before surgery and after resuming exercise), I have been at a plateau with my weight loss. Something didn't seem right about this... I mean, seriously, how could I not be losing weight? Each day I'm eating 1390 calories (as prescribed by MyFitnessPal), doing a 30-minute walking video at least 4 days a week, training at Raleigh CrossFit at least three days a week, and occasional runs with my girlfriends (I still haven't gotten back into running since surgery). On top of all of this, my caloric intake is coming from whole foods - lean meat, fruit, veggies, nuts, and occasional dairy. This led me to start thinking more about how my body operates and maybe I needed to calculate things a little differently.

I knew from discussions with others that a person's resting metabolic rate was an important factor in weight loss. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy required to perform basic bodily functions such as respiration and heart rate while the body is at rest (source). No two bodies are alike - we all know that. So, each of our caloric needs are completely different....

I found a RMR calculator online. This particular calculator asked for gender, weight, height, age, and body fat (optional). I entered my information (including body fat, as result of body composition testing last week) and this is what came up... 

According to the calculator and equations on this site, my average RMR is 1694 calories per day. However, this is based on five different formulas that have the possibility of not being that accurate. Some may ask, how could they not be accurate - it's based on a scientific formula. At the same time, I would ask - what exactly is being measured?

I did this leading up to my appointment for metabolic testing and nutrition consultation at Rex Wellness Center. When I made my appointment, I was given instructions to not eat or exercise for 12-hours prior to the test and to not consume any caffeine the morning of the test.

When I arrived at Rex, I was immediately shown to Sherry's (nutritionist) office. She explained that various online calculators are very helpful, but they aren't quite right and how the use of the MedGem would provide a more accurate resting metabolic rate. The MedGem test requires that you put a clip on your nose and breathe in/out through a special mouthpiece attached to a hand-held device. Somehow, this little machine is able to measure your oxygen usage and carbon dioxide output.

I have to say that the 8-10 minutes that I had to breathe into the mouthpiece may have been the longest 8-10 minutes in my life! I couldn't play on my phone, read a magazine or do anything, except sit. Anyone that knows me can probably attest to this being extremely difficulty for me.

Once the test was completed, the MedGem provides the RMR. That number is then multiplied by an "activity factor" based on my lifestyle, to determine calorie needs. The long and short of it is this... My resting metabolic rate is 1530 calories. In order to maintain my current weight, I need to consume ~2065 calories per day. Sherry said she was a little surprised by this number, given that I had bariatric surgery ~13 years ago (normally their numbers are lower). She then said that the higher number was likely attributed to my healthy eating habits, running and training at CrossFit.

We next discussed how many calories I have been eating... Needless to say, the 1390 calories given to me by MyFitnessPal were causing me to short my body ~140 calories per day...and that's the calories just to survive. That calculation wasn't taking into account normal daily activity, exercise, etc. Basically, my body thinks it is being starved.

We talked about my needing to hit ~1530 calories per day on days that I do not exercise. She also encouraged me to get a heart rate monitor because of CrossFit. According to her "research" (other patients), it looks like someone participating in CrossFit can burn anywhere from 300 to 800+ calories in a single workout. (Holy crap! That's a lot of calories!)

We reviewed by food diary on MyFitnessPal and discussed the need for some adjustments to my fat and protein intake. She helped me adjust my goals on the website so that it will make tracking daily a lot easier. So, here's what it looks like...

In the next week or so, I will be purchasing a heart rate monitor and adjusting to my new goals. Hoping these changes help with my daily energy level and my training!

No comments:

Post a Comment