On the average day, how many calories do you burn? How many calories do you burn, just getting through your day without any “extra” exercise? Do you know the answer or are you guessing?
Very few of us can throw out an accurate number. There are plenty of formulas that will give you an idea, which helps, but they’re based on the “average” person. The calories you burn depend on a variety of factors including, age, weight, muscle mass, lifestyle, energy level, metabolism, height, and gender. And that’s before adding in aerobic exercise! Most of those factors are constantly changing, making it even more difficult to figure out how many calories your body burns in a typical day.
That’s why the weight loss rule in the February Challenge, Rule 5, uses a range (Women 1200-1600, Men 1800-2200). Ideally if you pick the right number within the range, you will lose a pound a week. However, if you’re 5’2″, 130lbs, and have a slow metabolism, you might not lose a pound a week, even if you choose 1200 calories per day. The bottom end is too high. On the other hand, if you’re 6’6″, 240 lbs, and have a high metabolism, you might lose 2 pounds/week even if you choose 2200 calories. For a big guy with a lot of muscle mass, the top end is too low.
Frustrating, right? That’s another reason why it’s so important to keep a food journal when you’re trying to lose weight. Over time, it can help you figure out your “number”.
Try not to feel bad. Your body is a machine. Some machines are super efficient, burning less fuel, like a Prius. Others have giant engines with a lot of muscle, burning tons of fuel, like an SUV. Maybe you’d rather be an SUV than a Prius but think about it for a minute. Needing more fuel means a bigger grocery bill. It also means more wear and tear on your digestive system. The only benefit to a high metabolism is that you get to spend more time eating.
Maybe it’s time to give up our love affair with food…it’s an obsession that too often keeps us from becoming our best selves.