11 Jan 2012

What Is BMR And How Does It Affect You?

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Basal Metabolic Index (BMI) are the terms which almost all of us are acquainted with...
I shall discuss about BMR today. J

Definition: Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns at rest to maintain normal body functions. It is the amount of calories per day your body burns, regardless of exercise. It changes with Age, Weight, Height, Gender, Diet and Exercise habits. 

It can also be defined as - The minimum level of energy required to sustain vital functions such as Breathing, Digestion and Circulation. We all need a certain number of calories to function, so it's important not to reduce your calories below your BMR when you're trying to lose weight. BMR is sometimes also referred to as RMR- Resting Metabolic Rate.

Now a few of you might ask..Okay what about AMR?

Well by definition: AMR is Active metabolic Rate which refers to the calories that your body burns during activities like – Running, Cycling, Jogging, Swimming, Dancing, Playing a game – basically all those activities in which your body is “active”.
Here is a categorisation (which might differ from magazine to magazine and website to website)
Very Light Activities:    Driving, Reading.
Light Activities:             Walking, Playing Piano.
Moderate Activities:      Dancing, Skating.
Heavy Activities:           Swimming, Running.
Very Heavy:                  Boxing, Rowing.

Some facts about BMR:

1)    Younger people have a faster rate of BMR because of increased activity of cells.
2)    Men have 10-15% more BMR than Women because of greater percentage of Lean body tissue.
3)    BMR decreases with Age.

Why do Women put on more weight than Men?
         The BMR represents 60-75% of Total Energy Expenditure in an average person. BMR depends on how much your body is ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ Women have a lower BMR, due to mammary (breast) and gluteal (buttock) tissue which is higher in fat than in men, for the natural processes associated with child birth and rearing. Consequently, on average women need to eat less food than men, if they are to maintain a healthy weight.

Is exercise the answer?
    The good thing about exercise and weight control is that the fitter you are... the higher is your BMR, so the weight will come off more easily. It's fantastic! It's a positive feedback cycle whereby you start dropping off the fat through exercise. This leads to increased BMR. Then you start burning more energy naturally, and the weight comes off and the cycle continues until you are looking trim and terrific in the healthy weight range. Isn’t that simple! J

And anyways I always feel that exercise is all about adding positivity to yourself, once you are addicted to adding a little positivity to your body - Daily you won’t skip it. So females start adding positivity to your lives DAILY!

Isn’t DIET sufficient?
        Unfortunately being Humans our bodies react to dieting by decreasing BMR.
A very common phenomenon during Dieting is - Starving which will cause a weight plateau for a prolonged period; because - Once you stop adding calories to your system, your body gets into a panic mode and will substantially slow down the BMR to make up for the shortfall (survival instinct!)

And therefore it is very important to keep a Healthy diet in general, but specifically important while trying to loose weight.
Let me tell you that - very frequent weight gain and weight loss (yo-yo weight pattern) is a very unhealthy way to live. I shall discuss this point some other time.

What steps should you take to stop your Metabolism from becoming slow

1)    No Fasting/No Feasting
Fasting = Starving = Slow Metabolism i.e.: (decreased expenditure of energy)
Feasting = Large meals = More than needed energy = Increase in Fat reserves = Low BMR.
2)    Do not consume Low calorie Diets or Very Low Calorie Diets (Unless prescribed by a Medical Practitioner)
Low calorie diets = Less energy than needed energy.
Result = Metabolism goes into a panic mode = Low BMR
3)    Keep your weight in check
Because as mentioned earlier
Lower body fat = Higher BMR and
Higher Body Fat = Lower BMR
4)    Heredity
a)      Intra-abdominal fat (fat around abdomen).
b)    A lower-than-average BMR.
c)     Appetite.
Genetics can affect the amount of fat and muscle in our body. This fat-muscle ratio has a direct effect on our BMR.

5)    Avoid Snacking on High Sugar foods/High Fat foods and Processed foods throughout the day.
High sugar/fat content in the food = More than needed energy = Increase in fat reserves = Low BMR.
6)    Be physically active.
Inactivity = Lower BMR = More fat deposition.
Keep your body active to build more Lean body tissue = High BMR.
7)    Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is dense in calories = More than needed energy = Increase in fat reserves = Low BMR.
8)    Food
Along with exercise there are some foods that help in increasing your Metabolic Rate. (But only Marginally)
·        Whole grains and oats.
·        Curd/Yoghurt.
·        Drinks: Green Tea, Milk, Coffee, Soy Milk, Water
·        Dry fruits – Almonds.
·        Fruits and vegetables – Apples, Asparagus (Shatawar), Beans(all types), Berries (all types), Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapes, Spinach, Sprouts, Tomatoes.
·        Herbs -  Chillies, Curry leaves, Garlic, Ginger, Apple Cider Vinegar.

Disclaimer: The content has been compiled from various Books, Magazines and Websites. My sincere Thanks to all of them.