The Most Accurate Way to Measure Your Metabolism

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/29/2012 6:00 AM   :  68 comments   :  140,360 Views

If you're like most people who are struggling to lose weight, you've started watching what you eat and counting (and cutting back) on your calories. We all know that weight loss is the result of a simple equation: burning more calories than you take in each day. But how do you know how many calories you REALLY burn—or how many calories you should be eating for optimal weight loss?
 
We all have our own unique metabolic rates—the amount of calories our bodies use just to stay alive; this is called your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Even at total rest—and without moving—your body is using ("burning") calories just to breathe, circulate blood, digest food, think, blink and more. This actually takes more calories than you might think—hundreds or even thousands. On top of your RMR, even if you don't work out, you burn additional calories by performing basic activities of daily living: brushing your teeth, typing on your computer, and driving your car.
 
When you visit most nutritionists, sign up for a free weight-loss plan at SparkPeople.com, or even follow a diet plan you read about in a book or magazine—you're getting some good estimates of your calorie needs, usually based on your weight, gender and possibly your age and height. But these widely used formulas are just that—estimates. They are reasonably accurate for a lot of people, but they are not always accurate for everyone. "Calorie Plan A" may be too few calories for you but be perfect for your sister to lose weight. "Calorie Plan B" might not cut calories enough, yet be too many calories for your friend who weighs the same amount you do. Since we are all unique, estimates don't always work. And when they don't, it can stall your weight loss or bring it do a grinding halt despite your efforts of tracking, counting, measuring and eating within a specific calorie range.

"There are a few people who really struggle in determining their accurate weight-loss calorie range," says SparkPeople's head dietitian, Becky Hand, RD, LD.  "They just don't seem to 'fit' the standard formulas, and 'experimenting' with their calorie intake brings about more and more frustration."
 
So what's a person to do? You can tweak your plan, adding or cutting back on calories to see how your body responds. This is what a lot of people do throughout their journeys until they find the magic number that starts peeling away the pounds. It takes guessing, checking—and time. And it can work.
 
But there is another option: You can take a simple test to find out exactly how many calories you're burning each day. This eye-opening RMR test is non-invasive, takes a few minutes of time, and is pretty widely available for a fee. I recently tried it myself along with two SparkPeople employees, Jeff and Jaime, both of whom have been struggling to lose weight.
 
The test uses a device called the MedGem (similar RMR tests go by other names, such as "New Leaf").  According to Becky, "These hand-held indirect calorimetry devices can help provide another vital piece to solving their weight loss puzzle." You'll find these tests available in many health and fitness clubs, doctor offices, training facilities and weight-loss clinics. While some might offer tests as part of a weight-loss or training package, others offer the test on its own for a fee, which can range from as little as $50 to $100 or more.

Dawn Weatherwax, RD, CSSD, LD, ATC, CSCS, is a registered dietitian, athletic trainer and certified personal trainer who specializes in nutrition and fitness plans for both competitive and recreational athletes. She recently invited SparkPeople to check out her Sports Nutrition 2 Go facility in Liberty Township (just outside Cincinnati) to try the MedGem test, which normally costs $65 per person at her facility.
 
So How Does a MedGem Metabolism Test Work?
The MedGem is an easy-to-use, handheld device that accurately measures oxygen consumption (VO2) to determine resting metabolic rate (RMR)—the number of calories your body burns at rest. Knowing your RMR helps you understand your unique metabolism so you can develop a personalized plan to reach your goals.
The MedGem itself is basically a mouthpiece that you breathe into through your mouth while your nose is plugged. It takes about 10 minutes. It's neither uncomfortable nor difficult to do—you just sit still and breathe. The machine is hooked up to a computer that measures how much oxygen you use, which its software uses to determine your metabolic rate.

How to Get Accurate Metabolism Testing Results
When you prepare for an appointment, you have to follow this protocol for the most accurate reading:
  • Do not consume any food for 4 hours prior to your appointment.  
  • Do not consume any caffeinated beverages (i.e. coffee, soda, energy drinks, etc.) for 4 hours prior to your appointment.  Sipping on water is OK.
  • Do not perform any strenuous physical exercise (i.e., vigorous running, strength training, etc.) for 4-hours prior to your appointment.
  • Abstain from all tobacco products for 1 hour prior to your appointment.
  • Continue taking all prescribed medications as indicated.

We chose an early morning appointment to make it easiest to stick to these guidelines.

Our Results
Here's a chart of our results. I'm sharing our heights, weights (as taken that day), and ages as well so you can see how each of our metabolisms compare given those differences.
 
Name Age Height Weight RMR Result
Jaime (F) 35 5'5" 182 2,190 calories
Jeff (M) 42 5'6" 247 2,230 calories
Nicole (F) 29 5'8" 145 2,410 calories

I was particularly fascinated in how we all have very different body sizes yet our RMRs were within just a couple hundred calories of one another. I would have assumed that people who had more fat mass would have much slower metabolisms, and that would be one of the big reasons that they struggle with their weight. But at least as far as the three of us are concerned, we're all pretty close to one another, assuming we all got accurate results.

What I can say for sure is that all of us were pretty close in actual "lean" (non-fat) body mass, based on other tests we did that day. So regardless of how much fat each of us carries, Jaime and I, for example, were within 1 pound of each other in our lean mass, and Jeff had about 30 pounds more of lean mass than each of us. These results seem to make sense to me considering those other facts--but I'm no expert in this field of testing either.

So How Accurate Are These Results?
According to Becky, "Recent studies indicate that for 'healthy' adults, these hand-held, easy to use,  indirect calorimetry devices provide similar results when compared to the more expensive, and more cumbersome large cart equipment that also requires careful calibration and isn't widely available." Current studies are now investigating their accuracy with specialty populations such as older adults, children, hospital patients on vents, and the malnourished, she explains.

Of course, a person's activity level adds another level of calorie burning on top of this.  The more active you are throughout the day (taking the stairs, walking around, etc.) and the more you exercise—the higher your body's calorie needs will be.
 
So What Does This Mean for Weight Loss? How Do You Use This Information?
Having witnessed the results of more than 3,000 metabolic tests, Dawn has noticed quite a few trends. Her first step is comparing the result of test with the amount of calories a person actually eats. If a person is eating more than they burn, then the issue is clear: They are simply eating too much and need to cut back.
 
But more often than not, individuals who have been eating far less than their RMR but still aren't losing weight can mean one of two things, according to Dawn:
  1. They are actually eating far too little. She's seen it more times than she can count, both in overweight individuals and in people who only have another 5-10 pounds to lose. When a person consistenly eats too little, your metabolism can lower, mainly because you can't "give your all" to your daily life or your workouts. In these cases, she advises people to slowly increase their calorie intake by a hundred calories a week until they find that "sweet spot" where they have more energy, feel better, and allow their bodies to let go of some of its body fat.

    My co-worker Jaime thinks this may explain why she has struggled to lose weight even though she exercises five days a week and maintains a calorie-controlled diet. "I now understand why my body has not been losing fat as quickly as I had hoped despite all my efforts," she said after the test. "I essentially was not fueling my body enough (eating around 1,200 calories a day) for it to feel comfortable with letting go of fat! I’m now working on increasing my daily calories to 1,600 on non-workout days and just over 1,800 calories on the days I do exercise."
     
  2. There are underlying medical or hormonal issues interfering with their weight loss. Hormonal imbalances, such as low testosterone or thyroid issues, can affect your weight as well, says Dawn. "If a person is eating within an appropriate range for weight loss but is gaining weight or not losing weight, hormones may be to blame," she says. When the numbers simply don't add up, she advises that people get a full hormone profile at their doctor to see if anything is out of whack. Often, getting those hormones back into their healthy, normal ranges (via medical intervention) can be just the ticket to speed up weight loss. "Low testosterone is more common than you might think—in both men and women. So is a low-functioning thyroid," she explains.

    Jeff has been eating within a reasonable calorie range for weight loss without getting results—but he does have thyroid problems and realized he may need to check-in with his doctor and see about increasing his medication. "Since I have hypothyroidism, this will prove invaluable information to have while undergoing my other routine medical testing," says Jeff. "I think this is a great baseline for trying to kick-start my weight loss quest again. Knowing how many calories my body burns each day, and being able to use SparkPeople's free Fitness Tracker and Nutrition Tracker to calculate calories in and out should give me a great idea of how well I’m doing at burning calories and losing fat."

For the cost of the test, I think this is a worthwhile investment, especially if you've been on a long-term plateau or are truly doing "everything right" but not seeing progress. Most of these tests are administered by dietitians, fitness professionals, doctors and other wellness providers who are trained and capable at interpreting the results and offering valuable advice on how to use the results to reach your goals, although working directly with a licensed and/or registered dietitian would be ideal. To find a location near you that offers MedGem metabolism testing, click here.
 
"The whole experience was extremely valuable in helping me understand my caloric needs with the current condition of my body, but more importantly helped me 'reset' in my mind what I need to focus on moving forward," says Jaime.
 
Jeff had a great experience as well, both as a jump-start to get him focused on the right things to lose weight and to better understand how his body uses calories. "I was surprised to learn how many calories his body uses just standing still and not doing anything," he commented.
 
Thanks again to Dawn Weatherwax and Sports Nutrition 2 Go for letting us try the MedGem metabolism test! Stay tuned for a follow-up blog about another fun and interesting test we tried during our visit.
 
What do you think about the MedGem test? Would you try it? Have you ever had your metabolism tested?





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Comments

  • JULIEKAE
    68
    The ADA published research last fall reporting that the MedGem "significantly overestimates REE in middle aged, overweight, and obese individuals." They recommend using the traditional devices (where you breathe into a hose and all the oxygen is collected in the device for analysis) rather than the hand held ones. (J Acad Nutr & Diet 2013 Sept 16). It really is valuable information, but only if it is accurate. I'd find a doctor or trainer using good equipment before I'd pay money for a test. - 2/13/2014   5:17:16 PM
  • 67
    When they say this test works for "healthy" individuals, what besides hormone and thyroid imbalances would throw the test off? The minute I saw that mask you have to breathe into, I worried that my asthma would cause problems with the results. - 2/5/2014   9:03:14 PM
  • 66
    I have done a test at my gym with my trainer, and I burn about 1800 calories a day. This was super helpful for me, as I had been following a 1600 calorie per day plan, since I workout about 5 days per week. Well when my weightloss stalled , I recently tried a different way of eating, Paleo, but stayed within my calorie range, but am around 1300-1400 calories per day. Now the weight is flying off, for me it is a matter of listening to your body, not your head. That being said knowing my DCN (Daily Caloric Needs) helped me to see why/what wasn't working.

    If you can find this test, do it, I feel the information is invaluable. - 2/5/2014   11:36:29 AM
  • 65
    It sounds hopeful and beneficial to try to find out what we need to continue. I am sure that for many of us the hormones may be the culprit, although the calorie intake is quite a subject within itself because of all the myths about dieting. And its starting to sink in just how harmful those myths can be. I would definitely look forward to get GEM Tested... wonder what the cost would be. It must be very beneficial by far!! - 1/29/2014   12:31:48 AM
  • 64
    I can only WISH that my body would burn 2400 calories a day just by breathing! I can't even burn that many when I work out strenuously. The most I have ever burned using a GoWearFit and walking at least 12 miles all around Rome one day was 2000. When I got my fitbit last year, I was incredibly disappointed that it indicated my gowearfit wasn't at all accurate! Now it takes a strenuous one-hour workout and constant activity all day to burn 1,700 calories. Clearly, we are all not created equal! If I ate what the sparkpeople website says I should eat, I'd gain weight. There's no two ways about it. So I am limiting myself to 1100 calories or under each day and consistently burning between 1500 and 1600 calories per day. I wish it were different. :( - 1/13/2014   5:46:46 PM
  • 63
    This proves that we live in a cookie cutter world where everyone is expected to be the same. Thank God some people are challenging that notion and realizing God created us equal yet different.

    - 10/7/2013   10:59:53 AM
  • 62
    Good article! I have an different RMR device, a Tanita Ironman Body Mass Scale and it uses your lean body mass to calculate your RMR. My RMR (plus sedentary activity level) puts me at 2010 for maintenance with NO exercise (to maintain 123lbs of lean mass, my fat doesn't need 'feeding' ;-) ). I don't have any hormonal issues so this calculation works for me when I am setting a calories range to either lose or maintain. The sweet spot is 1700 for moderate weight loss yet enough energy to feel good doing moderate running about 3-4 hrs a week. I also try to not miss ST as my high lean mass is muscle that needs maintaining with regular ST!

    The trick to finding the sweet spot for me was that I needed to know my RMR. It's about 200 higher than Spark calculates. When I used the SP range I lost weight very fast but I'd guess that I was losing muscle, glycogen stores and water, not all fat (and I was a grumpy). When I started ST however this all stopped as my body adjusted and started to maintain its lean mass and replenish glycogen and water in the muscles. Additional I increased my running as I trained for a HM which has the downside of making me ravenous so my weight loss has slowed since the initial dramatic 10lbs in 4 wks.

    Reading Coach Nicole's vital stats also confirmed that I am quite 'normal' for a fit 5'7.5" female with plenty of muscle and regular running. If I gained a bit more muscle and went backwards in time to 29yrs and gained another 1/2" I'd probably have an RMR of 2410 ;-)

    The sad part of the equation is that all the elements that make a high RMR diminish naturally with age so for me to continue to have a high RMR I have to work harder and harder to just stay where I'm at. Less food is the destination of all human beings as we age. I'm putting up a fight however and I'm going to try to retain as much of my youthful RMR as is possible! - 8/3/2013   7:26:14 PM
  • POWER2XCEL
    61
    interesting blog - 5/22/2013   9:39:10 PM
  • 60
    I just had this test done at the gym I go to, a hospital-affiliated wellness center that also does outpatient physical therapy and cardiac rehab. I'm SO glad I did. I was eating 1200 calories a day and just barely maintaining for 8 months. I then bumped up to 1450 because "I must be in starvation mode," and steadily gained over 5 lbs over the next 10 weeks. I joined this gym and upped my exercise to 6-8 hours a week for 8 weeks and halted the weight gain. Finally the staff recommended I do this test and found that my RMR is only 1010. Given that, it's obvious that I would gain weight eating 1450 calories! I'm now on 1100 calories/day and that same 6-8 hours of exercise per week (half strength, half cardio -- all monitored by the staff) and I've FINALLY lost 2 pounds in two weeks which is my best weight loss rate in 32 months of careful tracking!

    The other part of the equation is that I'm hypothyroid. My doctors consider me "treated" since my TSH is "perfect," though I'm still very symptomatic. They haven't run the full thyroid panel (7 tests, not 1), which can identify other potential treatments. A very low RMR can be indicative of un- or under-treated hypothyroidism. This gives me the concrete, numerical evidence that I do need further testing and treatment, something I've been complaining about for years. I've got a referral to an excellent specialist; I'm hopeful that my thyroid will be fixed soon.

    To be sure, this test does not excuse anyone from tracking EVERY morsel, measuring food, checking protein/fat/carb ratios, using heart rate monitors for cardio exercise, and get checked by a physician. But if you're truly working hard and not losing, this test can really help identify if it's something within your control or not. - 12/12/2012   11:23:36 PM
  • ERUPE2
    59
    I know my metabolisium is slow but I don't know where to get this test done cause I weigh 221 pounds and am 5'2" I should weigh 126 pounds which is a nice even number and I can't figure out sparkpeople yet I want to lose alot before my 50th birthday which is October 16 - 9/24/2012   10:53:06 AM
  • 58
    Numbers seemed high to me for an RMR (maybe not for total daily burn including exercise?). I used to bodybuild and at 145 lbs my RMR (as tested by the devices) wasn't close to that. I just had it done again a few months ago. I find these tests are normally close to the calculated range and the dietitian said so as we'll. - 9/18/2012   6:08:29 AM
  • 57
    I would definitely try it if I had the money! - 9/17/2012   7:40:30 AM
  • 56
    I have a BodyMedia Fit CORE and I love it. It wants me to burn a total of 2600 calories/day (that's for everything - sleeping, exercise, pacing, etc...), so I'm guessing my BMR is around 2100. It also wants me to eat around 1850 calories/day. That didn't do much for me, so I'm aiming for 1700 as my max - I'm guessing I underestimate some foods, and that's why I wasn't losing weight aiming for 1850. - 9/13/2012   10:30:45 PM
  • RONNIEG52
    55
    This is a great article. I found it very informative.I have been having trouble with my thyroid for about 2 months now. My doctor told me that until my thyroid was adjusted properly it would probably be difficult to lose weight. I thought that I was doing something wrong. It helps to know that sometimes there really IS something wrong. Thanks again for this article. - 9/10/2012   1:14:53 PM
  • JAH732
    54
    I don't understand, how can all three of you having resting metabolism rates that exceed the average daily recommended caloric intake (2000 calories)? That would mean that you would have to be eating more than a normal person just to have enough energy to be alive? So what would you actually have to eat in order to exercise and have more than a completely sedentary lifestyle? - 9/2/2012   10:51:45 PM
  • 53
    Coach N .you are the best! Thanks for all you do to educate and inspire us to do and be our very best. I have been stuck for a yr, so I am very in to applying this blog. I see that activity is more important than calories; and quality of calories more important than quantity. May you have a fantastic weekend! - 9/2/2012   1:58:39 PM
  • 52
    Thanks; very interesting. - 9/1/2012   11:27:36 PM
  • 51
    I would love to try it. Even with daily exercise, I cannot lose weight if I eat far less than Spark recommends. My GP doesn't seem to believe me when I tell him how many calories I consume v. how many I burn -- he just keeps telling me I need to lose weight, which only adds to my frustration. A test like this would be so useful. - 9/1/2012   5:20:56 PM
  • 50
    I didn't know...... - 8/31/2012   7:04:23 PM
  • BAKI2006
    49
    Interesting Article - 8/30/2012   7:49:03 PM
  • 48
    Glad I read this. Learn something new today. That makes nnumber two new things for me. Another helpful tool in the war against those little fat cells. Very exciting and wonderful blog - 8/30/2012   2:58:51 PM
  • 47
    Very interesting information. Glad to see the research/studies being done. I hope that someday we have lots more answers to many of these types of questions. - 8/30/2012   12:36:00 PM
  • GAYLEJ1
    46
    I use the MedGem test for a weight management program that I lead in Springfield, IL. The results can be very surprising for some individuals. Great article about it! - 8/30/2012   12:31:44 PM
  • 45
    I had this test and do not believe I burned as much as it claimed. I tried eating more and adjusting my calories, and I only gained weight. I don't understand how simply breathing for 10 minutes can tell my metabolism. Also, when reading about the test online after taking it, (and I notice it's not mentioned here either), the subject is supposed to be reclined and I was sitting up. I wouldn't get all giddy thinking this test will give anyone any answers or magically make fat drop off. Like anything else, you just have to figure it out for yourself. - 8/30/2012   12:21:01 PM
  • 44
    I know I am hypothyroid. I also know that doctors do NOT try to get your thyroid level to the middle of the normal range, but only correct it to the lower end of normal. Thus even with medication, the thyroid level is not optimal.

    It would be nice if there was an easy formula to take hypothyroidism into account, rather than having to spend a bunch of money! - 8/30/2012   11:37:23 AM
  • 43
    I'm certainly curious about this. I'd like to get mine checked out. - 8/30/2012   10:50:55 AM
  • 42
    Where can i find this test!!!?? I am Hypothyroid but taking meds for that, exercise and eat right - still the weight is not coming off. i'd love to figure out if i am eating too much or too little - - 8/30/2012   10:45:48 AM
  • 41
    If the RMR is truly how many calories you burn at rest, then shouldn't Jaime be increasing her caloric intake even more? Since she is working out 5 days a week I would think the caloric burn from the exercise alone would be an acceptable weight loss, which means (if I read this article right) that she should be increasing her intake to 2200 calories a day. What am I not understanding? - 8/30/2012   10:15:10 AM
  • 40
    I have not heard of this before but it sure sounds amazing!! I'll have to see if there is someone in my area who does this type of testing! Thanks for the fascinating information! - 8/30/2012   9:17:09 AM
  • 39
    After many months of frustration I finally found a doctor that used this test along with a whole battery of others tests to determine that my RMR is very low. I was placed on a 1400 calorie day diet ( five small meals a day) and was also told to up my strength training to increase my muscle mass. She said these changes should help to increase my RMR. So far I have lost 12lbs. and I am glad I did this test. - 8/30/2012   9:09:43 AM
  • 38
    I would be interested in seeing a follow-up article in a few months with the 3 people who got tested and find whether they adjusted their diet and exercise according to their RMR results and if the changes using this number helped at all. This article is very interesting and the idea of being tested is intriguing, but at the same time, I prefer reading the 'before and afte'r before considering spending the money on having the test done. - 8/30/2012   8:10:42 AM
  • 37
    I did this test about a year ago. A friend had the MedGem that he purchased from a chiropractor that was "downsizing." I took the test first thing in the morning right after I woke up. It registered my metabolism at 600! I struggle with hypothyroidism, and also with losing weight. I am NOT going to eat 600 calories or less per day. I try to stick with about 1200 and losing weight is still very slow. It was pretty discouraging to get those results. - 8/30/2012   7:40:20 AM
  • 36
    I just wanted to comment. I've had this test done twice, once 6 months ago when I was not losing any weight (165 5/'5") and got 1200. In july, after gaining 20 lbs, and starting to workout 4 -5 days a week at the gym (185 5'5") it was raised to 1310.

    That said, most calculators put me at a range of 1500-1600.

    IMHO, that 200 - 300 calorie difference is significant. - 8/30/2012   7:39:57 AM
  • 35
    I had this test done when I was noticing the easy weight gain, my metabolism is very low, 1600 calories a day, due to an illness and losing some muscle mass. Which meant that even eating even an extra 100 calories was way too easy. I have worked on building muscle and tried to be consistent with eating a lot of fruits and veggies...filling up on them instead of starchy or sugary treats. I have lost weight very slowly, but hey, guess what? I haven't gained. Knowledge is power - 8/30/2012   7:11:15 AM
  • 34
    now where can I get one in my city... - 8/30/2012   6:58:41 AM
  • 33
    Interesting ... I am not sure I am sold that this will give an accurate reading, but it is good to see it is being realized that not all people do burn the same amount of calories. Soooo many times I have all but been called a lier from drs when discussing weight loss. I would not loose by their method or "diet" and they would simply blame me for not following when I was extremely faithful and counted every calorie and measured everything that went into my mouth. - 8/30/2012   6:48:48 AM
  • 32
    Thanks for posting this! funny thing is I just did this test and hydrostatic testing today (wednesday) and i blogged about it too! check it out! :) - 8/30/2012   4:08:54 AM
  • 31
    Quite a comprehensive summary. I was not aware of this test. - 8/29/2012   9:40:54 PM
  • FAITHFUL81
    30
    Encouraging article... Thanks!! - 8/29/2012   9:32:52 PM
  • JJUDD2
    29
    I had a frustrating experience a few summers ago. I was working out in the morning and doing cardio kickboxing a couple nights a week. But I didn't lose any weight. I guess I was not getting enough calories...Unfortunately, there are no sites in my area to have this test :( - 8/29/2012   5:52:23 PM
  • 28
    Booo, the only place listed near me that does it, is no longer in existence :( - 8/29/2012   3:59:44 PM
  • 27
    Oh my gosh! I did a zip code search and discovered that the dietitians in the hospital where I work can perform this test! I am definitely intrigued and if I can swing it financially will have this testing done. Knowledge is power! - 8/29/2012   3:04:53 PM
  • 26
    Every doctor I have been to in the past fifty years is bound and determined I have thyroid problems because no matter what dietitian they sent me to or what program they gave me, I could never lose weight,,
    One summer I would consume about 4500 calories a day, not trying to lose, just pigging out, I was slimmer then,, I took iron pills, nothing else,, as long as I took those iron pills, I could eat virtually ANYTHING in any amounts, and the next day I would weigh myself and had lost a minimum of three pounds!! Overnight!!!
    I lost fifty five pounds in three months, eating anything that got in front of me,, like at one sitting, I ate a whole party pizza, an order of onion rings, a pitcher of pop, a banana split!! Next morning I lost one pound!! Crazy,,
    My metabolism is, and I quote about ten doctors, "The craziest thing I have ever seen!" Now I munch a big salad, water, and lose nothing..
    If I could afford this test, I might take it.. all things should only be guidelines however,, no science is perfect or exact...
    If it is accurate, it could be a great tool for medical professionals... - 8/29/2012   2:24:18 PM
  • 25
    I think that part of most people's "problem" is that they think they need to eat very little in order to lose weight. Many people aim for around 1200 calories a day, having heard that that's what dieters do. This article basically says that you DO have to eat more than that to lose weight (in most cases). I know that when I don't eat enough it definitely slows down my progress!

    If you're able to have this kind of testing, and then adjust your calorie intake, etc., it may be just the push you need - especially if you're on a plateau. The testing itself is just a way to find out that starting number. Ends a lot of guessing, since most calculations are based upon standard figures. - 8/29/2012   2:17:07 PM
  • 24
    What I would have found an interesting comparison is whether the RMR that SP would have calculated for those three individuals was more, less, or in the same range. There's really no value to spending $50 to $100 to get a more accurate number if the variation was within a couple hundred.

    Believe me ... I'm a math geek to the core. I have a spreadsheet on which I calculate my BMR from 4 common formulae, 2 based on LBM, and then average them, multiply for sedentary activity, add my calculated calorie burn and see how closely on target to my 500 calorie deficit the result is.

    But I'm a miser with money. I want to really see a value before I spend. In a scenario where fitness calories burned is an approximation, the likely amount of variation from the results of the formulae and this test don't seem particularly significant. (I say fitness calories burned are an approximation because when I put 30 minutes of "Stationary Bicycle, greater than 15mph" I will get the same calories burned whether I pedaled 16 mph at 1 resistance or 22 mph at 10 resistance. Obviously I would burn more calories with the latter.) - 8/29/2012   1:59:39 PM
  • 23
    A couple comments:

    "But more often than not, individuals who have been eating far less than their RMR but still aren't losing weight can mean one of two things, according to Dawn"

    I think there is a third "thing" that needs to be considered: inaccurate tracking of food. I bring that up because I know from personal experience how easy this is to mess things up. And while I used to BADLY underestimate how much food I was eating, I'm sure it goes both ways.

    Having said that, once I do hit my goal weight (4.6 pounds away!), this could be a very useful test to have. Thanks for share Coach Nicole! - 8/29/2012   1:57:09 PM
  • 22
    You can also get a pretty good estimate of your total calorie burn for free by counting your calories and watching what the scale does...

    Details here:
    www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
    ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=46361
    13


    :-)

    This method takes a lot of tracking and some basic spreadsheet skills, but what I like about it is that it adjusts over time as my activity increases or decreases, I eat more or less, etc.

    So you can kind of watch what's going on and adjust accordingly.
    - 8/29/2012   1:13:37 PM
  • 21
    I have never had this test and I wish I could afford it. My metabolism has been screwed up since my second round of chemo - 1 1/2 years ago!!!
    I know it will bounce back - dr says so but I hate waiting - 8/29/2012   1:03:38 PM
  • 20
    Wow, this sounds great. I just followed the link and found they do the testing at my community college which I attend 3x a week. Awesome. - 8/29/2012   1:00:37 PM
  • 19
    I had the impedence test done at my gym ( with electric current). I was told that most women have between 80 and 100 pounds of muscle, I am 120 pounds of muscle. And that I should be eating about 1700 calories a day. I go to spin class twice a week, walk, jog, ride my bike...and the scale was not moving. When I eat a little more, I lose weight. Reading books such as those by Gary Taubes indicate it is NOT always the calories in, calories out. The more info we have the better IMHO. This article and comments show it is so important not to judge someone on their size. They may be doing all the "right things" and still not getting the results they want. And how awesome is that that they keep at it. But how much more awesome to have another piece of the puzzle that might get them closer to their weight loss goal. - 8/29/2012   10:40:23 AM

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