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"Why can't I just use the sedentary BMR?" - a question I am asked a lot.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yesterday I read a blog that was identical to a posting on the message board at By The Numbers the day before. While identical, they were by 2 different members.

I am not going to say who & what exactly, but the gist of it was, "why can't I just say I am sedentary and use that as the basis for my BMR and eat less to lose more weight?"

You can. Of course you can. But you will not lose more weight by "reporting" less activity. You will wind up on a plateau and we all hate plateaus. The longer you stay at the plateau, the harder it will be to break it.

So, I am posting this for anyone interested - you have free choice about what you eat and how much you eat. You may report or not report the actual calories you are burning daily. In the end, you are the one who will either benefit or be foiled by your program.

You are the only one who will either lose the weight or risk giving up. The choice is yours.

When this happened to me in Oct 2008 I went to the Expert's Forum for Exercise & Fitness and was told I needed to start eating a minimum of 1600 calories daily. It wasn't easy for me but I had stopped losing weight for 3 weeks and I was asking for advice. I discussed it with my DH and we agreed together that what did I have to lose but weight?! While I only increased to 1550 at the time due to being involved in a challenge at one of my teams, it was enough to start me losing again. Once I started losing, I also made sure I accurately entered all my burned calories (to the best of my ability) and it was the last plateau I was ever on.

So I pass the ball back to your court - do you really want to pretend you are sedentary instead of reporting true calories burned daily?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing your extensive knowledge and experience with us. Your blogs are always so interesting!
    2861 days ago
    I track truthfully. I choose LIFE not lying. I am grateful that you've addressed this issue. Great job on your success! Love, Dawn
    2861 days ago
    I'm all about eating more food too! I had wondered why Sparkpeople only uses a 1.2 activity factor as their baseline daily calories for people (or why they didn't give you a choice of which factor to use) The sedentary 1.2 factor works if you're just starting out, but doesn't if you're an active sort of person. But, it also took me awhile to realize that if you put in your weekly average calorie burn in the "Fitness Section" Sparkpeople will increase your daily calories by the average amount you are burning (minus the deficit you put in under your weight loss goals). Brilliant! But not very intuitive... at least for me, but then it always takes me awhile to figure these things out. It seems so difficult to wrap my head around the "more calories" thing, but on the other hand I love the idea of eating more!
    2861 days ago
    A person has to get honest with oneself in order to succeed. You have definantly succeeded and then some. You are emoticon !!......Karen
    2862 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/24/2010 9:13:49 PM
    I took the leap of faith and added 400 calories to my meal plan on the advice of the "experts" - I felt kind of like, if I am not willing to listen then why did I ask?

    It wasn't easy. And I heard from so many people that it just couldn't possibly work. So many people telling me that if I ate 1600 calories I couldn't lose another pound - but I not only continued losing weight, I lost 30 more than I could even dream about losing.

    Well, DH & I made the decision together and it did work for me. Like me, you all will have to make your own decision. All I can relate is what I have lived through and I tell if it worked or didn't work. I have blogs where "I blew it" because it didn't work the way I thought it might.

    The chart and the CDE information is not mine. The chart was made from information gotten here at Spark and made by a woman who sadly left the program without losing any significant weight.

    I do wish you the best of luck! Nothing would please me more than everyone here at SparkPeople reaching their goal weights.

    2862 days ago
    I was super, super active for a LONG while and eating a lot more. I spent an average of 90 minutes on the elliptical three times a week, plus bellydancing, yoga and walking. I will admit, at one point, I thought "an I exercising this much just so I can eat more?" I always calculated my WW points based on a sedentary lifestyle, because I am a housewife. I earned those activity points, so it made me feel better about using them. LOL
    2862 days ago
    If one has been used to the older theory of the less you eat the more you lose, then increasing calories, the amount you eat is extremely hard!!
    I know all about this from my experience, I was on a plateau, having had a long period of loosing, I accepted that I needed to increase my calories but I went into panic - I had to reduce them again, then gradually raise them again - but yes, - it works and yes, it is necessary to record it all correctly!!
    As you say, what have you got to lose but weight!! And since weight loss or gain is a slow process - if things go wrong then there will always be time to fine tune ones program!!
    2862 days ago
    This is a reason we are glad you are here. You are a helpful spark friend.
    2862 days ago
    I really do not want to eat less calories! I think I'm not explaining myself well. I just want to be more accurate and maybe explore different ideas. Here's what I posted on Lisa's blog.

    I think instead of multiplying by 1.5 the idea would be to just multiply by 1.2 and add your actual calories burned into the equation making it more accurate. So instead of doing the general number of 2400 you would get the exact calories burned for the day. Our Bmr is 1600 x 1.2 = 1920 and from that number add your calories.
    For example, on really heavy exercise days when I burn 1500 calories I would add that to 1920 and have a starting point of 3420. 1920+1500=3420. And from that number create a deficit of 500 calories. So on that day I would aim to eat 2920 instead of 2400. On days when I only burn 300 calories I would take 1920+300=2220 and create a 500 calorie deficit based off of that. So I would aim for around 1720 calories.

    It's just an idea Lisa and I were exploring. Not sure if it's right but it's an interesting concept.

    I really apprieciate your advice! One because you've been there and done that and two you have talked to hundreds of people about weight loss.

    2862 days ago
    Wise words! Good info. Thanks for sharing your experience. -Marsha
    2862 days ago
    Not going there!
    2862 days ago
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