I don’t know about you but over the years, I have discovered that my biggest struggle is maintaining the weight, after I’ve managed to shed the extra pounds. The past ten years have been a continuous vicious cycle of going on diets, losing weight and then going back to eating too much and way too unhealthy and regaining the weight.
This vicious cycle and launching this website have made me realise that there are some very big gaps in my knowledge on nutrition and health. So I’ve decided to start an online course, just to get a feel of it, before starting a proper career in the sector. And this is what I’ve discovered on how to maintain the weight.
BMR and PAL
As mentioned above, I’ve recently started an online certification in Nutrition and Health and I’ve been introduced to 2 very important concepts: the Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR) and the Physical Activity Level (or PAL). These two values help us estimate our total energy requirement, which is the total amount of calories burnt by our bodies throughout the day.
Since these 2 values can change constantly, so does the total energy requirement, so it’s good to keep an eye on them. They must also be changed based on your end goal: losing, gaining or maintaining the weight.
Here goes the breakdown.
Basal Metabolic Rate
The BMR is very easy to calculate but you must be careful, as the formulas are different for men and women:
Male = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Female = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches ) – (4.7 x age in years)
Based on the formula, I have calculated that my BMR is 1,278.5, which means that my body needs 1,278.5 kcal to maintain its basic functions, like breathing, keeping warm and keeping my heart beating. But that doesn’t take into account any physical activity I might be doing during the day.
Now that requires a whole different type of consideration, a sort of self-evaluation, if you like.
Physical Activity Level
A person’s PAL is determined by the things a person does in a 24-hour period. It can also be estimated from the physical activities that person performs each day. Each activity is connected to a particular level of activity:
Level 1: Sedentary
This level of activity is described as little or no exercise. The PAL factor is 1.2.
Level 2: Light exercise
This level of activity includes frequent walking in a job / daily activity or 60mins of intense activity in one week. The PAL factor is 1.375.
Level 3: Moderate exercise
This level of activity could be a job that is quite physical throughout the day e.g. shop work or intense physical activity 30 – 60 minutes three or four times a week. The PAL factor is 1.55.
Level 4: Very active
This level of activity could include a highly physical job such as brick laying or farming or intense exercise for 60 minutes five to seven days per week. The PAL factor is 1.725.
Level 5: Extreme
This level of activity could include full time training for a sporting event; this level of activity is usually only reached by elite athletes. The PAL factor is 1.9.
Total Energy Requirement
Finally, to calculate your total energy requirement, all you have to do is multiply the BMR by the PAL (BMR x PAL). You will then get the total amount of calories (or kcal) that you need to consume to keep your intake balanced. It’s also the amount that you can tweak in order to lose, gain or maintain the weight.
To help calculate and estimate your weight loss, do keep in mind that we lose 1 pound every 3,500 calories we burn (pretty crazy, right?) and that both the BMR and the PAL can be adjusted to help with that (by reducing the number the calories and increasing the amount of physical activity).
Thank you for sticking with me through formulas and calculations! I hope that this info has been as eye-opening for you as it has been for me. I also hope that it’s useful and that it will teach you how to maintain the weight in a safe and informed manner.
Of course, the road ahead is still long and tricky but I’ll do my best to help guide you with easy and handy recipes and nifty tips and tricks, so stay tuned.
Thank you again and don’t forget to use the comments section below for any questions or doubts.