My first step in arriving at a place where I can lose weight is to be honest about where I am at. My sister often encourages me to stop thinking about the weight I’ve lost in the past (or have gained) and instead to focus on the here and now. I have to start viewing this as a new chapter, a new start.
In order to lose weight, I first needed to learn more about my body. How many calories does it burn in a day? How many calories do I need to consume in order to maintain my weight? How many calories do I need to consume in order to lose weight?
In my quest to find these answers I headed over to the Virginia Hospital Center in the Washington, DC area last Thursday to have Metabolic Testing done.
The Reevue Metabolic Test measures the oxygen that your body consumes and then uses that measurement to determine the number of calories you burn at rest in a day. The Reevue Metabolic Test also determines your metabolic rate or metabolism.
The test was uncomfortable, to be honest. For 10 minutes, you breathe into a tube with a valve all while your nose is plugged closed. It feels like you’re having an asthma attack but you have to stay as calm as possible and breathe normally despite those feelings.
After the test, the Registered Dietitian took me to her office to review my results and to discuss my current diet.
My Reevue Metabolic Test Results
- Weight- 233 lbs
- Height- 5’9″
- Metabolism- 33% faster than a person of the same sex, height, age, and weight (AKA my metabolism is fast!)
- Resting Energy Expenditure- 2462 Calories
- Estimated Lifestyle and Activity Burn- 738 Calories
- Estimated Exercise Burn- 256 Calories
- Total Energy Output (calories burned in a day)- 3456 Calories
So what does this all mean??
Well it means that my body burns 2462 calories a day just to function and I have a really fast metabolism. To maintain my body weight I would need to consume 2462 calories a day. My first thought was, “but on a good day I’ve been eating 1200-1400 calories. Why then am I not losing weight? That’s 1000 calories less than what you’re telling me to eat just to maintain”.
Well according to the RD, on my good days I am eating WAY too few calories. Because of that my body clings onto the fat it has and thus doesn’t allow me to lose stored body fat. To make up for the fact that I’m super hungry on those 1200-1400 calories days I overindulge and end up eating anywhere from 1800-3000 on other days. The inconsistency has my body all over the place and hasn’t left it in a healthy place to lose weight.
Based on my test results, the RD advised me to eat 2100 calories a day. With the additional calories I’ll burn through lifestyle & activity (walking to work, taking the stairs, etc.) and through exercise (cardio, weight lifting, and football) that will leave me consuming 1000 calories less than what I’m burning.
What that equals out to is an estimated weight loss of 2 pounds a week.
The thought of eating 2100 calories a day BLEW MY MIND. In my head eating that much food would lead to automatic weight gain! The first few days were tough! My mind was no ok with eating that many calories.
Within a few days of tracking my calories on My Fitness Pal I quickly realized that my weight loss is completely dependent on the accuracy of My Fitness Pal and my accuracy in measuring out my foods. If I log 4 oz of chicken but actually eat 7oz, I’m eating far more calories than 2100 at the end of the day. I thus decided to eat (track) 1800 calories a day, leaving room for error (whether my error or error in My Fitness Pal).
The RD also gave me advice on what foods to eat at each meal, but it’s going to take me some time to figure out how the various food groups equal out to 1800 calories, but I’ll get there!
Having metabolic testing done truly helped me to understand where I’m at. It brought a science to it all and helped me to understand my body. For me, I have not been fueling my body enough to lose weight and I’d wonder if others are doing the same thing.
This first week was all about being open, to not being discouraged, and to trust my body’s needs.
Starting Weight: 233.0 lbs (weighed in at the doctor’s on 2/14/13)
This Weigh-in: 228.2
Difference: 4.8 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 4.8 lbs
I am very excited about the weight I’ve lost and though I’ve nervous about the future, I’m excited! With an understanding of where I’m at, my next step was to determine what my motivation was… on to step 2…
To Be Continued…
Update — NOTE: The office that I went to at the Virginia Hospital Center charged $100 for the metabolic testing. This office does bill insurance for the test but please note that not all insurance companies will cover this type of testing. I did not have to sign up for any additional services, I was only charge for the test and the follow-up appointment (both of which were billed to my insurance).