Dieting and Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

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Dieting and RMRDo you ever get the feeling you’re on a rollercoaster ride? You diet, you break the diet, you go back to the cakes and pies, you diet again, you break the diet … and so it goes. Dieting and feeling guilty about coming off your healthy eating plan is a one-way ticket to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. So forget about “dieting” or the latest diet trend, and remember that the key to healthy weight control is to EAT – but eat right. 

What is RMR?

It’s time to learn a new abbreviation – RMR. What is RMR? It’s your Resting Metabolic Rate. That’s the amount of calories your body uses when you’re doing absolutely nothing. In other words, it’s what’s happening in your body after you’ve spent nearly an hour watching the latest episode of Desperate Housewives from the comfort of your lumpy sofa, having not gotten up for anything. And there isn’t much happening.

Your RMR is the minimum number of calories your body needs to watch that episode of Desperate Housewives. Or, to put it another way, it’s the minimum amount of energy your body needs to support your basic physiological functions, such as breathing, circulating blood and any of the numerous biochemical reactions needed to keep you alive. Your RMR is generally 60 to 70 per cent of your total daily caloric expenditure.

RMR plays an important role in healthy weight loss. When you start to diet and eat less than what your body needs, your RMR drops dramatically, tricking your body into thinking there’s a famine coming on.  So it tries to store fat faster to prepare for the hard times ahead. Your RMR will also slow down if you let yourself starve between meals, or eat big meals with very long intervals in between.

For this reason, dieting can actually lead to weight gain, or not be effective in healthy weight loss. In order to have your RMR function at its optimum level, and burn calories the fastest, the best thing you can do is give your body fuel in small portions at regular intervals. When you eat small amounts of food regularly, your body will think there’s no danger of starvation coming and will let go of the calories easier. You should eat sensible amounts of food every 4 hours.


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