Mary Schreiner, MPH (Masters in Public Health) has worked in the weight management arena since 1990 with both the American Heart Association and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Besides teaching weight loss classes, she’s been involved in several Low-Carb vs Low-Calorie studies. Since she was overweight into young adulthood, she knows how difficult the struggle with weight control can be. It’s more than just eating less and exercising more. She speaks on several health related topics like:
~ Nutrition and Diet in Disease Prevention: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s
~ Weight Loss Tips and Tricks
~ Women and Heart Disease
~ Exercise – The Fountain of Youth!
Here are some more of the questions I asked her.
• We blame a lot of our weight gain on our metabolism. Can you talk about metabolism and how it relates to our weight gain or loss?
Metabolism refers to how many calories a person burns on a daily basis. RMR or Resting Metabolic Rate indicates how many calories a person burns at rest. In other words, if you were sick in bed all day, you would still be burning calories.
Most people’s metabolisms are determined by their size. The larger a person is, the more calories he/she will burn just in maintaining their current size. And, when a larger person gets some exercise, he/she will burn more calories than a smaller person doing an identical activity.
There are some people who seemingly have a higher metabolism. They seem to be able to eat anything and everything and never gain weight. Maybe they are blessed, but they may actually be moving more than the average person. These often are the people who swing their leg while sitting, or tap a pencil on the desk. In other words, some part of their body seems to always be in motion and therefore burning calories.
For the general population, metabolism slows down as we age. This occurs because most people are not getting daily exercise and are not doing any activity that encourages muscle strength. We slow down first, then the metabolism slows. Muscle burns a lot more calories than fat. As we age, our body fat increases as our muscle mass decreases… so there goes our calorie burning mechanism.
But this does not have to happen. Getting some aerobic activity (walking, swimming, biking, dancing, etc) 5 or 6 times a week will help burn the body fat. Doing some weight training, carrying your groceries, walking up stairs, even gardening will help to maintain the muscle you currently have. And you can build muscle by doing weight training at the proper intensity. Those one-pound weights will not do the trick.
How do you know that you are at the right intensity to get the muscle building benefit? A couple of sessions with a personal trainer at a local gym or recreation center will set you up with a safe and appropriate routine. It is worth the investment.
When losing weight, you will lose water, fat, and muscle. That is one reason that dieting alone will make you fatter. If you diet, then gain the weight back, you will gain back fat and water. So your weight might ultimately be the same as before the diet, but now your body fat percent is up and your muscle mass percent is down. Exercise is essential during, and even more essential after, losing weight. You want that muscle back!
• Is there a way to accurately test our metabolism to know exactly what our resting metabolic rate is?
There are several good websites that can help you determine your Resting Metabolic Rate, and they often will let you see how many calories you burn while doing certain activities like walking, swimming, house work, etc.
Many of these sites have good tips for losing weight, offer food diaries for your use, and will even look up the calories for you if you tell them what and how much you are eating.
Calories Per Hour : look for the RMR calculator. It will ask for your gender, height, weight, and age then will give you a pretty accurate number. It will also show you how many calories you would burn by becoming more active. Good motivation.
Spark People : lots of good information especially about exercise, diet, and weight loss.
Calorie King has a book where you can look up the calories in almost any food, but their website lets you track you calories and exercise, and lets you know if you are really burning more calories that you are eating … a Reality Check!
Okay … Here I go to figure out what my RMR is. What about you? Is this information you want to know about yourself? Do you think it will help or hinder your weight loss goals?