It's no secret that I have battled with my weight, now and in the past.
I do not pretend that I don't care, because in the end, when it comes to endurance sports and overall health, weight matters. It makes a true, measurable difference.
I do not hide the fact that I have gained 8-10 pounds since December, despite constant calorie monitoring and a vigorous training schedule. Furthermore, I do not hide how much this bothers me. Not for vanity, but rather from a performance standpoint.
And I know that to others I seem fit and my body may be "enviable", but there is no reason anyone should gain 10 pounds in 6 months when they ACTIVELY TRYING NOT TO. It just doesn't make sense.
I felt as if I had hit a dead end. I was eating the amount of calories I should have been based on all of those calculations for determining your metabolic rate. I was adding in for my workouts. And subtracting out 500 calories per day to create a deficit. I worked out more. I worked out less. I tweaked the numbers up slightly and then back down. Nothing worked.
I knew I needed help.
So, based on the recommendation of my friend, Sally, I set up an appointment to have my RMR (resting metabolic rate) tested.
This test, which costs $100 dollars and includes a meeting with a nutritionist, would tell me how many calories my body burns at rest. From there, it calculates how many calories you need based on your activity level plus 30 minutes of exercise each day (obviously, you get to increase or decrease your caloric intake based on your training schedule). In addition, it gives you caloric ranges for maintenance and weight loss.
I was convinced that I was going to be told that my metabolism is wicked slow and that I was severely overeating, thus gaining weight. To me, it seemed like the only logical outcome.
Yesterday was my test day. After four hours of fasting and relative inactivity (both key to getting accurate results), I headed to the appointment at Commonwealth Sports Medicine. Once there, I was asked a few basic questions.
Height: 5' 8 1/2"
Goal Weight: 149
Then, my nose was clamped shut and I was told to breathe into a long tube attached to a machine. For 15 minutes. Upon completion, my results were printed. And here's what they said ...
Yeah, that's right my RMR is 2534. As in, if I stayed in bed all day and did nothing, I could still eat 2534 calories. And based on my lifestyle and 30 minutes of cardio (like I ever do just 30 minutes of cardio), I should be eating 3609 to MAINTAIN MY WEIGHT. (Note: based on these results, my metabolism is 67% faster than a typical person of similar sex, age, height and weight)
That's pure insanity.
Do you know how much I have been eating?
Somewhere between 1500-1800 on rest days. And 2200-2800 every other day. Even on days when I workout for 3+ hours, I never have more than 3000 calories.
Which means, I have been severely UNDER-EATING.
My body is holding on to it's weight, because I'm not giving it enough fuel.
In addition to these results, I had my body fat percentage tested. It came in at 24%, which is EXACTLY what my home scale has be telling me. So, that means I currently carry around 37.92 pounds of fat. To get to my goal weight and goal body fat percentage of 149 and 20%, I need to lose 8.12 pounds of fat. Hopefully, with the help of the new eating guidelines placed in front of me, I can make this happen.
Have you ever had this or a similar test done? What did you think of the results?
I've never had more than my thyroid tested but your results are amazing! All that from breathing into a tube for 15 minutes? I may need to scrounge up the money for this! I've been sitting at the same weight for more than a year and I'd like that to change. Aren't you so happy to have found out this information? I hope this is your final solution for your weight loss battle :)
I had this done when I was training for my HIM a few years ago - found out similar results and actually was kind of pissed about it...turns out it's challenging to add quality calories to your day (I would rather add a daily cupcake!). Thanks for bringing up this topic!
That's really interesting! Hmmm...maybe that's my problem. I seem to have plateaued with my weight loss and can't seem to get rid of a pesky 5 pounds and loose the flab in my hips/butt.
Look at the overachieving metabolism over here! haha
I have never had my RMR tested, but I assume it'd be pretty high based on how I eat. I'm glad to see you found out that you were undereating. That should really help you kick those pounds and also give you a bit more energy for training/racing - always an added benefit!
Interesting! How do you plan to add the calories? Sounds like a challenge to eat enough quality foods.
I so need to do this. I've been fighting the same 5-10 pounds for pretty much forever...
I have had this done a few times now. It's very eye opening to say the least... my metabolism is slower than I thought ( bummer!) but I found the test very useful. I also took it a bit further and had my specific HR parameters set for running and also for biking.... now that was eye opening as well!
That's wild! And, I'm kind of jealous! Must be great to have an explanation. I look forward to seeing the results when you start eating what you need.
I need to go back and check my results now. My Dr did this test when he did a stress test on me about 8 months ago. I remember seeing the number and reading that it meant that my RMR was better than expected based on my weight and %BF, but I did not pay much attention to the #.
I am gearing up to work hard on losing these last 10 lbs I have wanted to lose for the last year or so. I was doing so well, but then marathon training (especially after the marathon is over) messes me up! I allow myself to eat way too much junk!
WOW. This totally makes me want to go in and do this test too! I've been hanging on to 5-10 lbs that just WILL not go away. I'm training for a marathon and have been sticking to 1800-2300 (depending on length of my run) and NOTHING! Thank you for sharing this! Do you happen to know how to find where these tests can be done??
Wow! 3600 calories is crazy. How are you going to fit all that in? Guessing 6 cupcakes wouldn't be the smart way :)
Whoa! That is freaking nuts! I've had a basic nutritional analysis done, but now I want to do this! It's crazy what bodies do.
Thank you for sharing this Tonia... I'm with you in that I really struggle with my weight (yes, people tell me I'm fit and that I should chill out), but I share a lot of your feelings. I have never had my RMR tested, but I'm very tempted now. What an eye opener when you thought you were doing things right. Please keep us updated on how things are going with any changes you implement! :)
I would love to have this testing done..although to be honest, the thought of eating 3600 calories in a day would make me really nervous. I can't wait to see how this goes for you!
I've only had my body fat tested. This is great info and really worth the $100!
Money well spent! I'm sure you will hit those goals much more easily now that you are armed with the correct information to get there.
While I'd love to see if I am under or over eating with my own recent weight gain, I doubt right now is the right time. Transition to VA life is under way and things are beyond hectic. But that keeps things interesting.
I'm excited to hear how your progress changes now that you have this information! Now slice up a few more avacodos each day and enjoy figuring out how to add extra calories into your day.
Before I even got to the end of your post I could tell this was going to be the outcome. It is more common then we think as endurance athletes. You are going to be so excited watching those fat pounds drop off as you increase your calorie intake. I am glad for you that you were able to figure this out. It is such a challenge as someone mentioned to consume 3000+ healthy calories.
Would love to hear/read what you add to your diet. This is something I've struggled with myself and still have not gotten it down.
Best of luck! Love reading your blog!
So glad you found answers! I just had my body comp taken which is a much better indicator for me than weight. I'm muscular--I weigh more, but my BF is healthy.
Have a cupcake!!
HOLY CRAP!!!! If someone ever told me I had to eat 3600 calories to lose weight, I honestly believe that would be the happiest day of my life.
Did you see my post about having a body comp analysis done while I was on the cruise? (Here: http://29goingon29again.blogspot.com/2012/06/body-composition-test.html) It wasn't anything NEAR as in depth as what you had done, although I wasn't aware of that when I signed up for it. I thought this is what I was going in for. Notsomuch. I really would like to have the real deal done. Wonder if I can find someone that does it around here...
Holy crow. That's fascinating. That is SO MANY calories. I don't know that I could even do that. And I love food.
Who do you make an appointment with to test this??
So you were at your goal weight in December? I've heard of the body holding onto fat when it's being deprived.....
I've never had metabolic testing done. How fascinating! I have, however, gained a bunch of weight seemingly mysteriously in a relatively short period of time. With me, it's been a hormone-imbalance issue and a GI issue...both of which probably have an effect on my metabolic rate. I'd love to get this done. Thanks for sharing this info...and good luck with your goals :)
Wow fascinating! But it makes sense you workout ALOT! I use myfitnesspal.com. It helps me balance the extra calories with the fitness
I will be fascinated to see if eating more helps you lose weight. I have heard this before but it is hard to wrap my mind around it. Good luck.
This is beyond amazing. You're starving yourself!!! I am wondering what kind of nutritional advice they gave you. I am 5'7, weigh between 133-135 but I have 30.5% body fat. I know I could loose 10 pounds in "fat" but don't know how to go about doing that.
Super interesting!!! Where did you get this test done? I think, I want to do it too :)
holy cow - you're a hummingbird and didn't even know it! i won a free test once but never used it, gave it away. i think i would have a hard time getting 3500 calories in that were quality - easy if i could drink beer and eat old fashioned doughnuts. Did they give you a plan? do you jump right in to more cals or do you ramp up slowly? more protein, more fat, more carbs? all of the above? so interesting! maybe it's time to plant an avocado tree in your yard? i could eat one a day...that's a good chunk of cals!
Well get eating girl!! I had a test like this done about 8 years ago and it said similarly that I wasn't eating enough. It was really hard for me actually to eat the amount that I needed to (about 1000 calories more). It was a mental game for me but totally worked!!
This is absolutely fascinating. I'm really interested to know how this ends up working out for you.
WOW!! i had it done last year and it was eye opening. i want to have it done again by a different place just to see what differences i have made. i was told i was eating too many carbs. i just bought a fitbit (came today) and i’m anxious to see if i can tell anything from that after a few weeks.
whoa, crazy! I haven't seen this before and it's very cool. Thanks for sharing!
Not surprised at all! I'd say most of my running friends undereat and they have no clue. It's crazy but it does make sense. I figured this out by chance one summer when i started eating more and i suddenly dropped 8 pounds. I did a little research and found out how many calories my body needed just to breathe, make blood etc. So glad you figured this out!! Yay!
I don't really understand this, though. Wouldn't your metabolism slow down because of undereating? How can your body store fat if your metabolism is still going so fast? I'm asking because I'm having the same issue. I've gained a lot of weight and I SHOULD be losing based on exercise/intake and am getting my BMR tested. But I would think that it will be low because of the low intake.
interesting - you have quite the metabolism! I had my RMR done a year or so ago, it really is an eye opener. It is definitely worth the price of the test.
This is beyond amazing. You're starving yourself!!! I am wondering what kind of nutritional advice they gave you. I am 5'7, weigh between 133-135 but I have 30.5% body fat. ED drugs I know I could loose 10 pounds in "fat" but don't know how to go about doing that.
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