We know that weight loss and long-term health is more than calories in vs. calories out. Your hormones, sleep, macronutrient breakdown, and stress levels all contribute and have an effect on your body weight/composition and longevity. However, it is important to have a sense of how many calories you are consuming as well as how many calories you are expending.
When we look at the calories you are expending there are four components. They work together to create your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Basic metabolism: Your body uses most of the calories you get from food to sustain basic functions, such as your heartbeat. This is commonly referred to as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). 50% of the calories you burn are from your BMR. Did you know you can increase your BMR by adding in resistance training? Lifting weights will increase your lean mass which equals a higher metabolic rate.
Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) a.k.a digestion: Around 10–15% of the calories you eat are used to power digestion. This is known as the thermic effect of food and varies based on the foods you eat. There is an increase in heat production following food digestion. Carbs and fat increase heat production by 2-5% whereas protein increases heat production by 10-20%! The coles notes? You burn more calories digesting protein than fat and carbs.
Physical activity: This is purposeful movement and exercise (e.g. an exercise or yoga class, bike ride, run, or resistance training workout). The percentage of calories burned from exercise is dependent on the volume and intensity of exercise, but the average person burns 10-15% of their daily calories through exercise.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): This is your non-exercise movement. It includes walking around, cleaning the house, running errands, etc. NEAT contributes to 25% of your daily calorie expenditure. Most people assume exercise burns more calories than NEAT, but that isn’t true!
Here is a TDEE calculator you can use for a guideline on macronutrients and how many calories would need to be consumed to maintain your current weight with your current level of exercise: https://tdeecalculator.net/
With gyms closed and many of us transitioned to working from home, it can be expected that at least some changes in physical activity and NEAT will occur. Some of us may find that we are not burning as many calories via NEAT. Choosing to shop online versus going in person, or not having to commute to work, for example, would mean less daily calorie expenditure. On the contrary, with the extra time on your hands, you may find yourself walking to the grocery store instead of driving, or nearly breaking a sweat from kneading bread dough a few times a week… Keeping an eye on your fitness tracker or using the TDEE calculator may help you find an adjusted amount of calories in that works for your situation during this quarantine.
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