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Old 04-14-2014, 04:20 PM   #1
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Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)Testing

I had RMR testing today through my medical plan (but for an additional fee). You breathe into a tube through your mouth for about 10 minutes, with your nose plugged, and by measuring your oxygen consumption, it can tell you how many calories you burn at rest. I was interested in this because the different formulas on websites such as Scooby's "World's most accurate calorie calculator" can vary by a LOT.

The testing results were kind of what I suspected ... that my metabolic rate is a bit slower than the average person of my age, weight, and gender. The "normal" category is +/- 10% of average, and I'm still in the normal category, but barely, at 9% under average. I didn't test before I started dieting, but it's possible that dieting has reduced my RMR.

I thought it was interesting to see how the testing results compared to different calorie formulas out there. (For TDEE calories, or daily calories burned doing normal daily activities, I used the sedentary setting, which doesn't include any exercise).

Today's RMR Test:
RMR 1483, TDEE 1927
Mifflin-St. Jeor formula:
BMR 1547, TDEE 1857
Harris-Benedict formula:
BMR 1625, TDEE 1950
Katch-McArdle formula (takes into consideration lean body mass):
BMR 1641, TDEE 1970
Cunningham formula (takes into consideration lean body mass):
BMR 1795, TDEE 2154

For me, the Mifflin-St. Jeor was closest for resting rate, Harris-Benedict was closest for TDEE. The Cunningham model is the one the body fat test guy uses, which is very high, as I kind of thought it was. Before I had this test, I'd estimated my TDEE by averaging the Mifflin-St. Jeor and Katch McArdle, and that was only off by only 14 calories.

One question I have is about the report that the machine spits out, which gives a weight loss zone for me of 1187-1483 (20% below RMR - RMR). At the beginning of the appointment, I had talked to the educator about my two-month plateau at approximate daily average net 1100 calories, and she said that she has seen that so often in her work, that when the calories get too low, the body will compensate and start conserving and people will start to plateau or even gain weight, but when they eat a little more they start to lose again. The literature they hand out with the test also says "Eating too few calories can lower your metabolism." So after I got the results, I questioned this recommended weight loss range on the form. The low end of the range is 39% under my sedentary TDEE which seems like a very aggressive calorie cut. She said not to get confused between calories burned and calories eaten and she didn't think it was a problem to eat below RMR. I know there is a difference of opinion about this. So I asked how many calories are too low, and she said, "under 1200 it's hard to get your nutritional needs met. Beyond that you'd need to discuss that with your physician."

I know I plateaued at the low end, and I want a conservative calorie cut because I don't want my metabolism to get lower than it is, so I'm going to stick with my average calories being at the high end at or very near my RMR. I've been averaging there the past couple weeks and it seems to be working to help me lose again so far.

I thought I'd post in case any of this is helpful for somebody.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:27 PM   #2
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It's all so . I'm glad you had it done, and am interested in doing it myself, but wonder if I'd really use the information even if I had it.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:29 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris. This is extremely interesting. I suspect that I'm on the low side of normal as well. According to my Fitbit I burn way more than I eat on a week-by-week basis. Luckily, I don't feel hungry or deprived, but I eat far less than my friends, family, co-workers, etc.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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I only did it because of the plateau. After two months of losing NOTHING and not knowing why, it helps me to know that the calories of my current plan are where I want them to be.

eta: Dawn, your current experiment probably gives you a better idea of your TDEE than any test or estimate.

Last edited by calichris; 04-14-2014 at 04:43 PM..
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:41 PM   #5
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:27 PM   #6
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Interesting ... there's a very involved, fancy spreadsheet to calculate daily calorie burn called heybales that I remembered had a spot for RMR testing. So I went back and put my test result in, and got this message: "Since your tested value is more than 5% under calculated based on LBM, strongly suggest that you delete that tested value, as it could be the result of a suppressed metabolism from undereating . . . don't force a suppressed metabolism lower by under-eating more."

It would be very helpful if everyone could just agree in their advice.

Last edited by calichris; 04-14-2014 at 05:28 PM..
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:53 PM   #7
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Wow, this is Complicated! I admire your persistence. I hope the answers become clear and simpler.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:25 PM   #8
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Through out weight loss and during maintenance, every six to eight weeks something happened (cruise, vaycay, family or friends get-together) that led to me dropping JUDDD for a week or two. During those times, I had a few UUADs, but mostly a string of UDs with a bit of Fast 5 style fasting thrown in when I felt like it.

I usually ended one of those events at or near my weight when I started.

Thanks to SlowSure and you and postings like this, I now understand what I really did every six to eight weeks was goose my metabolism. Over and over when I might have slowed down - and as the queen of forgetting to eat on UD, my metabolism was in serious jeopardy - I speeded things up.

I believe, based on my energy levels, based on how much I can eat and not gain, that if I took that test I would register 'high'.

Hmmm, this may be hint to my BUDDDs. Going wild once in awhile might be a very good thing.
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I did not "lose" weight. I evicted it. It is gone and it ain't coming back!

JUDDD cares about calories. JUDDD does not care what you eat. Your body probably does.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:26 PM   #9
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Kristin, I agree, it's way too complicated.
It makes me wonder if I should just do the entire metabolic reset, but I have been stuck in the same place for so long I don't know if I can handle 6 more weeks. How is that going for you?
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:04 PM   #10
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Well you know, I think I've done a variation - a much less committed one - on Nancy's story.
Throughout this process, I have rotated until I can't bring myself to do it anymore, at which point I eat whatever I want until I feel stuffy again and miss DDs. Then I rotate again.
Recently I decided to jack my caloric intake to whatever I felt like and see what happened. I wanted strength and a future in which I could eat more freely.
For the first week I felt strong, happy, and I slept really solidly.
Then I missed the empty feeling of DDs. I'd told everybody I was going to do this for months but it didn't feel good or fun after a week. It felt like too much.
So I fell back into rotating.
And here's something weird: for the first time ever, ever, my UD calories feel like more than enough. It's like some shift happened.
I'd have reported sooner but I feel flaky dipping back into rotations. My entire trip has been flaky.
It does occur to me that this may be my method and that it may be healthy for me. Wouldn't that be crazy?
At the same time I'm reading the books suggested (both Skinny Jeans and Carly's Just Stay Fat, polar opposites, have helped somehow), and am eating closer to hunger than ever before.
My body is moving very slowly in a slimmer direction say my clothes. My guess is I'm only 5-10 pounds heavier than I like.

I don't fully trust the science of the day. I've seen it change too much over the years and suspect it'll continue to do so.
I am happy to read everything here and check it against my own instincts and progress.
So that's where I am. Not too helpful, I'll bet. Hardly a method to emulate..
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:23 AM   #11
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So confusing! Without knowing anything about all the science, my gut tells me that the part about having a slowed metabolism from under-eating may be the, or a, culprit. I wouldn't trade my JUDDD journey for anything - it's been a true lifesaver. But I do feel that here towards the home stretch my calories had to go to a too-low place due to possible metabolic slowdown.

Thanks for sharing your results with us. I think we're all learning as we go along, and any information we have to share is so interesting. It may be all anecdotal, but we're all smart enough to understand that and take each piece into consideration for ourselves.

Are you considering getting this re-tested in several months to see if your increased calories and increased weight lifting has any effect? I'd be really interested in that, and sure hope you see a good increase! Payoff for all your dedication and hard work!
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:46 AM   #12
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Well you know, I think I've done a variation - a much less committed one - on Nancy's story....
I am committed to having as much fun as possible.

Kristin, that is great news! I hope you have reset something inside you. And, if and when needed, will reset it again.

Total agreement about how all over the place the science of eating is. I think (hope) we are moving towards some better fundamental knowledge...which will include a very strong YMMV. No one WOE is going to work for everyone...we each need to know our own unique body and what it needs to be healthy and slim.
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:05 AM   #13
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:35 AM   #14
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I'd have reported sooner but I feel flaky dipping back into rotations. My entire trip has been flaky.
It does occur to me that this may be my method and that it may be healthy for me. Wouldn't that be crazy?
Kristin - sounds like you got a lot of good out of the reset, and who's to say it has to be a certain length? Sounds like your body told you how long it needed to be. (Very good news on the fit of the clothes!) I agree that today's science is tomorrow's discarded theory, and people don't even agree on today's theories.
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Are you considering getting this re-tested in several months to see if your increased calories and increased weight lifting has any effect? I'd be really interested in that, and sure hope you see a good increase! Payoff for all your dedication and hard work!
I think I will! Especially if I"m at a lower weight and not 100% sure of the right calorie level again. I hope more weight lifting and periodic breaks as Nancy and Kristin mentioned will help.

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Total agreement about how all over the place the science of eating is. I think (hope) we are moving towards some better fundamental knowledge...which will include a very strong YMMV. No one WOE is going to work for everyone...we each need to know our own unique body and what it needs to be healthy and slim.
I'm in total agreement on this as well! I love to hear what is working and not working for people, and what experiments we try, but there are so many variables to the weight loss equation that the same thing doesn't work for everybody.

I'm slightly disappointed that even though my lean body mass is pretty good for my height and even though I've been weight lifting, my metabolism is below average, but I could tell (that is one reason why the numbers that should have worked didn't), and it's good to have that knowledge to work with. I like my current plan and think it will help me lose while doing all I can to support my poor, struggling metabolism.

Last edited by calichris; 04-15-2014 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:04 AM   #15
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Chris this is so interesting. It's fantastic that you have access to all of this testing!

Since you are currently eating at a higher calorie number on both UDs and DDs, I'd be very curious to see the results of this test in say, six months, when you've possibly had a chance to raise your metabolism. Since you're losing on that plan, it must be working that way right?
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:20 AM   #16
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Deedee, I'm glad you weren't too bored by all the numbers. I'll redo the test just so we can all see what happens!

I don't know what part of the new plan seems to be working (knock on wood!). I actually decreased UDs a bit (200 cals ... I did it because I thought the numbers weren't adding up for me!), but have fewer DDs (4:3 instead of EOD), and also I changed exercise from more cardio to almost all weightlifting with walking/intervals. Not sure if it's the diet or exercise change, or higher protein/better nutrition/carb cycling, or maybe the combination. Tom Venuto of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle talks about a kind of synergy that happens when you have the right calories and nutrition with exercise. He says:
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:54 PM   #17
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:24 PM   #18
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Aw thanks!
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:43 PM   #19
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I'm just tagging on here since I also had the RMR test today. I had some doubts about how it was done, given what I'd read online, since they started me on the test almost as soon as I arrived and while I hadn't been exerting myself I still wasn't in a very relaxed state, but anyway my reported RMR was 1656, and it was definitely fast--24% over average. If it was even halfway accurate, then the good news is that the last three months (a solid three months!) of JUDDD haven't slowed my metabolism significantly. (And that my years of off-on low-carb dieting didn't hurt too much either. I suppose I've almost never done any kind of dieting other than low-carb--perhaps that's "protected" my metabolic rate.) But I guess that means I have nothing but myself to blame for a plateau or a bounce up--I'm simply eating that too much.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:22 AM   #20
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Interesting results, UD. I'm glad to hear your RMR is on the high end. That will make it easier for you to keep to a more satisfying level of calories and still lose, and maintain more easily. My biggest fear is that at some point I'll have to make a choice between eating bird portions the rest of my life, or just being fat. Neither one sounds at all good.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:24 AM   #21
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Thanks, Carol! I wish I didn't have doubts about how the test was carried out. I saw recommendations online that you not eat for 10-12 hours in advance (because the digestive process raises your rate)--my testers told me 3-4 and I made it 4. And the online descriptions made me envision a process where you arrived, sat down in a reclining chair and were encouraged to not even read for 10-30 minutes before they finally gave you the breathing tube--not a situation where you walked in, spent a couple minutes filling out information on an annoying tablet with a dysfunctional keypad, and then were immediately handed a breathing tube (and a highly uncomfortable nose clip) while sitting in an office chair. Calichris, what did your test look like, in terms of how much they made sure you were at your resting rate?
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:38 AM   #22
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Congrats on your great results!!

When I went for my RMR test, they gave instructions to get there early, so I did ... and I was in the waiting room for at least 15 minutes before the test. Once in the room, we spent a few minutes talking before the test when I was sitting in the comfy chair, and then we did the test after that.

I hope my weight lifting increases my metabolism. It's not horrible, but it's 100-200 calories less than I thought I was burning at rest, which makes a difference!

Carol - I know what you mean. I don't know if I should be trying to increase my metabolism now, or just go with the lower calories until I lose.

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Old 04-24-2014, 12:06 PM   #23
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Good results, Utah!!

Carol and Chris, the good thing is, with JUDDD, you know you can eat heartily at least eod for the rest of your life, no matter what.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:13 PM   #24
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Carol - I know what you mean. I don't know if I should be trying to increase my metabolism now, or just go with the lower calories until I lose.
I know! I really feel intuitively that I need to keep my metabolism up and revving, and lose more slowly, recompositioning my body. But the "panicky" me feels like running back to lower calories and get this weight off fast. I can't do it though. I don't want to wind up older, post-menopausal, and have no muscle but plenty of fat.

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Good results, Utah!!

Carol and Chris, the good thing is, with JUDDD, you know you can eat heartily at least eod for the rest of your life, no matter what.
Yes, and I JUDDD for that! Only problem is, I had lowered my calories down to the point where I didn't feel I was eating heartily, even on UDs. Trying to fix that now.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:18 PM   #25
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calichris: I found this very interesting. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with this.
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:09 PM   #26
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Thanks, calicris! It sounds like there were some significant differences, which might have raised my RMR a bit. I'll assume maintenance calories for me are below the 2200 or so that the raw results would suggest.
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