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Video:Determining if You Need to Increase Your Metabolism

with Dr. Mary Ann Block

Your metabolic rate can be determined through a simple formula. Watch this health video from About.com to learn more about increasing your metabolic rate to help you lose weight.See Transcript

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Transcript:Determining if You Need to Increase Your Metabolism

Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Ann Block, Physician, Author and Medical Director of The Block Center in Dallas/Fort Worth, here for About.com. Figuring out how many calories you should eat is not easy because it’s a different number for everyone. Today, I’ll explain how to determine your metabolic rate.

What is the Basal Metabolic Rate

Your basal metabolic rate, also known as BMR, is the minimum amount of calories your body needs for basic functions: such as digesting food, breathing, and keeping your organs working. Different factors affect your metabolic rate, such as your gender, age, weight, and physical activity.

Using the Basal Metabolic Rate Formula

To figure out how many calories you need to consume in order to: maintain your regular weight, lose weight or gain weight, you have to do a bit of math. I’ll explain it in two steps. Step one involves the Harris-Benedict principle. It’s a simple formula that can determine your BMR.

For women, the formula goes: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years).

So, if a woman weighs 120 pounds, is 5 foot four -- or 64 inches, and 32 years old, her metabolic rate would be: 1321. That means, that she’d need a bare minimum of 1321 calories per day. Keep in mind though, that this is the very basic intake. Women who are active, exercise, or pregnant, for example, will need a significant amount of additional calories.

For men, the formula is a bit different: 66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years).

If a man weighs 190 pounds, is 6 foot tall -- or 72 inches, and 62 years old, his metabolic rate would be: 1770. That means, he needs to consume at least 1770 calories on a daily basis.

Consider Your Activity Level for Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Now that you’ve determined your BMR, you need to incorporate activity, to figure out how many calories you need on a daily basis. If you are sedentary, increase your BMR by 20 percent. If you are lightly active, increase it by 30 percent. 40 percent if you exercise most days of the week, add50 or 60 percent if you are very active, do hard labor, or athletic training. When you add that number to your BMR, you get the amount of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight. To lose weight, you can cut calories by eating less, or burn calories by being more active.

For more dieting, exercise and health tips, visit us at health.about.com. Thanks for watching!

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