Week 3 Results: BMR and Me

It seems like the older I get the less satisfied I am with my results. And that’s because the older I get the slower I drop. But that’s not really what’s going on.

What’s really going on is that the closer you get to your goal weight, the slower the loss will be because your Base Metabolic Rate is lower. When I was at my highest, I could drop 9 pounds in a week the first week because the difference between how many calories my metabolism needed to burn just to keep the lights on, and how many calories I was consuming in a VLCD, was astonishing. The basic weight math is straightforward.

Right now, the difference between how many calories my body burns and what I’m consuming is not so astonishing. I’m much closer to my goal now than when I was dropping huge wodges of weight each week, and I’m not doing a VLCD, so I’m working with a much narrower margin. Also, and this is an important compounding factor, I have a slower metabolism than the average bear. There’s no online BMR calculator that accurately reflects my reality – they all greatly overestimate how many calories I have to play with because they’re basing it on an average across humans and every body is its own laboratory. Due to 13+ years of consistent attention and data collection, I have a very good grasp on just what my burn rate is. And it’s lower than the average reflected in online BMR calculators. If my BMR were truly 1727 as those sites claim, I should be losing 2 pounds a week right now based on the caloric deficit I am creating through diet and exercise. I am not.

I naturally have a more efficient system than most (ie, my burn rate is lower – I like to call it an efficient system because that sounds better than “genetic booby prize”). This is why I was 400 pounds to begin with when I started this whole journey – eating the same foods as the people around me who were only 10 or 20 pounds overweight. I don’t burn up calories as fast as I should, or might like to expect I could. And losing a lot of weight slowed my metabolism further. I mean, obviously, losing a lot of weight slows your metabolism – that’s basic physics. But I think I got more than the normal effect because my system was more efficient (metabolic booby prize!) to begin with. Discouraging, true, but that’s life.

When I put all those factors together, any loss at all is a victory. Last night I weighed in and was down 1.5 pounds, bringing me to 7 pounds total this push. I am very happy with this result! I’d be ecstatic to get this result every week until I get to my goal.

They say (who? the internet!) that weight fluctuations less than about 8 pounds aren’t noticeable on most people, so I’m almost there, I can almost see progres! I think I can see it a little right now, in the curve of my waist, it’s leaner and slightly less padded. I think. Maybe? Give it another week! My clothes already fit better, anyway.

Slight side rant: I edited and agonized over this post for a long time today because I keep reading how “rare” a thing it is to have a slow metabolism, clearly the consensus is that anybody who claims to have a slow metabolism is really just a lazy junk-food junkie (thanks Mayo Clinic – now fuck off) who needs to man up and go on a diet like for reals. I feel that considering my long experience, my years of record-keeping, and consistent mathematical calculations, I can make this claim because the numbers back me up. That’s the thing about weight math. It’s a fact whether the Mayo Clinic things I’m a lazy excuse-making fatso or not. (In their defense, they are writing for the general population. My experience is not a common one to find out in the wild). Ok. Rant off.


2 Responses to “Week 3 Results: BMR and Me”

  1. yolsgaard Says:

    You DO have a slow metabolism. I cannot believe how much you do and lose so little for all that. I am also amazed that you keep on going despite that and never give up. Props to you for that!!!! Have you looked at the concept of jolting your metabolism? I find that seems to help me when I am stalled. I usually try to change the intensity of my work out for one time only and eat something that I have been dying for (but not much of it). And it seems to convince my body to let go of a little bit of weight. It’s like my body thought it was starving and hung on to every ounce of fat. Anyway, your body is so unique that none of this may work for you. And you might have been there and done that.. Wondering now though if you have and what you thought.

    • Laina Says:

      There are basically 3 ways to jolt the body if you’ve hit a plateau – eat less, eat more, or exercise harder. Or just wait. If I’m doing all the right things then usually I just stick with my program and wait it out. I’m not having a plateau right now, so there’s no need for me to jolt anything, but if I did feel like I needed to I usually pick exercise harder because it’s good for me and doesn’t come with feelings of guilt like eating more would.
      Thanks for your comment!

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