How do we actually change our weight?

In order to understand how we change our weight we need to define a couple of terms that will help us get a better idea of what we’re doing and the levers that we can pull to help you achieve your goals. In this blog post from Dr. Corey at Golden Bear Chiropractic we discuss the basics of energy consumption and expenditure.

So before we get started let's define a couple of terms!

What is a kcal? A kcal also known as a Calorie (notice the capitalized C) and is a unit of measurement that quantifies how much energy is stored and can be used to power your body.

We can categorize our calories into 3 broad groups. 

  • The first group is Carbohydrates (Carbs for short) and these provide on average 4 kcal/gram of energy.
  • The second group is Protein. These also on average provide about 4 kcal/gram of energy.
  • The third group is known as Fats and these provide about 9 kcal/gram of energy.

It is important to note that these kcal units are averages and that specific food sources provide either more or less kcals/gram. For our purposes we can use these values to determine what we should be aiming for moving forward.

What is TDEE? TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. In other words how many Calories (kcal) your body requires to maintain your current mass (weight).

Your TDEE has a few different variables in which they compare to give you an estimate of your energy requirements.For most individuals a person’s TDEE is around 2000-2500 kcals/day but some individuals require less and some require more. The biggest variable for your TDEE is your activity level, or in other words, what you do during the day that requires you to burn Calories.

There are 4 categories in which someone can categorize their TDEE:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): This is the amount of Calories your body requires just to survive. In other words if you did absolutely no activity and just laid in bed all day without moving a single muscle what your Caloric requirements would be.
  • Sedentary/Light Physical Activity: Your BMR plus light activity. This would be if you were an office worker for example where your physical activity at most includes completing your ADLs (showering, cooking, getting dressed, etc) and walking to your place of employment/back. In the United States most individuals fall into this category.
  • Moderate Physical Activity: This includes your BMR plus completing some sort of dedicated exercise. For example people who spend a few hours a week hiking, jogging, swimming, or any other activity that brings your heart rate up for extended periods of time.
  • High Physical Activity: This includes your BMR and a few hours of DAILY exercise that increases your heart rate. For example, people who do a daily run, people who work out at the gym for a few hours 4-7 days/week, people who work labor jobs. Ie warehouse workers, farmers, or people in the trades.

When we take a look at these terms listed above it can give us a starting point in which we can track. The first thing we should look into when wanting to change our weight is our TDEE. There are many different TDEE calculators available in which you can check to see what your energy needs are. When looking for a TDEE calculator it is best to use one that requires your specific measurements to be imputed but at the very least you should have options to input your Age, Weight, Height, and Activity Level. 

What is Metabolism? Metabolism is how fast your body can process the Calories (kcal) that you consume.

When discussing metabolism we really need to dive deep into the factors that effect our body’s ability to process what we are consuming. Some of these include your Gender, Age, and Ability of your organs to do the jobs they are designed to do.On average a man’s metabolism is higher than women’s and the younger you are the higher your metabolism is as well. This statement is not designed to discourage you but to give you a better idea of what you can expect and why your progress may not be the same as other people you know. We are all on different journeys and on different paths when it comes to our weight.

The important thing to remember is that if you are trying to gain or lose weight that PROGRESS IS PROGRESS and that anything you do to get yourself healthier is GOOD!In our next blog post we will be discussing how we can use the information gathered in this post to make a game plan to help you reach your goals and to get you Feeling Your Best!

Corey Blanchette

Corey Blanchette


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