Not everyone is familiar with the term Basal Metabolic Rate, and how it can affect dieting. A sensible approach to weight loss will focus on eating a balanced diet along with a regular exercise program. The correct adjustments to the tandem of diet and exercise will allow an individual to reach a desired weight range and maintain a healthy body.
However, in order to determine and implement the proper adjustments to both caloric intake, and daily exercise, we must have some standard to measure our adjustments against. An important part of that standard would be our BMR (basal metabolic rate). Our BMR represents the base rate at which our body consumes calories. These calories are used for basic metabolic functions such as maintaining internal body temperature, repair of cells, the pumping of our blood, the powering of our muscles at rest, etc.
We must understand and accept the basic principle of weight loss which is that the number of calories consumed must be less than the number of calories expended. Any excess calories that we consume that are not expended will only be stored in adipose tissue as fat.
Every individual's BMR will be slightly different, the average being about 70 calories burned per hour. This number will be slightly higher when we're awake, and slightly less when we are asleep.
Here are some additional factors that affect our Basal Metabolic Rate:
Our internal body temperature plays a big role in influencing our BMR. Every 1/2 degree (Celsius) rise in our body temperature will result in an increase to our BMR of about 7%. A good, but extreme case example would be when we have a fever. Under these circumstances, should you have a fever that raises your internal body temperature by 7 degrees above normal, your metabolic rate will increase up to 50%.
On the other hand, some medications such as anti-depressants will reduce our bodies BMR resulting in weight gain. Anyone dieting for weight loss along with an exercise program should consult with their physician regarding the impact any prescribed medicines may have on their diet.
An injury can temporarily change our BMR while the body is busy using essential fatty acids and proteins to repair itself, and create new tissue. While we understand that raising our Basal Metabolic Rate can be beneficial for weight loss, we don't want to either come down with a fever, or injure ourselves just to accomplish this.
Eating too many high-fat foods, or foods with refined sugars will reduce our BMR because both types of food are low in fiber and bulk. This slows down our intestinal activity causing the body to absorb more calories from these foods before passing them through the digestive system. This is where eating a balanced, nutritionally sound diet will help regulate our BMR, and in doing so, maintain the efficiency of our digestive system.
Genetics, and general physiological factors play the largest role in determining our BMR. When striving to lose weight it is helpful to know our Basal Metabolic Rate. This knowledge will help you determine just what is needed to raise it (in the form of diet and exercise) enough to help supplement your weight loss program, and achieve your desired goals.
Copyright ©2007 Carl DiNello
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