Friday, October 31, 2014

Caloric Expenditure Test Results

I have recently been having a difficult time making food decisions that are healthy.  I keep telling myself that I burned those calories off at the gym or on a run, but I have still been fueling my tank with crappy foods.  So I felt crappy.....almost every day for the week after Rock 'n' Roll.  That was when I received the Fleet Feet St. Louis enewsletter mentioning the caloric expenditure test and its' benefits.  I had thought about it before, but the timing was never right because I was never drawn to it as much as I was this time.

I pasted the test description from the website below so that you can read what convinced me that I needed to get it done:

Forget one-size-fits-all calorie counting. Through our Caloric Expenditure (CE) assessment, we can accurately determine your resting metabolic rate, which in turn enables us to calculate how many calories your body burns during daily activities such as sitting, eating, driving, walking, and running. Using your CE data, we can then define your personal “calorie zones,” showing how many calories you should consume daily to achieve weight loss, maintain your current weight, or adequately fuel for specific activities.

Cost of Test: $75. Cost includes CE test, printed results, goal consultation, and a sample meal plan based on your results.
Visit Duration: 45 minutes 
Test Protocol: The CE test is quick, easy, and accurate. You will sit in a relaxed position and breathe into a mask for approximately twenty minutes.  

Pre-Test Instructions:
  • It is essential that you do not eat during the 4 hours prior to your appointment time. Eating within 4 hours of your test will mandate rescheduling.
  • It is also necessary that you avoid all caffeine and caffeinated products for the 6 hours prior to your appointment.
  • Note: You are allowed to drink water or juice during your fasting period
  • No strenuous exercise 24 — 48 hours prior to test.
  • Please allow at least 12 hours minimum of passive rest before test.

So I scheduled my test for 6:45 a.m. Tuesday morning so that I could follow the fasting and exercise requirements.  The Fleet Feet staffer who administered the test was beyond knowledgeable since he was one of the coaches for the full/half marathon training programs.  He explained everything in plain English then he handed me the nose plug and the plastic tube I would be inhaling and exhaling through for about 20 minutes.  The process was awkward at first, but then I could feel my pulse and breathing adjust and slow down the longer I sat.  Before I knew it, the machine beeped and I was done.  The print out I received is below (with the height/weight info covered up of course).

He explained to me that the "How much you eat" column is really for medically-supervised weight loss.  Since this is basically the same test you would take with a dietician in a clinical setting, that information is still printed on the results.  The information I was supposed to focus on was the "What you burn" column.  So the Resting Metabolic Rate/Resting Energy Expenditure is 1,685 calories per day. That is me breathing and blinking all day so even on a day when I don't get out of bed because I am sick, I burn 1,685 calories.  The Lifestyle and Activity calories are from me getting up and walking around in the morning, showering, getting dressed, walking to my car and around the office all day, taking the stairs, etc.  The Exercise calories are the estimated calorie burn for a 30 minute walk.  I think the treadmill shows a higher number, but this is closer to my actual caloric burn. 

As he explained this to me he asked me what the My Fitness Pal site showed as my caloric goal.  I told him that I had put in my height and weight information and what I wanted to lose per week and it set my caloric goal just above 1,500 calories per day.  So if you think about it, if I just eat the 1,500 calories per day I am still burning off everything because I burn 1,685 calories just blinking and breathing.  Now let me be perfectly honest; I have not even been logging into My Fitness Pal because it will tell me the truth about my caloric intake when I enter the real crappy food that I have been eating lately.  So I have been avoiding the truth.  But even if I was right on target and consuming only the 1,500 calories it was telling me to, I still would not be consuming enough according to the Fleet Feet staffer because I am not even taking in enough calories to fuel a full 24 hours of blinking and breathing.  His argument is that when I am eating healthy and clean, I should actually be consuming more than what My Fitness Pal is telling me especially as I am training.  Your car can't run properly when the tank is empty, right?  Or when you put diesel in a vehicle that only takes unleaded, you will be stranded on the side of the road before you know it! 

I can't even tell you how clear the Fleet Feet staffer made the test results for me.  Somewhere along the lines, he also convinced me that I needed to join the winter/spring half marathon training program so that I could get my training back on track.  He was a great teacher and salesman!  Then a few days after the test, he sent me several sample meal plans that were within my NEW caloric goal.  Although I have been eating cleaner this week compared to last week, I still have not really implemented any of the changes that came to light as a result of this test.  Honestly, I haven't had much time to go grocery shopping or plan my meals.  So I am going to start easing into this next week and I will keep you posted on how it all goes.  But if you ever have the opportunity to get a caloric expenditure test done, so far I would recommend considering it!

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