Your TDEE tells you how many calories your body burns everyday (on average)
There are 4 ways in which your body burns calories and I’ll list them in order of most significant in terms of amount of calories burned.
A. Your BMR or basal metabolic rate
Your BMR is how many calories your body will burn just by being alive. Being a blob in bed all day still requires calories. In fact around 60% of your total daily calorie burn will happen as a result of your BMR. Constant biological functions within your body requires energy and it’s calories that provide it.
B. Your NEAT or non exercise activity thermogenesis
NEAT might be the most overlooked method of calorie burn among dieters. It’s widely thought that deliberate exercise is what’s needed for fat loss when in fact your NEAT accounts for far more and can fluctuate massively. You don’t need to be exerting your body for it to burn calories. Simple movements such as cooking, walking and fidgeting requires energy when done across a 12-14 hour period (the time your awake) it burns a lot of calories. The difference in calorie burn between a sedentary 9-5 office worker and a builder can be huge. And I mean huge…like thousands of calories different.
C. Your TEF or Thermic effect of feeding
So TEF is essentially your digestion of food. Because digestion accounts for a relatively high calorie burn it’s not represented within the BMR but when compared to NEAT it’s not that high. Interestingly the types of food you eat will lead to a great calorie burn from digestions. When we look at the 3 macro nutrients – protein, carbs and fats -It’s protein that requires the most calories for digestion. Carbs follow and fats come in last. If you were to eat 100 calories worth of protein your body would use around 30 of them just to digest it. For carbs it would be around 10 and fats probably less than 5. Ever had the meat sweats before? When calories are burned it produces heat. What does meat have a lot of?….protein. The meat sweats are a result of your body working hard to digest the protein rich meat.
D. Your EAT or exercise activity thermogenesis
So your EAT or deliberate exercise comes in last when looking at calorie burn. Even doing exercise such as HIIT doesn’t yield a massive calorie burn when compared to the other 3 factors. In fact your EAT accounts for between 0-5% of your daily calorie burn. And before you start shouting about EPOC, studies have shown that the difference between EPOC from HIIT and steady state exercise is about 7%. That means if we looked at 2 people – 1 burns 300 calories from HIIT and the other burns 300 calories from steady state the difference in EPOC calorie burn would be about 21 calories….so not a lot! Another study reinforced that EPOC is commonly overstated by concluding that: ‘The role of exercise in the maintenance of body mass is therefore predominantly mediated via the cumulative effect of the energy expenditure during the actual exercise’
So why is TDEE important?
It’s important to note that your TDEE will fluctuate day to day as no day is identical. However it’ll give you a great benchmark figure based on your lifestyle – Job, typical activity levels, No of exercise sessions etc etc. Having a rough idea of your TDEE is really only useful if you then monitor the amount of calories you’re consuming. That way you can try and balance out your calories IN vs OUT and therefore manage your weight more effectively. If you take away anything from this post – let it be the fact that your everyday movements COUNTS when it comes to calorie burn. Don’t think that just because you’re not sweating your not burning calories because you ARE!!!