Your metabolism is more than just “digesting food”. It is your body’s overall energy expenditure through its functioning. There are a lot of factors that play into how much energy we burn daily.
Your TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure, is made up of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT), non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and the thermic effect of food (TEF).
Your BMR is the energy required to keep your body functioning at rest in a basic sense. This includes breathing, blood circulation, brain function, cell growth, etc.
EAT is the amount of energy expended during intentional exercise. This will vary from person to person based on duration, type, and frequency of exercise performed.
NEAT is the amount of energy burned from non-exercise physical activity such as fidgeting at your desk, required movement for work, walking to the bathroom, etc. This can vary a lot too depending on your occupation, daily transportation, and other lifestyle factors.
The thermic effect of food accounts for approximately 10% of TDEE. It is, simply put, the energy it takes for your body to digest the food you consume. Obviously it is going to vary from person to person based on their diet. Protein and high-fiber carbohydrate sources tend to have a higher TEF, but there are no “fat-burning foods” as internet ads would have you believe.
- Your TDEE will change as you lose weight, because the amount of metabolically active tissue you have is changing.
- Your fitness watch is not 100% accurate, so while it can be a helpful tool in tracking steps or heart rate, don’t treat it as the end all be all.
- If you miss a workout here and there, it isn’t going to make a huge difference in your energy expenditure over weeks and months.
-Katy Hair, RD, LDN, CPT