Before we talk about that, there’s the concept of Total (Daily) Energy Expenditure or TEE/TDEE. TEE is the total energy consumed or spent by the body during the course of a single day. TEE has several components. They are
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR),
- Thermic Effect of Food (TEF),
- Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and
- Physical Activity Energy Expenditure (PAEE).
BMR, or more accurately, Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)/Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), is the largest component of TEE, which is determined by your genetic make-up and body weight. It cannot be significantly increased easily, except by putting on more weight, which would defeat the purpose somewhat, yes?
Then we come to Thermic Effect of Food or TEF, which is the energy spent by the body in digestion and related processes. This usually constitutes about 10% of the total energy expenditure. We can minimally increase this through sipping stimulating drinks (tea, coffee, energy drinks), eating more hot chili peppers and by including more protein in our diets among other methods, none of which I recommend without seeking medical advice and understanding the concept thoroughly.
EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption is a small number that you won’t miss either way and refers to the fat burnt after a training session.
Finally, PAEE or Physical Activity Energy Expenditure is the only component of TEE that we can significantly influence and which may help with increasing our daily calories burnt. To answer the question, working on increasing BMR isn’t really a workable strategy for weight loss and I suggest walking for as long as you can, as fast as you can, every day. Alongside, eat a diet that has fewer calories than your TEE and you’ll end up losing weight.
- The effect of exercise on non-exercise physical activity and sedentary behavior in adults