100 lb. Club - Seriously, how accurate are these "calories per day" calculators? No way...




BrandNewJen
05-08-2008, 02:07 PM
So I went on thedailyplate.com to calculate (for the fun of it, b/c I've been doing alright so far) how many calories I would need to eat to lose 2 pounds per week, 1.5 pounds per week, etc etc...

I'm SHOCKED.

At 6'1", and my current weight of 258, at SEDENTARY (and I move a LITTLE at my job, jeesh) it tells me that

To Lose 2 pounds/week: 2,033 calories/day
To lose 1.5 lbs/week: 2,283 cals/day

but the SHOCKER???

I typed in my ultimate goal weight (199 lbs) to see what I would have to eat to MAINTAIN... and it told me... ready?

2,575 CALORIES PER DAY???

That's a lot... even for ME who is a big eater!!! (I mean, heck, that's awesome if it's TRUE... but I don't know... eat more calories at MAINTENANCE than I'm eating NOW at 258 pounds???)

Just wondering if anyone else (perferably as tall as I am) is maintaining on more calories than they ate at their big weights... it just seems crazy...

I mean, 2,575 with a SEDENTARY lifestyle? no way...


thistoo
05-08-2008, 02:18 PM
I find those calorie calculators pretty ridiculous in their estimations. I can't lose weight on more than 1500 calories, but they always tell me I should be eating over 2000. I wish!

It's all so individual, you know?

Robin41
05-08-2008, 02:27 PM
I consider those calculators to be just about as accurate as the "calories burned" calculators on the cardio equipment at the gym, interesting but completely useless.

2,575 with a sedentary lifestyle? Not a chance. The weight will creep back on a little at a time.


3Beans
05-08-2008, 02:33 PM
Apparently there are two standard equations used by these calorie calculators. The Harris-Benedict equation generates a much higher number and it looks like there's a growing consensus that it doesn't really apply to many of us in the era of the obesity epidemic. Then there's the Mifflin-St Jeor equation, which I think produces a more accurate (if also more disappointing) number.

The latter is the default equation at this site (http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm#). If you click on 'advanced options' you can see your numbers with the Harris-Benedict equation too, and compare and contrast!

xGurlyGrlx
05-08-2008, 02:40 PM
Hmm...well according to that site, I should be eating 1,960 calories a day for EXTREME weight loss. I put in little to no exercise just see. I do workout though. That seems high for me. I don't know...maybe that is why I have been only losing .8 - 1.8lbs a week. Maybe I am not eating enough?? Seems kind of crazy...I try to keep my calories between 1600-1700. I was trying to keep them at 1500 but wasn't really losing.

Marathon Mom
05-08-2008, 02:41 PM
I too think that is high.. But I also think the amount they indicate as basal calories burned is too high... Either way a 3400 deficit in my mind is a pound lost.. That is what I aim for..

Czarria
05-08-2008, 02:46 PM
Jen - Mine said the same thing. I am your height..., only my calories were even more (maybe due to my weight?) I decided right then and there that eating that many calories a day is what made me this weight, it doesn't make any sense to keep eating that way. So i'm doing 1200-1500 a day. I'm basically just aiming for 2 lbs a week which is 7000 calories reduced in diet AND exercised. I'm losing weight pretty fast though, so I dont' know if i'm not eating enough. I don't have the answer.

kuhljeanie
05-08-2008, 02:46 PM
For what it's worth, I thought I was eating way too much - calculators estimated MR at 1560 a day or so. I got a Sensewear monitor (like a BodyBugg) and it turns out I'm burning around 2100 - 2200 cals a day - when I'm NOT exercising. When I am, it's closer to 3000 a day. And I'm 5' 1". I couldn't lose weight at 1500 cals a day even though I thought it was the right amount. I have to eat 1800-2000.

Again, YMMV!

xGurlyGrlx
05-08-2008, 02:49 PM
For what it's worth, I thought I was eating way too much - calculators estimated MR at 1560 a day or so. I got a Sensewear monitor (like a BodyBugg) and it turns out I'm burning around 2100 - 2200 cals a day - when I'm NOT exercising. When I am, it's closer to 3000 a day. And I'm 5' 1". I couldn't lose weight at 1500 cals a day even though I thought it was the right amount. I have to eat 1800-2000.

Again, YMMV!

Where do you find the Sensewear monitors?? I have never heard of it. :D

BrandNewJen
05-08-2008, 02:55 PM
I don't disagree with the "how much to lose' potion... not really... I've been losing a steady 2 lbs per week (about) for 4 months and am eating at least 1800 calories per day on average (some days lower like 1500, some days more than 2,000)...

so I know the "to lose" amounts aren't horrible for me... It was the Maintenance part that got me crazy!


The second calculator that 3Beans gave the link to--- that one calculated my "maintenance" calories at 199 pounds to be 2,133 per day--- that's a BIG difference from the first calculator!!!

pintobean
05-08-2008, 02:58 PM
I tried the website for fun after reading this post and for some reason it told me I need to consume 1033 calories a day to lose 2.5 lbs a week for a sedentary lifestyle. And If I do medium activity I need to consume roughly 1700 calories a day to lose 2 lbs/week. Currently I'm doing 1600 calories don't know if it's good or bad :?: I believe it's based on weight also as you don't want to let your body go in starvation mode.

pintobean
05-08-2008, 03:01 PM
Where do you find the Sensewear monitors?? I have never heard of it. :D

Same here. kuhljeanie, What's that? :?:

kuhljeanie
05-08-2008, 03:07 PM
Link is www.sensewear.com or www.bodymedia.com. In a nutshell, it's a pedometer, accelerometer, and measures heat dispersion and something else science-y (I'm not very technical!) It's a band you wear on your arm 24-7 (except when you bathe.) It's amazing. All that stuff about exercise raising your metabolism for several hours after you stop? Turns out it's true! I ran for 45 minutes at lunchtime, and an hour later I'm still burning 6.4 calories a minute. Very, very cool and motivating. They're really spendy though. You can get a BodyBugg (same technology, different company) from 24hourfitness. This is the model they used on Biggest Loser, but BodyBugg isn't releasing the newer version until fall, and Sensewear's is out now.

Like I said, it's expensive. But it keeps me honest like nothing I've seen. Happy customer. :)

Oh yeah - the other good thing about it, I don't have to rely on calculators to figure out what my BMR is. You upload all your data to a website and it figures it all out for you. You can do all your meal planning and logging there too. Little bonus - it tells you how long you were laying down v. how long you actually slept every night. (It's a pretty amazing little piece of technology!)

pintobean
05-08-2008, 03:23 PM
Thanks kuhljeanie :D I'm definitely going to check it out. It does sound cool from your description. Seems you and I are very close in range.

kuhljeanie
05-08-2008, 03:49 PM
Indeed we are! Since I've had it I'm finding I get a little worried about posts that say things like "of course I can't possibly eat/burn that much" - no of course about it. I assumed I was burning far fewer calories than I actually was.

The reason I mentioned 24hour - forgot to explain - they sell BodyBuggs much more cheaply than Sensewear, and they go on sale all the time.

Let me know if you do pick one up, how you like it!

pintobean
05-08-2008, 03:56 PM
It was interesting reading the website but I can't find the price anywhere for sensewear. It seems I have to call them to find out the cost. Do I need a prescription to order one? The only concern is that I have to wear it all the time. How do you manage to wear it without being noticed or obtrusive? I know it says it can be worn under clothes but I was just wondering.

3Beans
05-08-2008, 03:56 PM
I tried the website for fun after reading this post and for some reason it told me I need to consume 1033 calories a day to lose 2.5 lbs a week for a sedentary lifestyle. And If I do medium activity I need to consume roughly 1700 calories a day to lose 2 lbs/week. Currently I'm doing 1600 calories don't know if it's good or bad :?: I believe it's based on weight also as you don't want to let your body go in starvation mode.

Are you talking about the site I posted? I plugged in your stats (for age 30) and got 1560 for fat loss with little/no activity, and 1700 for exercise 3 days a week.

kuhljeanie
05-08-2008, 04:10 PM
You don't need a prescription - they're happy to sell to anyone. :) You can call them, they're very very nice. I don't remember exactly what I paid but it was in the neighborhood of $450 for the hardware and a 6-mth subscription to the website, which you need. BodyBuggs are cheaper by a lot.

Trazey34
05-08-2008, 04:20 PM
do people do the "calorie zig zag?" where you have the same calories in a week, but some days it's 2200 and the next day it's 2700 or something like that

pintobean
05-08-2008, 04:21 PM
Are you talking about the site I posted? I plugged in your stats (for age 30) and got 1560 for fat loss with little/no activity, and 1700 for exercise 3 days a week.

Nah I used thedailyplate.com website. Sorry I should have specified :) Although I tried your website Beans, based on what I'm doing right now physical activity wise and here are the results using the Mifflin-St Jeor formula. I put in exercise 5 times/week

RESULTS - GUIDELINE ONLY
Maintenance: 2273 Calories/day
Fat Loss (http://www.freedieting.com/weight_loss_guide.htm): 1818 Calories/day
Extreme Fat Loss (http://www.freedieting.com/weight_loss_fast.htm): 1568 Calories/day


:dizzy:

pintobean
05-08-2008, 04:23 PM
do people do the "calorie zig zag?" where you have the same calories in a week, but some days it's 2200 and the next day it's 2700 or something like that

Yes I try to do it. I don't get 1600 all the time. It keeps the metabolism going so I've heard. I usually don't go over more than 100 calories. Under however I've been sometimes 1400 to 1500. Depends what I'm eating.

OnceUponADrive
05-08-2008, 05:18 PM
I hate those calculators. First of all the choices they give you as far as your lifestyle aren't specific enough. I, for instance, am sedentary most of my day because I sit at a desk and really can't get up very often. However, when I go home I do cardio and weight training at least 4 nights a week. It's always either sedentary or active, but what if you're BOTH in the same day? Even so, they are almost always WAY over what I think they should be. I stick to 1200-1400 calories regardless of what the calculators tell me.

Smiling_Sara
05-08-2008, 09:20 PM
Maybe it is bc of your height? I'm 5'5 and at 233 it tells me to lose 3 lbs a week to eat 1313 calories a day.

WarMaiden
05-09-2008, 03:45 PM
Wow...I really want one of those body meters now.

I really like the freedieting calculator, one of the advanced options allows you to calculate by bodyfat %. At my top weight and bodyfat (289/50), sedentary, it says I could maintain at about 2000 cal/day. At my goal weight and bodyfat (145/20), with daily exercise, it says I could maintain at 2300 cal/day. Cool! I'll be able to eat -more-, as I lose fat and gain muscle.

Both of the other calculation options at my highest weight/bodyfat and sedentary level are higher: About 2300-2400 cal/day. So the bodyfat % calculation seems better to me.

Meg
05-09-2008, 04:50 PM
Just FYI ... :) One of the things I learned when I was trained to use the BodyGem (metabolic testing device) at Ballys is that all calculators are averages based on study groups, usually college students because they're handy and cheap. And that there's about an 800 calorie margin of error overall, so the number you get from a calculator could be 400 calories higher or lower than what is actually true for you. More here: Metabolic Calculators (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showpost.php?p=931843&postcount=1)

There isn't any way to accurately establish your metabolism now or at goal without measuring your oxygen consumption (O2 is the fuel of metabolism), either in a lab or with some kind of measurement device like the BodyGem. Everything else is just an estimate and could be wildly inaccurate.

For example, most calculators tell me that at my age, height, weight, and BF%, I can eat about 2200 calories per day and maintain. I wish!! The reality is about 1600 calories. If I based my daily calories on a calculator, safe to say I'd be back at 257 pounds. :eek:

When most of our members reach goal, they find their daily calorie needs for maintenance by adding back about 100 calories per week until their weight stabilizes. My advice is to forget calculators. Just ignore them. Track your calories, track your weight, and you'll know exactly what calorie level you need for both weight loss and for maintenance. :)

BrandNewJen
05-12-2008, 03:46 PM
Exactly, Meg--- that's kinda what I've been doing... I cut calories to where I think I could manage living this way to lose weight and still have room to cut more if I plateau... So right now between 1800 and 2000 is working for me, and I have plenty of room to maneuver when the time comes.

Just like they ADD 100 calories each week, I will cut out a little at a time to find out how much LESS I need to eat to lose more (when the time comes) but for now, for 4 months, I've been just treading water, trying to see if it's working, which it is.

Thanks for the added info, Meg!

PhotoChick
05-12-2008, 03:55 PM
Yeah, what Meg said. :)

I used the calorie calculators as a very rough starting point and then just played around from there. I finessed in quantities of 100 cals at a time. I find that I still lose at between 1500 and 1700 cals a day (which is a pretty big range, actually, but a lot depends on keeping to my regular workout schedule), but if I go up another 150 cals, my weight stabilizes and I'm solidly in maintenance.

I know that as I drop more weight, I'm going to have to drop down from the 1500 to 1700 range in order to keep losing. And I'm sure my maintenance number will drop as well.

It's all a constantly changing balancing act as you lose. It's frustrating at times, too. It would be nice if you could just find a number and stick with it! :)

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