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Calories in, Calories Out = Math Problem!

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Old 06-22-2009, 01:48 PM   #1
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Default Calories in, Calories Out = Math Problem!

weight loss is a simple math equation - burn more calories than what you take in, when you reach a 3500 calorie deficit, you'll lose a pound. logical. so I got a Body Bugg, which tells me how many calories I'm burning. Love it. I'm walking more and being more active because of it.

And, I need a balanced diet. So I'm on a meal delivery program that includes a good variety of fresh foods, and a healthy balance of approx 25%fat/50%carb/25%prot (varies a bit . Love that, too.

Because of these programs, I know I'm averaging a calorie expenditure of 2300 per day. (I'm not killing myself at the gym) and I'm eating about 1600-1700 per day (I'm not starving myself). By the math, I should be slowly loosing weight.

After 10 days, I step on the scale, and I"VE GAINED 2 POUNDS.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:51 PM   #2
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I would opt for a diet that is more like 30-40-30. You are eating way too much worth of carbs, IMHO. Add more protein and remove carbs and see it helps.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:58 PM   #3
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Did you just start that meal delivery program? Maybe you're taking in more sodium than you used to.

Weight loss IS about the numbers, but sometimes your loss will come in spurts, or take a while to catch up when you start, or other things that just CAN'T be explained by the math. Assuming your Body Bugg and your meal delivery service are both giving you accurate numbers, it sounds like you're doing everything right, and I would just keep it up for now and see what happens.
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:10 PM   #4
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I am not in favour of anything that tells us how many calories we're using. The counters on machines, estimates online ... I just don't think they can. Short of having extensive metabolic testing ... nope.

I know that I quote Tom Venuto ad nauseum but ... he recommends a two week trial. If something is going to work, it's going to start working within two weeks. I'd say your ten days is a reasonable trial. It's not working. You'll need to change something. IMHO ... I just dunno about the 2300 calorie usage ... assume you're not.

Now here's my disclaimer ... two pounds is a fickle little bit. It's less than one litre of water. It's less than jeans and a t-shirt. It's less than the difference between scales. It's less than the difference between morning and evening. It's far less than I used to gain before my period.
If you are happy with the food and your exercise program ... maybe try a few little things like ... was your period in that time frame? did you weigh at the same time? same place? same attire?
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:18 PM   #5
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If the exercise is a new thing that can cause a gain for the first couple weeks. You should also try to weigh at approximately the same time each day and wear the same thing. You'd be surprised what a difference clothes make!

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Old 06-22-2009, 02:19 PM   #6
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The calories in, calories out part is definitely a math problem. Unfortunately, bodies don't always respond to the math the way that they are supposed to. Or mine doesn't, at least.

It could be a number of things - sodium from the delivered meals, retained water from increased exercise as you are more active now, carbs could make you puffy like Alena said, might have not had a bowel movement yet so might be holding on to a little weight from that, might not have drunk enough water over the weekend, might have just finished a bottle of water before the weigh in, could be lots of things. Like Susan says, 2 pounds are fickle - I pop on two pounds if I eat a different spaghetti sauce than my normal one on the weekend.

Give it a little more time to see what happens.
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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Because it's not as simple as calories in vs calories out. Yes, in theory - that's exactly what needs to happen. Eat less, move more. Oh how easy it would be if all of our bodies magically did exactly what we calculated them to do - and then it would show on the scale exactly how we calculated it out. Wouldn't that be nice?

But there are so many other factors at play. Water. Hormones. A change in routine. The body holding on to weight. I wish - heck, I have tried several times - I could say "If I do _________, then ________ will happen on the scale." If only it were that easy!

But it's not.. every time I go for a 3 hour strenuous hike, I should be down at least a pound on the scale because I'm out of shape and burning lots of calories! But every single time, I go up on the scale for a few days as my body retains water, my muscles repair themselves, and it takes a few days for things to get back to normal.

If I eat soup at Panera - even if it's within my calories for the day - it never fails that I'm up a pound the next day because of the sodium.

If I lift weights, I'll be up for a few days, as my muscles retain water to repair themselves.

You would think that weight loss is a linear process, but it's not.. unfortunately. I keep a graph of my weight loss so that I can see the big picture over time. I can look back to the same date last month and see I was actually 7 lbs heavier But you know what? I recorded waking up to a gain in probably half of the days out of the month. Then suddenly I would drop 3 lbs. Who knows. The body is a mystery. You just have to trust the process...trust that moving more and eating less WILL result in a loss if you stick with it long enough.
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:04 PM   #8
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Remember the calories in/out is about FAT. But the scale weighs ALL of you. As some of the other posters are indicating, there are MANY reasons for the scale to go up and down, not just fat loss.

Give it a little more time and see!

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Old 06-22-2009, 05:13 PM   #9
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Echo what the others have said - it isn't quite as simple as it looks. The 3500 calories (kcal) is something spit out by a bomb calorimeter test in a carefully controlled laboratory. How our individual cells take in, process, and output energy is a crazy puzzle - the best that can be said is you need to expend more than you take in ... but figuring out what your unique formulas for "expending" and "taking in" are, is not so easy. The only common thread that I can see in all diets is to eliminate as much sugar as you possibly can - after that ... "it depends", and "your results may vary".
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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Maybe I'm the only one on earth but it is SO not calories in/out for me. It's carbs. Just carbs. I gained/maintained on 800 calories a day, carb-intensive. When I first started Atkins I lost on probably 2500-3000 calories a day, <5 carbs/day. I'm cognizant of, and have lowered calories, NOW...but it didn't matter one whit at first. That's just me; YMMV.

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Old 06-22-2009, 05:49 PM   #11
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Metabolisms vary, not only between people but within a single person. Your metabolism isn't a constant, and it can be effected by so many things (including what you eat), that there just isn't a method or a machine that can effectively measure the calories burned. You have control over calories in, and you can influence calories out, but translating that into a precise mathematical equation is going to be an exercise in frustration.

I have found by keeping precise food journals that I lose more weight and lose more consistently on the same number of calories of higher carb eating. I'm another person who can eat far more calories and yet lose more weight when I keep the carb level down.

I've recently started taking my temperature daily. I was reading that low body temperature can be a sign of a low metabolism, and that the body burns "hotter" and better on a lower carb diet. I'm a bit skeptical, but I do have a lower normal body temperature (usually around 97.4 but sometimes even lower). It's too soon for me to tell, but I have noticed that there seems to be an inverse relationship between my body temp and my carb intake. My body temperature actually seems to drop when I eat more carbohydrates than protein, and spikes when I eat very low carbohydrate.

I'm not jumping to any conclusions, and as I've said, it's far too early for me to be sure this isn't just a coincidence, but I've noticed enough of an effect that I wonder whether there's a relationship.

It may be that some diets may turn up or down our metabolic furnace/thermostat.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SusanB View Post
I am not in favour of anything that tells us how many calories we're using. The counters on machines, estimates online ... I just don't think they can. Short of having extensive metabolic testing ... nope.
I second this. Honestly, I wouldn't even bother trying to figure out your calorie expenditure. I would look at any exercise you do as a bonus, necessary to weight loss and good health, but keep your calorie tracking a separate affair. Just my opinion FWIW
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:04 AM   #13
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There is no device that you put in your pocket or wear on your belt that will consistently and accurately calculate your caloric expenditure. The best it will be is give you a rough estimate of how many calories you are burning. You can get a better idea of your caloric requirements by visiting one of the many web sites where you enter your specific variables (height, weight, age). Again, your expendature will vary from day to day. At your height and weight, you should be able to eat 1500-1800 calories per day and lose weight at a safe rate. For all of us, unless we have a health issue, steady exercise needs to be included such as walking, swimming, and something thqt will get your heart rate and metabolism up.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:10 AM   #14
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I have a BB too, I say keep at it and Hang in there, I have had 4 weeks of plenty of deficit (the BB/gofit are accurate) and I have not lost. I find this time of year with the weather changing, my whole body will swell from the heat and reatain fluid. you may have to tweek your program and if it is meal delivery you could request a lower carb option for a few weeks and see how that works for you.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:31 AM   #15
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Are there any scientific studies about the accuracy of the Body Bugg? I've been curious.
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