Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bill

I'm Confused About Calorie Intake

Recommended Posts

So, I'm 266 pounds right now and I'm 5'7". Over the last month and a half I have been strength training. I'm doing the SL 5x5 and I'm enjoying it all so far. However, as far as fat loss goes, I am confused a little.

I've been really cutting down on what I've eaten compared to the pig I used to be. I'm talking a normal sized bowl of cerial in the morning(2:30am), maybe something small like a protein bar or fat free fruit snacks at the truckstop(4-5am), then when I get home around 2-3pm I eat a dinner that consists of maybe some a piece or two of chicken, or 1 burger, etc. Throughout the afternoon into evening before I go to bed around 7pm or so I am only snacking on things like carrot sticks, or cucumbers, fruit, etc. Never big amounts of anything though. All in all, there's no way I'm even coming close to 2000 cals a day.

Throughout the past month since I started strength training, I've lost a total of 8 pounds. That weigh in was over a week ago when I was at the doctor's for a checkup.

To my surprise even though I haven't changed my eating habits at all, I gained a pound in the last week. WTF?! I haven't changed my routine at all. Is this like a normal thing when you start out? I have excessive waist line here and I was stupid enough not to take a photo of myself before I started working out. My wife is telling me I'm a little thinner in the face and other family members that normally harrass me for my weight tell me I look better too. I'm not buying it so much though, because I don't figure looking that different in only a month or so.

Can someone tell me the progression of fat loss vs. muscle gain? Also, what would be the best kind of diet for doing SL 5x5 while driving truck for a living(the root of my problems) Thanks! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At a beginner level with your stats, you are quite capable of losing fat rapidly while still gaining muscle.

If you're on the road a lot, the best option is probably compact portable protein -- I would stay far away from any protein bar or anything that comes from a vending machine. Beef jerky, cans of tuna/salmon (if you are able to stop and use a fork from time to time), SOME nuts, Paleo kits (http://stevesoriginal.com/) , and fruit would go a long way. If you are able to take a tub of protein in the cab with you and mix up the occasional protein shake, that would work very well also. You describe some options like chicken, burgers, etc -- can you cook large quantities when you are home, pre-pack them, and then bring leftovers? I guess it'd be cold, but it could be an option.

When you start out, it's pretty normal to drop 5-10lbs really fast from water, especially if you cut down on carbs initially. However, weight is not the same as fat. It's possible that you lost 10lbs in water, 2 lbs in fat, and gained 4 lbs in muscle. Or something like that. You need to take pictures and measurements to go along with weights, as the scale by itself isn't enough information. Do you know your Body fat%? That would tell you where you are at in terms of lean body mass, and from there you can determine how many calories you actually need on a daily basis. That will be tough as you're sitting down for X hours a day. I'm not sure how much time you have when you stop, but would it be possible to do a 10-15 exercise routine at a truck stop once a day? Something as little as that would increase your daily calorie burn quite a bit. If you are sedentary for 10-12 hours a day (no idea how long you're on the road) and your lean body mass is low, you may very well only NEED 2,000 calories a day and therefore have to take in even less for fat loss. It would probably be better to increase activity as much as possible so that you wouldn't have to cut calories so low.

Some people looking to lose a fair amount of fat in a short term and sort of "kick start" the diet process go the Protein Sparing Modified Fast route (http://ironstrong.org/index.php?/topic/622-modified-v-diet-liquid-psmf/page__p__18216#entry18216) and some others do the same thing but with solid food (e.g. tuna, meat, etc). Those are all options available, so it really just depends what you think works best for you. You mentioned you'd been to the doctor recently -- if you have any health issues or whatever, make sure you clear such a thing with your doc if you decide to go real low on cals.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check the calorie content of what you're eating too - "some chicken" could mean anything from lean, skinless chicken breasts that have been grilled right through to popcorn chicken tubs from KFC. Burgers that are home made using lean beef and also grilled/BBQ'd could be OK, burgers from a freezer/packet/McDonald's would be a shitty option. Lean meat and vegetables would be a solid basis for your diet.

Spector is bang on with the snacks too - dried beef and tinned fish would be my go-to options of choice.

I'd probably ditch the cereal breakfast for something egg based - poached and boiled being the lowest calorie, but an ommelette fried in minimal amounts of oil isn't so bad either.

BUT - with all that said, you've already lost 8lbs on the approach over the past month. Putting on one pound is a rounding error - could be just after a meal when previously you were weighed just before. Could be a large glass of water. Could be a bit of water retention or a slightly more packed bowel. It's long term progress that matters not short term numbers that change and fluctuate wildly. Over the month you've lost weight - that's what's important.

For ongoing tracking I'd probably suggest the use of a tape measure - go round your waist at the navel and measure the changes from week to week to go with your weight measurement. You can use the navy method to estimate your body fat - it's as good a guess as anything else - by adding in a measurement of your neck. Or you can just measure on inches around the waist and lbs on the scales - as long as the long term trend is downward on the tape measure, things are working for you.

Good luck, and keep up the good progress!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ExperimentB76z

I agree with Keenan and Neil.

On the, how much muscle is it possible to gain side of things, in your first six months as a complete beginner with optimal nutrition and training, you might expect to put on 1.5lbs to 2lbs per month. For 7 to 12 months, maybe 1lbs to 1.5lbs a month. The next couple of years you may achieve up to 1lb a month. After that it'll be around 0.5lb a month for a few year and then you'll have reached you genetic potential, or thereabouts.

Fat loss, if you have a reasonable amount to lose, should be a minimum of a pound a week, so even as a beginner and putting on 2lb of muscle a month, you should still have a net loss of about 2lbs a month minimum, even if your are gaining muscle at the maximum rate. If you have quite a bit of fat, you can lose it quicker and it may even be in your interests to lose it quicker. But, like Keenan said, before you start taking drastic action, check with your doctor.

The reason you are probably not losing weight - and I say this in all kindness, not to be rude, because it applies to pretty much everyone - is that you are probably underestimating the amount you are eating still. When I first started tracking my macros / calories, it was amazed how many calories there were in fruit. 2000 calories is not a lot at all. Yesterday I had no breakfast, a 200g chicken salad (decent sized salas) for lunch and 300g of cottage cheese, I had a scoop of protein power before training and after, 200g of rice noodles (a home made vegetable Singapore vermicelli, so lots of different veg again) and two grilled pork loin steaks with the excess fat trimmed off. Two squares (20g) of dark 85% coco solids chocolate and an apple. That's about 1900 kcals, because I'm getting to uber leanness at the moment. But that's not a lot of food.

The greatest friend you can have in your quest to shed pounds is a free to use calorie / macro counting website like www.myfitnesspal.com - you may be surprised by how many calories some things have in them. My mum, dad, stepdad, and mother and father in law are all overweight to obese and they all have medical conditions associated with their size, some worse than others (heart attacks (2), cancer, type II diabetes, hip replacement, unable to sit on the floor, various aches and pains). They all eat what they think is a healthy diet, because it's home cooked and contains vegetables and fruit. They don't eat McDonalds, et al, but my mother bakes once or twice a week. Anyway, the point of this story is, I can tell them they are eating too much, their doctor can tell them they are eating too much, but they won't accept it. For example, after we've eaten and I say I don't want pudding because it will take me over my calories, and then refuse fruit too - because even an excess of fruit will make you fat, I say - they look at me like I've just kicked Jesus in the face.

Go with lean meats, ditch the protein bar (it's a chocolate bar with protein added, no different) and monitor your kcals.

If monitoring your kcals is not your thing, alternate day fasting may be the answer. There are lots of fasting protocols, daily ones like intermittent fasting (16 hours not eating, 8 hours eating), the ADF protocol, 500 kcals one day in one meal, then eat what you like the next, and 5/2, where you eat what you want 5 days and limit yourself to 500 kcals on two consecutive days. These can all be made to fit with a training program, but check with your doctor first.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good deal. So I've changed my way of thinking around. How is this for my daily meals on average? This is what I had today.

Bowl of Cereal (Shredded Wheat & 1% milk) for Breakfast = 300cals 2:30am

1 Scoops of Whey Protein Shake w/ 1% milk = each 250cals One serving & 7am and one at 12pm (Driving truck sucks. Easy to eat & get protein.)

2 Baked Tilapia w/ small amount of Teriaki & Black Pepper

over fresh plain spinach & some dressing = about 500cals 4:00pm

1 Light Peach yogurt for dessert = 80cals 4:00pm

Drinking only water throughout the day.

Total Daily intake = about 1400 calories.

That's all I ate today other than a couple celery sticks. Will this kind of keeping track and calorie counting be best for my needs?

BTW thanks Expirement for the myfitnesspal web site. Using it for my calorie resources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Relic,

It looks like you're off to a good start but maybe could use some tweaking. Could you post up the exact macros and such you're getting from this? Also, 1400 seems a bit low. Some more numbers would be more helfpul, especially bodyfat % estimate and your calculated/estimated calorie need (which will require bf% for accuracy).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a fat caliper or anything like that. I got my body fat % from the calculator at myfitnesspal.com. It's saying my body fat is 41.7. Also it's saying the BMR is 2125 calories/day.

Not sure about macros. I'll have to look it all up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can post neck and navel measurements, height and body weight (all in imperial or all in metric) - you can plug it into the Navy formula which isn't a bad start. Get a tape measure and run it around your belly (at belly button height), then take a neck measurement just under your adam's apple.

BMR seems low as an estimate if the weight in your profile is right. At your weight and bf% (and with only 1400 calories per day) I'd want them to pretty much ALL come from protein too.

Are you able to stick to that sort of diet without being perpetually starving? Remember, getting from ~40% BF to ~20% bf is going to require a long time, so you need a diet that you can stick to for a reasonable duration (3 months plus).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would strongly advise not to stick to below BMR calories for long. Thyroid down-regulation due to starvation is a bitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would strongly advise not to stick to below BMR calories for long. Thyroid down-regulation due to starvation is a bitch.

I agree, though with higher BF, his BF should make up the difference provided he's getting enough protein and occasionally creating stimulus for lipolysis. If his protein is very high, he should be able to run a pretty large deficit for 8-12 weeks without any trouble, unless he has some issue already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just did measuring and the Navy formula says 41% BF. 109lbs fat mass and 157 lean mass. Are you saying that sticking to a 1400cal average diet is not a good idea? What exactly is thyroid down-regulation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Navy formula is highly dependent on your neck vs. gut measurements. If you naturally have a thick neck, it erroneously says you are leaner. The reverse is true, that if you naturally have a thin neck, it erroneously says you are fatter.

As a man, particularly while weightlifting, I would treat anything less than 1800cal as seriously suspect. A big problem is you will be grinding yourself down rather quickly.

Even using the numbers you gave, and the Katch-McCardle formula, your base BMR is about 1900 Calories. That's before you factor in your activity levels. If all you do is sit at your desk all day and never lift, you would be burning a little over 2200 Calories a day. Add in weightlifting, and you should be losing weight with a 2000 Calorie diet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it's best then to eat nearly normally? Just watching what I eat and getting enough protein, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bottom line, Yes. When you need to lose weight, adjust your maintenance down 20%. However, do take the time to find what your maintenance is. Using formulas like Katch McCardle, and the more common BMI calculators are all approximations. They'll get you in the ballpark, so try what it says is maintenance for your activity level and monitor your weight. If it's creeping up, adjust what you eat down a bit until it remains steady. Same with if it is creeping down, increase what you eat until it remains steady. It's at this point you can intelligently decide how many Calories to drop.

Just based on personal experience, you'd be surprised how much you drop just by getting rid of candy, sugar sodas (like Coke and Pepsi), cakes, and generally anything considered a desert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just based on personal experience, you'd be surprised how much you drop just by getting rid of candy, sugar sodas (like Coke and Pepsi), cakes, and generally anything considered a desert.

I hear ya here. I haven't had anything sweet or sugary for the pasty month and a half or so. I don't miss it at all either. So by dropping 20% from maintanence, I guess I'm looking at 1600 or so cals a day. I'll keep an eye on things and see how it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So by dropping 20% from maintanence, I guess I'm looking at 1600 or so cals a day. I'll keep an eye on things and see how it goes.

BMR is NOT maintenance. TDEE is. Have a look at this calculator. If you are curious about the terms and concepts behind them, read this article, for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However, do take the time to find what your maintenance is. Using formulas like Katch McCardle, and the more common BMI calculators are all approximations. They'll get you in the ballpark, so try what it says is maintenance for your activity level and monitor your weight. If it's creeping up, adjust what you eat down a bit until it remains steady. Same with if it is creeping down, increase what you eat until it remains steady. It's at this point you can intelligently decide how many Calories to drop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know you said it, Mav, but right after that a 266 lbs man said he'll drop his calories down to 1600 :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time I did that, I became Mr. Hyde. I wasn't even active then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ExperimentB76z

You can, if you have sufficient fat mass, go on a harsher diet than less 20% of TDEE. In fact, it's probably desirable given the health risks associated with carrying the extra fat mass.

No offence intended, but Relic is never going to get anything like an approximation of his BF% from a calculator, because he is too far from the demographic of people used to make those calculators. The same is true for BMR and TDEE.

I would probably put your macros at 100g of fat, 200g of protein and 200 carbs (which is based on slimming down to a 200lb guy). You are not a lean ripped guy at 200lbs, nor will you be by the time you get there (again no offence intended at all), so that calculation contains more than adequate protein (you need less than a standard guy anyway, given your higher than average fat mass).

Anyway, that would give you 900kcals of fat, 800kcals of protein, and 800kcals of carbs, or 2500kcals. You are probably using circa 4000kcals a day, maybe more, just at the moment. So that's a loss of 3lb a week or thereabouts.

When you enter starvation T3 decreases, sexual hormone binding global increases, and that means you have less free testosterone; amongst other things. But this also happens in carb restriction independent of caloric restriction where carbs are then than 120g a day.

That said, people have lost up to an additional 2lbs in weight with lower carb diets (50g to 75g a day) in the first six months, though the difference is made up after that. If you wanted to reduce your carb intake, I'd increase protein intake commensurate to the decrease in carbs so overall calorific intake is about 2500kcals.

I'd check with your doctor that you are safe to restrict your calories this low (2500kcals).

Get your nutrients from as many unprocessed whole foods as possible.

Below here is edited.

It's not unusual for people who are obese to be put on diets where total kcals are restricted to 1800 kcals a day, even though their TDEE is much, much more. Lower is not uncommon either, 1300 kcals. But, these are probably not optimal for supporting a resistance training program.

Edited by ExperimentB76z

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not unusual for people who are obese to be put on diets where total kcals are restricted to 1800 kcals a day, even though their TDEE is much, much more. Lower is not uncommon either, 1300 kcals. But, these are probably not optimal for supporting a resistance training program.

What I've done (with pretty decent success, when I stick to it), is a rather extreme form of calorie cycling. Lifting days (4x per week), I try to get in 1900-2000 calories, and off days are kept under 1000. It's sort of the best of both worlds, and I find that I can still get decent sessions at the gym in... but I'm not gonna lie, eating under 1000 calories sucks, and I can only make it 2-3 low calorie days in a row before I go nutty. (For reference, I'm 40+% BF, and female... so my calorie needs are going to be much lower than Relic's, unfortunately.)

Rob, quick question about the T3-is that 120g of food carbs, or effective carbs (ie, including those produced by gluconeogenesis of protein)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ExperimentB76z

What I've done (with pretty decent success, when I stick to it), is a rather extreme form of calorie cycling. Lifting days (4x per week), I try to get in 1900-2000 calories, and off days are kept under 1000. It's sort of the best of both worlds, and I find that I can still get decent sessions at the gym in... but I'm not gonna lie, eating under 1000 calories sucks, and I can only make it 2-3 low calorie days in a row before I go nutty. (For reference, I'm 40+% BF, and female... so my calorie needs are going to be much lower than Relic's, unfortunately.)

I think even when I, "bulk", I am going to have one or two low kcal days, circa 600 kcals. The scientific data behind fasting is still growing, but there are some interesting benefits, which go beyond body composition - the body stops making cells and starts repairing existing ones, even brain cells. Seems like it may be a decent way of structuring a diet if you can, whichever way you're going.

Rob, quick question about the T3-is that 120g of food carbs, or effective carbs (ie, including those produced by gluconeogenesis of protein)?

In the studies it was ingested carbs, so if gluconeogenesis did happen it did not prevent a drop in T3. It may well be the case that some kind of cyclical dieting would alleviate the worst of the symptoms. I think further studies may be needed , but some nutritionists seem to put a lot of stock in this and there definitely appears to be a direct correlation between glucose and T3.

It may simply be the case that T3 drops faster in low carb and will still arise in a higher carb calorie restricted diet. In any event, it's completely reversible in a very short period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I've done (with pretty decent success, when I stick to it), is a rather extreme form of calorie cycling. Lifting days (4x per week), I try to get in 1900-2000 calories, and off days are kept under 1000. It's sort of the best of both worlds, and I find that I can still get decent sessions at the gym in... but I'm not gonna lie, eating under 1000 calories sucks, and I can only make it 2-3 low calorie days in a row before I go nutty. (For reference, I'm 40+% BF, and female... so my calorie needs are going to be much lower than Relic's, unfortunately.)

Rob, quick question about the T3-is that 120g of food carbs, or effective carbs (ie, including those produced by gluconeogenesis of protein)?

I will concur, below 1000 calories is a baitch, and this is after 2 days haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ExperimentB76z

I will concur, below 1000 calories is a baitch, and this is after 2 days haha

What sort of protocol are you giving a go, Art? Really interested in your progression...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Experiment I am following the protocol the diabetes UK study used, except with solid food instead of shakes: so far I've gone from 225 to 217lb this morning, of course that's all water weight, and more importantly my fasting BG has gone from an average of 124 or so (with occasional trips to the 130s) down to 86 in two days.

of course this is on 2000 mg/ day of Metformin. if my BG stays that low for a few days or drops much lower, I will reduce the Metformin and see what happens

my cals / macros break down to

: 636 calories / day, 52.8g protien, 33g carbs, 15g fat. this macro profile may bounce a bit if / when I can't stand eating the same thing over and over, but I hate figuring all this stuff out, so so far I've been eating the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

I hope against hope this will work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×