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Friday, July 6, 2012

Cinderella's Weight Loss Knowledge

The Down Low


[Me - Side]
[Me - Front]
So the short version of the story is due to my mind, body and people being unreasonable, I was 30 lbs heavier about a year ago then I am now (yeah, in reality I could easily blame this all on myself). Me being me, I decided to lose the weight I put on in a mathematical, methodological experiment. This also proves (be it you're sedentary or active) you do not need food plans, starvation, exercise programs (though exercise is great for your body and makes it look better), or evil shakes to lose weight. You just need knowledge. I lost most of my weight being completely sedentary, but I now exercise regularly. This post is for people who will hopefully learn something new, since I've been getting a lot of questions from people since I've lost weight. For those reading this because they want to lose weight, please don't feel overwhelmed if you don't know what I'm talking about at first. Just digest and read through the information fully, several times if you are having problems. There are calculators throughout this post I've put here especially for you. You don't necessarily have to understand the terminology.

Daily Nutritional Information


When you look at a box of food, the nutritional information is usually based on 2000 kcal/day and is known as a DV (Daily Value). Several sites like Wikipedia seems to suggest that 2000 is a sensible recommendation for the average female but I'm not sure what this information is based on). This information is from the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) info which is regulated by Health Canada and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The RDI is suppose to give sufficient requirements to fulfill 97.5% of a healthy persons diet. These values are based on averages. This means that just because it says a specific 8 ounce drink is 150 calories, doesn't mean it actually is. Don't get me started on heterogeneous mixtures like a boxed cookie with an extra nut. My point being, no matter what you do, your estimates are not exact.
  • 1 kcal = 1 Calorie (food term) = 1000 calories (science term). Watch out some people mix up Calorie and calorie.
The current RDI recommendation includes:
  • Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) - This is suppose to be sufficient to satisfy 50% of people in an age group based on scientific literature.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) - Calculated based on EAR and is usually EAR + ~20%. This is suppose to be sufficient to satisfy 97.5% of people's nutritional intake according to the Food and Nutrition Board in each life-stage and gender group.
    • RDA = EAR + 2 standard deviations of EAR. 
  • Adequate Intake (AI) - Lowest adequate intake.
  • Tolerable upper intake levels (UL) - Highest recommended intake that current data shows no side effects to avoid excessive intake of certain vitamins that can be harmful in large amounts.
That's as far as I'm going to get into it. For more information on finding your value, Google the above terms!

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index determines if you are underweight, normal, overweight, obese etc. If you know the BMI scale and it seems arbitrary, you are correct. This is why many people bash BMI. There is even a limitations and shortcomings section on wikipedia. It does not take into account factors in the body such as amount of water, bone (frame), muscle, cartilage, etc. There are several varying standards depending on where you are on what's considered 'normal' but on average 18.5-22.9 is usually in the 'normal' range. Singapore, Japan, Canada (see Health Canada), plus the World Health Organization, Sageera, my fitness pal etc included this range according to the many sources I have looking at to this date but some others include higher and lower values as well. I've seen 200+ pound women work their butt off literally, to the point of abs galore who become disappointed when the BMI scale tells them they are still obese. They should not rely on this scale. But if you're completely in the dark of what you are, many consider the BMI a satisfactory way of determining the category of a sedentary adult.

  • BMI = mass in kg/(height in meters)^2 = 703 * mass in lb / (height in inches)^2 
  • Example (me) BMI = 703 * (120lb / ((5'7"*cm)^2) = 703 * (120/((67cm^2)) = 18.8 lb/cm^2 = 18.5<18.8<22.9 = Normal, assuming weight scales and height measurements are accurate

Lean Body Mass/Body Fat (LBM/BF) 


The general rule of thumb is it takes 3500 calories of energy to burn 1 pound of fat. This means that you would have to add at least 3500 calories to your actual TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) to gain a pound of fat in a day. Also, burning 3500 calories does not mean everything you burned was fat. Yes, it is true that you can gain multiple pounds in a day. This is not fat and muscle pounds. This is food and other things such as glycogen pounds, which you can read about later.
  • 1 pound (fat) = 3500 calories
The rate you burn calories depends on your body composition/Lean Body Mass (LBM). This is the mass of your body excluding body fat (BF), which can be pretty difficult to calculate. There are many tests and calculators that will give different solutions for the same variables. If you have your mass and your LBM, you can find your BF or vice versa. To sum it up the following is always the case:
  • LBM = mass - BF = mass - mass * (BF%)
  • BF = mass - LBM = mass - mass * (LBM%)
  • BF% = 100 * BF / mass
  • LBM% = 100 * LBM / mass 
  • Example (me) based on equations below: BF% = 17.0% (via BIA) = 19% (via Covert) = 19.1% (via Military) = 23.83% (via BMI) = 25.2% (via fat2fit)
    BF=20.4lb (via BIA) = 22.9lb (Military) = 34.6lb (via BMI)
Note: It's hard to compare yourself to another person based on just these numbers, as there are faults that come into play even if you are using the same medium to measure. Look at the measurements as a way to gauge the difference in yourself over months, not a way to tell you 'how fat you are'. Fat is good for you, your body needs it to live happily. There is a large deviation in my examples based on the same information due to the different ways to measure body fat (17%-25.2%) but some of those values are suppose to be more accurate then others. Also, remember that the percentages are a ratio (I know, it seems obvious now that I've said it). Some people don't seem to realize that if you lose weight, your fat percentage can stay the same (though you still might be on the right track). You're likely to lose muscle and fat while losing weight, so the ratio will only slide in your favor if you increase your muscle. If your body fat percentage is fluctuating this is normal. I'd prefer comparing values month to month rather then week to week. The body fluctuates a lot, especially if you're female.

Other BF Equations:
  • Brozek formula: BF = (4.57/density - 4.142) * 100
  • Siri formula is: BF = (4.95/density - 4.50) * 100
A few ways to measure BF/LBM: 
  • Hydrostatic (Underwater) Weighing - This is the most accurate way of measuring since it doesn't predict body density. There is a error margin for residual volume (lung capacity). Remember, the density (mass/volume) of water changes with temperature (water becomes larger when it freezes into ice cubes for example).
    • density_body/density_water = density_body/(~1g/cm^3) = weight_body/(weight_body - weight_immersed)
  • Skin Fold Methods - A pair of calipers/callipers can be used to pinch standardized parts of the body such as your bicep and belly, determining the subcutaneous fat layer thickness. These sites are measured several times and averaged, and an average is taken of the averages to determine body fat percentage. The calculations some people use seem to vary and consist of body mass index rating scales so I will not list them here. Caliper readings can be done at a lot of local gyms. Demonstrations are available on YouTube. For accuracy, the same person has to accurately measure you the same way at the same point in your cycle and day. Even if you are being accurate the values can fluctuate between meals, activities, and hormones changes throughout time. But you will generally see what's happening to your body fat from month to month. If your eating habits, activity level, or time you have the reading done changes (especially if you're female), the values can change. 
  • Weight Scales/Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) - This functionality is built into many weight scales and other devices (such as Omron hand grippers) these days. The values can vary greatly, even if you have 2 of the same scale (according to my scale manual). Scales that can do this are actually reading your electrical impedance, so it requires skin to metal contacts (this is why you do not receive a % value if you are wearing socks). These scales can figure out your total body water (TBW), which can help calculate LBM, BF and bone mass. Since this depends on your TBW, the values can vary greatly depending on if it's that time of the month, you're hydrated, your hot (related to damp skin), you're losing weight etc etc. It can also be inaccurate depending on where your carrying your fat. For example, if you carry your weight in the top half of your body and use a scale that sends the current through the bottom half.
    • V=Voltage=IR=Current*Resistance=Current*|Impedance|^(Imaginary#*phase)=Complicated=you have as much equipment then me in your house.
    • BF = 20.4lb
    • LBM = 120lb - 20.4lb = 99.6lb 
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) - Your BF can be calculated from your BMI (sex=1 if male, 0 if female).
    Child body fat % = (1.51*BMI) - (0.70 * Age) - (3.6 * sex) + 1.4
    Adult body fat % = (1.20*BMI) + (0.23 * Age) - (10.8 * sex) - 5.4 
    • Example (me): BF% = (1.20*18.8) + (0.23*29) - (10.8*0) - 5.4 = 23.83% fat
  • Anthropometric/Height and Circumference Methods - The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army (Department of Defense) use this method along with Covert Bailey and fat2fit's body fat calculator. They make calculations based on mass, and the circumference of various body parts such as waist, hip, bicep, forearm and wrist.

BMR 


BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate. It estimates the energy your vital organs (such as heart, lungs, nervous system, kidneys, liver, intestine, etc) would use if you were unconscious and not moving a limb or eyeball. So, you burn more calories then your BMR when sleeping. Figure out your BMR by using the estimation formulas. The Harris Benedict equation and Katch-McArdle Formula are available. Some depend on age (a) weight (m) and height (h), and others depend on body composition/lean body mass (LBM). Personally, I use the Harris Benedict equation, but other equations can apparently be more accurate. Be careful with the others as there are many different ways to calculate your LBM and many of them are hard to do consistently/accurately. For this reason, equations using LBM tends towards a large standard deviation. However, expecting higher/lower body fat ratios then average can give you insight on whether your under/over estimating your BMR. To calculate both equations, read the links at the bottom of this section.

BMR/Total Heat Production Equations:
  • Harris and Benedict
    • Men BMR = (13.7516*m/1kg+5.0033*h/1cm-6.7550*a/1yr+66.4730)kcal/day
    • Women BMR = (9.5634*m/1kg+1.84496*h/1cm-4.6756*a/1yr+655.0955)kcal/day 
      • Example (me): BMR = 9.5634*(120lb)/1kg+1.84496*(5'7")/1cm-4.6756*(29yr)/1yr+655.0955 = 9.5634*(54.4310844kg)/1kg+1.84496*(67inch*(2.65cm/inch))/1cm-4.6756*(29yr)/1yr+655.0955 = 9.5634*(54.4310844kg)/1kg+1.84496*(170.18cm)/1cm-4.6756*(29yr)/1yr+655.0955 = ~1354 kcal/day 
  • Mifflin et al. (Newer, ~5% more accurate then the above according to Frankenfield et al)
    • Men BMR = 10.0*m/1kg+6.25*h/1cm-5.0*a/1yr+5
    • Women BMR = 10.0*m/1kg+6.25*h/1cm-5.0*a/1yr+-161
    • Example (me): BMR = 10.0*( 54.4310844kg)/1kg+6.25*(170.18cm)/1cm-5.0*(29yr)/1yr+-161 = ~1302 kcal/day
  • Katch-McArdle Formula BMR = (370 + 21.6 * (LBM in kg)) kcal/day 
    • Example (me, assuming fat% from BIA scale): LBM in kg = 120lb - (17%)*120lb = 99.6lb = 45.1778001kg
      BMR
      = 370kcal/day + 21.6 * (40.5511579) kcal/day = 370 + 21.6 * 45.1778001 = ~1345 kcal/day
    Note: As you can see, my BMR no matter what equation is within 43 calories of each other. This is somewhat negligible when we take into account that all nutritional information is based on averages.


    RMR


    RMR is your resting metabolic rate, and are usually used the same as BMR calculations. You can use the formula below, or get a more accurate reading from a doctor. Doctors usually do electrical induction testing. They attach probes all over your body and you have to lye down completely still (at rest) for a period of time (about 30 minutes, according to a friend who had his done). They take your heart rate and blood pressure before and after, and using the information they've collected they determine your RMR. If you've had an RMR test done, you know you can eat more then this amount and still lose if you've slept all day (without eating or using the bathroom or moving).
    • Cunningham Formula (RMR):
      • RMR = 500 + (22 * LBM in kg) kcal/day 
      • Example (me, assuming fat% from BIA scale): LBM in kg = 120lb - (17%)*120lb = 99.6lb = 45.1778001kg
        RMR = 500 + 22 * (45.1778001kg) = ~1494 kcal/day
    Given this information, I see no need to eat below what you need sleeping like a log, even if you are trying to lose weight.

    TDEE


    Figure out your total daily energy expenditure by applying the Harris Benedict Principle. This is the number you should be able to eat without gaining or losing a pound. Remember these are estimates. For me, I was still losing a pound a week at my TDEE value at 5'7 as low as 120 pounds. There are several activity levels available, to calculate, read the links below. 

    TDEE Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris-Benedict_equation
    Calculator: http://www.fitnessfrog.com/calculators/tdee-calculator.html 
    •  Sedentary:
      • TDEE = BMR * 1.2
      • Example (Me) Harris's Equation above: 1354*1.2 =  1624.8 calories/day will be burned without so much as walking through the grocery store
    • Very Heavy Exercise:
      • TDEE = BMR * 1.9
      • Example (Me) Harris's Equation above: 1354*1.9 = 2572.6 calories/day will be burned with regular intense exercise.

    Glycogen/Carbohydrates


    Glycogen stores energy and gives it to the body (muscle and liver for example) to use. To me, this is a good thing, not a bad thing. It's something you want around if you want to feed your muscles and other organs with energy.

    If you go on a VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet) and hardly eat anything, it's likely that the initial weight you so easily lose is glycogen, not fat like people wish it was. Before shutting down a weight lifting program or diet program when coming off a VLCD, give it 2 weeks before judgment day since sometimes there are initial weight gains that can be associated with glycogen levels This initial water weight disappears with then some shortly later if you stick to the program. The same goes if you work out an intense amount with no breaks in between (see glycogen depletion and endurance exercises on Wikipedia or Google Scholar). This gets rid of your glycogen stores. This is why sometimes when you think you should have lost a bunch of weight, you gain. But several days later, that and more drops off.

    Glycogen comes back when you give your body a break from work or you start eating sensibly again. Glycogen is needed in your body, don't try to get rid of it like it's a plague. This is described a bit more here:
    Glycogen can also mess with BF% if it's based on BIA readings. I've seen 'ripped' people get incredibly upset after getting their fat percentage tested. The unusually high readings are usually due to the fact your body body is repairing itself and has more water in it then expected.

    Carbs (carbohydrates) are easily converted to glycogen. Carbs are not evil. They are rather important for people who move and think. On the thinking side, google scholar has many links on how low-carb diets can lead to problems with cognition and mood. For example this one from science direct (which have articles from many peer-reviewed journals and books). 

     

    Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)


    This is mainly why I'm writing this post. To many people I care about have tried this and failed. Often disguised as a Body by Vi or Vialus diet, or the Herbal Magic diet, or the some other marketing scam gimmick diet, or the 1200 calorie diet, or diets below your BMR (though you may not be aware you're on it). Calories are a form of energy. Your body often doesn't have enough energy to repair itself on these types of diets, especially if exercising or sick. Glycogen stores are depleted on these diets. Thus, beware of injuries and health problems when on a VLCD.

    Examples: Though there's a controversy on soy, it's true that thyroid problems can be caused by excess soy in the diet (which is essentially all you eat on the Vialus diet). If you Google tooth decay and hair loss, there are many forum posts around the Internet saying their doctors said their herbal magic diet has caused these problems for them. If you exercise a lot and you do not give your body enough energy to repair itself, injuries seem to be common. The link to the piece CBC did on Herbal Magic has tooth and hair decay comments in it, and the video is worth the watch. And though I may not agree with everything that David the nutritional couch with certifications and science related degrees says, he certainly gets the point across that there are reasons you shouldn't go the vialus way. That's another long rant in itself and I would have backed some things up with different links and reasons.

    Some looking for a quick fix because 'they are fat' turn to a VLCD, though what they're initially doing is quickly depleting glycogen stores and slowing their metabolism. Donating blood also works to lose weight quickly. Both Glycogen and blood comes back in a healthy body, so it's eventually a losing battle. It's like Cinderella at 12 O'Clock after she lost her bloody glycogen shoe. When things go back to 'normal', everything is going to revert to equilibrium. But that doesn't mean she needs a VLCD ferry to get what she wants. Have your pumpkin carriage and eat it too (have I gone to far yet?).

    Jumping to this diet quickly makes one feel hungry and sometimes crabby (or get another hormonal problem) due to jumping down such a significant amount in calories. When they stop feeling good about it and realize it's not sustainable or a happy way to live, they often binge or quit all together. I've seen this happen a lot, it does not help the weight problem. This must be why some people 'yo-yo' diet after weight loss pills, meal plans, etc. It's not that they're weak, it's that their body needs it. Even when supervised by medical professionals, people often gain back weight after the VLCD stops (there are many blogs out there and you probably know a person or 2 who has tried it if you don't believe me). This is the point they need to learn how to maintain weight on their own.

    You can eat to much food and gain, and similarly eat very little with the same results. I've seen girls my size who were gaining on 600 calories a day with exercise due to metabolic problems and obvious other problems. And yes, you can repair a injured metabolism. Our bodies are interesting vessels.

    If you are healthy, I recommend staying away from these unless there's an extreme reason for it and the diet is supervised by a health professional. Even then, consider your other options first. I've heard many friends horror stories of getting sick, losing hair and nails, being cold, having a hard time rebounding from injuries and running into other health problems due to these diets. If you decide to go with a VLCD, research what you should do to stay safe from reputable sources first.

    Let it be known that I'm writing this blog as a person who is very very against VLCDs, who is not in the health profession. What I've seen on it isn't positive. Just because someone shouts yay I'm eating very little doesn't mean it's good for them. My self experiment with it was very brief, and my thoughts of it were very unhealthy. Netting 1200 made me feel cold, down, irritable, my period stopped and my nails couldn't grow long anymore, when I got the flu it was hard to shake and my health only increased when I quickly changed my mind about it. It's also hard to get vitamins/minerals/nutrients on these diets with just food (look up your RDA value if you don't believe me).  The body needs so much fat in a diet for example to absorb certain vitamins.  If my body and other shorter smaller women's bodies can use more calories then that unconscious, why try to sustain on less then that while awake? When coming off of these diets do not blame your weight gain on anything else but this. The weight fluctuations are explained a bit here: http://www.justinowings.com/understanding-bodyweight-and-glycogen-de/

    It's only fair that I point out the positive side to the VLCD. Many people argue that lower metabolisms are beneficial. I've had the argument thrown at me that the Okinawan people have very long lives and eat on average less then most people in the US and Canada. Well, I'll also state that on average they have a very different lifestyle, a very different diet, and on average the men are 4'9 and weigh 94 pounds. Low calories to sky scraper and heavier me is not equal to low calories to them. If you want to lower your calories because you think that will make you like the Okinawan people, I suggest doing it slowly on a small cut of your TDEE, keeping your BMI in a healthy range if you are not exercising. 

    Food


    Get a digital weight scale and measure food accurately. Make sure the values you use for your food is actually the real nutritional value. Many of the values in online databases can be off from what you expect. Especially if you don't realize there's say, Canadian and US products with the same name but different ingredients, or something is listed as cups instead of grams. Always go by weight, it's more accurate. Some people have ml listed on their food scales, this is only accurate for water or things that have the same density as water since the density of water is 1g/ml (so the ratio is 1 to 1).

    Exercise


    If you are sedentary and using TDEE calculations, make sure you add all activities you do that burn calories and eat your exercise calories. You can keep track of this via paper, online calorie counters or some other media. Remember, if you're on your feet all day, you're not sedentary. If you have a office job and exercise regularly, you are not sedentary. If you don't want to bother logging exercises, just pick the TDEE that relates to your activity level and eat at that.

    Heart Rate Monitors (HRM): Continuous HRM's are good for cardio only like running and cycling without inclines. When you get into weight training and other things this tends to be less accurate.
    My Fitness Pal: Those I've asked say the MFP values can be nearly double the amount on their HRM. I suggest eating some exercise calories until you are no longer full. By my math it usually works out to be more then half. I'm guessing it'll depend on your size.

    Steppers: If you wave or it's windy or if you get in a car these things will increment. They have no way to determine if you're exerting yourself, if you're clenching all your muscles, if you're moving your limbs with all your might, if you're walking quickly or jogging slowly. Keep that in mind when using these values.

    Keep in mind that most calorie burns are based on cardio activities.

    The Journal of Sports Sciences:
    • Male = [(Age x 0.2017) - (Weight x 0.09036) + (Heart Rate x 0.6309) - 55.0969] x Time / 4.184
    • Women = [(Age x 0.074) - (Weight x 0.05741) + (Heart Rate x 0.4472) - 20.4022] x Time / 4.184 
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/221621-formula-for-calories-burned-during-exercise/#ixzz1tNX5WzlX 

    Calculator: http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/heart-rate-based-calorie-burn-calculator.aspx 

    Weight Loss Simulator:


    There was a scientific paper published based on the quantification of the effect of energy imbalance on body weight. The authors of this study made this adorable little calculator that lets you play with all the numbers mentioned above. They take the changes in the human metabolism into account, looking at the fact that a 3500 calorie deficit equaling 1 lb of weight loss isn't that precise.

    Study: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60812-X/fulltext
    Calculator: http://bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov/

    POLY MONO Fats, Macro and Micro Nutrients


    To learn more about health, you should research these from relevant reliable sources. I highly recommend lifestyles where nourishment comes from real food.

    How it Works


    Thyroid and other problems can cause metabolisms to be slightly lower then estimated values. The last thing I recommend is going on a VLCD (very low calorie diet) when your metabolism is already problematic, it just makes matters worse. This is for the average individual without metabolic problems. With that said, I've seen people with thyroid problems use these methods and they still ended up netting above their BMR to lose. Initially they gained (glycogen) and then lost again.

    NET: includes exercise. If your using a sedentary value of your TDEE, that doesn't include exercise. If your TDEE with cut is 2000 and then you exercise 200 of that off, eating your exercise calories back should not make you gain fat (especially if you are hungry).

    WEIGHT: For the sake of living healthy and avoiding health problems, avoid picking a weight that doesn't give you enough calories to work with to give you your daily nutritional recommendations based on your activity level. They were made for a reason. If this is a problem and you are sedentary or you're not working hard, up your activity level. For example, if you're 4'9 and sedentary, I don't recommend being 90 lbs because you will not be eating enough to get your nutrients from food (adding exercise to that is a different story, if you're really active a female can maintain at above 2000 calories a day). I also recommend not going to the middle of underweight on the BMI scale no matter what your activity level is. For example, if you're 5'9 I don't recommend being 100 lbs, ever, no matter how active you are.

    STEPS:
    1. Go to the BMR section of this post and find the calculator. This will give you several values, including your BMR. Do not NET below your BMR.
      • Looking at what BMR/RMR stands for, I cannot think of a logical reason anyone would want to eat below it, even when obese unless there is some sort of urgent medical matter currently at play. No, obesity does not count. I've seen people go against doctors orders and I know many use-to-be over weight people who appreciated the fact they ate a healthy amount because they felt good while losing weight. I try to always NET ABOVE my BMR. It's not like obese people can keep up a rate of 5 pounds a week if they keep eating very little (see VLCD and glycogen section). This can cause real upset when you decide you need to eat very little, you decide that very little is not sustainable.
    2. Especially if you have a lot to lose, net your TDEE for at least 2 weeks, and try to figure out if your TDEE is accurate. I say at least 2 because sometimes it takes your body a while to level out and get your glycogen levels and the like back to normal.
      • If you were under eating for a while, expect this part to be a pain (see glycogen and VLCD section).
      • Some people's TDEE's are higher then expected. If you stick to this and are losing weight weekly at this level, I wouldn't bother going lower. If you have a lot to lose you'll probably have to decrease later anyway when you reach a plateau, which according to many can be quite disheartening, so you'll appreciate the extra calories later. I stayed at my calculated TDEE and got to my goal losing a pound a week at the low tip of underweight/healthy on the BMI scale, so trust me, you can lose lots here.
      • Many weight lose sites go on the assumption that taking off 500 calories a day will make you lose a pound a week. Because of the metabolism, this is not true (see the study and weight loss simulator above).
    3. If you are not losing at TDEE values after a few weeks, take a 10%-15% cut of that. As you lose weight, update that number. If you add more exercise, you can eat more then this number and lose.
      1. Or you could go back to the calculator for BMR in step 1. Once you enter your info there will be several activity levels at the bottom of the page. Pick one that relates to you or pick sedentary if you're going to calculate your exercise calories yourself.
      1. The number on the BMR fat2fit page is NOT your TDEE it is a CUT of your TDEE. What you eat is really up to you, but I suggest not taking a large cut, and to make sure you keep netting above your RMR. I recommend not using a weight difference larger then 30, because eventually you'll be working with a unsustainable number, which makes people hungry and cranky. If you have a lot to lose, choose a interval and when you stop losing weight weekly or at say 20 pounds, come back and calculate with your new interval. If you don't like how the math is beginning to sound random here and you don't want to rely on a site, take a 10%-15% cut of their TDEE if it's above your RMR and you will lose. As you lose weight your TDEE changes, and so your cut is lower.
      1. If you have a lot of weight to lose and come to a stall for several weeks, eat at maintenance (TDEE) for a few weeks and repeat. It's normal to gain a few pounds the first week or so but when you cut that and more should drops off along with it.
      You can fluctuate during the day by pounds. Don't let this get to you. This is not not fat you're putting on, it's food and glycogen and if you're a women especially, other things. Over all you are still losing weight and over months you will notice the trend, even if you're weight is fluctuating higher then you would like it to day to day. This is a game of patience. I didn't have problem with this game since there was no durastic change in my diet.

      I've done an experiment where I split my calories up into many meals. This did not make me lose weight faster, my delta weight was still the same. If you eat more meals during the day and eat until late expect your morning weight to be heavier since the time between your last meal and breakfast is shorter. If you eat 3 large meals during the day expect your top weight to be heavier since you have a lot of food in you and your body is breaking it down into different things. If you don't like that idea you can eat your 3 meals verrry slowly (kidding). There's really no difference. Do what you are happiest doing.

      Me 

      For those who want to play with someone elses numbers on the calculators:
      Height: 5'7
      Weight: 120 lbs
      Weight Lost: 30 lbs
      bust-waist-butt:34-25-36 (inches)
      Activity Level: From sedentary to Active
      NET Calories: 1700 (usually between 2000-3000)
      Bone Mass (BIA): ~6.4 lbs
      Body Water (BIA): ~60%
      Body Fat (BIA): ~17.1% 

      This is me, take it or leave it NL.


      32 comments:

      1. A very informative post! i've been trying to figure out the amount of calories i should be consuming to lose weight, but the more i looked into it the more i got confused because of all the different answers. the most confusing part is that my sedentary is 1600, and my bmr is 1333, if i eat 1400 which is above my bmr but because my sedentary burn is 1600, i'm gonna be netting 1200 (below my bmr) then it's already defeating the purpose of netting my bmr..for instance, let's say i ate 1400, and burned off 300 calories by working out, so the total burn for that day would be 1900(sedentary burn 1600 + exercise 300), in that case, if i only eat back 300 exercise calories, it only leaves me 1200 for my body to function which is below my bmr.. so technically no matter what u will always end up below ur bmr.. so im really confused! would really appreciate it if you could clear that up.. thanks!

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      2. Thanks for your input. I'm not following some of your logic so I'm basically going to repeat you but in my own words (the values will be different). So in your case 1600 is your estimated sedentary TDEE (this is less then me). You can NET this without gaining weight. Your BMR is 1333 calories. You're taking a cut of 200 calories a day. If you're eating 1400 which is above your BMR, you're going to be eating 1400 without exercise, so this is what you intend to NET (This is close to your BMR, so it's great if you add exercise). For instance, if you burned 300 calories, your TDEE would be 1900 for that day. Your NET intake at this point would be 1400-300 (1100, which is below your BMR). You can eat those 300 calories back, so you've eaten 1700 calories, and your NET for the day is now 1400 calories, which is above your BMR. You are in weight loss mode since your eating below your TDEE.

        So for the day your:
        ---------------

        Sedentary TDEE: 1600 (does not change)
        BMR: 1333 (does not change)
        cut: 200
        exercise: 300
        eat back: should be same as exercise = 300

        Actual TDEE: Sedentary TDEE + exercise = 1900

        TDEE with cut: Actual TDEE - cut = 1900-200 = 1700 <-you are eating this

        NET: Sedentary TDEE - cut = Sedentary TDEE - cut + (added food - exercise) = Sedentary TDEE - cut + (0) = 1400

        NET - eat back: 1100

        *Notes:
        Eating Actual TDEE to not gain weight. Below this you will lose.
        TDEE with cut is what you eat for the day.
        The NET stands for if you exercise, it's canceled off by the additional food you get to eat.

        Not sure where your 1200 number is coming from?

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