Eating less calories but still gaining weight?

Hello all. I started Cronometer 3 weeks ago after discussing weight loss with my doctor yet again. He knows I am a tech guy and thought I may like the challenge of this. He was right, I love logging everything but for some reason it is not working to lose weight. I weight and measure ever single thing as I am pretty OCD to see if this works. I know I am already eating better as I am learning more about foods and portions. I have it already set for -1 lb a week and when I do the 3 week nutrition report I average 768 more calories a day I can eat plus the 499 for the weight loss so that is an average of 1267 deficit a day! So this should mean if a lb of weight loss equals 3500 calories I should have loss 7.6 lbs but i have actually gained 2.8 lbs? I also have a scale that shows my muscle, water and fat that I weight on once a week at the same time and it is not muscle or water going up, it is fat. I am pretty confused why this is not work.

I am 47 male 6’5” 246.2#

Any ideas?

Thank you so much for any help provided!

Comments

  • Hi @Ncbeast,

    Sounds like your Doctor is pretty in tune with your needs; you are so lucky to have a healthcare professional who has taken into account your personal life and suggested you use a tech solution based on your lifestyle!
    Remember, Cronometer is to be seen as a tool to track consumption and all targets we have set by default are not for everyone. If you have different needs you are welcome to make the changes based on your healthcare professional's recommendation or personal preference. Weight loss is different for everyone and many factors contribute, so it may be worthwhile to reach out to your healthcare professional about this one.

    Specifically, I would recommend checking your Activity Level settings, and BMR calculation to make sure they are correct for your needs.

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Thank you Hilary for your response. Yeah, my doctor is great and have been going to him over 20 years. I also thought about the activity level, especially the BMR. I think my exercise is pretty accurate as in imports my daily works. I also moved the activity level to sedentary 2 days in even though I do work out 5-7 days a week but I do have a desk job m-f. For the BMR I am not sure what to do for Custom on it. I thought the Miffin equation was pretty reliable but I am total new at this...

  • If you are using an activity tracker, it may be beneficial to sync your wearable device to Cronometer - you can view a list of our supported devices here: https://cronometer.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018579072
    To enter your exercise, you have a couple of options. Make sure you have set the appropriate activity level to account for your exercise tracking:
    You can set your activity level on your profile tab based on how you would like to track your activity. You can do this a couple of ways. You can:
    • Estimate your activity level and exercise: Choose the most appropriate level that we have listed for ALL your daily activities
    • Log your activity level separately: Use our activity library to manually log the exercise you do by selecting the "Add Exercise" button at the top of the diary. (https://cronometer.com/help/diary/#exercises)
    • Use an activity tracker: This is the most accurate and arguably the easiest way to log your activity. Sync your wearable activity tracker to Cronometer in the profile tab of your account (Scroll down to devices) to view the different types of wearables that we support. If you wear your device all day, set your activity level to "None" as your device will import the appropriate number of calories for daily burned and separate activities. If you only wear your device for exercising, set your activity level to "Sedentary".

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • I have the Activity Level set to Sedentary, exercise is picked up by my workout app and entering other activities via the library (when needed). BMR is set to use the Mifflin equation which puts it at 2106 kcal. I understand a tracker would be more accurate but I do not have one at the moment.

  • @Ncbeast aside from an activity tracker, the end result is telling you that perhaps your BMR is being overestimated. Weight loss depends on so many different things that it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit but if your current caloric intake is causing you to gain weight, then something is amiss. Equations can only go so far in estimating.
    The estimate 3500 kcals = 1 lb of body fat is very tenuous and sleep, alcohol, protein intake, carbohydrate intake, level of exercise, stress, and a very long etc. can throw that estimate off by quite a bit.
    Also, once weight loss has begun our smart bodies have a way of adapting and lowering our BMR to the new lower caloric intake. Without measuring exercise intensity and activity with a tracker really the only choice is to go by the actual result. I would just experiment lowering caloric intake until you lose weight again. Then adjust your BMR accordingly.
    So if you lower your intake and start losing 1 lb a week, and you are breaking even on intake vs output, then backtrack from that and subtract 500 kcals/day from your BMR. I hope that made sense.
    Just to have more info, what type of exercise do you do?

    Maria H
    My story: jumpovertherattlesnake.com/

  • Thx VegasTortoise, I really appreciate your help. I have been very suspicious about the BMR but could not find others that have an issue with it so I stopped thinking about and figured there was something else wrong. I have also been thinking about getting a fitness tracker other than just my iPhone but comparing the Activity to my phone and the Sedentary I have the Activity set at it seems it would be even higher giving me even more kcals a day. That may be ok if there is no BMR. so if I do get like an Apple Watch would I turn off the Activity or set to None and set the BMR to Custom 0 and record all of my activity via the watch? On the type of exercise I do is M-F cardio for 20 mins, split in two, 10 mins before and 10 mins after and 40 mins of strength training on machines, dumbbells and body weight exercises. I use the Fitbod app which gives you the exercises to do each workout depending on muscle recovery and automatically increases reps and weights. It also syncs directly with crono. Ben using this for my work outs for about 3 months now. I also enter some manual exercise 2-3 times a week from doing yard work around the house.

    Thanks again for your help and let me know if I can answer any other questions..

  • @Ncbeast So the first thing is I just looked up your ideal weight and you are not far from it, top of the ideal range for a man your height is 229. Upshot of that is that it is indeed very tough to lose those last 10-20 lbs.

    Calories burned during any given day = BMR + activity + exercise
    BMR is the kcals you burn during sitting and breathing and sleeping so it should not be set to zero. Having said that our BMR can lower itself in times of what "it" sees as "famine" aka, caloric restriction. Seemingly for some people that pesky BMR does not seem to bottom out at a reasonable number.
    My own lab-measured BMR came in at a whopping 650 kcals per day, so unless I stay active and exercise I am doomed to eat only that many calories or gain weight. I am 59, 5' 1". Unbelievable, and insulting! since I exercise at least 90 minutes per day and never fail to complete my 12000 steps. (Aside: my MD put me on keto and said that would fix my stupid BMR and so far so good).

    Your exercise routine is very good to maintain muscle mass. Splitting cardio into two 10 minute sessions before and after lifting does good for your heart and muscle warm-up and cool-down, but little to engage the fat burning mechanism. Cardio exercise necessary and ideal to engage fat burning needs to be longer in duration since we don't "switch" from glucose to fat as a primary fuel for at least 15-30 minutes of continued aerobic exercise. Those fuels are always mixed so we don't exactly switch from one tank to another but the mix favors higher fat burning with prolonged and moderate intensity aerobic exercise.
    If you are supplementing exercise with an energy drink, stop it! ha! By feeding your muscles ready to burn glucose you are preventing your body from tapping into your fat reserves for fuel. Switch to a no calorie no sugar electrolyte drink or water with an electrolyte supplement (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium).

    One factor that you may want to tweak is your sedentary job and I don't mean quit! LOL Just getting up and walking around every hour to hour and a half for as little as 2-5 minutes will do wonders to keep your BMR from dipping and staying lowered throughout the day. Our physiology actually changes with prolonged sitting.
    And the little things help, always take stairs, park far away from any place you drive to, and try to sneak in any activity even if it seems trivial any time you can.

    The advantage of a fitness tracker is the activity accuracy. By measuring steps and heart rate if you can get one with HR monitoring, the activity portion of your equation will be much more accurate. I use Garmin Vivosmart HR 24/7/365 and there are a ton others cheaper than an Apple Watch with the advantage that they can also track your exercises with HR monitoring.
    You are so close and doing so well that tweaking factors here and there might eventually "convince" your body to shed those extra lbs of fat.

    Hope all this helps!

    Maria

    Maria H
    My story: jumpovertherattlesnake.com/

  • @VegasTortoise, not sure what you are using to show my ideal weight at 229. I am 6’5” and 246 and 47 years old. At 229 my BMI would still be at 27.15 (Overweight). My goal right now is 220, BMI 26.09 still considered overweight. To get to the top of my normal weight BMI I would have to get to at least get 210, BMI 24.90.

    On the cardio, I really hate cardio and do not want to do much more. Feel it is sort of a double edge sword. More cardio I do the hungerier I get. Also I had a full knee replacement in July so not advisable anyway. I was hoping to use the strength training to build more muscle which will make me look better and burn more calories even when I am not working out.

    On the Sedentary for the Activity level, I only put it there as it lowered my available calories. I do have a desk job but I am up at least every hour and do stairs most each time I am up.

    Again thank you for your help and I am just going to keep at it. It has only been a month and I am learning. I may just have to keep cutting the calories down myself until I start losing again..

  • @VegasTortoise , forgot to mention that I do not use an energy drink before work outs (or ever) but do use some Creatine, BCAA, Glutamine, Oligopeptides and Pre-Workout but all are calorie free.

  • Hello!

    Chiming in as a dietitian...

    Unfortunately, weight loss is not as simple as calories in and calories out. Remember, your body thinks that weight loss means you are sick or starving; it has no idea what a healthy body weight is and will fight tooth and nail (by lowering your metabolic rate) to prevent any weight loss.

    When it comes to inputting your data, make sure that you are doing the following:

    • Recording as you eat
    • Using the recipe analyzer
    • Including all sauces, oils, spreads
    • Use a scale not measuring cups

    I personally prefer activity level to be set to Sedentary and to use a fitness tracker to import your activity. Keep in mind that even the best fitness tracker can often over-estimate your calorie expenditure.

    Finally, I don't recommend eating below your BMR as doing so can cause your metabolic rate to drop and interfere with sustainability of your weight loss effort.

    Let me know if you have any follow-up questions!

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • To follow-up on what Susan said, it appears at 1800 calories you are eating far below your BMR - in my experience this can definitely back fire - not just by having you body hold on to weight but also by making you excessively, and almost irresistibly hungry. I would second Susan about eating you BMR.

    Use Cronometer the way it was designed and trust it...it says you can eat 768 more calories to get to your weight goal...so do it. I have been doing it - following those numbers fairly closely, always eating my BMR and eating the calories it says I have to eat to hit my deficit of 999 for a two pound loss per week and I have just about averaged that over the course of a year and 1/2 to the tune of 130lbs lost, easily too - without excess hunger, etc.

    It sounds weird, but you just need to eat more to fuel your body and lose weight.

  • I feel your pain. I have been a Cron user for 6 years. In the first 2 years, I used Alternate Day Fasting to lose about 60 pounds. Then I used Cron to adjust calories so that I could lose some more weight. I set Cron to lose 1 pound a week and waited to no avail for almost 4 years. During that time I tried varying macronutrients like carbs, fat, proteins. Nothing worked, my weight loss had stalled.
    What I've learned is that BMR is not fixed. If I diet with a constant 500 calorie deficit my metabolism will adjust downward to compensate and hang onto the fat it has. It didn't matter how much aerobic exercise I did because after a good workout I would get so tired that I could barely stand up. For me to lose weight I must eat to my BMR or slightly above and do intermittent fasts like ADF which don't give my body time to adapt. That works consistently for me.
    As for varying macros, A low protein diet will slow my metabolism to a crawl. (I currently use the 1.5 gms/kg formula). A high carb diet will make me hungrier than a low carb diet. A low-calorie diet will slow my metabolism to a crawl (I'll be cold, cranky, brain-fogged and lethargic). I do have some genes that make me tend to put on fat and become insulin resistant. I hope this helps.

  • edited May 28

    a little late to the party, just thought i'd say those BIA type scales are really inaccurate...

    and when i first started losing weight at 260-67, i'd notice it would all come off in a day in ~10 pound blocks..about every month and a half or so...

    my 2 cents, and personal experience

    (the techincal term is a 'woosh moment') lol

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 9 years and still learning.....

  • I struggle with weight loss. I’m fairly sure I might be hypothyroid but as my blood tests are “within range” I can’t convince the medics, they refuse to take my symptoms into consideration or the fact that both my sister and mother were both hypo and had pernicious anaemia. So I had an RMR test done, this showed that at rest I burn 1076 calories, that is about 400 fewer than the norm for age weight and height.

    What I can’t fathom about cron is that every day there’s a “credit” of over 2000 calories some of which is the 1376 from their estimated BMR but the rest is what? I’m not sure how to get this changed because it can’t be right.

  • This number will automatically populate in order for you to plan your food diary. The Calories you are seeing are as a result of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and activity level settings. While these Calories are a total of those burned throughout the day, we add them as a lump sum at the beginning of the day so it is easier to plan your meals and activity in relation to your general calories burned!
    Your BMR is the rate of energy expenditure of your body at rest and the number of Calories burned is the result of a calculation from the BMR. Check out this section of our user manual to learn more about basal metabolic rate and your activity settings on the mobile app: https://cronometer.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360019870632
    See this section to focus on the website version: https://cronometer.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018472272.

    Hilary
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Thanks Hilary, I have reset to sedentary and I have a more relevant number although still a bit high. I have had an RMR test which showed I burn 1079 calories, is there anyway to input that number as it’s actual rather than just representative?

  • 1079 sounds WAY low for just about anyone? except maybe a dwarf.

    i'm a 6'2" man, weighing 177 pounds, and i burn ~2820 a day sitting on my ass.
    i got that number by tracking everything i eat for 3-4 months and weighing myself everyday, then i would pull up an avg calorie intake for the 3 months. compare it to how much the scale changed.

    (say gain 2#'s....so 7,000/90=77 calorie extra a day avg. if i was avging 2890-77=2820, yes i know that's not right but this stuff isn't an exact science)

    from what i've seen but not actually confirmed, is that most sedentary women burn somewhere around 1800 a day.

    anyway take your time i went from 205 to 170 in 3 years pretty easily with just a 50 cal deficit

    apologies if i'm off-topic or not making sense, i just woke up....

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 9 years and still learning.....

  • or in other words. i'm asking how long have you been weighing 'everything' and logging it so far? i believe you can pull the avg for the last 3 months, compare it to your weight then and now (stable weight, mine fluxuates 3 pounds day to day from water and stuff)

    pull up the avg in CRON-O-Meter. do the math, and i'd think if it's some obscenely low figure you've probably got a error somewhere in your logging. happened to me back in 2014, gained 30 pounds. and all because my beer glasses were actually 8-9 oz's not the 12oz i was logging. i didn't think there was a point to try. and also couldn't understand why i wasn't gaining MORE weight. but i knew something was up when i maxed at 205. started trying to find it and ...BINGO! found the mistake I was making in march of 2016, decided to take my time...no rush, cut calories by 50, now i'm back down to 170's.....

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 9 years and still learning.....

  • one more thing, and sorry about the wall of text, what are you weighing. ,raw...or cooked? i always weigh before cooking. and use the raw version for the food. figure water and stuff would be to variable.

    I am an amateur. I've been using CRON-O-Meter for 9 years and still learning.....

  • edited June 1

    I’ve only just restarted using Cron in the last couple of days. The figure I gave was obtained from a formal RMR test which measures the oxygen v carbon dioxide levels. I had to keep really still, hooked up to the equipment for approx 40 mins. The tester said, “It initially seemed that your result was very low compared to the normal data provided on the form. However, after discussing this with my colleagues and looking at research under the same conditions, the result is within the normal range we'd expect for your age and gender.” I thought it odd, when I’ve put my age, height and weight into an online calculator it comes up with a figure about 400 calories higher too so I figure I’m too low. The point of doing the test was because I’m trying to find out if I’m hypothyroid, I can’t account for the inability to lose weight permanently. A low metabolism is one of the indicators.

  • @Balloon

    Those tests are fairly accurate but you may wish to repeat it on another day, ensuring you are fasted, haven't consumed coffee or medications that can interfere with results, and haven't engaged in activity the night before.

    Our metabolism is closely related to our weight, gender, and body-size/composition. For example, I'm 5'7" and around 128 lbs and my RMR clocks in around 1400-1450 calories, which is how much I need to eat AT REST to maintain my weight. Because I exercise ~5x per week, I need to add an activity factor, which bumps my calorie needs to around 1900 per day for maintenance.

    My advice is to not eat below your metabolic rate (~1100 calories) and to ensure that you are adding plenty of strength-based activity. While cardio is great, we need to build muscle mass in order to change our metabolism.

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Thank you. I was given exactly those instructions so I was fasted, I don’t take any medication and I spent the previous evening, like most, sitting down. I see a personal trainer twice a week for strength training and have done since October 2018. I try to do yoga once a week, walk my dog for at least 30-40 minutes every morning.

    Im going for a body composition scan on Wednesday just for interest.

  • @Balloon the O2 and CO2 measurement is very accurate, much more than any formula based on anthropometrics, as it is an actual measurement. In grad school my average after several measurements was 670 kcals BMR so I feel your pain!! I am not hypothyroid according to blood work and have always fought my weight with two exceptions:
    1 is when I was young and wild and rode a bike for transportation, played soccer recreationally and generally never ever ever stopped moving. I had two jobs and went to college. This went on for years and I was lean as a stick despite my BMR.
    2 is recently when my MD recommended the ketogenic diet to "fix" my metabolic syndrome, lose a few lbs, and lower my cholesterol (yes, you heard right) which went up due to cancer meds.
    Result, 23 lbs lost this year, reduction in body fat % about 5%, I am eating twice as much as before, cholesterol levels are stabilizing with HDL through the roof and analysis of LDL lower with reduced dense particles and increased fluffy particles. Total went down, ratios are within norm. Vitamins and minerals easy to get when eating more also so that's a bonus. Bloodwork all coming in within range. Some mild annoyances like weak fingernails, I'm now supplementing with magnesium and they seem to be getting stronger. All other targets achieved daily.
    Low metabolism sucks, I was eating less than 1000 kcals and still gaining, I wish I would have heard about keto a long time ago. Now I'm eating around 1500-1700 kcals daily and still losing about an easy lb a week. Goal of 120 within sight.

    Maria H
    My story: jumpovertherattlesnake.com/

  • edited June 4

    I used Cronometer to track my macros over a 3 year period where my weight stayed within a +- 5 pound range. Cronometer said I should have been losing 1/2 pound a week with an ~250 calorie/day deficit. I was obsessive about being accurate as I'm an engineer by training and I had the garbage in, garbage out, meme beat into me at an early age. I've since gone with a custom setting adjusted to compensate and everything is working as it should.

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