Set point, macros and performance struggles

  1. I am 44 and very active. As soon as I hit 40 I put on a little weight and started using chronometer off and on a few years ago to try and lose 5-7 pounds and get back to my long-term weight. I have it set to lose a pound and a half a week I haven’t even tried to pounds but I can’t lose anything! A very rarely go over my allotted calories once adjusted for exercise and yet I’m just stuck at this weight. I can’t really eat any less without restricting has anyone had this experience with setpoint?. I am a healthy weight I just like my old weight :-) some days I acceptance and Sundays I am extremely frustrated. As a runner and a climber it’s really hard to do either with more weight.
  2. lately I feel like absolute crap running like I can’t recover. Because I’ve been using Cronometer it’s helpful to go back and look At my nutrition report. I tend to eat about 40% carbohydrate 30% protein and 20% fat. I could increase my carbohydrate but it would take away from my protein. Protwin aids in recovery and carbohydrate aids in fueling so it’s really hard to figure out What is right for me specifically. My fat is lower maybe that would help? I tend to eat large portions of protein and would have to be very disciplined to eat less and make room for more carbs. Or I can just trust this crazy setpoint I seem to be in and just eat more carbs?

so there you go to big questions why can I not move the scale at all with us up and why do I feel like absolute crap lately??

Hoping someone can help. I am open to seeing a dietitian who uses this app but they always seem so expensive if anyone knows someone reasonable.


  • This app supports, even drives, the unproven eat less/move more theory of weight loss. It's so built in, they don't even realise that is what the app is doing. Even the one-pound-of-fat-equals-3500kcal is just a theory, and has never been proven, yet it underpins almost all weight loss advice.

    More carbs is not the solution. Carbs are the kindling on energy. Unless you are doing 100m sprints, your running needs to be fuelled mostly by fat.

    I was in the same situation as you and asked here,'t-figure-out-what's-going-on-with-my-weight I was not satisfied with the answers, which were not open to the possibility the entire premise was wrong. I spent 3 weeks measuring every mouthful that I ate, and letting my phone measure activities to watch my weight not change a gram. I was thinking about food constantly, using will power all the time and that was just to maintain. I realised that if that was what I would have to do after I had lost the weight, I was doomed to fail. I looked for another way.

    For me that was low carb and fasting. I have now been maintaining pretty effortlessly for a year (though not dining out much has helped!), so I am pretty sure this is a better strategy than eat less/move more.

  • edited July 2021

    Are you concerned with weight or body fat? If you are at your ideal body fat percentage, then have you considered that your current weight is where you should be, where your body naturally needs to be? If your body fat is too high, then I wonder if adding some weight lifting could help.

    Also, when I’m in a cutting phase, I find that, for my body and type of workouts (power lifting), 30% protein, 35% carb, and 35% fat works pretty well. I don’t cycle or rock climb, but perhaps jefmcg has a good point, lower carbs a little and see what happens.

    Those last few pounds are difficult to lose, so 750 calorie deficit might be too much. Perhaps increasing calories a little will allow you to put in better workouts and will kickstart the loss you’re looking for. I’ve found that sometimes (and to a reasonable degree) eating more is better for weight loss than eating less - as counter intuitive as that sounds

    Good luck with your goals.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • I run 60 miles a week and have definitely noticed performance get worse as I eat less carbs. I have never been comfortable hitting the ball that my dietitians that for me of 300 to 400g carbs and seeing the long term data that i’m averaging 150 I want to at least try. If you look at the literature the majority of the research does not support a low carbohydrate diet for endurance athletes. Yes it works for some.

    as for biometrics I have not had my body fat asses in a long time I’m just uncomfortable with a number on the scale honestly. I FEEL like I’m under fueling so maybe I should try with the second person said I’m just try to relax about intake in general Since watching it like a hawk is not helping.

  • I’m curious about your sleep- so much of our recovery relies on it and as we get older our recovery abilities decline such that we might need more. Not sleeping enough can cause all kinds of troubles but especially the feeling like caca.

    If you have sleep on point some things you could look at:

    1. meal/protein/calorie distribution over the day (some people do better having more calories at different times of day-research suggests frontloading for most people)
    2. not Eating back exercise as much (Fitbit always over-estimated my caloric burn but XioMi works pretty well. Overall heart rate is not a great proxy for how much we burn)
    3. See if anything emotional is going on- ie if it tells you to eat more but you’re truly not hungry try not eating
    4. See how your body responds to reducing exercise load for a few days at least. Both performance and water weight loss might improve

    you may want to watch a good YouTube video from renaissance periodization called “nutrition myths-eat more to lose more” for reasons the scale might not move during dietary compliance and what to do about it.


  • Thanks for all this I actually have a masters in exercise physiology and sports nutrition (so that is not my current career) so I have the knowledge I know where to look up the research but sometimes it is hardest when it is yourself.

    I really want to see what my body does with a higher carb training diet as far as performance. The guidelines of the ISSN show 4-10g/cho per kg. Obviously that is a huge range but I’m just gonna try to even hit that bottom number and see if I get improvement. If my weight goes up I’ll try a new strategy.

    if I had not have been neurotically tracking it all for nine months I wouldn’t even know where to go from here. What someone said above is probably true… I don’t have a lot of fat to lose this is probably the way my body likes so I should focus more on performance and let the number on the scale go. I also think if I am monitoring it so closely and not losing and I can probably eat a little more and not gain. My body seems steadfast at this new weight.

    all the ideas are so helpful and make me analyze this in different ways.

  • Interesting I’m glad you shared and hope it works out.

    i posted about Amino Acids today questioning exercise recovery so maybe you can help me with your knowledge base 😂. I’m curious- is that recommendation for endurance athletes? Personally, if I get 1g/lb lbm (~110g) that puts me out of my calorie requirements even at the lowest level, but I only do light cardio and lift weights.

  • Also someone in another thread cited a study I forgot about whereby long term runner metabolisms slow down so maybe I am not burning anything near what I think. I think I am going to try to use chronometer for macro tracking only and listen to body cues more for calories in.

  • @Jennn

    To answer your first question, it's very possible that you are eating too little for your activity and creating a "starvation mode" in your body where weight conservation is the goal. To overcome this, I'd suggest cutting back on your activity while you are reducing your calorie intake. Alternatively, you could look at the types of activity you are doing and see if tweaking them could help (for example, if you always run at the same pace, adding interval training can be very helpful in firing up your metabolism).

    You are very likely not eating enough carbs to fuel your runs. I know there is a culture around low-carb eating in athletics but all it tends to lead to is poor performance outcomes and high perceived effort. It's also difficult to train hard if you are restricting your calories.

    In my practice, if someone is eating in a deficit, I prefer they engage in low-intensity, non-appetite stimulating activity (like walking). Think of exercise as something that helps prevent weight gain but it isn't helpful at promoting weight loss.

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • @Susan_RD_101 thank you for the feedback. I contacted Polar and it looks like when my watch calls and activity data BMR is included so I was counting that at least partially twice. At this point I’m so fascinated with the data I don’t care if the scale moves up or down I just want to be able to make it do some thing! Then go from there.

  • edited July 2021

    so maybe I am not burning anything near what I think.

    I think this is very possible.

    I think I am going to try to use chronometer for macro tracking only and listen to body cues more for calories in.

    Instead of using your subjective body queues, can you use objective data points? 3-4 weeks of regular weigh-ins and comparison of week n to week n+1. If you're recording body circumferences, changes week to week there ought to match your weight changes. If your weights & measurements aren't changing, then you have a pretty strong signal that you're at maintenance kcal levels. If your weight isn't changing but your circumferences are, then fat loss is being masked by water retention/muscle growth.

    In your other thread you stated that you were looking to lose 3-5lbs. Running 30-40 miles/week and spending 3 days climbing in the gym suggests you are quite fit, and 3-5lbs for you is probably much more difficult than on a novice trainee. You might have to adjust your expectations towards a lower rate of change (closer losing .5% of your bodyweight/week than 1%).

    I actually have a masters in exercise physiology and sports nutrition

    Grats! Seems like you ought to be teaching us a thing or two :).

    If someone came to you saying "I run 40 miles a week and want to lose some weight" what do you think your first reaction would be? How would you go about methodically & systematically assessing the client to make recommendations? Have you done the same with yourself? How much are you saying "well I don't need to do exactly what I'd prescribe to a client, because [insert reason here] " ?

    Here's an anecdote / some food for thought: I have been tracking calories & training off and on for the past 12 years or so (I'm no body builder or elite athlete -- just a recreational trainee, dad with slightly-better-than-dad-bod). Every time I stop & re-start, I iterate on my prior attempt. Most recently I started keeping a weekly rating of sleep, stress, hunger, and fatigugue -- Nothing fancy, just "0" for no problems, and "5" for mega problems. This isn't a new idea to me, just in the past I didn't do the work because "I didn't think it'd make a difference." Well, I added it this time, and was totally surprised at how just the simple act of adding 4 cells a week to my sheet actually drove behavior change. Like I have something in my mind that wants to have 0's and 1's in the cells, which influenced me to get to bed earlier, get my screens turned off sooner, etc. And if you had asked if I would have predicted this I would have said "no way... writing that stuff down won't matter at all." Go figure.

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