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MFP overestimating allowed calories?

YHadamYHadam Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
Does anyone else ever feel like MFP is giving you too many calories?

I'm 5'4", 221 lbs, 40 year old female. I have an office job so I'm definitely sedentary.

MFP tells me that to lose 1 lb a week I can eat 1580 calories. I've been doing that fairly consistently but it's very rare that I actually lose a pound a week. I do a tiny amount of exercise, so tiny that I don't try to eat back the calories because it's basically like one peanut or something. I enter in all of my food, weighing and measuring as I go (at least once a week, I tend to eat the exact same thing for meals for the week) and I'm usually between 1350-1550, depending on what I feel like eating that week. I try to keep my carbs, sugar and sodium down, although the sodium is sometimes higher than I'd like. Given the sodium, I don't expect to lose a whole lot some weeks but this has been going on for months!

I don't want to lower my calories too much but I also would like to actually start losing weight. Any advice?

Replies

  • samamad5149samamad5149 Member, Premium Posts: 13 Member Member, Premium Posts: 13 Member
    Hi,
    How do you monitor your weight? Is it daily, weekly?
  • YHadamYHadam Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    Hi,
    How do you monitor your weight? Is it daily, weekly?

    Weekly, same scale, early morning right after I get up.
  • samamad5149samamad5149 Member, Premium Posts: 13 Member Member, Premium Posts: 13 Member
    YHadam wrote: »
    Hi,
    How do you monitor your weight? Is it daily, weekly?

    Weekly, same scale, early morning right after I get up.

    Okay, I ran into a similar problem when I first started. So bear with me this reply might be long:

    The biggest factor in calculating how many calories you burn at rest is your weight. So typically if you want to maintain your weight, you should eat around 1700 calories according to "verywellhealth.com"

    So in each pound of fat, there is around 3500 calories, so in order to lose one pound of fat in a week you need to cut around 500 calories a day. Highlight the word fat, not body weight.

    As you know body weight consists of muscles, fluid bones and organs (lean body mass) and there is fat. What you aim to lose is the fat.

    Now, calories counting can be a little misleading when using the scale as judge. Because, sodium and low fibre refined carbs hold a lot of fluid, you really need to exercise to get rid of the carb fluid-retention and drink water to ease the retention from sodium.

    Another factor which can complicate things, is the last meal you had before the scale. Aim to leave consistent time between eating and stepping on the scale.

    If you prefer not to exercise, the calories you want to avoid, sugar, refined carbs. Focus on protein, fibrous fruit and vegetables and healthy fat.

    Speaking of healthy fat, be weary of the amount you add to your meals, extra drops of olive oil could be 20+ calories. So use a table spoon instead of pouring it down.

    I recommend that you do gentle walking, just for the mind and stress of office environment and help with your sleep.
    Hope this helps you.

    Sorry for the long reply. 😊
  • YHadamYHadam Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    Ok, I had a look into your diary. Just some observations.
    There are many days where you did not log, and quite some days with just breakfast logged. What happened on those days? You might not log what you eat then, but your body does. It's totally fine to go over the allotted calories, but it's not easy to accept this happens. Log all calories on all days. Then you know why you don't lose as predicted.

    I go shopping once a week and eat the same thing every day until the next trip so I admit sometimes I get lazy with logging once I've figured out the calories.

    As for the measuring, I do weigh and count out according to serving size, I just log them as MFP has them because the calorie count matches what the serving says it has (like my m&ms, I count out 16, which is the serving size on the package but MFP lists a serving as .25 cup so that's how it's logged.
  • YHadamYHadam Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Or maybe you are eating more than you think?

    Using cups and spoons for measurement, as you do, can be very inaccurate.

    I weight and count out, whatever the serving suggestion is. I log it as it is in MFP because the calorie count matches the serving suggestion.
  • YHadamYHadam Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    YHadam wrote: »
    Hi,
    How do you monitor your weight? Is it daily, weekly?

    Weekly, same scale, early morning right after I get up.



    Sorry for the long reply. 😊

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment, please never apologize for offering someone your thoughts!

    I do exercise a little, I have a medicine ball and right now I'm following a "7 minute hard 30 day" program for it. When I set my watch to calculate the calories it was around 50, so I'm not worried about eating that back.
  • samamad5149samamad5149 Member, Premium Posts: 13 Member Member, Premium Posts: 13 Member
    YHadam wrote: »
    YHadam wrote: »
    Hi,
    How do you monitor your weight? Is it daily, weekly?

    Weekly, same scale, early morning right after I get up.



    Sorry for the long reply. 😊

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment, please never apologize for offering someone your thoughts!

    I do exercise a little, I have a medicine ball and right now I'm following a "7 minute hard 30 day" program for it. When I set my watch to calculate the calories it was around 50, so I'm not worried about eating that back.

    You are welcome. I remember I was frustrated and was in a similar position, my weight didn't budge for months. I researched the topics of calories, digestion, protein, fat..etc and managed to understand better. Now I'm nearly 50 pounds lighter and feel a lot fitter (it took me a whole year and still half way towards my ideal weight)

    Good luck and keep us updated
  • crb426crb426 Member Posts: 578 Member Member Posts: 578 Member
    I would say give it a little more time. See how your weigh trends over time. You may be losing that pound per week, but daily fluctuations could be throwing that weekly measurement off. You could try weighing more often to see these daily fluctuations.

    I would recommend taking measurements as well. Some people won't see weight drop but will see a shrinkage in body areas like stomach, arms or thighs. It can be motivating.

    And, I know you say sedentary with a quick "powerhouse" exercise program. But I would personally recommend walking in addition to that. If you can manage a couple of miles per day you will see some strength growing in your legs and even arms from swinging. I started out walking fairly fast for 4-5 miles 3 or 4 times a week. Now do that same amount but throw in spurts of jogging. I feel my body tightening up even when the scale does not move. I swear the first thing to show up from running was shoulder muscles! LOL
    edited June 8
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 592 Member Member, Premium Posts: 592 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    YHadam wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Ok, I had a look into your diary. Just some observations.
    There are many days where you did not log, and quite some days with just breakfast logged. What happened on those days? You might not log what you eat then, but your body does. It's totally fine to go over the allotted calories, but it's not easy to accept this happens. Log all calories on all days. Then you know why you don't lose as predicted.

    I go shopping once a week and eat the same thing every day until the next trip so I admit sometimes I get lazy with logging once I've figured out the calories.

    As for the measuring, I do weigh and count out according to serving size, I just log them as MFP has them because the calorie count matches what the serving says it has (like my m&ms, I count out 16, which is the serving size on the package but MFP lists a serving as .25 cup so that's how it's logged.

    I'm confused because you say you are weighing, but then you say you are counting M&Ms.

    Count nothing. Weigh everything.

    Right. Even items that are supposed to be a standard size have variations. I weigh out until I get the serving size on the package (or more or less if I want more or less.) Sometimes the weight of a serving does not line up with how many items there should be according to the label.

    If a MFP database entry doesn't have the weight, I divide the amount I actually have by the serving size. A lot of my diary has things like "0.97 servings" or "1.12 servings" when there isn't a by-gram option. For condiments or candy, or cheese :yum: , or anything else that's calorie-dense, those differences can really matter!
  • YHadamYHadam Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member


    I'm confused because you say you are weighing, but then you say you are counting M&Ms.

    Count nothing. Weigh everything.[/quote]

    On the container I have, it only lists "16 pieces" as a serving size.
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 729 Member Member Posts: 729 Member
    I lose 0 pounds for 3 or 4 weeks and 5-2lbs on week 4 or 5 (depending on what rate I was trying to lose at the time). It is directly related to where I am hormonally. Ie: The only week I lose is the one during which I start my period.

    I lose fat all the time. The scale drops ONCE, and all at once. That is not that uncommon.

    And fwiw I weigh 143 now, at 5'5. I lose weight on about 1600-1800 calories a day, and maintain around 2000 so for me no. the estimate for MFP is actually kind of low (FOR ME) and I've had to adjust it upward a couple of times. (I use TDEE, though not exercise since much of my activity is impossible to log as exercise accurately. so my activity/exercise cals are looped into those numbers)
    edited June 9
  • johnrsinger452johnrsinger452 Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    I would not worry about the "weigh everything" people here. Your logging methods are fine as long as you are consistent with it. You may just need to adjust your intake downward or commit to adding in more significant activity since you've not gotten results using the suggested daily calories. It all comes down to calories in and calories out.

    Whether your personal base metabolic rate is low and you don't burn as many calories as are guesstimated by the calculator (these are based on averages and individuals can vary by a decent amount), or you're undercounting your total caloric intake (I don't think you're doing anything wrong there); if your body weight is remaining consistent over several months, then you're consuming roughly the same as your body is burning.

    So, in order to lose weight, you have to set yourself a lower daily calorie goal, increase your activity, or do a combination of both. Personally, I would agree with the suggestion to add walking to your daily routine. It's great for the mind, body and for your weight loss goal. Unfortunately those quick 7 minute workouts aren't going to do a lot, as you've noted with the 50 calories burned. You really need to get your heart rate up (not high, but to a brisk walk level) for a longer period to have a real impact. As already noted, you need to burn 3500 more calories than you consume in order to a lose 1 lb. That's a 500 calorie deficit everyday for a week, and right now you're roughly at equilibrium. That means you need to reduce your consumption and increase your exercise so they add up to that 500 if you want to lose that 1 lb. a week. I'd recommend trying to do that mostly with activity and at most 150-200 calories less as a goal. Find ways to move more. Whether that is taking a walk on your lunch break, getting up off the couch on commercial breaks and walking around the house for those few minutes, or finding another form of activity you like, that will get your metabolism going to burn more calories.
    edited June 12
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