Calorie Counter

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You're probably eating more than you think.

SideSteelSideSteel Posts: 11,079Member Member Posts: 11,079Member Member
This post is really more about tracking accuracy and consistency.

We get a lot of posts regarding intake recommendations from people who are stalled or have slower than expected progress. It's becoming somewhat of a blanket suggestion to eat more when more often than not, that's not the right answer.

You can't just look at someones caloric intake and assume they are eating that number of calories. We've already seen SEVERAL cases where someone comes to us, tells us they are eating X calories, tells us they are very accurate about weighing and measuring everything and then we see several days of missing logs, or meals missing, or several quick adds, or a complete lack of any condiment calories, or other things that are general red flags for accuracy.

To make myself abundantly clear, the intent of this post is not to belittle anyone at all. The intent is to point out that what you think is accurate is probably not. It is very common for people to eat slightly more than they think, especially in a prolonged calorie deficit.

That pat of butter or those squirts of ketchup can add up. Using a measuring spoon instead of a scale on something calorie dense like peanut butter can add up. (see here for examples ) Not logging on weekends or taking a cheat day can add up. Constantly nibbling on things like taking a handful of peanuts or a bite of that brownie and not logging it, can add up to a bunch of calories.

To be clear, I'm not saying all of those behaviors are bad. I'm not saying that people need to be OCD for the rest of their lives regarding tracking. The behaviors can be bad if you start stalling out on your progress, and my belief is that tracking accuracy is the first place that most people should look to when you hit a weight loss plateau.

I AM saying that you can't necessarily look at the numbers and conclude "I must not be eating enough" when in reality you could be eating too much due to the sum of these tracking inconsistencies.


I'm going to edit and polish this post but I wanted to get it out there now and I'll tidy this up later.

Some great information that I think you should see:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12396160

The dietitians underreported their energy intake obtained from the food records by an average of 223 +/- 116 kcal/day, which was not different from their energy expenditure. Participants in the control group, as hypothesized, significantly underreported their energy intake (429 +/- 142 kcal/day, P < .05).



http://body-improvements.com/resources/eat/#plateaus

The lighter you are though, theoretically speaking, the less wiggle room you have for error. Suppose you’re 125 lbs. Your maintenance intake is likely 1,750. A reasonable deficit would be 25%, which would lead to a daily calorie goal of 1,300.

As there are 3,500 calories in each pound of fat, assuming you lost nothing but fat while dieting, the above deficit would lead to a 1 lb loss every 8 days or so.

Now what if this person was underestimating their intake by 5% or so (there’s research showing people underestimating by as much as hundreds and even thousands of calories) and overestimating their expenditure by 10% or so. This could add another 200 or so calories to their daily intake, thus reducing the actual daily deficit to 250 calories.

Using the same assumptions from above, the actual deficit would lead to a 1 lb loss every 14 days. I’m being conservative in this example and this person’s expectations would be off by as much as 50%.

In this case it’s not that you’re deficit isn’t working… rather it’s that you’re eating closer to maintenance than you realize.



Thanks to Acg67 for providing these:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199212313272701

Conclusions.

The failure of some obese subjects to lose weight while eating a diet they report as low in calories is due to an energy intake substantially higher than reported and an overestimation of physical activity, not to an abnormality in thermogenesis. (N Engl J Med 1992; 327:1893–8.)

Adding the link to this article, courtesy of Sublog: http://www.fitnessfactreview.com/the-art-science-of-calorie-counting/
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Replies

  • CrankstrCrankstr Posts: 4,070Member Member Posts: 4,070Member Member
    thanks for this...

    DIGITAL FOOD SCALE...made a BIG difference in my measuring...a measuring cup is not the same.
  • lacurandera1lacurandera1 Posts: 8,343Member Member Posts: 8,343Member Member
    Don't red flag me for not eating ketchup, etc. I'm anti condiment. :) And anti salad dressing, which was a blessing when i started trying to lose weight. LOL.
  • Sarauk2sfSarauk2sf Posts: 28,493Member Member Posts: 28,493Member Member
    This is a great video showing the inaccuracies and how the calories add up when measuring v weighing

  • UsedToBeHuskyUsedToBeHusky Posts: 15,465Member Member Posts: 15,465Member Member
    I admit it... I eye-ball most of my food. But, I log everything that goes in my mouth. The only time I do quick calories is if I give myself a break and go to the buffet. No way to track all that.

    I've been kind of unfocused as of late though, so I wouldn't be surprised to learn I'm eating more than I think I am.
  • CrankstrCrankstr Posts: 4,070Member Member Posts: 4,070Member Member
    This is a great video showing the inaccuracies and how the calories add up when measuring v weighing


    YES! This is the video that made me go out and get a scale the next day.
  • LoraF83LoraF83 Posts: 15,778Member Member Posts: 15,778Member Member
    So agree with this.

    I hate seeing people complain that they can't lose weight and then their diary is empty or filled with tons of quick-add calories.

    There are days that I don't track, but I'm fully aware of what that does to my goal and how it sets me back. I won't be making a post asking why I can't lose weight.
  • Yanicka1Yanicka1 Posts: 4,634Member Member Posts: 4,634Member Member
    I totally agree with you. While I believe in feeding your body properly and enough, I think most plateau are the results of sloppy logging.
  • dinosnoprodinosnopro Posts: 2,200Member Member Posts: 2,200Member Member
    Great post. Some of my coworkers and friends think I am weird for weighing and logging everything. I just tell them, goals are not reached accidentally.
  • DixiedoesMFPDixiedoesMFP Posts: 941Member Member Posts: 941Member Member
    It's amazing what you "think" you're eating until you throw it on the digital scale. Cereal was a big eye opener for me. I think I typically eat 3 servings!
  • iAMsmilingiAMsmiling Posts: 2,415Member Member Posts: 2,415Member Member
    I just eat negative calorie foods...so that makes it simple. :bigsmile:
  • PriceK01PriceK01 Posts: 870Member, Premium Member Posts: 870Member, Premium Member
    Buying and using a food scale was a huge eye opener for me! I'm so OCD about it, that I had to add a couple of grams to my hummus one day after accidentally licking the spoon after weighing it out :o
  • ControversialControversial Posts: 158Member Posts: 158Member
    Great post. Love my food scale even more now!
  • usmcmpusmcmp Posts: 21,345Member, Premium Member Posts: 21,345Member, Premium Member
    I weigh or measure almost everything, but then I realized that I would have a peanut here and a peanut there. Those really added up. Snacking without thinking caused problems. As soon as I made sure I was as close to accurate as posssible I started losing again.
  • DaBossLady24DaBossLady24 Posts: 560Member Member Posts: 560Member Member
    Great post. Some of my coworkers and friends think I am weird for weighing and logging everything. I just tell them, goals are not reached accidentally.

    ^^ couldn't agree more.
  • 1Fizzle1Fizzle Posts: 241Member Posts: 241Member
    This is a great video showing the inaccuracies and how the calories add up when measuring v weighing


    WOW...this is eye opening! Thanks
  • Sarauk2sfSarauk2sf Posts: 28,493Member Member Posts: 28,493Member Member
    It's amazing what you "think" you're eating until you throw it on the digital scale. Cereal was a big eye opener for me. I think I typically eat 3 servings!

    Actual serving sizes for cereal are pathetically small - they are one of the big culprits imo.
  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 8,263Member Member Posts: 8,263Member Member
    Excellent!! If you are in a relatively small deficit, say 1800 calories on a TDEE of 2100, if you are off by 20% you are really in a surplus. That's only forgeting to log and mismeasureing 360 calories worth.

    edited to fix horrendous grammar!
  • 1Fizzle1Fizzle Posts: 241Member Posts: 241Member
    Do most digital scales have all the detail show in the video? Showing fat, fiber, protein...etc?
  • dirtnap63dirtnap63 Posts: 1,399Member Member Posts: 1,399Member Member
    It's amazing what you "think" you're eating until you throw it on the digital scale. Cereal was a big eye opener for me. I think I typically eat 3 servings!

    Actual serving sizes for cereal are pathetically small - they are one of the big culprits imo.

    Seconded. I think my 5 year old eats more than the portion size recommended on the box!
  • ritasice21ritasice21 Posts: 200Member Member Posts: 200Member Member
    That, or they eat 20 servings of a "Zero calorie" item such as oil spray or a condiment.
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