CICO not working, why?

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Hi all, I am looking to lose about 115 lbs. At my size, I've looked into all the TDEE calculators to determine what I should be eating to lose weight. The problem is, my body seems to tolerate much fewer calories without gaining. For example, I've been told (both by calculators and my endocrinologist who I see for my thyroid) that I "should" be able to lose 2 lbs/week eating around 1800-1900 calories a day. My husband is 160 lbs and our diets are pretty much identical. Is it really just a metabolism issue? I've had full labs done and nothing was off that would explain this.

For the past 6 weeks, I've been eating an average of 1600 calories a day and lost 6 lbs in the first week (likely water weight), but nothing since then. I've tried 1800 cals, I've tried 1400 cals (that does seem to make the scale move, but seems very low for my size), and everything in between. I've watched my share of weight loss surgery TV shows where people who are morbidly obese improve their diet and lose massive amounts of weight, so I don't know how I can't even lose 2 lbs/week. I have not added in exercise yet, since I wanted to lose the first 20 lbs or so by diet alone to increase my confidence/stamina at the gym. I know I need to do this, but I still want to figure out why I'm not successful at this point with diet alone, knowing that diet is such a huge part of weight loss. The biggest thing confusing me is that at 1600 cals/day, I should be in a decent deficit to lose weight. I don't think I am in "starvation mode" at this level. I track my macros, eat about 120 g protein, 130 g carbs, 60 g fat a day, give or take. I drink plenty of water, keep my sodium at a reasonable level, and I measure all of my food with either a food scale or measuring cups, depending on the item. What else, other than dropping my cals even further, do I have to do to get the scale to budge?

thanks in advance!
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Replies

  • MomOnAMission76
    MomOnAMission76 Posts: 200 Member
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    I use both a food scale and cups, depending on the item and if it has a listing for oz vs. cups, but always try to weigh where possible. I am very diligent with this, and usually round up if I'm not sure.
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,753 Member
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    Measure in grams and don’t use cups. Weigh everything that passes your lips. Do you pick the right entries from the database?
  • MomOnAMission76
    MomOnAMission76 Posts: 200 Member
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    crazyravr wrote: »
    Measure in grams and don’t use cups. Weigh everything that passes your lips. Do you pick the right entries from the database?

    I usually try to find the one with the check mark to make sure it's the right item, but when there isn't one, I try to default to the higher one so I'm not over.

    I just made my diary public if anyone wants to look. I try to maintain balance and not exclude food groups. It's hard to resist the lures of things like keto but I know for me, I have to do something that I can maintain for the rest of my life.

    Just had a quick look. Never go by "item" = 1 large or 0.5 or whatever. Always find weight or at least cup measure.

    Gotcha. I usually do this for veggies (the one you saw was probably zucchini), figuring that it's a low cal item and not as crucial. But I'll make sure to do that, anything helps.
  • MomOnAMission76
    MomOnAMission76 Posts: 200 Member
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    Measure in grams and don’t use cups. Weigh everything that passes your lips. Do you pick the right entries from the database?

    I usually try to find the one with the check mark to make sure it's the right item, but when there isn't one, I try to default to the higher one so I'm not over.
    Don't do that - the check mark means nothing. Choeck with the food label, or the manufacturer's website, or the USDA website for produce.

    Oh sorry yes, I meant in the absence of a food label. that is always my go to. usually I find this only happening with fresh food like veggies or fruit.
  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 1,284 Member
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    You may also just be an outlier. Calorie calculators are based on population statistics, so they're generally true for most people. You may just be on the lower end of caloric need, unfortunately. Kind of like height. I'm about average at 5'6", but my sister is 5'10" and a friend of ours is 4'11"-- no illnesses or genetic conditions or anything, it's just how we all turned out. You might want to try a system like MFP uses where you eat back exercise calories instead of a TDEE calculator that may be assuming more activity or a higher burn for activity than you're actually getting. I find MFP is more transparent and makes it easier to see if errors are on the CI side or the CO side.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,860 Member
    edited August 2018
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    Hi all, I am looking to lose about 115 lbs. At my size, I've looked into all the TDEE calculators to determine what I should be eating to lose weight. The problem is, my body seems to tolerate much fewer calories without gaining. For example, I've been told (both by calculators and my endocrinologist who I see for my thyroid) that I "should" be able to lose 2 lbs/week eating around 1800-1900 calories a day. My husband is 160 lbs and our diets are pretty much identical. Is it really just a metabolism issue? I've had full labs done and nothing was off that would explain this.

    For the past 6 weeks, I've been eating an average of 1600 calories a day and lost 6 lbs in the first week (likely water weight), but nothing since then. I've tried 1800 cals, I've tried 1400 cals (that does seem to make the scale move, but seems very low for my size), and everything in between. I've watched my share of weight loss surgery TV shows where people who are morbidly obese improve their diet and lose massive amounts of weight, so I don't know how I can't even lose 2 lbs/week. I have not added in exercise yet, since I wanted to lose the first 20 lbs or so by diet alone to increase my confidence/stamina at the gym. I know I need to do this, but I still want to figure out why I'm not successful at this point with diet alone, knowing that diet is such a huge part of weight loss. The biggest thing confusing me is that at 1600 cals/day, I should be in a decent deficit to lose weight. I don't think I am in "starvation mode" at this level. I track my macros, eat about 120 g protein, 130 g carbs, 60 g fat a day, give or take. I drink plenty of water, keep my sodium at a reasonable level, and I measure all of my food with either a food scale or measuring cups, depending on the item. What else, other than dropping my cals even further, do I have to do to get the scale to budge?

    thanks in advance!

    At 115 lbs, 1800-1900 is probably too much if you are not getting significant regular exercise. (I believe the estimate for sedentary maintenance on here at that weight is ~ 1400 calories).

    Also, most people under-estimate calories by a lot if they aren't weighing food.

    EDIT: oops-misread that you were 115 lbs, not looking to lose 115 lbs.
  • MomOnAMission76
    MomOnAMission76 Posts: 200 Member
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    Thanks everyone for your responses. This was not a dramatic change for my body, I probably ate closer to 2000 before. I've never been able to eat a lot without seeing it on the scale, luckily tracking on and off for 6+ years has helped me to know what I should and shouldn't eat. I will improve my accuracy and keep at it.
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
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    I feel your pain. I don't believe you mentioned your age or height? I'm 62 and 5'5" tall and maintain on about 1400 calories a day. Having said that I am sedentary other than my daily walking and have a sick thyroid (but I take meds for it). Since your doc can't find anything wrong I would try very hard to log abosolutely everything. I take 4 evening primrose a day which since it is oil counts towards my calories. Sometimes I think we miss simple things like that. A bite here and there when cooking can add up too. Good luck and don't give up.
  • MomOnAMission76
    MomOnAMission76 Posts: 200 Member
    Options
    I feel your pain. I don't believe you mentioned your age or height? I'm 62 and 5'5" tall and maintain on about 1400 calories a day. Having said that I am sedentary other than my daily walking and have a sick thyroid (but I take meds for it). Since your doc can't find anything wrong I would try very hard to log abosolutely everything. I take 4 evening primrose a day which since it is oil counts towards my calories. Sometimes I think we miss simple things like that. A bite here and there when cooking can add up too. Good luck and don't give up.

    I will be 37 in a couple months and I'm 5'6". I have a desk job so that certainly doesn't help. I know exercise will help, but it's not going to be magic. I know giving up isn't an option, because if I stop tracking I will surely gain weight, I always do. After my youngest was born in 2016, our diet slid a bit just due to being busy, not sleeping much, and getting too much takeout. With identical diets and portions, I gained 30 lbs in two years and my husband, maybe 5. It's like, come on!
  • MomOnAMission76
    MomOnAMission76 Posts: 200 Member
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    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I feel your pain. I don't believe you mentioned your age or height? I'm 62 and 5'5" tall and maintain on about 1400 calories a day. Having said that I am sedentary other than my daily walking and have a sick thyroid (but I take meds for it). Since your doc can't find anything wrong I would try very hard to log abosolutely everything. I take 4 evening primrose a day which since it is oil counts towards my calories. Sometimes I think we miss simple things like that. A bite here and there when cooking can add up too. Good luck and don't give up.

    I will be 37 in a couple months and I'm 5'6". I have a desk job so that certainly doesn't help. I know exercise will help, but it's not going to be magic. I know giving up isn't an option, because if I stop tracking I will surely gain weight, I always do. After my youngest was born in 2016, our diet slid a bit just due to being busy, not sleeping much, and getting too much takeout. With identical diets and portions, I gained 30 lbs in two years and my husband, maybe 5. It's like, come on!

    How much taller is your husband? Does he have a more active job? Does he move around more after work?

    My OH and I use to split pizzas until the light bulb went off and I realized it made more sense for him to get 5/8 to my 3/8 because he is bigger than I am.

    He's the same height actually and we both have desk jobs. He may move a bit more with meetings but still is sitting most of the day. I hope to some day be smaller or at least the same size as him.