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Posts tagged ‘r/loseit’

Experiment 1

Despite yesterday’s setback, I’m not discouraged. My next Bod Pod appointment is on September 20th and I’m excited to see what sort of progress I can make between now and then.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what goals I should set for the next three weeks or so. Normally, I’d focus on actions I know will contribute to weight or fat loss, but there’s just something about turning this into an experiment of sorts that I can’t resist.

So folks, I give you Experiment 1 (of 2).

Hypothesis: My real total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is higher than my estimated TDEE.

When I first started losing weight late last year, the wellness center employee calculated my TDEE and estimated that I would lose 1/4 lb a week if I ate 1,200 calories a day.

I couldn’t stick to that goal. I tracked my calories most days and during my “good” weeks, I averaged between 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day and I lost about 1 lb per week. During “bad” weeks, well, let’s just say I rarely ate less than 2,000 calories a day and I definitely didn’t lose any weight.

Based on this prior experience, I have a feeling my TDEE is higher than the estimate I shared in my metabolic assessment results post.

Generally, most health and fitness professionals suggest starting with your estimated weight loss calorie goal (your TDEE minus 500 – 1000 calories) and adjusting from there based on your results. It’s sound advice, but I know myself pretty well, and I know I can’t stick to 1,200 calories a day. For me, 1,200 calories a day feels like deprivation, and I end up binging in response.

So instead, I’m going to test my hypothesis by eating at my maintenance calorie goal – my TDEE of 1,822.

The plan: I will eat 1,822 calories a day. I will also weigh myself everyday, track my meals, and then log both my daily weight and calorie total in the TDEE spreadsheet I got from the r/loseit. This TDEE spreadsheet will use my daily weight and calorie total over several weeks to eventually calculate a much more accurate TDEE for me than most online calculators can.

By the time September 20th rolls around, I believe I will have lost some weight, despite eating at maintenance calories.

I’m starting at a disadvantage. I overdid it on Tuesday (I didn’t even log my meals) and I went way over my calorie goal yesterday (I ate 2,157 calories), but I’m confident that if I stick with it going forward, I’ll still see some results.

Final step count: 15,004

Current step goal streak: 1 day
Previous step goal streak: 13 days
Longest step goal streak: 13 days

Day 23: The results are in!

The results are in from my metabolic assessment!

Per my test results, my resting metabolic rate (RMR) is 1,208. Which means, if I were to lay in bed all day without moving, my body would burn 1,208 calories just keeping me alive. This result is actually higher than my previous test result. The test I underwent back in May estimated my RMR at 1,165.

This could mean one of two things, either I’ve somehow managed to increase my metabolic rate, or it’s just a margin of error thing. These tests aren’t 100% accurate, so one or both results could just be off a bit. Either way, both results are close to the estimate most online RMR calculators have given me in the past.

Now that I know my new RMR, I can figure out how many calories I need to eat each day to lose weight – once I’m ready to take that step that is. In order to do that, I need to calculate my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). My TDEE is my RMR, plus whatever calories I burn throughout the day through exercise and just going about my daily activities.

Instead of using a lifestyle multiplier like most online TDEE calculators use, the wellness center used the number of calories I burn by taking 15,000 steps a day as my lifestyle calories. During my previous test, we looked up how many calories I burn through exercise on MyFitnessPal, and averaged it out over seven days in order to include it in my TDEE, but since I’m still struggling with working out consistently lately, we decided not to include it.

The example below includes my exercise estimate from my previous test.

RMR: 1,208 calories
Lifestyle calories for 15,000 steps per day: 500
Exercise calories: 114 (7-day average for 6 workouts per week)
TDEE (total of the 3 above): 1,822 calories

Google says that a pound of fat = 3,500 calories, so I need to burn 500 – 1000 calories per day to lose 1 – 2 lbs per week. I can get there by either cutting the amount of calories I consume each day by that amount, or increasing the amount of calories I burn by doing more exercise. Since I’ve already included my exercise in the “equation” above, I have to subtract my desired weight loss calories from my TDEE to get my daily calorie goal for weight loss, like so:

TDEE: 1,822 calories
Calories subtracted for goal of 1 lb of weight loss per week: 500
Daily calorie goal: 1,322 calories

I chose to only subtract 500 calories a day for a goal of 1 lb of weight loss per week because subtracting 1,000 calories for a goal of 2 lbs per week would put me under my RMR – and conventional wisdom says you should never eat less than your RMR each day. Plus, let’s be real, eating 822 calories a day would not only be unrealistic and unhealthy for me, but it would also just plain suck. I love food; I’m not giving it up for a an extra pound a week. I’m in this for the long haul, not a quick fix.

I also don’t want to lose more than 1 lb a week, so once I’m ready to commit to my calorie goal, I’ll start tracking my weight and calories in a TDEE spreadsheet I got from r/loseit. My calorie goal is just an estimate, so I’ll likely need to readjust it as I start to lose weight (or not) in order to stay at a 1 lb per week loss. I know it may sound crazy or dumb to not want to lose weight faster than that, but I promise there’s a method to my madness. I’ll share my reasoning in a future post(s).

Final step count: 15,041

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