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MakeEachSetCount

Calorie Maintenance for Bigger Men

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Hey NF,

 

I have a question regarding calories needed to maintain 285 lbs at 5' 10" or 5' 11" ish.  I have a friend who is 285 and looking to lose weight.  He claims to maintain at about 2700 -3000 cals per day with his activity level (lifting 4 days a week).  I am about 250 with the same height and I maintain with 3300-3600 cals per day.  I don't think his numbers are right.  Anyone here have or had the same stats as 285?  If so, what calories did you use to maintain, lose, bulk, etc?  I know everyone is different, so I just wanted to get some ideas as I am almost positive his numbers regarding maintenance calories are flawed.  All the calculators used show that this is way too low as well.  Thoughts?

 

 

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Barring a medial condition, there is no way your friend would maintain weight at 285 with those calories.  I'm 6 feet tall, and when I started I was 250-260, semi-active, and still losing eating about 2500-2800 calories a day.

 

I'm willing to bet your friend is significantly underestimating how much he is eating.  Ask if he's measuring and tracking what he eats.  I bet he's just eyeballing it and calling things "close enough."

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8 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

Barring a medial condition, there is no way your friend would maintain weight at 285 with those calories.  I'm 6 feet tall, and when I started I was 250-260, semi-active, and still losing eating about 2500-2800 calories a day.

 

I'm willing to bet your friend is significantly underestimating how much he is eating.  Ask if he's measuring and tracking what he eats.  I bet he's just eyeballing it and calling things "close enough."

If you lost eating 2500-2800, i don't think it's too off that he maintains at this 2700.  Could his metabolism be slow enough to maintain at that caloric level?  He would have only been 25-35 lbs heavier than you and more active, but I guess that depends on your definition of "semi-active".  Age is 30 so still young as well. I am trying to help him get leaner, but I am not sure cutting calories at this point would be beneficial.  I'm pretty confused on this. 

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9 hours ago, MakeEachSetCount said:

I have a friend who is 285 and looking to lose weight.  He claims to maintain at about 2700 -3000 cals per day with his activity level (lifting 4 days a week).

 

Your friend can claim anything he wants.  I weigh my food to the gram.  I maintain at 2500 calories.   I'm 197 lbs.   Your friend isn't maintaining at 2700 calories a day on average.  He's just not.  At 285 lbs?  No way in hell.  He's either not really counting his calories, or he's doing it wrong.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Hazard said:

 

Your friend can claim anything he wants.  I weigh my food to the gram.  I maintain at 2500 calories.   I'm 197 lbs.   Your friend isn't maintaining at 2700 calories a day on average.  He's just not.  At 285 lbs?  No way in hell.  He's either not really counting his calories, or he's doing it wrong.

 

This.

 

Here's a basic TDEE calculator.  Putting in some estimates, a sedentary job has his TDEE at 2700 calories.  Activity raises it to between 3,400 and 3,800 calories.  To maintain.  Which means that if your friend was eating 2700 calories a day, he should still be losing at least a few pounds a month., even if he wanted to play the semi-myth of "slow metabolisms."  If he's working out as much as he says, and eating as little as he says, he should be losing a couple pounds a month easily.

 

Have him track his food.  All of it.  No exceptions.  Snacks, meals, and random grabs.  Everything weighed or measured.  And then don't be shocked when it comes back much higher than 2700.

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8 hours ago, RisenPhoenix said:

 

This.

 

Here's a basic TDEE calculator.  Putting in some estimates, a sedentary job has his TDEE at 2700 calories.  Activity raises it to between 3,400 and 3,800 calories.  To maintain.  Which means that if your friend was eating 2700 calories a day, he should still be losing at least a few pounds a month., even if he wanted to play the semi-myth of "slow metabolisms."  If he's working out as much as he says, and eating as little as he says, he should be losing a couple pounds a month easily.

 

Have him track his food.  All of it.  No exceptions.  Snacks, meals, and random grabs.  Everything weighed or measured.  And then don't be shocked when it comes back much higher than 2700.

Is it possible that he has ate this amount of calories for a while and his metabolism is damaged?  I feel like I have done this to myself before, but I cannot speak entirely for his situation.  Other than that, I would agree.  He is not tracking as well as he says/thinks. 

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2 hours ago, MakeEachSetCount said:

Is it possible that he has ate this amount of calories for a while and his metabolism is damaged?

 

"Metabolic damage" -- like "starvation mode" -- is code for "I'm eating more than I think I am" or "I'm eating more than I'm admitting.

 

 

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3 hours ago, MakeEachSetCount said:

Is it possible that he has ate this amount of calories for a while and his metabolism is damaged?  I feel like I have done this to myself before, but I cannot speak entirely for his situation.  Other than that, I would agree.  He is not tracking as well as he says/thinks. 

 

18 minutes ago, Hazard said:

 

"Metabolic damage" -- like "starvation mode" -- is code for "I'm eating more than I think I am" or "I'm eating more than I'm admitting.

 

 

 

What Hazard said. Even if he ate the bare minimum calories, he clearly has enough body fat that his body would be working overtime to convert that to energy. There is metabolic adaption, but not when you are really carrying 60+ pounds of extra energy your body can readily burn. 

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2 minutes ago, RisenPhoenix said:

 

 

What Hazard said. Even if he ate the bare minimum calories, he clearly has enough body fat that his body would be working overtime to convert that to energy. There is metabolic adaption, but not when you are really carrying 60+ pounds of extra energy your body can readily burn. 

Thank you for explaining it in the sense that he has plenty to lose before his body responds negatively when it comes to metabolism.  

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As a devil's advocate position, adaptive thermogenesis has been shown to account for as much as 800kcal/day reduction in resting metabolic rate. 'Metabolic damage', as such, does in fact exist, and is HIGHLY dependent on individual environment, medical history, and genetics. And yes, this can occur in individuals who are still obese.

 

I've read from several sources that for those who could be classified as obese according to bodyfat (>25% in men, >31% in women) a good starting point would be ~13kcal/lb of LBM. For your buddy, this could be anywhere from 2,200-2,800kcal.  Your friend is also likely not tracking accurately, as others have suggested - liquid calories (eg. sugar in tea/coffee, milk, pop, etc) are especially easy to forget about. And a surplus 200-300kcal/day would be enough to completely stall/prevent fat loss; a lb/week of fat loss with his current activity should only need to be 300-500kcal/day below maintenance (which could very well be that wiggle room between 2,700-3,000kcal/day).

 

But, there is also a chance that he really only does burn that much in a day. Other factors could include a reduction in NEPA and/or NEAT, which would negate the 4hrs of lifting he's doing (a few hours of working out doesn't offset being sedentary the rest of the week), not working out as hard as he should during lifting sessions, lack of sleep & recovery, choosing poor quality foods, etc. Frankly, he's best off focusing on protein intake (1g of protein/lb of bodyweight; improves fat loss and conserves muscle), sticking with his lifting, and maybe adding 30-60min of walking everyday. Beyond that, he'll need to figure out what works for him. Experimentation is king. :) 

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1 hour ago, Defining said:

 

As a devil's advocate position, adaptive thermogenesis has been shown to account for as much as 800kcal/day reduction in resting metabolic rate.

 

 

 Interesting. Any references for this? My understanding is that the concept of adaptive thermogenesis itself  doesn't have conclusive evidence to show its effect on either obese or lean individuals. 

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On the flip side, if someone does have a reduction in metabolism, it is possible to rebuild it slowly over time. I know many people personally who have repaired their metabolism. There is also plenty of information on it on the internet. The short version of long science is that you need to slowly ramp back up calories and stay at maintenance for a while, and then work on losing weight again after your metabolism is repaired. I'm talking like sloooooow, adding back in 50 calories per week and tracking weight fluctuations. 

 

I have been through this and I know others here on NF who have. 

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On 3/22/2017 at 7:00 PM, PaulG said:

 

 Interesting. Any references for this? My understanding is that the concept of adaptive thermogenesis itself  doesn't have conclusive evidence to show its effect on either obese or lean individuals. 

 

I've seen ~500 cals in my own data (averaged multiple daily weighings cross checked with a tape measure); 300 of it recovered relatively quickly when the calorie restriction was lifted, in the first 2 months.  The other 200 took the better part of a year (in a surplus most of the year).

 

That said, I have a real hard time believing this degree of adaptation is possible when obese (given body fat's role in producing hormones that prevent it).  Plus, given the symptoms I was experiencing, its quite obvious that it is occurring.  Kind of like American Pie's explanation of an orgasm, its not an "I think so" kind of thing.  When your metabolism is running several hundred cals lower than normal, you know it.

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On 3/21/2017 at 2:44 PM, RisenPhoenix said:

Barring a medial condition, there is no way your friend would maintain weight at 285 with those calories.  I'm 6 feet tall, and when I started I was 250-260, semi-active, and still losing eating about 2500-2800 calories a day.

 

I'm willing to bet your friend is significantly underestimating how much he is eating.  Ask if he's measuring and tracking what he eats.  I bet he's just eyeballing it and calling things "close enough."

 

It might be possible if the person in question has extremely low muscle mass for that body weight (I'm talking would be 140 at 5'11" if body fat was instantly reduced to 10%), since fat is only minimally metabolically active.

 

That said, undercounting is almost certainly the culprit.

 

I maintain at 2700 if totally sedentary at 6'1" 215.  With exercise that number is closer to 3500.

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