Calorie count


I was a bit hungry today. The whole last week, I wasn’t hardly at all and i ate when felt hungry. So I just had some mozzarella and tomatoes with an avocado, and I saw that although my carbs are only 17g, my calories are 200 over what they should be to lose. What does that mean? Is it true that I won’t lose any weight today but at least I am still in ketosis? Or could I lose weight anyway seeing that I am in ketosis?

(Robert C) #2

Depending on how accurate you are when you wrote

it is possible that your body won’t really go after burning body fat (it sees as needed for survival) but will instead use just food today. But there are confounding factors.

  • Thinking you went 200 calories over what you need to lose is kind of odd - do you take the exact same number of steps each day. Just a 20 minute walk changes “what you need to lose”.
  • Meal timing - if your meals are spread throughout the day - there is a much better chance of less fat burning as your body would be getting calories and raised insulin all the time. But, if you restricted your feeding time to a short period in the afternoon - you’d likely burn fat for a large part of the day and, if eating Keto, even your 200 calories extra in the feeding window would probably not turn around and add as much to fat storage.
  • Calorie counting is inaccurate - say you had a 200 calorie protein bar - how many calories did you have? Well, likely somewhere between 150 and 250. Calories are calculated on the absorption of the average gut of the average person - that is the number they give. Also, if your meal is higher in protein, it takes energy to digest that, again messing up calorie counts.

It is really best to keep a journal of sleep, exercise and intake - measure weight once a week and if it isn’t going in the right direction - review the journal critically for what may be going wrong. Are you “good” on calories but getting no exercise or very little sleep? Are you low on calories but not losing - maybe slowing your metabolism?


@ RobC Thank you for your long reply and attempt to help me to learn. I use cronometer to track my makros. It said I was 200 kcal over what I should eat to lose as a sedentary person at my age. The fats were high and the proteins were low enough too- those looked like the right percentages. Best yet- only 17.9g carbs - I never got that low before (usually 20-25). Oh and that was not a protein bar- that was mozzarella with an avocado and tomatoes and olive oil. I guess maybe one could call it something like a fat bomb with some dairy? Maybe my question would be: should you even eat a fat bomb if it lifts your calorie count over the limit?

(Robert C) #4

Definitely yes if you are hungry and want to eat it.

Sticking to at-or-below a calorie limit daily will just slow your metabolism.

Some high days, some medium days, some low days (or even fasting days) is the mix you want for weight loss.

If you think 2000 calories a day is maintenance and instead eat 1500 calories X 7 days a week (or 10500 calories) you would slow you metabolism compared to a schedule of 1500, 500, 2500, 0, 3000, 1000, 2000 (also 10500 calories).

Finally - “mozzarella with an avocado and tomatoes and olive oil” is a great filling mix to eat and not a “fat bomb”. Real fat bombs (and butter coffee) are best avoided before maintenance as they do not (usually) satiate as much as something like your concoction.


So you don’t even actually know your energy need, calculated from previous losses or gains or if you are that type unlike me, even maintenance? (Not like it’s a fixed number, of course and zillion factors may change it. Some of us can figure it out pretty well though. My diet never changed it noticeably, for example but it’s not this simple for everyone.)

You don’t lose fat just because you are in ketosis. It helps with many things but it can’t guarantee fat-loss, it wouldn’t be logical and many of us experience it’s not enough.

If you ask this for this single day… I doubt anyone can have a very good idea about your energy need and your eaten and used calories are a tad mystical too but you can have an educated guess there unless you have some health problem that keeps you from absorbing nutrients well.

If I want to lose, I have some idea how much to eat but 200 kcal is so little, I am not sure I can be that accurate… I do my best and something happens so I can calculate my real average calorie deficit afterwards. If I am not completely inactive, I can’t even know what is my BMR and the burned calories with exercise, it can’t be calculated. And my BMR is pretty stable in normal circumstances as far as I know but some people just eat a bit differently and things go crazy. It’s very complex. Even stress and sleep can effect things a lot.

Your food was some proper food, not a fat bomb. Fat bombs are those overly fatty little things, just to raise fat intake or some tiny emergency food, not a proper meal. Yours is normal, not fat mixed with nut butter or something. I don’t see any problem with it but I am fine with fat bombs too as long as someone needs it and eat proper food as well.


I am NOT IN MAINTENANCE.I began 4 days ago.
I dont know if you can hear yourself, but you sound very scolding. Please do me a favour and dont answer my posts in the future. I am sure I will get some lovely and informative answers from others who are more yielding and encouraging.


I didn’t say you was… Just that it may help to calculate one’s TDEE, in many cases at least. I can’t do it as my mainteance calories are an extremely wide range, genetics. But if I steadily use or gain for a few months, I can calculate and hopefully it’s stable enough.
Calculators CAN’T help much, they are extremely wrong in many cases.

Okay, I try to remember it. I think I understand my style of detailed thinking can cause such effect for some people though it’s pretty rare, fortunately. We are probably fated to misunderstand each other, alas.
(Still, scolding? I can understand I seem to be all over the place with my details and annoying though people usually say I am not but I never even remotely scold anyone except in extremely rare cases when someone is too forceful. I almost always try to be helpful or entertaining. Odd. Whatever.)

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

Technically, it’s difficult to determine one’s DREE (Daily Requirement of Energy Expenditure). Plus, it’s going to differ day to day due to different levels of activity and intensity as noted above by @RobC. Basing DREE on something like Chronometer is useless, since Chronometer does a calculation based on overall averages of many people under many different situations that probably do not apply to you. So there’s no point obsessing about a couple hundred calories plus/minus on Chronometer.

That said, it’s fairly easy to determine your approximate DREE by trial and error. You need to track your calorie intake and weigh in weekly, and it will take a few weeks to get it close enough to be useful.

What you need to do is eat to the point where you start to lose weight consistently. It doesn’t matter how much, just so you’re losing. If you are in ketosis, you will probably not feel hungry. That’s why you have to use the scale to determine that you are in a losing state. Eat only that amount for a couple of weeks so sustain the loss.

Then over the course of a week or so, eat a hundred calories more. Repeat until the weight loss stops. That point is your approximate DREE.

I say approximate because whatever that calorie number, it is simply more or less the middle of a plus/minus range of a couple hundred calories or so up/down. If your level and/or intensity of activity changes, so will your DREE.

In my own case, I initially determined that 2500 calories per day was my DREE. If I ate a couple hundred calories less for several days in a row, I would start to lose weight. If I ate a couple hundred calories more for several days, I’d start to gain. That worked for a year to maintain my weight at 150 pounds.

A year later I got a full time job at Walmart. Within a couple of weeks I started losing weight. So I upped my daily calories to 2700 to stabilize again at 145 pounds. That’s where I’m at now, a year and a half later.

You can also track your approximate body fat loss with a caliper and tape measure. The scale is not very useful for that.

Hope this helps. :slightly_smiling_face:


That was VERY helpful Michael. Thx so much. But the general question is does one lose weight if one eats more calories than one burns in ketosis. And I guess the answer is a resounding NO. So ketosis alone is not the factor which leads to weight loss. One has to eat a bit less calories than one burns in order for BODY fat to be burned.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #10

Yes and no, depending. When you are actively trying to lose weight, simply eliminating carbs and replacing the fuel with fat/ketones will help to do so whether or not you restrict calories. It’s a hormonal thing.

When you fuel yourself primarily with glucose from ingested carbs, your hormones (primarily insulin, but other related hormones as well) work to convert energy to stored fat. AND to prevent the fat being released to be used as energy. To avoid this outcome you have to be very physically active to burn out more of the glucose before it gets converted and stored as fat.

When you lower the glucose and insulin by removing ingested carbs, you force your metabolism to start burning your own endogenous fat stores. Due to the different hormonal activity in ketosis this will happen whether or not you restrict calories. However, it will do so more efficiently and faster if you restrict calories somewhat. Note: somewhat. We’re not talking CICO, we’re talking a couple hundred calories without feeling constantly hungry.

Remember: total available energy equals plate fat + body fat. So you can eat less fat and more protein, for example, for the same calorie intake, and still burn more body fat. Just get carbs out of the equation. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thx- I needed to hear that this morning as I have not lost one pound after a few days of eating keto. But I am not physically active, so that explains it. Also I like your “don’t expect miracles”. I am in this for the long haul.
But what is CICO? All these abbreviations are dizzying…LOL

(Polly) #12

CICO = Calories in Calories out and is shorthand for the caloric deficit theory of weightloss.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #13


I see you mentioned you’ve been doing this 4 days now, though I am only new to this myself, it took me 2-3 days to actually get into Ketosis, so maybe your body is still adapting to that even? I was at a stall prior to that and didn’t see actual proper weight loss till about day 5 or 6 once getting into. I bought some Ketostix (they are super cheap from your pharmacy and from what I am reading will work for the first month or so by measuring ketones in your urine), just to kind of measure that and see when I got into it just so I wasn’t frustrating myself too much by not seeing these numbers drop like most people have.

Physical activity will help get into Keto faster too from what I have read because it will burn through your storage to quicker switch your body, so it may take you a few days longer to get into Ketosis if you still have any storage in your body at the moment. My friend started this with me and it took her almost a whole week before she finally went into Ketosis.

As far as calories goes, I use Cronometer too and what I did was start at the maximum it indicated and just started lowering it bit by bit until I was at a place where I wasn’t getting hungry, I wasn’t feeling like I was eating too much or too little food and a place where I wouldn’t push myself into starvation mode (that for me is anywhere between 1500-1800 calories) and still be losing, so it is a bit of trial and error at first when you’re getting to know your body in this new way.

I hope you figure it out and start seeing those pounds dropping! :heart:


where did it go? I liked what you said.


Oh, I guess I accidentally clicked it whilst scrolling on my phone, sorry!

(Allie) #17

Trust your body and appetite rather than made up numbers. If you look into the concept of how the calorie was even invented as a unit of measure, it’ll hopefully stop you worrying so much.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #18

Just throwing this out for consideration. I started keto with a 4-day water fast. I was in ketosis the morning of day 3 but continued to fast for another full day. Please don’t think I’m saying you have to do the same because I’m not saying so. Just saying it worked for me. I found it quick and easy to get into ketosis. The discomfort is done in a couple of days, not prolonged by a slow carb withdrawal over the course of days or longer.

For some reason a lot of folks seem to think fasting is a terribly difficult and masochistic exercise in self-flagellation and we should not talk about using it as a way to get into ketosis. Yet many people do it daily by restricting their eating ‘window’ to 8, 6 or even 4 hours, or just eating once per day. Many of these same folks fast for 1 to 2 days each week! They all wax eloquent about how great they feel. Many say fasting helped them overcome weight-loss stalls and plateaus when all else failed.

I just wanted to say that water fasting for 3-4 days is an easy and relatively painless way to initiate keto. Being in ketosis brings with it a host of health benefits that do not occur otherwise. So getting there as quick and painless as possible makes the most sense to me. It’s not the only way, of course. But there is no reason to fear it’s going to be some horrible ordeal.


Thanks Michael, but no thanks. I am however considering IF one day as that now seems to be a possibility since my appetite has waned. I could easily see myself waiting to have breakfast, or even OMAD might be a possibility one day. Thats actually the way I used to live when I weighed 120lbs as a young woman. I would have 4 cups of coffee with 5 Marlboros for breakfast and eat one meal at night. I guess maybe I never needed bread as much as I thought? I am actually not missing it like I thought I would. ( Sure am glad I quit smoking too.)
Katters - thx- I am doing what you are doing. I think my problem is I might move too little.I like to read. I like to play cards. I love to sit and brood. LOL I am not a very agile person.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #20

@Chantarella IF is an interesting proposition if you think of it as the time between finishing supper and your morning coffee. That could be anywhere from 8-12 hours, of which 6-8 hours is sleep time. So it seems very doable to fast for 1/3 to 1/2 of each day and hardly notice.

When I was a child back in the Pre-Cambrian before eating 24/7 became the vogue, this eating pattern was typical. Occasionally we children got a glass of milk and a cookie before bed at 9, but even on those days we still did a 10-hour fast before next morning’s breakfast.

I have a very irregular work schedule, but I usually manage 8-10 hours IF per day and 12 hours on off days. I don’t even consider myself a ‘faster’ at all.