Calories/Weight Loss

(Marianne) #1

I have been following what I had considered pretty strict keto for two years. I defined that basically as no cheating (only two isolated incidents in that entire time). I originally lost 55 of my 80 lb. goal. Over time, I have gained back approx. 12 lbs. I believe this was mainly due to starting to drink a large amount of champagne every day. I have also gone back and reexamined my eating. Subsequently, I have cut out all alcohol, cheese, mayo, keto pizza, pepperoni, etc., and now limit my eating to coffee with a little cream, eggs, a piece of meat and a small amount of brussels sprouts every day (never seem to get tired of them), and water. I’ve been doing this for over two weeks and although I can tell I’ve dropped a little weight, I don’t think it’s very much. I’m wondering now if I am eating too many calories. If I eat breakfast, it’s usually two eggs and two pieces of bacon. Dinner is a plain piece of meat (pork or beef - one piece only) seared in a little olive oil, and brussels sprouts with some bacon grease. That’s it. I was hoping that I’d drop some weight faster and get to my goal (35 more lbs.). When I first started keto, I lost 55 lbs. in six months. I never restricted my portions and ate really rich, delicious food. Now, I am wondering if I am eating too many calories to drop weight (?). Does keto “stop” working, or do you lose weight more slowly, the longer you’re on it? I’m wondering if I need to start walking. I am pretty sedentary.

Thank you.


What is your goal weight? Have you had any form of body scan to help you determine your body composition? I only wonder if your goal is realistic. I originally had a goal in mind that, looking at now, would have given me a high muscle mass and bone density. From there, then reevaluate diet and calories. As you get closer to your actual goal, it will be slower to lose.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

Keto leads to ‘metabolic normalization’, which eventually includes your supply of endogenous fat stores. The problem is that your ‘normal’ may not end up being what you thought or hoped it would be.

Some may disagree, but I think you certainly can eat too much. In my own situation, by trial and error I discovered if I stay within a ‘window’ of about 300-400 calories (~2400 - 2700) my weight is stable at approx 145 pounds. If for several days I eat below that window I will lose and if I eat above that window I will gain. I also know that ethanol can add a lot of calories faster than you realize. Again by trial and error I have learned that I can gain 5 pounds in a week even if I eat below my ‘window’, but also consume even a small drink daily.

In your case, maybe you’re not eating enough rather than too much. What you describe doesn’t sound like all that much unless you’re eating very large portions, which I doubt. If I were you I’d start tracking and weighing to determine exactly what/how much you’re eating. If you persistently undereat, you will have difficulty losing. Some might suggest going by your hunger/satiety signals, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

I’d also drop the olive oil and the brussels sprouts. Maybe also drop the pork and bacon for a while to see if that helps.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #4
  1. If eating to satiety, the trick is not to eat past the point where hunger is satisfied. Many of us are compulsive eaters, for one reason, or another, so we need strategies to deal with that compulsion. Dr. Robert Cywes, the well-known bariatric surgeon, says that he keeps a cup of coffee handy at all times, in order to deal with his emotional eating, and he advises his patients to adopt a similar strategy.

  2. Ethyl alcohol has an effect on the liver, quite apart from the calories it contains. Ethanol can be metabolised only in the liver. The metabolic pathway that deals with ethanol (which is the same as the one that handles fructose and branched-chain amino acids) can easily be overwhelmed, and when that happens, a process called de novo lipogenesis causes the liver to store droplets of fat. If unchecked, this process leads to fatty liver disease, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and ultimately death. Sweet wines, such as Champagne, are to be avoided because they put a double load on the liver, since they contain both ethanol and sucrose. The glucose part of the sucrose is handled normally by the body, but the fructose part of the sucrose adds to the metabolic burden already posed by the ethanol.

(Marianne) #5

150 is my goal weight. I’m 5’7", hold my weight well, and have a proportioned body. I think I look decent; I’m not at all self conscious about my weight, but I am not “thin.” I wear a size 12.

I have not had a body scan.

(Marianne) #6

Geez, I hope that at 5’7", 185, this is not my set point. :pleading_face:

Since keto, I have not counted calories or limited my food in any way. In the beginning, I ate to meet or exceed my fat and protein macros. I have always eaten to satiety and am comfortable during the day. If I get hungry I will have a snack in between (egg, olives, also used to be cheese or pepperoni). Many days I eat OMAD. When it’s around dinner time, I’m ready to eat. I weigh myself rarely, although I did recently because I knew my weight was creeping. I can tell I’ve lost a little but it’s not coming off like when I first began. Haven’t weighed myself to know exactly how much, but my jeans fit better.

(Marianne) #7

Can you tell me how many times a day you normally eat and what a typical day consists of? Also, I think I read on another thread that you are carnivore (?).

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

I eat simply, cook very little and tend to select from a modest menu. Maybe vary half a dozen or so items weekly. I usually eat 3 times per day but my work schedule sometimes interferes. For example yesterday I only 2 times because my shift started too early for a mid-day meal and finished too late for an evening meal after getting home. So I only ate breakfast (keto coffee augmented by poached eggs and bacon) and a mid-afternoon meal at Walmart (a block of cream cheese and bacon bits).

Here are typical meals for a single day, not recent, but still fairly typical. On this day I managed to max out my fat, protein and calories; and, I nearly maxed my carbs but I normally don’t get that close, usually around 10 grams total. The only differences I would note are that my current keto coffee mix is a bit different (1.25x what is here), and I got in 4 ‘meals’ although #4 was very small.

Note, each of these is linked to the actual file if you want to see it full size.

(Marianne) #9

THank you. For Meal 1, what did you “eat?” Was this meal yogurt and a butter coffee?

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

1 liter of my keto coffee. That’s my first meal of every day. Some days if I know I’m not going to eat again until mid-afternoon I’ll add something else. Like yesterday I also ate a couple of butter-poached eggs and bacon.


The ONLY was you’re getting that answer is to start tracking and tweaking every week or two to find out where your tolerances are. If you want to speed up getting your answers get your RMR tested, takes about 20 min and it’s pretty damn accurate. Mine was within 100 of where I found my gain/loose balance.

That’s because you were heavier, so on top of weight you most likely had more muscle as well from moving all of you around, therefor you had a higher RMR. When you loose weight your RMR will drop, and it’s supposed to, but if you’re loosing muscle with it, in most people from loosing weight while under-eating protein and not getting enough physical activity you make it that much worse.

Yes, it’s never good for our bodies to be sedentary in any situation. It’s literally the easiest way to sabotage both your goals and your health.

(Marianne) #12

Thanks for your response; very helpful (as everyone else’s).

How does knowing your RMR help? Is this to determine how many calories you are burning while at rest? Where do you get this done? I’m wondering if insurance will approve that.

(Marianne) #13

Are you in the UK? I love cream cheese and have often eaten it right out of the package. I noticed it in your food journal. I’m wondering if the cream cheese available in the US is okay to eat. We tend to put a lot of additives, etc., in some of the products you think are otherwise okay (?).


Because your RMR is your starting point for what you can eat daily, plus obviously any added activity and whether you choose to count that or not. When I found out I was screwed up I was around 230lbs, lifting weights heavy 5 days a week, cardio a couple times a week and had a really physical job. Pretty much every calculator when givin my correct info would estimate I would need to eat 2800-3200 cals a day to keep it up. I’d been spending almost a year trying to loose at that point. When I had my RMR tested is came back in the 1700’s! I dropped my cals down to a 20% deficit from that number and BOOM, started loosing again. I would have NEVER went down that low in a million years otherwise. Then once I got control of it and got down a little I started to rebuild, still going on now but so far so good, putting muscle on again and in the 190’s for the first time since my early 20’s.

Lot of sports nutrition places and gyms have the equipment to do RMR testing. I got mine done at a bike shop that does them for cyclists. Cost $60 I think. Insurance would eat it if your doctor decided you needed to have it done but many docs who barely grasp nutrition won’t just make that call, they’ll send you to a specialist etc. Unless you have 100% ins and no copays or co-insurance you’d probably still pay the same price and have a lot more time wasted in the process.

I’d just do a search in your area, most of the people that have them are the same people that have BodPod’s and DEXA Scanners. I found a private gym (not so close) but they do a Combo DEXA Scan and RMR test for $130! COVID has people making some pretty good deals!

(Marianne) #15

Will do; very interesting.

Very confusing, though, considering the CICO debate and weight loss.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #16

Knowing your resting metabolic rate can be useful for those whose satiety hormones aren’t working properly, or for those who cannot resist eating past the point of satiation and need help restraining themselves. If you are able to stop eating when you stop being hungry, then you should be fine without knowing.

The only problem with eating to a target number of calories is the risk of convincing our body we are in the midst of a famine, because that makes it harder to shed excess stored fat. Working satiety hormones take the guesswork out of the picture, because we can rely on our appetite rather than having to calculate calories. If you feel up to taking this approach, however, be advised that there is at least one study showing that appetite and energy expenditure don’t match all that well over any 24-hour period, but over any given seven or eight days, the match between intake and expenditure is pretty remarkable. So some days, you might be hungry, even though not very active, and vice versa. It all comes down to whether you can trust your body, or whether you need to out-think it.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #17

I’m in Vancouver, Canada. I eat Walmart’s Great Value Cream Cheese, contains milk, cream and locust gum. It has 3.3 grams of carbs per 100, which is 1/2 of Philly. Also note that Philly uses a 15 gram ‘serving size’ and claims 0 carbs, but 1 gram of sugar! So they’re pulling some rounding sleight of hand. Lots more stuff in Philly, too.

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

Regarding homones and calories and metabolic health this has been my experience. And I readily admit that I might be an outlier and/or :unicorn:

When I started keto I knew next to nothing about anything nutritionally. I shared a lot of wrong conventional thinking. I had a hernia op scheduled for mid-March, had read that the less fat the surgeon has to cut through the better the outcome. So I decided to lose some abdominal fat while awaiting the op by going keto. By the way, my abdomen is the only place my body stores usable fat. I have next to no fat anywhere else other than my buttocks but there’s not much and it hardly ever changes.

At the time, I had no idea what my RMR or DREE were but guessed my RMR was probably around 1700-1800 cals per day. So I thought I’d cut calories to 1500, which seemed modest and reasonable. My keto macros were pretty much the same as now (2:1 fat:protein grams). I started losing fat from my abdomen almost immediately and felt zero hunger at any time while doing so. By the time of the op my abdomen was as flat and firm as it has always been in most of my life before 60. I felt good overall and continued feeling zero hunger. So far so good.

The op went fine. Three months in, by the end of March I had lost about 25 pounds and decided I had lost enough fat to start eating normal amounts again. To stop the loss I started eating an additional 100-200 calories per day every couple of weeks or so. Interestingly, I continued to lose fat even while eating more overall. And as previously I continued to feel zero hunger. I continued this for another 3 months while losing another 10 pounds in the process.

I finally stopped the loss at 2500 calories per day. So I had started keto with a 1000 calorie per day deficit! I had spent 3 months eating that 1000 calorie deficit and felt zero hunger the whole time. I started keto Jan02, 2017, with a 4-day water fast. I felt extreme hunger from carb withdrawal on day 2. By the morning of day 3 the ‘carb hunger’ was replaced by what I call ‘keto hunger’, a very gentle and subtle suggestion that it might be a good idea to eat something. But even that went away during the day. Along with the hunger, my sense of satiety went away too. Sure, I can stuff myself until I can’t get anything more down my throat, but that’s not what we mean by ‘satiety’.

Now, 4 years in, I occasionally feel slight ‘keto hunger’ in the morning before I prepare my daily keto coffee, especially if I ate supper early the previous day and/or ate very little overall during the day. The keto hunger goes away within 10-15 minutes, so I take it as a gentle reminder to eat. I drink a liter of coffee each morning so by the time I’ve drunk that, my stomach is full. Again, that’s not what ‘satiety’ means. I don’t feel ‘satiated’ when my stomach is half full of coffee and want no more. The same when I eat my solid meals. I don’t feel satiated at some point and just stop eating!

Because I don’t have reliable hunger and satiety signals, I eat to macros and count calories. By doing so I have maintained my weight at 145 pounds for 3 1/2 years and my overall BF at 14-15%. I know from experience that if I eat within my daily ‘caloric window’ (~2400-2700 calories) I will maintain my weight and composition). If I eat below that window for several days I will start to lose and if I eat above that window I will start to gain. I also know from experience that I can increase my fat (and water) stores very quickly by consuming ethanol, even when I eat below my window. I’m not advocating this, since the fat sourced from ethanol gets stored in the liver which is not good, plus ethanol causes a lot of stress dealing with it.

My main takeaway so far is that even though I ate bog standard SAD for 7 decades, my metabolism remains relatively healthy. It responds normally to varying inputs/outputs of energy. It stores and utilizes endogenous fat normally. My CGM experiment of a year ago showed normal glucose management. So overall, I’m a happy camper. And if you’re wondering - no I don’t find it particularly onerous to measure and track my food. I use an Open Office spreadsheet I designed for myself that makes the task fairly easy.

PS: I think I ought to mention that this is complicated stuff, involving lots individual variation! What works for one may or may not work for another or even help. It’s really important to observe what happens to you very carefully and base what you do on your personal observations and not some general advice or ‘program’. For example, if you have elevated thyroid activity - not hyper just elevated - you will get away eating lots of stuff that would otherwise end up as stored fat. You will use it as energy instead. The same if you have elevated growth hormone. On the other hand, if you have lower - not hypo just lower - thyroid and/or growth hormone it will be much easier to store fat and more difficult to get rid of excess. This in addition to whatever other metabolic hormonal imbalances you may have. Or not have. Some of us are lucky some of us are not. You have deal with what you’ve got.


Not really, they matter. There’s a ton of flaws with Calories from many angles but the reality is they matter. I like many used to believe that they didn’t, mainly because of keto propaganda and the fact that I lost my first huge chunk of weight when I was younger doing Atkins and never counted. Nobody would ever think they could eat until they were sick and not gain right? Well, we only have one way to measure out intake and it’s not counting mouthfuls or chew time.

It was only when I started having issues loosing weight that I started questioning my mindset. A big part of it was what you’d read on forums that were 100% against calories vs those that were counters. What I started noticing was the ones that didn’t count and didn’t believe in them (me at the time) were constantly posting of plateaus, stalls, and long term issues not moving towards their goals. Of course getting the standard, eat more fat, eat less protein, eat more salt generic answers to everything without any info of the person or what was going on.

On the other side, the counters would post what they were eating and people would typically tell them to drop calorie intake by 5-10-20%, then you’d see the person post thanking them because they were loosing again. Sometimes it would just be manipulating the fat and bringing that down, which I thought was stupid, fat intake didn’t matter right? Wrong.

What else got me is most of us including people who don’t like using calories all know of and believe in “the calorie trap” mainly because we’ve all been a victim of it at some point. But to acknowledge it exists also acknowledges that calorie manipulation works.

I would have never been able to fix my issues if I didn’t accept that they mattered, got my RMR tested and used calories to find my threshold and then reverse diet to fix it.

(Dee) #20

… even if it is your setpoint you can get past that by maintaining your current weight for up to 6 months, maybe less… and reset it again. I lose weight following the 10% rule… reach my 10% goal… lose weight again following the 10% rule… maintain & repeat until I reach my maintenance goal. I lose almost effortlessly, especially on following the keto WOE.