Counting calories and macros but they're not adding up?! Help


(Dana) #1

Hi everyone,

I just started my Keto and IF journey about 10 days ago. For the first few days the weight was flying off like 2 lbs a day! for the past 4 days though I’ve been stagnant and the weight is just not dropping. I know that the weight I lost was just from water retention but its just not moving at all. So I started looking at my macros using Cronometer. What I realized was that one meal of chicken thigh with the skin and roasted broccoli with parmesan and half a cup of cauliflower mash was right on target my macro allowance but it leaves my calorie intake at 775. Watching Keto Diet plans on youtube I know that there is something definitely wrong here. Confused! Please help.

(Robert C) #2

Hi @Dana78 and welcome!

775 calories with an 75/25 macro split on protein (assuming you are solidly below 20 grams of carbs) is 58 grams of fat and 44 grams of protein. That is fine for one meal but you should probably have about triple the calories each day (you are trying to increase your metabolism by avoiding underfeeding). Usually macros are discussed in terms of the percent fat and percent protein you are trying to hit but - you are supposed to come up with calories first (like 2000 per day) and then back calculate the grams of protein and fat you need.

For 2000 calories on about 75 % fat / 25 % protein:
80 calories is 20 grams of carbs
1440 calories is 160 grams of fat
480 calories is 120 grams of protein

Hope this helps.


The weight loss pattern sounds normal to me:

The Reddit keto FAQ describes weight loss as happening in three phases – “honeymoon” (quick weight loss, mostly water), “adaptation” (stalled weight loss, maybe even slight gain), and “fully adapted” (reduced hunger, non-linear weight loss).

For some people, it can take a month or more to get to the final phase.

(John) #4

This is normal and happens to most everyone.

At first, you deplete your glycogen stores and the body releases the water that is stored along with the glycogen. That’s your first week loss.

Ok, now that’s gone, and your body needs to try to adjust to burning fat as the other energy source. It is not that good at it yet, because all the metabolic pathways are not set up to do that efficiently.

However, it will get busy creating those metabolic pathways. Just takes some time, and it is a process of gradual improvement.

During that time, you need to provide your body with enough energy to function, so that’s going to come from your dietary fat intake. It helps set up the fat-burning metabolism and keeps you from feeling empty/hungry all the time when you first start.

Over the next few weeks to months, your body starts to get good at using fat as a primary fuel source, and it will start using stored fat in addition to what you eat. This is about when you start to feel a natural reduction in food cravings and you may find you can go for longer periods, even surprisingly long, without really needing to eat anything.

Again, a gradual process that starts at about week 4 and progresses through about the first 6 months or so.

For me, I lost a lot of weight in weeks 1 and 2, gained a little in week 3 and 4, and then started losing more steadily after that. By about the end of week 4 is when I noticed I could skip meals and not need to snack, and by about week 12, my energy levels were pretty steady all day and I felt “normal” all of the time.

It is so common there is even a term from it from the original Atkins diet - the “post induction stall syndrome.”

It’s just part of the adjustment process. Nothing to worry about. In the early stages you should be eating more than 775 calories a day. You want to eat enough fat and protein so your body has the essential nutrients, and enough energy to keep going.

That chicken + broccoli + cauliflower sounds like a great lunch or dinner. Just add bacon and eggs for breakfast, and a steak and salad for the other meal and you’re set.

(Dana) #5

Thank you @RobC. That sounds about right. I’ll use that for tonight’s meal plan as I know I’m not getting enough nutrition with what I’ve been eating for the past 2 days.

(Dana) #6

Thanks for the link @OgreZed!

(Dana) #7

Thank you very much for the detailed explanation @JohnH! How great it is to have someone tell you to eat more :smiley: Will definitely add an egg and a salad for my meal tonight as I’m also on OMAD IF! Thanks again!

(John) #8

You don’t HAVE to eat more. I have never counted calories or macros myself. It’s generally more helpful to get past the hump of metabolic adaptation to not be both in carb-withdrawal AND really hungry because of total caloric restriction.

You want to eat enough at each meal to get you to the next meal without excessive hunger, or the need to snack between meals.

This can take some time to adjust to. For the first few weeks I always made sure to take enough keto-safe snacks with me so I would not be tempted to go to the vending machine. And that was a good idea, and I ate them.

After a while, I no longer needed to keep snacks with me because my body’s ability to draw on stored fat for energy reduced the need for frequent food intake.

It’s one of those things where you kind of have to dial it in for yourself. First couple of weeks for me were a bumpy ride, but because I knew what to expect going into it (from having done Atkins in the distant past), I just buckled up and rode it out.

I made a commitment when I started, to stick to it for 6 weeks and evaluate then whether I wanted to continue or do something else.

For me I really saw the bigger changes starting about the end of week 4. So keep at it.

If it doesn’t work for you, you can always try something else.

(Robert C) #9

This might not be good right now.
You are 10 days in and need about 6+ more weeks to become fat adapted.
That is a good time to do OMAD because your body will automatically go after your fat stores.
Right now - OMAD might be seen by your body as a stress or restriction and so, hold on to fat.

It really is best to try straight Keto first, ensure you are fat adapted and see what results you get that way. Maybe that fat loss is fast enough but, if not, THEN pull out other IF / EF / exercise tools to move things along.

(Dana) #10

Great! I’m committed so I’ll keep at it for at least 2 months then evaluate. Its a learning process for sure.

(Dana) #11

I see. I never thought about that since I’ve been doing IF for a little over a year now. I’m not even comfortable eating more than once any more.

(Susan) #12

Welcome to the forum @Dana78

(Robert C) #13

Only you can know if the year of OMAD has actually been calorie restriction and has slowed your metabolism or if you’re able to really get a good amount of calories down and get your metabolism to fat adapt.

Think about this though - multiple meals might help as that changes things up. Get fat adapted and in 6+ weeks, drop a meal and watch the fat drop off of your body. Meal skipping when your body is used to burning 2500 calories a day leads to burning some fat stores. Meal skipping when your body is used to burning 1500 calories a day does not.

Also, Megan Ramos has said several times that, eventually, OMAD can become ineffective. It carries the same problem as many diets - you eat the same amount of calories every day and your body changes metabolism to expend at a level commensurate with the new “norm” of food intake. Keto solves this problem because sure, one day you might just do 1200 calorie OMAD (and burn some body fat) but the next, you might naturally be hungrier and have 2 1200 calorie meals. In this case, the body doesn’t see consistently (daily) lower calories so is unlikely to slow metabolism.

(Dana) #14

Thank you @Momof5 ! :smiley:

(Dana) #15

I see your point and it does make a lot of sense. I started to loose weight initially with OMAD then things slowed down. Plus, I’ve been on and off with OMAD so I haven’t been entirely consistent. I can see how this might have also affected my metabolism. I really appreciate all this info! Thank you!

(It's all about the bacon, baby!) #16

The idea is that besides keeping carbohydrate intake under 20 g/day, we should eat to satiety. The advantage of this approach is two-fold: (1) no counting macros or calories, and (2) no slowing down our metabolism by convincing our body there’s a famine going on. Eating to satisfy hunger ensures that the body gets enough energy to heal and do all the other things it wants to do, and it has the advantage of allowing the body to set our appetitie at the proper level for metabolising the maximum amoung of excess stored fat (if we have any).

So eat when you are hungry, stop eating when you stop being hungry, and don’t eat again until you are hungry again. Don’t eat just because it’s mealtime.

(KCKO, KCFO) #17

Read this pdf it is by Megan Ramos and goes into good details on why OMAD isn’t good for weight loss, might be good for maintenance, but not weight loss. She explains why alternate day fasting is better for weight loss.

(Dana) #18

This helped a lot. Thank you very much!

(Marianne) #19

So, true (for me, anyway). I started off eating 3x/day, which I had never done before. Have to say, I wasn’t minding it (delicious food!). Doing that, I didn’t feel a need to snack.

After a couple of weeks, I just naturally went down to two meals a day, down to OMAD - but again - it was natural, my body just didn’t want that much food.

So hard when you are just starting (I was so afraid, honestly - this was my last resort before giving up completely). What I’ve learned however, is try to relax with your plan (if you can), and just live. Don’t make thinking about your food your new obsession, like with how we used to diet in the past. Eat less than 20g carbs a day, as little as you can. Don’t count calories. Eat 3xday until you don’t feel a need to. Eat clean. Trust that it will happen. Your body is restoring itself; give it - and yourself - a break for a few weeks.

(Marianne) #20


Don’t progress to OMAD unless you want to and you are ready.