Not seeing results. Which macro calculator to use?


I’m not getting the results I hoped with keto and don’t know what to do next.

Its been nearly a year now and I’ve put on 13lb in that time and up a few inches in most places. My energy is rock bottom and I’m utterly miserable eating this way and not feeling any benefits. I trust the science and this should work for me, but I don’t know why it isn’t working me. I have a lot to lose so I expected that at least eating on a calorie deficit theoretically I’d lose something but definitely not gain weight. My BMR is 1,869, and the recommended calories for my sedentary activity level (I’m unable to do much, even less on keto, I just don’t have the energy) is 2,243 cal to maintain my current weight

I’ve tried multiple different macro set ups: I’ve tried a very small calorie deficit; a large calorie deficit; no deficit; eating to my hunger. I tried each method for at least 2 months. I usually IF naturally, eating within a 9 hour window but sometimes less

Different keto experts say different things and I just don’t know what to do for me. Using the calculator on Maria Emmerich’s website I should be on F: 93 P: 82 C: 20 (this is roughly what I’m following now, but rarely getting near the fat target). Ruled Me says: F:112 P: 83 C: 90; and the Keto UK group is F:155 P:82 C:20. I started with the ruled me one, the middle ground. Then I was convinced by the UK keto group that I was messing up my metabolism and I had to eat more if I wanted to lose weight so tried that by forcing myself to eat more than I was comfortable with, that’s when I saw the weight gain. Freaking out I started eating to hunger levels which ended up being ~1100 cal. Again no weight loss the last 3 and a bit months, but no weight gain however I was concerned if I was just harming my metabolism eating so low. I just don’t feel like eating more though, I’m adding fat to food for the sake of adding it or making myself have another meal in a day because “I must be starving myself and that’s why I’m not losing weight”

I’ve been very strict tracking food, getting my all my electrolytes, next to no dairy, and no sweeteners. I’ve had blood tests that all come back normal so no common disease behind the cause of no weight loss. I’ve been listening to the podcast for well over a year (I still have episodes to catch up on, such a wealth of info available) but I’m not sure what is the right method for me

At the moment I’m feeling like an anomaly. Physics says I should be losing weight. I know its more complicated than “calories in vs calories out” but with the deficits I have tried there isn’t a reason why I shouldn’t at least be losing water weight

Pre-keto I saw a dietitian and I was on a low fat low calorie diet for 18 months and still didn’t lose weight despite religiously following it. Their answer was basically along the lines of “well maybe this is the weight your body wants to be”. I wouldn’t accept that as I’m morbidly obese, that was just ****ing wrong, my weight is going to shorten my life. I do feel a little better following keto compared to low fat but not that much, not the betterment of health I was expecting. I have less pain on keto, but also less energy

What can I do to make keto work for me?

Edit: This is roughly what I eat (last few days)

Breakfast: 2 eggs, black coffee
Lunch: Pork mince (90g), lettuce, pepper, olives, 1.5tbsp Olive oil, black coffee
Dinner: Pork chop (150g) cauliflower, broccoli, green tea
Snack: Walnuts (20g)
Water: 2.1L

Breakfast: 3 eggs, black coffee
Lunch: Sardines (70g), lettuce, pepper, olives, 1 tbsp Olive oil
Dinner: Pork chop (190g) cauliflower, green tea
Water: 2.3L

Breakfast: Walnuts (15g), Hazelnuts (15g), Pecans (10g), 70% dark chocolate (5g), black coffee
Lunch: Anchovies (60g), lettuce, pepper, olives, 1 tbsp Olive oil, 500ml fizzy water
Dinner: 3 seed crackers, 2 slices of bacon (54g), artichoke bottoms (140g), green tea
Water: 2.0L

(Jane) #2

Two things stand out to me - snacking on nuts and 3 meals a day. As long as you have been keto you should be able to limit your eating window without being hungry.

I never could lose weight until I starting doing that no matter my caloric intake.


My eating window tends to be 11am - 5pm, infrequently I do have a snack for supper around midnight and I find something fatty like nuts really helps me sleep well. Sometimes dinner is later (7pm) but those days I often have no breakfast or at least a smaller one


As Jane mentioned above, I would say snacking of any king and eating too many meals isn’t helpful. I’ve always said to folks, don’t snack, ever. Simply eat those same things with meals and they become part of said meal. When I hear snack, I’m thinking eating things between meals, and this is the biggest problem for a lot of folks from what I’ve read. … Also to me personally, when I eat TMAD (2 meals a day) I eat once around 11-12 pm, and then again at 5-6pm. I don’t eat anything between these times, so it’s simply two separate meals. So yes, one might say this an eating window, but it’s more like 2 meals in one day. I don’t do eating windows in that I can simply eat stuff throughout the set timeframe.

This may work for some folks, I dunno? But I would think to maximize weight loss you want to spike your insulin as little as possible. … The longer you can go between meals (fasting state) the better you will see results with weight loss. Also make sure you’re eating enough to keep you satiated. My Wife sometimes has this issue, in that she will get hungry later in the night, since she doesn’t get enough at times to keep her going until lunch the next day. But she also doesn’t eat a whole lot in one setting. Unlike myself. … Good luck, and check out the 'What did you Keto today threads to see what others might be eating. I’ll place a link below. … Provides some good ideas for meals and maybe gain some insight on how others are managing their meals.

What Did You Keto Today? Part IV

Edit to add… You mention eating nuts above, and I have to say, I personally love all sorts myself. Such as Almonds, Pecans, Macadamia, etc. But there are a lot of folks who have issues loosing weight when they eat nuts pretty regularly and could be something giving you issues? Some have given them up and start seeing results, and some can get away with eating some here and there. But again, eat them with the meal, and not outside of meals. This too can really help.


I’m definitely doing this, I think my reason for snacking is not because I’m hungry but because I know I haven’t eaten much and feel like I should add extra calories in. Sometimes its because I hungry but not usually

I’ll cut out the snacks and hopefully stop the insulin spikes which is maybe why I’m not losing weight

I did try giving up nuts (1 and a half months or so) and I didn’t see any change, I also really struggled to fill the gap for no cook/low prep breakfasts that I can eat on the days when I don’t have the energy to even get out of bed.


Yep, understand. Just try to eat when your body tell you, not based of timeframes or simply, this is when we eat. :slight_smile: … I know it sounds simple, but we all at times resort to eating because it’s familiar.

Try breaking that up too, so it’s not resembling a scheduled feeding. Your body can and will adjust to any type of scheduled function. Keeping the body guessing seemed to always help me…


When I was in weight-loss phase, I found that not getting to my fat goal really slowed weight-loss. I also couldn’t exceed my protein goals by much either. When I asked for help here, I got a few comments saying my protein was too low. If I upped protein though, I would experience swelling and feel really awful. I just used chronometer to track my macros and took their suggestions but learned my own range over time. I also ate 4 cups of vegetables a day. Good luck finding what works for you body. Ultimately, we are our own science experiment and have to search for the right answers. Who knows, maybe you need more whole grains or fiber? Hopefully, enough people respond to give you a lot of different ideas to try.


By the infrequency that I go to the loo for a bowel movement I do wonder this. I haven’t experimented changing my protein, that’s one macro that I usually meet each day and could likely increase it without the same issues I’ve faced trying to increase fat


I actually take fiber supplements. I take psyllium husks in pill form in the morning and acacia fiber in powder (mixed into a liquid) in the afternoon. If I slack off on the acacia for a couple of days, I will start to feel those effects.

Adding food choices here. My lunch/first meal is usually a salad topped with salami, olives, cheese and an avocado. This helps me stay on track. I usually give myself a sweet treat if I still need more food after that. It can be a protein bar, cottage cheese with raspberries, chia pudding but usually something with a bit more carbs.


This was me too even before switching to this WOE. … And it really hasn’t changed TBH. Seems to change up from time to time, but over-all, I’ve never been one of those who have them frequently.

Which I believe is even more beneficial to those who do. When I hear someone say they go 3, 4 or 5 times a day, it’s unreal to me. I can usually go 3, 4 or 5 days without one? But I don’t take in extra fiber or anything to help try to produce this. I do know eating low carb doesn’t produce as much waste either so I do take that into consideration too. … But who knows, you can give it a try and experiment to see what works best for you. May even take some time to have something like that take hold too.

(Old Baconian) #11

People’s protein requirements vary considerably. It is worth experimenting, as you did, to see whether more protein or less protein works better. You found that you need a bit less protein, others find they need a bit more. This is an important point to bear in mind when we hand out advice.

@Bugsy Dr. Stephen Phinney says that when people tell him they are stuck, his first suggestion is always to reduce carbohydrate even further. If that doesn’t work, he advises increasing fat intake. I was looking over your diet and wonder if there hasn’t been some carb creep somewhere. I would also try switching from olive oil to animal fats, such as butter, lard, bacon grease, or tallow. Also, if you need to snack between meals, you probably should be eating more at the meals.

The idea is that insulin, while essential to life, is also the premier fat-storage hormone, so eating in such a way as to minimise the amount of time during the day that our insulin level is elevated is helpful when we want to shed excess fat. On a ketogenic diet, fat becomes important, because it is a source of energy that does not stimulate insulin secretion, whereas the glucose in carbohydrate has a major effect on insulin.

The other thing to take into account is the mechanism that causes the body to conserve its resources in time of famine. This is why we recommend eating to satisfy hunger rather than to a caloric target that might be too low. Try eating only when you are hungry, stop eating when you stop being hungry, and don’t eat again until you are hungry again. This may help.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #12

I notice you seem to be eating lots of plant source nutrients. That could be a problem. In addition to carbs there might be some antagonists. As noted by @Janie above you seem to be eating lots of nuts. I suggest eliminating all plant source foods, including nuts, completely for a few months at least. Maybe something will move.

Despite what many seem to think: Keto. Is. Not. Rocket. Science. If you get your insulin low enough consistently enough your metabolism will go into ketosis and burn fat. The way to get there is reduce carbs and keep them low. The lower and more consistently the better. Replace carbs with fats. Unfortunately, there is no home device to measure insulin directly so we can’t determine what it’s really doing. But we can control exactly what we eat and more importantly what we don’t eat. In addition some folks with higher insulin resistance find that shortening the eating window by either TMAD or OMAD and/or occasional fasting is necessary to keep insulin low enough not to interfere with ketosis.

Important rules for losing weight/fat: do not snack between meals. Ever. If you’re hungry between meals eat more at the meals. Do not eat anything less than 3-4 hours before bedtime. Ever. If you’re hungry before bed, eat more the next day.

One of the most difficult concepts to accept is that carbs are the problem not calories. Many folks make keto just a low-carb version of CICO. Then wonder why it failed. As noted by @PaulL just above, eating more fat may also help. There’s a BIG BUT here, though. Eat more saturated fat. Eat less or no oils. Coconut/MCT oils, red palm and kernel oils, and cacao butter are OK, unless you have an issue with plant sourced foods. In which case avoid them as well.

Best wishes.


What you’ve listed (to me) looks like starvation! Aside from that…

Calculators guess, have you ever had your RMR tested? I have a hard time believing a sedentary person has an RMR at almost 2000cals.

These are the two calculators that have been the most correct in my experience. For the ketogains one, take all your measurements, don’t skip that part unless you have a true bodyfat measurement on yourself. On the MAPS one, once it comes up with numbers for you, drag the carbs down to where you want them and the rest will adjust to that. But keep in mind, they’re still just making educated guesses. If you can’t find your tipping point for loosing, get your RMR measured. Takes 15min! Best thing I ever did when I was troubleshooting, Macro calcs were over estimating me by almost 1000 calories! Starting working with the numbers it gave me and I started losing again. Recently had a DEXA and another RMR test and confirmed that I’m not at the lowest bodyfat in years and my metabolic rate went up by over 1000cals/day, which I knew because I’d been reverse dieting for a while but nice to see the true number and have in writing proof that what I’m doing is really working.


Sadly, I met some people like you, who tried hard and should have lose fat but it didn’t happen…
I just can say a few thoughts coming to mind, it clearly won’t be so easy to solve this mistery…

I wouldn’t follow a woe that makes me miserable (well of course, I am a hedonist). Maybe your body isn’t great enough to show you what it wants (it somewhat works for me, I experiment and see what feels better) but still, it sounds wrong. It seems you didn’t find your method.
Maybe your body dislike keto, no matter what, who knows? It’s not for everyone.
But first I would try other styles.
Maybe it will be harder on you but it’s not sure… What about elimination? Skip as much plant matter as you can. Almost anything can interfere if you are sensitive, I saw interesting stories…

I wouldn’t force-feed myself, it can’t be right but if you truly undereat, your food choices can’t be right. Or you have some special problem or keto makes you especially satiated… Sigh.
It’s hard and no one can possibly tell you what is wrong. You are one of the very hard, special cases.

There are no good, “working for everyone” calculators at all. It’s individual. Even our energy need is individual but it totally matters what we eat and it’s not just about macros…
Considering you experimented a lot with macros and nothing worked, it’s not enough to use good macros for you (though maybe you didn’t experimented with everything you could? I saw only 82-83g protein with various fat intake. what about much more protein? or different fat sources? I never heard that they interfered with fat-loss, only with satiation but one can never know especially in special cases whose body just doesn’t work the same as the average person’s).

Good luck. You will need it. I am sorry it’s so hard for you. (I stall since forever except when I gain but I eat a ton and go off all the time… At least I can blame myself and try to change things. But you really put enough effort into it, do your woe and it’s still not enough, it’s unfair. But life is unfair as we know.)

Maybe… If no macros and food choices work… You can try fasting? I don’t believe in not losing fat when one doesn’t eat anything for days though a really problematic body can decide it’s not fast but starvation… And not anyone can do it without great difficulties (or at all)…

(Jane) #15

But you are eating 3 meals in that window and should be aiming for two.

I don’t usually recommend fasting but it sounds like you may be very insulin resistant. You could try alternate day fasting and then really feast on your eating days but have two large meals in your eating window.

(Butter Withaspoon) #16

Exactly what I was thinking! Your daily food looks like dieting to me, not enough food. I was thinking you could try eating 2 big keto meat based meals with enough fat for satiety, and vegetables if you like, and alternate your big eating days with very low food or fasting days.

I make big meaty soup/stews with cuts of red meat with the bones in, then I can skim off some of the liquid and use it diluted as a wonderful clear soup/bone broth on the fasting/semi fasting days. It could be an easier way to try an alternating days pattern?

Prioritise protein and Fill with Fat as my favourite scientist says. Start with Control Carbohydrates of course


Have you been to a GP and ruled out medical reasons for your lack of energy and wellbeing? What did your blood tests test - how is your thyroid, vitamin D, iron levels, testosterone? How is your sleep? What medications are you on? What is your dieting history? Has your appetite always been so low? The idea that you have previously been on a low-calorie diet religiously for 18months, while morbidly obese, and not lost any weight at all, seems like such an anomaly of physics (as you say) that I am wondering if you should seek another medical opinion.

Depending on where you live, and your access to healthcare, I have been pleasantly surprised by the growing number of keto-sympathetic health practitioners and I am wondering if it’s worth getting a second opinion. Your diet seems extremely low in calories, by the way. Have you tried giving your body and mind a break from dieting for a while?

Good luck and I hope you are healthy and successful, whatever approach you decide upon.


Thank you to everyone who has sent advice, there is a lot to digest here.

I’ve been following the macros from Maria’s calculator for just over a week now and the scales have started to go in the right direction “yay”. No zoom in energy yet but that may come with time

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #19

… or not. Lots of folks report various subjective experiences they interpret to mean they’re in ketosis or have attained some ‘level’ of ketosis. The problem is that not everyone experiences the same sorts of things in the same ways. And many don’t experience anything out of their ordinary. Due to differences in what exactly, how extensively and severely each of us has damaged our metabolism eating SAD for years or decades determines to large extent how long it takes to fix and the precise manner in which it gets fixed. There’s a lot of wishful thinking and wish fulfillment going on among those who think they ought to experience something that confirms their efforts to succeed with keto. Just stay consistently in ketosis and don’t get discouraged if your experiences of keto don’t match someone else’s description of theirs.