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View Full Version : Kcal In vs. Kcal Out - Peculiar Observation



a2gbro
04-19-2015, 02:11 PM
First post. :)

I've been gaining weight since the turn of the year and by and large all has been going well. Used the Katch-McArdle formula to figure out my caloric needs, which came to be around 3000, and consumed them daily resulting in weight gain.

However, these gains quickly faded and after 2 weeks stuck at the same weight (after having only gained 2 kg), I upped the calories by 300 and the weight started flying on at a rate of ~0.75kg/week. Kept this up for about a month or so, gaining ~3kg.

Feeling that 0.75kg/week was too much too soon, I decided to reduce the calories back down to 3150 but then the gains stopped entirely... in fact I've a couple of hundred grams lighter than three weeks ago!

This has definitely surprised me and has motivated me to question whether there is more than simply calories in vs. calories out going on here. My activity levels are, besides lifting 3 times per week, non-existent (third year uni exams start next week, so firmly rooted to the desk chair in revision mode) and have been for the past 2 months so no changes there to cause this behaviour.

tl;dr stuck at 80kg, upped from 3000 to 3300 kcal and made gains to quickly (0.75kg/week), chopped down to 3150 and gains stopped. Surprised that 150kcal made all the difference.

Anyone had similar experiences or have any thoughts?

Obviously I'm just going to raise the calories again until the scale moves once more. Possible explanations I can think of are: 150 more kcal needed due to extra 3kg weight (plausible), body adjusting to higher caloric intake and thereby increasing the baseline to 3150 (seems implausible to me, since I'm not even remotely big - 5'11, 185lbs, ~16%bf), miscounted calories (almost certainly incorrect as a physicist I take great pride in doing this **** scientifically).


For any other geeks that love graphs 'n ****, see attachment.

ZMan45
04-19-2015, 02:18 PM
Water fluctuations and metabolic adaptations combined with your individual metabolism. Cals in/out is still the key factor, but the formula is incalculably complex.

StrikingMoose
04-19-2015, 02:32 PM
Ive noticed things like that, purported 100-200 calorie changes seem to make a massive difference but I always assume it's due to maybe inaccuracy in counting or small variations in the way I cook things

ShyGuyXS
04-19-2015, 02:34 PM
^ Basically nailed it. Of course, your activity and thus caloric needs are not going to be exactly constant from day to day. Even at maintenance, your weight can change 1-2kg from day to day due to water weight fluctuations, undigested food, etc.

ETA: Slight variations in cooking, etc. can also lead to a slightly altered caloric intake compared to what you estimated/calculated you were taking in.

a2gbro
04-19-2015, 02:59 PM
Water fluctuations and metabolic adaptations combined with your individual metabolism. Cals in/out is still the key factor, but the formula is incalculably complex.


Ive noticed things like that, purported 100-200 calorie changes seem to make a massive difference but I always assume it's due to maybe inaccuracy in counting or small variations in the way I cook things


^ Basically nailed it. Of course, your activity and thus caloric needs are not going to be exactly constant from day to day. Even at maintenance, your weight can change 1-2kg from day to day due to water weight fluctuations, undigested food, etc.

ETA: Slight variations in cooking, etc. can also lead to a slightly altered caloric intake compared to what you estimated/calculated you were taking in.

Thanks for the responses so far!

I've thought about whether it is diet (water) related – differing levels of sodium/carb intake and whatnot. If anything, though, I've started using creatine again in the past two weeks after a while of not using it, so I would have expected a "bump up" due to water weight if anything. Ordinarily, though, unless I'm eating out (once a week) then most of what I eat is very basic stuff - eggs, milk, bagels, minced beef, oats, etc. and there isn't really much room for variation in cooking – I'm not a very talented chef.

Assuming I'm human and make mistakes sometimes, even then it would be unlikely I would miscount for three weeks straight. Idk if any of you looked at the graph but I take three weight measurements per week (always after I train/drink 1L of water).

It's interesting that you have noticed similar effects – I was unable to find much about similar experiences from googling, earlier today.

Tommy W.
04-19-2015, 03:45 PM
Weight gains aren't directly related to muscle gain, unfortunately. You want to monitor your waist size as you monitor your weight gain. Every inch you put on your waist accounts for approx. 5-7 lbs of fat. Gaining 12 lbs or so and your waist going up 2 inches for example would be basically fat gain.