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  1. #1
    Registered User DavidParziale's Avatar
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    Angry EXTREME weight loss Plateau. Stubborn fat won't let go! Please HELP!!!

    Hello, everyone! My name is David and I've been struggling with my weight for the past 16 months. I lost 30lb so far, but I haven't been able to continue. Most recently, I've tried reducing calories and increasing cardio to no avail. I'm stuck on a plateau and I need some advice.

    Here are my numbers: I'm 25, 6'2", 230lb, 39" waist, and about 24% bodyfat according to my handheld bio-electrical impedance scanner.
    I used a simple formula (used by Beachbody) to determine my caloric needs: 230lb*12=2,760kcal (assuming sedentary lifestyle outside of exercise routine) then adding 600kcal for exercise (Beachbody says Insanity workouts burn 600 Calories on average) 2,760+600=3,360kcal (weight maintenance calories with Insanity) and finally subtracting 500kcal for weight loss. 3,360-500=2,860kcal.

    Over the past three weeks, I have been averaging 2,763kcal per day with 228g protein, 257g carbohydrates, and 92g of fat. Since beginning, I haven't lost any weight, any inches off my waist, and I haven't seen a significant difference in body fat percentage. If I was losing 1lb of fat every week according to the 500 calorie deficit, I should have lost 3lb and over 1% bodyfat. No such luck.

    Let me give you a little history so you know where these numbers stack up. I've been trying to lose weight for a over a year now; starting at 260 and eventually getting down to 230. My goal is 200lb. Back in February this year, I began a weight loss challenge to try and lose rest of the weight. I was going to the gym 6 days a week, lifting weights and exercising. My diet was only 2,100kcal/day. I didn't lose weight, but I did see a reduction of about 1.5% bodyfat. Then progress stopped and I lowered calories to try continue losing weight. Thus began a plateau around 230lb that I've been stuck on through March and April. I started the Insanity program while eating only 1,800kcal per day thinking that was enough, but it didn't work. Not only was it not enough to keep up my energy, but I wasn't losing weight after two weeks or so in the program.
    I thought that I might have slowed down my metabolism by over-training and underfeeding. I embarked upon a 3-week-long reverse diet to get me back up to the 2,800kcal I would need to lose weight according to the Insanity plan. I did not exercise during the reverse diet. The first week, I averaged 2,100kcal/day, the second week, I averaged 2,400kcal per day, and finally I upped calories to 2,800kcal the same week I began Insanity 6x a week again. During the reverse diet, I actually lost 3lb but they came back when I started exercising and haven't left, keeping me at 230. Three weeks later, still no measurable progress.

    So, I've been on a plateau around 230 for about 10 weeks now. I'm discouraged but I don't know what to try next. Should I try:

    A) Increasing my daily Calories to 3,300kcal (my maintenance while doing Insanity) until my metabolism gets up to speed and THEN reduce by 500-1000kcal to restart weight loss?

    OR

    B) Keep reducing calories from my present 2,800kcal/day until I'm once again maintaining my weight at 1,800kcal/day?

    OR

    C) Try some other dietary magic like intermittent fasting, carb cycling, or supplementation without changing my daily calories?

    What do you think people? I'm super strict with my diet, I exercise 6x a week and I can keep it up indefinitely as long as I'm seeing measurable progress. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get to my goal weight (preferably without losing muscle), but I don't want to waste my time, energy, and dedication on something that's not working. Thanks in advance!



    ***DISCLAIMER*** I weigh all my food at home with a food scale and I track everything I eat with MyFitnessPal. My proteins come from whole eggs, egg whites, lean turkey sausage, protein powder, whole chicken (skin removed), and lean beef. My carbs come from whole wheat breads, oats, whole wheat pasta, and jasmine rice. Fats come from protein sources, milk, and cheese only (1 serving of dairy per day). I don't eat any sugar, drink fruit juice or soda, or eat anything with added sugar or corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup. I also avoid diet sodas. I drink about a gallon of water a day and two cups of black coffee. I count everything!
    "No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." -Socrates
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    Registered User SubWooferCooker's Avatar
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    If you are not losing weight you are eating too much its that simple, there are no magical diets other than some helping with appetite control. Calorie deficit is what equates to weight loss, which ever diet you chose to create a calorie deficit is up to you.
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    Registered User snailsrus's Avatar
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    Don’t count calories burned in exercise as a deficit or added to your daily maintenance, almost always the calories burned exercising are exaggerated

    Eat less and you’ll lose weight
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    Registered User DavidParziale's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SubWooferCooker View Post
    If you are not losing weight you are eating too much its that simple, there are no magical diets other than some helping with appetite control. Calorie deficit is what equates to weight loss, which ever diet you chose to create a calorie deficit is up to you.
    I've heard that one before. With all due respect, cutting calories just stops working after a while. Like I said in my original post, I've recently cut down to 1,800 calories while being at the same weight I am now and doing HIIT 6x a week. I didn't lose fat. I lost muscle, but no fat. Would your suggestion be to slowly reduce daily calories until weight loss restarts? What do you recommend to do when weight loss stops? You can only cut calories so far before the body stops shedding fat and starts scavenging muscle for energy. I've been there. It's not fun.
    "No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." -Socrates
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    Registered User DavidParziale's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    Don’t count calories burned in exercise as a deficit or added to your daily maintenance, almost always the calories burned exercising are exaggerated

    Eat less and you’ll lose weight
    I tried that and I ran my metabolism into the ground by not eating enough. So which calories should you count when calculating your TDEE? According to my calculations, I'm eating my maintenance calories (not including exercise) and I'm still not losing fat. I can't be burning 0 Calories during 45min of HIIT.
    "No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." -Socrates
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    2800 calories is a high number even for maintenance. It's likely you'll need to be at around 2200 for a sensible pace of weight loss.

    As for the other posts, I agree with them. I'm afraid it's true. Calories in vs. calories out.

    There are a few things that can confound measurement of weight loss like water weight shifts - you can retain water due to dietary stress. Look up the "whoosh" effect. Perhaps this happened when you did your "reverse diet". 2800 is likely to be above maintenance in reality and the weight you lost was just water. Since then you've been levelling back out. If you continue at a deficit, it should start moving again.

    There is a small adaptive component to metabolism - a change in NEAT levels. But this is small and would not account for no weight loss in an adult male on 1800 calories.
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  7. #7
    Chihuahua in the rain Corbets's Avatar
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    In addition to the above about bringing and keeping your calories down (2800 is way too high), you need to discard bioimpedance scanner. It’s worthless. You think you’re “losing muscle not fat” but the scanner is so wildly inaccurate that you have no way to know that.

    Use a scale, keep your calories low, and you’ll lose weight. I’ve been your size (though I’ve got an extra inch on you) and I can assure you that a caloric deficit works. Treat cardio as above-and-beyond, but don’t try to eat back the calories (e.g. don’t assume that you can add 600 calories to your diet because the beach body workout supposedly burns 600).

    1800 should be a pretty good deficit, particularly if you’re doing cardio, so give it a few more weeks, though I personally would think you’d want to be a little higher than that for sanity.
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  8. #8
    Registered User hardyboysare's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    I've heard that one before. With all due respect, cutting calories just stops working after a while. Like I said in my original post, I've recently cut down to 1,800 calories while being at the same weight I am now and doing HIIT 6x a week. I didn't lose fat. I lost muscle, but no fat. Would your suggestion be to slowly reduce daily calories until weight loss restarts? What do you recommend to do when weight loss stops? You can only cut calories so far before the body stops shedding fat and starts scavenging muscle for energy. I've been there. It's not fun.
    I am sorry you are find losing weight difficult, but we can all assure you that eating less calories will never stop someone losing weight its just physically and biologically impossible. Your body will not hoard fat and just burn muscle, as fat is the preferred source of energy after carbs. Can you lose both fat and muscle at the same time yes and that will give the illusion of losing just muscle as you just look the same but smaller.

    You need to follow a decent progressive training program such as Fierce 5 to maintain muscle:-

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...2916931&page=1

    And then you need to hit enough protein for muscle retention and fats for health for all that info read this link:-

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=173439001

    As for your calories I am afraid if you aren't losing weight it must be lowered, you can complain all you like that the number is low and calculators say you should be having lots more but alas fat loss occurs by being a caloric deficit. And a caloric deficit is achieved when you are losing weight (after a period of around 2/3 weeks). And no you don't count back calories from exercise as that is included in your TDEE calculations already.

    It is that simple in practice but a nightmare in action you just have to learn to be hungry in most cases.
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    Don’t count calories burned in exercise as a deficit or added to your daily maintenance, almost always the calories burned exercising are exaggerated
    you can do it to some extent in my opinion. if i go for a 40 minute bike ride, hell yeah i'm going to eat one extra egg or bread
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    I've heard that one before. With all due respect, cutting calories just stops working after a while.
    And we've heard this several times a week here. With all due respect, you have not found the way to end world hunger.
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    I've heard that one before. With all due respect, cutting calories just stops working after a while. Like I said in my original post, I've recently cut down to 1,800 calories while being at the same weight I am now and doing HIIT 6x a week. I didn't lose fat. I lost muscle, but no fat. Would your suggestion be to slowly reduce daily calories until weight loss restarts? What do you recommend to do when weight loss stops? You can only cut calories so far before the body stops shedding fat and starts scavenging muscle for energy. I've been there. It's not fun.
    With all due respect you're one of hundreds of persons who come to this forum monthly with the same basic "problem." The question, and subsequent answer, is almost always the same. You're not an exception to the rule. If you're not losing weight, you're not in a calorie deficit. Start back at the basics and re-work your calorie tracking, TDEE calculations, and workout routine.
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    Registered User DavidParziale's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rhadam View Post
    With all due respect you're one of hundreds of persons who come to this forum monthly with the same basic "problem." The question, and subsequent answer, is almost always the same. You're not an exception to the rule. If you're not losing weight, you're not in a calorie deficit. Start back at the basics and re-work your calorie tracking, TDEE calculations, and workout routine.
    I don't know if you read my entire original post or not, but I have followed the "just cut more calories" advice in the past and it is an oversimplification of the fat loss process that everyone seems to beat to death. I have cut calories progressively in the past and stopped losing weight all together. I have been in a 1,000-1500 calorie daily deficit without losing fat. I know it sounds impossible according to the "just eat less" crowd, but the body does some amazing things to avoid starvation. When I'm consuming 1,800 calories a day and I'm not losing weight at 230lb while doing HIIT 45min 6x a week "just eat less" has clearly stopped working. I'm sorry. I've cut calories down to below my BMR levels while being active 6-7 days a week without losing fat. It's unsustainable, does not result in efficient fat loss, and only leads to a weaker body. There has to be a healthy zone for fat loss. They say it is to be in a deficit of 500-1000 calories, but as you can see from the responses, calorie counting is wildly inaccurate and makes it almost impossible to determine how many calories one actually burns in a day. There is a point at which the body stops burning fat and starts scavenging muscle for energy. I've been there many times thanks to the "just eat less" advice I always get. I once ate 500 calories a day while running 3 miles a day for a month and guess what? I just got smaller, but I was still fat.

    The calorie counters also can't explain how I was able to increase my daily calorie intake from 1800 with intense exercise 6x a week up to 2800 calories a day without exercise and without gaining weight.
    Last edited by DavidParziale; 05-04-2020 at 02:03 PM.
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    Good luck with your goals. It's clear you're not going to find whatever it is you want here.
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    I once ate 500 calories a day while running 3 miles a day for a month and guess what? I just got smaller, but I was still fat.
    No you didn't. There's absolutely no way you could sustain that activity level for 30 days in a row on 500 calories. Again, your calorie counting skills are not up to par.

    In addition, even if an overweight man did run 3 miles daily while eating only 500 calories, he should expect to only get smaller and still be fat. He wouldn't have built any muscle doing that and certainly wouldn't have been doing a good job of retaining muscle.

    There's no magic to weight loss. You need to eat less and/or move more. It takes a long time to dig yourself out of the hole of obesity and refusing to face facts will only make it take longer.
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    I should start bookmarking these threads and show them to the next person posting this. OP hasn't broken script yet.
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    I don't know if you read my entire original post or not, but I have followed the "just cut more calories" advice in the past and it is an oversimplification of the fat loss process that everyone seems to beat to death. I have cut calories progressively in the past and stopped losing weight all together. I have been in a 1,000-1500 calorie daily deficit without losing fat. I know it sounds impossible according to the "just eat less" crowd, but the body does some amazing things to avoid starvation.
    Interesting, so then people in concentration camps remained the same size while eating almost nothing every day? No, I dont think so. Your body can't hold onto weight while in a caloric deficit, you will literally wither away until you die.

    https://www.aworkoutroutine.com/starvation-mode/

    I'm sure these people would have loved to hear about your magical ability to maintain weight while cutting calories.

    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    Did you come here for advice or to argue!? Youre cutting on 2700+ cals and base your losses on a handheld machine and insanity!? Dude gtfo.

    Ive lost 116lbs in 9 months. First 6 months i was cutting at 1900cals and doing 20min mild cardio and 45 min weights 4 days a week. Fasted 24 hours a week. I then upped my cals to 2300-2400 and upped the cardio and stopped fasting. I was losing still. Now when i reached 180 mark and weve been in confinement 2 months.. i plateaued for 2-3 weeks and guess what!? Not enough of a deficit. Dropped the cals and broke said plateau.

    Truth is, you either dont count well, not enough of a deficit, or dont burn as much calories as you think you do.

    Ditch your handheld thingy. you could easily cut at 2200 cals plus your insanity workout and youll start losing again.
    Transformation Thread: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177716261&p=1591136601#post1591136601

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    @xsquid99
    Sounds like you missed the point. Everyone knows you can simply eat nothing and lose weight until you die. In the mean time, you'll lose your muscle mass. That's what I'm trying to avoid. I've "just eaten less" in the past and I've sacrificed a significant amount of lean mass in the process. Like I said, after about 20lb of fat loss, I hit a wall at which time my body starts losing muscle mass more rapidly than fat. In 2018 I lost about 35lb all together. After the first 20, I started losing muscle mass for a grand total of 22lb of fat and 13lb of muscle according to my gym's body composition scanner.
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    All I was hoping to find when I posted this question was someone who can say "I've been in your shoes; here's what I did to fix it." All I got was a herd of meatheads who have probably never been obese telling me how much I suck at counting calories and "all you have to do is eat less." Not super helpful. Thank you for your anecdote and congratulations on your impressive fat loss!
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Right on schedule.

    While I'm here, anybody been bankrupt before? I need some investing advice.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    All I was hoping to find when I posted this question was someone who can say "I've been in your shoes; here's what I did to fix it." All I got was a herd of meatheads who have probably never been obese telling me how much I suck at counting calories and "all you have to do is eat less." Not super helpful. Thank you for your anecdote and congratulations on your impressive fat loss!
    You know nothing about the posters here, yet you assume none have been fat and have no idea what you're going through. How ignorant.
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    Harsh Truth Distributor xsquid99's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    @xsquid99
    Sounds like you missed the point. Everyone knows you can simply eat nothing and lose weight until you die. In the mean time, you'll lose your muscle mass. That's what I'm trying to avoid. I've "just eaten less" in the past and I've sacrificed a significant amount of lean mass in the process. Like I said, after about 20lb of fat loss, I hit a wall at which time my body starts losing muscle mass more rapidly than fat. In 2018 I lost about 35lb all together. After the first 20, I started losing muscle mass for a grand total of 22lb of fat and 13lb of muscle according to my gym's body composition scanner.
    Ok, now we know what the problem is. There is no electronic device in existence that can give you an accurate body composition, so I wouldn't believe that machine in your gym for one second.

    I've been there, right in your very shoes, so don't assume that the people posting in this thread have no idea what they are talking about. The only difference is you're still young with lots of time on your side, I didn't start on my weight loss until I was 42 years old at 255 lbs and in the region of 28-30% bf.

    Eat in a calorie deficit (you'll know you're there when you're losing a couple pounds a week), lift weights on a proven program that focuses on progressive overload, and get at least 0.7g of protein per lb of bodyweight daily. Thats it! People always try to over-complicate this stuff and make it all about some crazy thing they read online like starvation mode, or put their faith in some stupid bio-impedance hunk of junk that they swear is accurate (they're not), or some other total nonsense; its all complete BS. Eat less calories, lift weights, get your protein in.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Right on schedule.

    While I'm here, anybody been bankrupt before? I need some investing advice.
    You gonna be helpful or are you just going to keep mocking fat people like me who are trying to get in shape?
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    Originally Posted by rhadam View Post
    You know nothing about the posters here, yet you assume none have been fat and have no idea what you're going through. How ignorant.
    I didn't say that NONE of you all have had the same experiences I have. I thanked the poster who shared his experience, despite how rude he was. What can I say? If the shoe fits...
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    You gonna be helpful or are you just going to keep mocking fat people like me who are trying to get in shape?
    I'm mocking someone who revels in his obstinance.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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    Another I want help thread that refuses to listen to the advice given.

    Weigh every meal.
    Track every calorie.
    Eat at a deficit.
    Ignore the supposed calorie burn of exercises as it is ALWAYS exaggerated.
    Be consistent in when you weigh yourself.
    Be patient.

    It's that easy.

    I've gone from 250 to 170 before, and I'm currently going from 226 to 190 (at 201 right now) so don't tell me I haven't be there. I'm doing it plus a million other obstacles to overcome.
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    Originally Posted by DavidParziale View Post
    I didn't say that NONE of you all have had the same experiences I have. I thanked the poster who shared his experience, despite how rude he was. What can I say? If the shoe fits...
    Well this meathead has a degree in dietetics and has spent countless hours helping people change their lives for the better. You seem to know everything though. Best of luck with your fitness goals in 2020.
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    you can do it to some extent in my opinion. if i go for a 40 minute bike ride, hell yeah i'm going to eat one extra egg or bread
    yes but if you sit at a stationary bike for 20 minutes and it says you burned 500 calories so you do it for 40 minutes thinking you burned 1000 calories and you eat a thousand calories more, well....

    Most cardio machines wildly over estimate calories burned
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    Ok, now we know what the problem is. There is no electronic device in existence that can give you an accurate body composition, so I wouldn't believe that machine in your gym for one second.

    I've been there, right in your very shoes, so don't assume that the people posting in this thread have no idea what they are talking about. The only difference is you're still young with lots of time on your side, I didn't start on my weight loss until I was 42 years old at 255 lbs and in the region of 28-30% bf.

    Eat in a calorie deficit (you'll know you're there when you're losing a couple pounds a week), lift weights on a proven program that focuses on progressive overload, and get at least 0.7g of protein per lb of bodyweight daily. Thats it! People always try to over-complicate this stuff and make it all about some crazy thing they read online like starvation mode, or put their faith in some stupid bio-impedance hunk of junk that they swear is accurate (they're not), or some other total nonsense; its all complete BS. Eat less calories, lift weights, get your protein in.
    Just re-read this OP and follow this and stop arguing.

    It come down to the bold part with patience. As for your statement of going a month on just 500 calories, you do know that equals about 2 small bowls of cereal a day right?? You need to learn to count every calorie including food, drinks, sauces, 'healthy' food, the invisible snacks that you aren't counting as they don't matter as you are in a calculators 'caloric deficit' etc.
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    Originally Posted by hardyboysare View Post
    Just re-read this OP and follow this and stop arguing.

    It come down to the bold part with patience. As for your statement of going a month on just 500 calories, you do know that equals about 2 small bowls of cereal a day right?? You need to learn to count every calorie including food, drinks, sauces, 'healthy' food, the invisible snacks that you aren't counting as they don't matter as you are in a calculators 'caloric deficit' etc.
    My intention is not to argue with anyone. My responses are simply stating my experiences that contradict the advice I'm being given. I've received this advice many times in the past and it always stops working after about 4-6 weeks. If it was as simple as everyone says it is, I wouldn't be here wasting your time with stupid questions. I am aware of what 500 calories looks like. I can tell you that I ate a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich (240 cals) 3x mini V8 juices (90 cals) a diet microwave dinner: beef and broccoli (170 cals) I am also aware of how to count calories from food and I weigh and log everything I eat. It seems like the biggest issue with the calorie counting method is the unreliability of inputs such as exercise calories, BMR, and TDEE. When all your inputs are unreliable, it's impossible to get an accurate calorie count. The metabolism also adjusts to run on the food you give it. That's the only statement I've read that can possibly explain how I could maintain at 230lb doing HIIT 6x a week at 1800 calories AND at 2800 calories. No one wants to believe that, but it's true.

    "It's so simple: just eat less and exercise more"

    Except you can't count calories from exercise
    Except you can't measure your food, you have to weigh it
    Except you're obviously not weighing it correctly, otherwise you'd be losing weight
    Except you can't rely on MyFitnessPal for calorie counts, it's not accurate
    Except you can't rely on food packaging for calorie counts, they're not accurate
    Except you can't rely on online calorie calculators, they're not reliable
    Except you can't rely on fitness trackers or heart rate monitors
    Except you can't rely on a diet and exercise routine put together by professionals
    Except you can't rely on a mathematical formula for caloric expenditure that doctors use
    Except everything you think you know about counting calories is wrong

    See? It's so simple.
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