Jaki, I weigh or measure if in doubt. I then filter through the MFP database and find the nutritional info that seems the most accurate. Most of my food is home made and I'll have to individually add ingredients. Notable exceptions are the hash browns I have for breakfast several days a week, those I measure. When we have spaghetti I sometimes measure the noodles and cook mine separate so I only get what I'm logging, I do that enough that I feel confident in how much on a plate is 2 ounces. Things like sauces if I guesstimate I guess high or round up. When I eat out if I can't find the exact same thing I'll log the highest calorie food that resembles what I ate that I can find. For example we have a local taco wagon with real mexican food that makes a super burrito that is awesome. I think I found a burrito in MFP that is 800 calories, that's what I use, it might be on the high side but considering they cook in lard, the tortilla is probably at least 200c and they put avocado on it I think it is close. Back to my spaghetti example: we buy Prego sauce at Costco and add our own meat to that. I'll log not just the sauce as measured (or gusstimated, although my ladle is a cup) but then add in addition the amount of meat I think was added so that I know for a fact that I am logging more calories than what I am actually eating. By doing this it probably evens out at the end of the day.
My success may be in part to not just how I log but also what I eat. I eat eggs for breakfast 7 days a week from my own chickens. My meat is usually from animals that we have raised on my ranchette. Mostly pork and chicken. When I eat fish i only buy wild caught. 5 days a week I eat salad for lunch. I only use olive oil when I cook, fry or saute. I drink water, water, water, some coffee, and then beer or tequila in moderation, always logging it. However before doing so i make sure it will not put me over for the day. If I've not had a 900 calorie or more ride then no beer. I log my snacks on the bike and I mostly only snack while on the bike. On weekends I plan my rides to be through lunch where I substitute snacks for lunch while riding. My diet is not exactly low carb but the carbs I eat I try to choose or cook so that they are higher on the glycemic index. For example my hashbrowns are cooked in olive oil and consumed with protein, when I have toast it is cracked wheat with butter consumed with protein. Sometimes I'll have rice with dinner or potatoes but I keep that within my calorie budget for the day. Occasionally I'll go over for a day or add a dessert like ice cream or milkshake. However when I do so it is always late in the day so that the eating of extra carbs does not trigger a two hour later hunger response. Carbs early in the day seems to trigger a hunger response a couple hours later. It has taken me years to get to where I am. I've been avoiding carbs at breakfast and lunch (most of the time) so my body is used to burning fat and protein for energy. By avoiding I mean as compared to eating cereal, hot cakes, or hot cereal, without the protein and fat.
Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria
Typically it's a 10-20% error, although anything with significant cardiac drift produces extreme differences. My last two rides in warmer weather reported 75% (2572 Calories, 1467 kilojoules) and 80% (1103 Calories, 613 kilojoules) high where 1 kj = 0.95 to 1.2 Calories at typical cycling metabolic efficiencies with 1 kj = 1 C an approximation unlikely to over-estimate.
Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 05-29-14 at 09:18 AM.
Garmin Connect, which I have my weight set at 20 lbs higher than it is
Golden Cheetah and Training Peaks
Training Peaks reports the calories = kJ. I think they are smart enough to throw the BS flag on calories as a function of HR if(!) you have real power data.
While using HR data for calories burned is better than nothing it has to be looked at as suspect.
On other BF threads, I've seen anywhere from 25 to 40 calories per mile, on average. Of course, this doesn't take into account a very hilly ride, size of the rider, etc.
If your HRM is reporting way more than 30-35 calories per mile, it's probably estimating high.
Interesting. I looked at my past 21 day history and it says as an average 38.5kJ/mi
How heavy are you at the moment? Remember that as you go down in weight your base metabolic rate lowers too. For example, my body while resting at 10% body fat @ 177#s will burn 2500 calories by itself due to high metabolic rate (due to exercise). If I lower down to 165# and 6% body fat I burn 2300 calories. That 200 calorie difference can mean weight gain or maintenance. Scenario 1 I would maintain with 2500 cal, scenario 2 with 2300. You may need to modify your method of losing weight every time you get closer to your goal. Believe it or not a 400#s person with healthy metabolism may be able to just lose weight by going from a terrible 3500 kcal to a 3000kcal diet a day. But if I were to go from 2300 kcal a day to 3000kcal a day I would roll down hill faster than Taylor Phinney.
Also, go get a BMR test done. Some people may have severely damaged their metabolism with very bad diets. This means that your resting metabolic rate may have fallen to 1000 calories a day or less. If that is the case, work on that first. Try getting it up to speed (exercise helps but medicine may be needed). You would need to starve + exercise tons if you have some sort of metabolic deficiency (e.g. thyroid problems) and still see no progress.
DO NOT do 1200 calorie days. You will lose the weight but that will only destroy your metabolism even further. Your body will think it is starving (which it is) and will adapt to it. Without you telling it to do so, your body will learn how to store fats for energy. It will become fuel (fat) efficient and will shed as little weight as possible trying to keep you alive. You would be MUCH better off eating 2000 calories a day, working out 30 min every day (burning around 300 kcal) and eating food that your body finds easy to process.
If you eat too many complex and processed foods your body (which is natural) will be completely confused. It will have a terrible time digesting it. What happens then? You metabolism slows down because your body has to work so hard to digest the food which will result in delayed digestion of many nutrients and again, STORED. Eat often too. 6-7 times a day even better. You'd be amazed at how much I eat and I still maintain myself below 10% body fat (six pack territory). I have even lowered my exercise regimen to 6-7 hours a week and I eat about 2500 kcal a day without gaining weight. Take in mind, I am on maintenance mode, you are on weight loss mode so a 2500kcal diet does not apply however a 1800 would.
Save big meals (if any, which i don't recommend while losing weight) for days in which you ride more than 50 miles or so. Strava, cheetah, WKO whatever numbers are not really accurate. You are guesstimating. If you really want to lose weight, underestimate what you've burn and overestimate what you've eaten. Also, intensity can help you burn countless calories. I have gotten to a point that even being 165#s I can burn 1000kcal / hr. on my bicycle. This is proven by my powermeter as I often produce excess of 220 Watt average rides.
Exercise in the morning on an empty stomach if you can handle it. In the morning the body is starving so you cannot pull any energy from food you've eaten during the day. As soon as you start exercising the body will start attacking fat instantly to use for energy. You will feel a little bit anemic but you will maximize weight loss. Do not exceed the 2 hour mark though since then it may start aiming for the muscles and you don't want to lose those. Exercising in the morning will also help boost your metabolism first thing in the day. That means that whatever you eat afterwards will be digested better and more efficiently.
If I need to sum it up, here it is:
* Food-eat lots of veggies, lean meat, good carbs (there is a difference) and as natural and organic as possible. Keep it at 1500kcal a day if not working out and 1800ckal if you are. Try to divide your calorie goal between 6-7 meals a day with about 2-3 hour windows in between.
* I would suggest either a light 1 hour bike ride in the morning FASTED or 1/2 hr light jog in the same state. Ride 1 hour hard / medium intensity in the afternoon or evening. Do this 4-5 times a week
A healthy weight loss should put you at 2#s per week but make sure to go get a physical or at least a BMR test done ($65-$85).
I am sorry, I am tired of writing but if you have any questions let me know. This may not be doable for everybody but I think it should work with commitment and determination.
Cat 6 going on PRO....
My posts could be summed up to say over-report calorie intake under-report calorie expended equals weight loss as long as you are at a deficit for the day.
Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria
I found and kept this from someplace on the Al Gore Web and it comes close enough for me.
Multiply the average power in W by the time in seconds to get Joules; divide by the kcal/kJ conversion of 4.184; then divide by your metabolic efficiency for cycling (generally in the range 20-25%) to figure out the number of food calories you burned to get from A to B (in addition to your base metabolic burn).
Assuming a cycling power efficiency of 25% and looking at a recent flat ride I did the calculated numbers came out to 1606 versus a Golden Cheetah/Training Peaks reported 1683 (1686 reported by Strava on 20 May.
If I use the 'barely got into the hilly ride category' I did last Sunday the calculated numbers are 4416 versus a Golden Cheetah/Training Peaks reported 4641 (4654 reported by Strava on 25 May). I'm not gonna fret over a 200 calorie difference in a 6,000 calorie day.
So, as the kids these days would say "EpicFail" for HR based numbers... imho
I plug my data into Training Peaks and it does all the calculating for me
I don't overthink it.
i just try to eat smaller portion sizes, eat 'real' food, vegetables with every meal, use fruit as my snacks and go to bed a little hungry.
if I splurge on desert or something, I make it a fruit/berry pie sort of thing instead of ice cream or cake or cookies.
Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria
At age 81 I still pedal 100+ miles a week.
Is that too much?
Not compared to me riding an average of 200 miles a week (10,000 miles a year) 15 years ago.
Ride more and push away from the table. Quit the beers, diet sodas and a few other things.
When you say "My calories from my Garmin are a bunch less than MFP's estimation and also Strava's guess"
What's a bunch? 10%? 20%, worse yet?
The Garmin forums have a tonne of threads on inaccurate calorie counts
If you had a BMR test done I suppose you could get the data while you sleep to compare it with your BMR number to see what that comparison is.
If what you have losing weight doing it the way you have been then and keep it up.
That being said I currently have MFP set with a 1500 calorie target.
How calorie measurement works on Garmin fitness devices | DC Rainmaker
(He also has an article about NewLeaf testing if you're curious.)
But when I leave on Sunday to start ALC I won't be trying to hit that. I'll be riding 50+ miles a day for a week (545 miles in 7 days) so clearly I'll need more than 1500 calories a day for that. In fact, when on ALC I tend to just throw my diet out the window...
Methinks the newer tech Garmin is using is closer to reality than older models as JakiChan mentioned in his post.
Somewhat rhetorical question why is it that everyone using a powermeter thinks that only their data is true and accurate? HRM is better than blind guesses that Strava and the like make in that it does account for effort due to wind, something that is nearly always a factor where I ride both as a hinderance and a boost. The two do not balance out.
Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria
However, here's the kicker:
The Edge 500 calculates calories based on available resources.
Below is the order of precedence:
- New Leaf profile - calculated using New Leaf profile if loaded onto the device
- Firstbeat technology - calculated when the Garmin heart rate monitor is paired with the Edge 500 and user profile data
- Third-party ANT+ enabled power meter (converts wattage (kj) to calories)
- Speed, Distance, and User Profile - calculated using speed, distance, and user profile data
If one or more is not available, the Edge 500 will intuitively use the next option to calculate calorie burn.
So I think that *if* you have a power meter and an HRM paired...you're still getting the HR based calorie data. Strava might do a KJ to Kcal conversion, but then they have to estimate your "efficiency". How many calories did you burn to produce those KJs?
I also get the benefit of using the power number to train to
In the end; if one is using data and it's not producing the results that are desired a step back to look at what may be going wrong is what needs to be done.
As Jacki posted; 265 lbs with a MFP setting at 1500 *should* produce a ~2# week weight loss without any exercise. Obviously something is missing. Wish I had the answer.
So there are 3 sources of inaccuracy, each of which can easily be off by a few hundred calories per day: 1. Food intake, you need to weigh food practically to the gram to be close to accurate, and that's really a time consuming hassle. 2. Exercise calories. 3. Your personal baseline metabolic rate, which might be far off from an online calculator estimates; these are based on population averages and don't take into account the usual depression of this from prior significant weight loss.
IMO, I don't think it's necessary at all to find the right numbers. Just keep on cutting back food ~10% until you reach the reasonable loss rate you are looking for, maybe 0.5 - 2.0 pounds per week. Then you've found the number that corrects for all 3 errors! In the end it doesn't matter knowing what the actual numbers for each are, cutting back intake will correct for whichever number(s) are out of whack.
For extra long rides, just do an extra 200-300 per hour during, and try not to eat more because of the ride before/after.
I think dealing with hunger can be trained. I've been on an intermittent fasting regime for ~9 months where a couple times per week I go for 20-24 hour stretches on just water (217 -> 174 lbs). It took a couple weeks to get used to, now it's easy, and I rarely feel super-hungry anymore.
Last edited by stephtu; 05-30-14 at 10:38 AM.
One way to combat this is focusing on regular exercise, not necessarily on miles you ride each time. In other words, if you're goal is X miles in a week, spread that over more rides than getting it all in 1 or 2 big ones. Shorter rides will lead to less hunger, which if monitored will hopefully prompt you to eat less to compensate. I've personally never ever ridden a century before a century as part of training.
I'm always amazed at the number of people I see eating on rides of 20-30 miles. Generally speaking, if you eat like you normally do right before going on a ride, you'll be good.
Riding at an endurance pace you can even do 20-30 miles before breakfast.I'm always amazed at the number of people I see eating on rides of 20-30 miles. Generally speaking, if you eat like you normally do right before going on a ride, you'll be good.