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  1. #1
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Caloric confusion

    Okay, I've decided that I need to get more serious about counting calories in and out. Three months of serious daily cycling has seen me drop from 240 lbs to 230, but I just talked to this guy who, when I told him my mileage, said I should have dropped far more weight by now.

    I know, I know, it was just some guy. But he got me to thinking, so I came home and worked out my basal metabolic rate and the calories I tend to burn each day on average:

    BMR = 3,385
    Cycling = 1,859
    Total daily average calories expended: 5,244

    Can this be true? Thing is, there's no way I eat 5,000 calories a day. No way. Am I missing something here?

    I work at home at my computer 14 hours a day. I ride my bike 1 hour per day at a high speed (used Kreuzotter's program to figure out caloric output). I eat quite healthily, though during summer I enjoy a nice big bowl of full-fat ice cream once or twice a week. But I barely drink alcohol anymore, maybe two pints every second or third Saturday.

    Am I fooling myself somewhere here? Do I need to do a real daily log of what I actually eat and add everything up? I mean, as far as I can tell, with a daily output of 5,244 calories I should have been losing about 5 pounds per week for the past three months. Or is something not right about my calculations?

  2. #2
    Big Brother mattmelcher's Avatar
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    Do a daily log for a couple of weeks, and be honest. Especially when it comes to portions. You'll be surprised.

    Also - Your BMR seems kinda high for someone that works 14 hours a day at a computer.

    My guestimation of my BMR is about 2500 - add 1000 every other day for cycling. Been consuming an average of 2400 calories a day for the last few weeks. Lost 3 pounds in the last 3 weeks. Wasn't keeping track before that and was seeing my weight stagnate or creep back up from a low of 208 in Feb. Was up to 220 and now am down to 208 again.

    For me it was consuming more calories than I thought and not burning as many as it seemed.

    Keeping track of it has made a huge difference, and while I don't want to do it everyday, I will track it until I get to my (doctors) goal of 185.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmelcher
    Do a daily log for a couple of weeks, and be honest. Especially when it comes to portions. You'll be surprised.

    Also - Your BMR seems kinda high for someone that works 14 hours a day at a computer.
    You're right. I did it again with a different set of calculations, and came up with 2,538. Still, that means that today I burned 4,397 calories, and I just don't see how I've eaten that much.

    But I'm setting up an Excel file in order to keep track of these things, so perhaps I'll surprise myself.

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    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Fitday.com

    its free and fairly accurate. Just remember to add sleep in the activites or it calculates you burning more since it thinks your active 24 hrs a day.
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  5. #5
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Now that I've gone over everything more closely, today I come up with a caloric input of 2,778 and an output of 2,539 TDEE + 1,156 cycling = 4,054.

    That means a caloric deficit today of -1,276. If I did this every day for the next week, I'd lose, what...2.5 pounds?

    I guess I'm getting the hang of this. Tomorrow I won't eat any ice cream!

  6. #6
    Senior Member cchandler's Avatar
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    Cycling = 1,859 cal. in 1 hour seems high. You must be doing about 25mph the whole time.

  7. #7
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Am I fooling myself somewhere here? Do I need to do a real daily log of what I actually eat and add everything up?
    Yes, and Yes,
    Portions my man, portions. Weigh or measure your food. You will be amazed at how little one serving really is.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cchandler
    Cycling = 1,859 cal. in 1 hour seems high. You must be doing about 25mph the whole time.
    Yeah, I went back to the site and checked it again, this time with the proper inputs in metric. Turns out I actually burned 1,156 calories averaging 27 km/h.

  9. #9
    TMB
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau
    Yeah, I went back to the site and checked it again, this time with the proper inputs in metric. Turns out I actually burned 1,156 calories averaging 27 km/h.
    What site is this - because frankly, even that number seems high.

  10. #10
    Eternal Cat3 Rookie branman1986's Avatar
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    sounds about right to me...at 230 lbs you're burning a lot more calories than if you were 175 lbs assuming you're not going completely flat the whole time

  11. #11
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waytoomanybikes
    What site is this - because frankly, even that number seems high.
    I agree. It's pretty hard to burn more than 1000 cal/hour while riding.
    Eric

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  13. #13
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu
    I agree. It's pretty hard to burn more than 1000 cal/hour while riding.
    I'm 230 lbs. I rode for 1 1/2 hours at 27 km/h. Not hard at all.

  14. #14
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    My only issue with fitday is that height/weight chart. it says the upper limit of healthy weight for me is 180lbs for my height (6 feet) I've had one doctor and one nutritionist/phys ed prof tell me that getting under 200 would probably be underweight given my bone and muscle structure.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  15. #15
    Pat
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    Well, you want to lose weight.

    Now we know that losing weight is simple. Just burn more calories than you are taking in.

    From the looks of things, you are doing fine at burning calories. So the place to go to work is your calorie intake. I would suggest that you get a book on calorie counts (something that tells you just how many calories are in everything and also keep track of grams of protein, fat, saturated fat, and carbohydrate consumed (you can split carbs in complex and simple too). The trick is to get rid of "empty calories". Empty calories are generally yummy and high calorie foods that are easy to consume in amazingly amounts of calories and include things like butter, ice cream, chips, french fries etc.

    If you are exercising and you dump your empty calories, you should be able to lose weight. It takes some doing to consume 4000 plus calories in lean meat, vegetables and whole grains. It can be done but it isn't done easily. You don't have to get fanatical about it but it is good to think before consuming empty calories.

  16. #16
    Just "Mike" is cool
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    [QUOTE=Pat]It takes some doing to consume 4000 plus calories in lean meat, vegetables and whole grains. It can be done but it isn't done easily.QUOTE]

    Definately true. I'm still stuffed from eating my ~450 calorie lunch of a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, a banana and a couple servings of baby carrots (I'm no small guy 6'3" 247). Lunch was 4 hours ago.

  17. #17
    Scottish Canuck in the US blue_nose's Avatar
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    Here is a good article on calories burned while cycling:

    http://www.bicyclesource.com/body/tr...urn-rate.shtml

  18. #18
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    If you are exercising and you dump your empty calories, you should be able to lose weight. It takes some doing to consume 4000 plus calories in lean meat, vegetables and whole grains. It can be done but it isn't done easily. You don't have to get fanatical about it but it is good to think before consuming empty calories.
    You're right about the fanatical part. That, and will-power. I've set myself up with an Excel to count calories coming in and going out. From Monday to today, so far, I've got a deficit of 3,168 calories.

    Actually, so far today I've got a deficit of 1,008 calories, and I haven't eaten dinner or gone for a ride yet. If I get in a good ride I should be able to keep that deficit at close to 1,000 for today. My goal is to keep the deficit between 500 and 1,000 each day. I'm thinking between 4,000 and 6,000 per week should do the trick.

    I hear you about dropping the empty calories. It's tough, because I do love ice cream, especially in the summer, but I'll have to bend my mind to it. I'm also going to allow myself to indulge in ice cream and beer on Saturdays, just to keep myself sane.

  19. #19
    SSP
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    Be careful not to "reward" yourself with food after a bike ride or workout. It's way too easy to eat more calories than you burn in exercise with a few poor food choices each week.

    If you drink sugared sodas or coffee drinks...quit right now. They're evil and useless calories.

    Try to identify your "problem foods" (e.g., ice cream), and try really hard to cut back or eliminate them.

    Most experts recommend a deficit of around 500 calories per day for long term weight loss sucess. This should result in losing about 1 lb per week.

    Best of luck...sounds like you're on the right track.
    CycliStats.com - Software for Cyclists
    WeightWare.com - Weight Management Software

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Try some different energy expenditure calculators. They're all over the web. They almost always give a much lower value than the one you're using. 600-700 calories/hour is more typical.

    For losing weight, caloric intake is more easily regulated than exercise. For most people, that is. so you should get better results if you concentrate on eating less, IMO.

    And you can overeat even if you are eating only "good" food like whole grains, veggies and lean protein. I do it quite frequently.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  21. #21
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waytoomanybikes
    What site is this - because frankly, even that number seems high.
    I agree, when racing mountain bikes with an average heart rate of 168 bpm I only burn 1460 calories in 2:09. I don't burn anywhere close to that many calories an hour on a road bike. On a three hour road ride going 43 miles with a lot of climbing I only burn 1,860 calories.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  22. #22
    ???What??? barleyrocket's Avatar
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    I'll still dissagree with burning that may callories at not quite 17mph. If you riding uphill at 17mph then I would agree. I'm 230# and my polar HR monitor (using hr and wieght to calculate calories burned) would come up with about 800 cals/hr for that speed.
    Also if your not losing wieght then you don't have as big of a deficit as you think. Good luck as you go forward.
    ???Huh???

  23. #23
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barleyrocket
    I'll still dissagree with burning that may callories at not quite 17mph. If you riding uphill at 17mph then I would agree. I'm 230# and my polar HR monitor (using hr and wieght to calculate calories burned) would come up with about 800 cals/hr for that speed.
    Also if your not losing wieght then you don't have as big of a deficit as you think. Good luck as you go forward.
    Well, I obviously don't want to fool myself. I suppose the proof will be in the pudding when/if I actually do drop as many pounds in a week as my calculations would indicate.

    According to the link a few posts above I'm pretty much on track, so that makes two references which confirm my calculations. To wit:

    27.4 km/h: 0.0675 calories/lb multiplied by number of minutes rode and adding 22 calories/hour for each 100 ft of elevation above sea level.

    For me, then: 230 pounds x 0.0675 = 15.525 x 60 minutes = 931.50 + (22 x 11) = 1,173.50.

    I don't know that much about all this, though, so I'd welcome any critiques of the calculations or reasoning here.
    Last edited by rousseau; 08-04-06 at 03:24 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    I put your numbers into that calculator you linked to (http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm), rounded up your speed even, and it still didn't come to 800 calories per hour. Even worse, I only came up with 352 calories/hour for myself.

  25. #25
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    I used this BMR calculator when I was training for the MS150. I found a link to the site in a thread here on Bike Forums. I'm 53, 6'6". I was 240 Lbs in Feb., 230 Lbs for the ride in Apr, and am at 220 Lbs now. I use the Harris-Benedict Equation (see the "Resources" section on the webpage) to determine my caloric intake for the day. I use a postal scale to weigh my portions, and keep up with my daily totals on Excel. Good luck.

    http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

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