TDEE, meal tracking, & macronutrient levels

Well, here’s a couple of good reasons for meal tracking. After overhauling my diet two years ago, I got into a new set of habits for eating that are healthy overall. But meal tracking over the past week or so has turned up a few major issues that are in serious need of fixing.

Although I figured this out last, I’m going to start out with Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). I tried out both the calculators on the Burn The Fat Inner Circle website, & came up with this (“caveat” relates to my innacurate “caveat emptor” bathroom scale, which is about to be replaced; I’m also estimating my body fat% has come down slightly after losing 3 inches around my waist since Feb. 18):

Katch-McArdle calculator

Body fat % (est.)………36%
Weight (caveat)……….188 lbs
Body fat mass…………67.68 lbs (30.8 kg)
Lean body mass…….120.32 lbs (54.7 kg)
Basal metabolic rate..1552 cal/day

Moderately active…2406….1814….1708….1601….1494

Harris-Benedict calculator

Age in years…………..49 years
Height in inches……….62 in
Weight (caveat)………188 lbs
Basal metabolic rate..1529 cal/day

Moderately active…2370….2015….1896….1778….1659

The two calculators come to pretty close agreement on my TDEE, & also in the calorie deficits for a “sedentary” level of activity (where I’ve spent a good part of my life). But they get pretty divergent for “moderately active,” which is about where I am now given the rowing, strength training, etc. I’m doing.

Now, comparing that with my meal tracking for the past week, I find that I’m undereating, sometimes by as much as a couple of hundred calories. That’s without feeling hungry, either — apparently I eat enough nonstarchy veggies that usually they fill me up just fine. But still: not enough calories.

Second thing is, my macronutrient ratios are all off. In particular, while the fats that I eat are overall health fats (fish oils, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil for high temp cooking, etc.), I’m eating too much of them. I’m not eating enough protein, & my carb levels change day by day, though overall are within appropriate ranges given my insulin resistance (carb sensitivity).

For the time being, I’ve decided to opt for an average between what the two calculators say for the 30% caloric deficit for moderate activity. I’m picking the 30% deficit because:

  • My caloric intake is as low as it’s been, & I’ve still been getting some results.
  • I also have a high body fat percentage (per Tom, people with high body fat %s can afford higher deficits than people with lower body fat %s, & will still preferentially burn fat rather than lose muscle).

So, at this point, I’m establishing a goal to eat about 1550 calories per day.

As an insulin resistant (carb-sensitive) person, the BFFM low carb plan for macronutrient levels that is most appropriate for me is the low-carb plan (what I’d actually call moderate carb): 30% carbs, 40% protein, 30% fats. So, I should be eating, on average:

_________Per day_________Per meal____
Carbs…..116g (645 cal)…..23.2g (93 cal)
Protein….155g (620 cal)…..31 g (124 cal)
Fats………51g (465 cal)…..10.2g (93 cal)
TOTAL…..322g (1550 cal)….64.4g (310 cal)

The biggest things I have to do to bring this about is to slightly lower my fat intake, greatly increase my protein intake, & stabilize the amount of carbs per day so that I’m consistent. I’m already having some success using my meal tracking chart (my customization of one originally designed by my accountability partner, Eva — thanks, Eva!) to balance my meals today.

Naturally this program is subject to modification. I will especially be depending on feedback from my actual results in fat loss etc. from week to week, & adjusting my eating program when necessary. I will probably be doing meal tracking for awhile, in order to continue monitoring myself & compare them with my results.

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