Friday, July 25, 2014

If It Fits Your Macros - doing some math!

So, I want to convert from Medifast to IIFYM now that I'm at the tail end of my weight loss goal, as I think it will improve my ability to keep losing fat and to gain muscle. However, that means I have to do a lot of work into what my TDEE actually is.

If I go to and put in my numbers (Male, 43 years old, 6'2", 255 lbs) and plug in my desk job with no exercise, it claims that I have a BMR of 2223 calories and a TDEE of 2667/day. this seems fairly accurate with what MFP claims as well

So, to lose 1 pound a week, I need to consume 2167 calories a day with no exercise. To lose 2 lbs a week I need to consume 1657 calories a day with no exercise.

I do two circuit training workouts a week, which I think  probably burn about 350 calories per class. I also try to hit the elliptical at least once, which is about 700 calories generally.

So my 'extra' burn on a standard week is 1400 calories, or 200 calories a day. Spreading that across the week, it looks like I need to eat at around 2400 calories a day to lose 1 pound a week, or 2050 to lose 1.5 pounds. I like the idea of losing a little more than 1 pound a week, so I want to target that number.

Now, for the next step, I weigh 255 pounds and have a target of 2050 calories a day. IIFYM claims that that would be 'reckless' with no added exercise, however with my exercise level that should be considered closer to an 'aggressive' plan, which seems accurate to me.

With all that plugged in, IIFYM came back with the following guidelines:

189 grams of protein/day
85 grams of fat/day
133 grams of carbs/day
51+ grams of fiber/day

That seems totally reasonable. Now, lets look at what a normal day should look like on tis plan and see if that makes any sense at all with what I want to eat...

Breakfast - Egg white omelet (237 calories, 8 carbs, 5 fat, 37 protein)
2/3 cup egg whites
2 wedges laughing cow
3 oz grilled chicken

Morning Snack - Medifast bar and Almonds (280 calories, 18 carbs, 20 fat, 17 protein)
1 Medifast Crunch bar
28 grams almonds

Lunch - Medifast with cheese and chicken (260 calories, 15 carbs, 10 fat, 26 protein)
1 Mac and Cheese
3 oz grilled chicken
1 wedge laughing cow

Afternoon Snack - Greek Yogurt and Granola (230 calories, 33 carbs, 4 fat, 15 protein)
5.3 oz Yoplait Greek 100 Strawberry Cheesecake
1/4 cup Bear Naked Heavenly Chocolate Granola

Dinner - Chicken and vegetables (557 calories, 30 carbs, 33 fat, 39 protein)
8 oz grilled chicken
1.5 cups mushrooms
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup black eyed peas

Dessert - Smoothie (225 calories, 21 carbs, 9 fat, 22 protein)
1 Medifast soft bake
1 oz Neufchatel Cheese
2 tbsp PB2

This would end the day at:

1,789 calories (261 remaining)
125g carbs (8 remaining)
81g fat (4 remaining)
156g protein (33 remaining!)
29g fiber (22 remaining)

So, I need to supplement this with a high-fiber, high- protein, low-carb snack in some way. A quick look sees I can replace one Medifast crunch bar with a Quest Bar and add another Quest Bar (170 calories, 3 carbs, 6 fat, 20 protein) and end up here:

2,029 calories (close enough to be a rounding error)
137 carbs (just over)
90 fat (just over)
186 protein (just under)
42 fiber (under, I should add a fiber pill)

That's pretty freaking close, actually. My first thought is 'holy crap, that is a LOT of food'. My second thought is this is going to be restrictive in very similar ways to Medifast for most days, since trying to hit those targets is going to be tough. I'll also want to change up dinner a lot more, with different meats and starchy veggies.

I'll need to come up with a LOT of different meal plans/options, and I'll also want to look at ditching Medifast mac and cheese and expand my lunch options.

So, there's some stuff to blog about for the next couple of days! Meal planning. Medifast takes meal planning out of the equation, so this will be a change of pace.


  1. I can't find the study now using Google, but I read a couple different articles of studies where metabolism slows down greater than expected for people losing weight. That is, if two people weigh 200 pounds but person A was 300 pounds a year previous, person A's metabolism is lower than person B's. The scientists weren't sure why the body "remembers" previous weights, and they don't know how long the phenomenon persists. But subjects in the study who had lost significant weight still complained about being cold even five years after keeping the weight off.

    I mention that only because the numbers you're quoting don't take this poorly researched area into account, and I'm guessing the calorie deficiency you need to lose a pound a week is likely greater than what they say.

    Ymmv, but that also coincides with my experience. When I first started on MFP, I was losing pretty much exactly what they predicted. With my new numbers adjusted for my lower weight, I'm losing less than they predict, which is of course frustrating. My hunch is that it's related to the studies I read about last year.

    1. I've read quite a bit that the key to beating that is regular exercise. We'll see what happens, though, once I get into transition phase and am actually doing this. I've been losing a lot slower than predicted for a while, though, so I'm not going to be surprised if I need to tweak my numbers.

    2. Do you know of a way to get your actual Resting Metabolic Rate measured? I don't know what's involved or where I might go to have it done. Seems to me that would be a good number to know, although assuming it's only 10% different from the internet calculators, maybe it doesn't really matter.

    3. Other than the various formulas, apparently BodyGem/MedGem will test your expelled gasses and get a more acccurate reading, but I have no idea where you'd find those to use.