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I'm about 6ft high and weigh 175 pound, age 26.

For the last few years, I have lived a fairly sedentary lifestyle, easily consuming about 4000 calories per day.

What I would like to know is why if I don't burn off more calories then I take in, I don't seem to gain weight? The only time in my life I gained weight was a period where after moving to a new place I ate a lot of deep fried food for a few months.

According to various online calculators I need about ~2000 calories for my body just to function.

Should the additional 2000 calories I have been taking in contribute to weight gain? Why do they not seem to? Estimates say on my diet I should weigh over 200lbs, yet I weigh 175.

I calculated my daily calory intake based on the myfitnesspal.com website

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Why would I not be gaining weight in the typical manner, especially with less exercise or physical activity than is typical?

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Wait until you're 40, then you'll gain plenty of weight on this diet. :-) –  MathAttack May 14 '12 at 3:06
    
Wow! You're quite insanely lucky genetically speaking. It that really what you ate for 1 day? Lol. I'm almost 6-2, and have over time limited my calorie intake, but I have quite a few pounds to get rid of. You're at my target weight man. *** By the way. Just in case you do start gaining weight, be smart and catch it in the bud. Don't go over 25 BMI. For me that's 195lbs, so likely for you it's near 190. Basically, you're 15lbs away from being overweight, so keep an eye on that. Also, you should consider working out, with you're metabolic rate you'd likely build a lot of lean muscle mass. –  VISQL May 14 '12 at 15:40
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@VISQL Please don't recommend BMI as a measurement of fitness or body composition. It is fatally flawed in so many ways. –  Dave Liepmann Jun 15 '12 at 5:24
    
The answers to this question would serve well as answers here. –  Dave Liepmann Oct 11 '12 at 20:40
    
I don't buy this, you've quoted a single meal but you've said "For the last few years". I would say you've been eating at your BMR and that is why you have not put on weight. –  Chad Jan 10 at 0:08
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3 Answers

"What I would like to know is why if I don't burn off more calories then I take in, I don't seem to gain weight? ... Should the additional 2000 calories I have been taking in contribute to weight gain?"

  • If you are not gaining weight, you are burning off as many calories as you take in and you are not taking in an additional 2000 calories.

"Why would I not be gaining weight in the typical manner, especially with less exercise or physical activity than is typical?"

  • One of your assumptions is wrong. Either you are burning 4000 calories per day, or you're not consuming 4000 calories per day. You said you know for a fact that you're consuming 4000 calories per day, so the website you used under-estimated your daily burn.
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I upvoted this, but have since come to understand the calorie-counting fallacies involved here. There are a lot of other factors to consider. –  Dave Liepmann Oct 11 '12 at 20:41
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Look up and study on cellular thermogenesis.

That could be one plausible explanation why you can stuff yourself with more calories without gaining weight. The idea that calories in has to equal calories out is not strictly true (in the sense that you have to physically exercise your body in order to "consume" your calories) when you factor in cellular thermogenesis. Your body or cells has the ability to burn of excess calories all by themselves.

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Regarding: "your body or cells has the ability to burn off excess calories all by themselves", what else would burn them? –  user3085 May 13 '12 at 1:09
    
@Sancho Well yes, you're right. I was just trying to make the point that normally people expect exercise (muscles..yes they are cells) to burn your calories. But you can burn the calories without exercise also due to the generation of heat, which does not necessarily involve muscles. "By themselves" meaning without you consciously exercising your cells. –  Casper May 13 '12 at 2:09
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I would recommend eating smaller meals more often. Eating one very large meal and one small meal isn't good based on my experience

I'm the same way, except I only eat about 3800 calories a day. I'm 6"2' (1.88m) and 155 pounds (70kg), though My body weight back before I started lifting and when I only ate about 2200 calories per day was 130 pounds (59kg). According to some BMI calculators, at my height that's anorexia. So there's nothing lucky about having an overactive metabolism.

Almost every day, I have to force feed myself till I cant even swallow. At that point I'll then drink a glass of whole milk and I still have trouble putting on weight. I've been to a doctor and according to blood tests, I'm completely normal, just not eating enough.

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