I am 21, 6'4 and 19 stone (266 pounds) and my estimated BMR is 2545.58

Last night I did 90 minutes walking at a slow pace. This estimates I burned between 319-440 calories. http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calories_burned.htm

I also did 65 minutes interval training on the elliptical, by the machines estimate I burned 850 calories.

I consumed 1485 calories that day excluding the cardio figures because I have no idea how accurate they actually are.

So am I burning enough calories for some weight loss?

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    Personally I'd argue with the elliptical calories burned, I've never seen those as accurate at all. However, you should be well over a 1500 calorie deficit if all your count and figures (including BMR) are accurate. That might actually be a bit too much of a deficit by many opinions. Jul 5, 2012 at 17:29
  • @Nathan Oh really? I never even felt very hungry and I am use to eating a lot more than that.
    – neilH
    Jul 5, 2012 at 17:42
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    Something does not add up correctly. Presuming that your caloric expenditure calculations are correct (given the wild inaccuracy of most machine predictors), that was ~ 1250 calories for the day. You ate ~ 1000 less calories than your BMR says. So you have a caloric deficit of some 2250 calories. At that level, I would think that you would be feeling some definite hunger (I know I would.) My suspicion is that you are underestimating the number of calories that you are actually consuming. I'd say do a food log for a few days where you write down EVERYTHING that you eat, then recalculate.
    – JohnP
    Jul 5, 2012 at 17:57
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    Weighing your food is far more precise than the guesstimates on the packages and on most prefilled calorie counters. For instance, a red apple may have 77-116 calories so eating 10 apples could throw you up to 400 calories off in your total count for the day, depending on what the counting program uses as a basis for their count of a "serving". Jul 5, 2012 at 21:19
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    I think it's important to understand that a calories-in, calories-burnt calculation is an incomplete way of understanding weight loss. Foods have effects beyond their calories, and numerous other factors--hormone levels, sleep, stress, inflammation, type of exercise...the list is very long--all dramatically affect one's body weight over time. Aug 7, 2012 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


I think the base idea of burning more calories than consuming is correct - however, think about all the factors involved in actually determining both. What you burn is largely a factor of your metabolism AND if you metabolism is not near average - the avg calories burned based on your rest burn rate and exercise burn rate could dramatically be off. By reducing your intake drastically, your body could be in 'starvation' mode - reducing to overall rest and exercise calories burn rate THIS is the reason why people who 'crash' diet/exercise don't lose weight quickly....basically, you're putting your body into shock instead of ramping down.

Here's a good article on determining how many calories your body needs daily: http://www.thegetinshapeworkoutplan.com/how-to-determine-how-many-calories-a-day-you-need/

My recommendation:

  • set some realistic goals (1-5 lbs loss a month)
  • log what you eat daily for a week (normal diet without mass reduction) and determine what 1 or 2 major weight contributors you can reduce/remove
  • develop a long term exercise plan that you can stick with LONG TERM
  • keep your diet to a calorie level fit for your size reducing slightly and eating more BUT smaller meals

Weight loss is a MAJOR task to undertake and long term weight loss is very difficult. Good luck.


I was going to do this as a comment, but I need more characters.

First, the scale. (I'm curious, how does a scale measure height by itself?) Electronic scales can be off by up to 10 lbs in either direction (or more). Mine at home weighs me 3 lbs lighter than a doctor type scale (With the bars and sliding weights). So, if your weight is off, then your BMI is off as well. Where did you plug in numbers to get your BMR, by the way?

Also, most scales that measure body fat do so by electrical impedance (Passing very low current through your body and measuring current loss, which translates into free water, which is used to calculate body fat. (More or less, that's a simple explanation). It can be affected by wet skin, drinking less water in a day, many factors, and can be off by as much as 10% +/-. DEXA is the gold standard, or a 9 spot caliper test done by an experienced tester.

Second - What Nathan is getting at, is that myfitnesspal may say "Sainsbury pink cripps apple, Medium" and give you a calorie count, but that may not translate to YOUR pink cripps apple. The one on MFP might be assigned a weight of 8 ounces, and your apple is actually 11 ounces. There's three extra ounces of apple, and extra calories that you aren't counting.

What you need to do is literally weigh and write down EVERYTHING that you eat for 3-5 days. If you nab an oreo from a friend, write it down. 8 oz of water? Write it down. Eating an apple? Cut it up, weigh the parts you are going to eat, and write it down. That's the only way you will get close to an accurate count. Also, be cautious, many labels give calorie counts per serving, but if you eat the whole package, you've actually eaten 2 or 3 servings (or more).

Here's how it adds up. Say you are in perfect balance, neither gaining nor losing. Starting tomorrow, you change nothing but you eat one serving of oreos a day. 3 cookies, 210 calories. You will gain a little over 3 lbs a year from those 3 oreos a day.

Also, find an actual, calibrated doctors type scale (Many gyms have them), and see if you can get a GOOD bodyfat measurement done.

Once you've done all that, you'll be in a much better position to estimate where you are, and what you need to do to either gain or lose weight. Right now, you're basically throwing darts blindfolded.

  • The scale I used did not have a sliding weight, I just paid £1 for it to take my height, weight and BMI. @Nathan I have been going of the measurements on the food package like. MFP actually has the exact things I eat, not just a generic apple, it has 'Sainsburys pink cripps apple' for example.
    – neilH
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:30
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    Okay I understand what you are saying about the weighing of the food and stuff. Today at the gym I tried another, traditional scale and it put me at exactly 19 stone. I also confirmed my height. Oh and the other day when I apparently had that really big deficit was not easy, I mean't I didn't feel like I was hungry to and unhealthy extent. And since then I have not been near it, only at a deficit of 500-700. Which is still okay right?
    – neilH
    Jul 6, 2012 at 20:08
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    @neilH "Okay" in what sense? That's ~1lb (~<.5kg) a week, which is in the middle of what's considered a typically-safe weight loss pace. And certainly a lot more normal than a 2200+ deficit day, which would put you at a dangerous loss pace. Jul 7, 2012 at 1:35

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