I followed the calories calculated for me and have gained 5 pounds.

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I have faithfully followed the calorie counts calculated by your Healthy Body Calculator® for the past 1 1/2 months and I have gained 5 pounds. I had asked your calculator to calculate how many calories I needed to lose 2 pounds a week. I have been extremely careful about what I have been eating and at the most, I have been off by +/- 100 calories/day. I must have either calculated wrong or I have some sort of metabolism problem. Here are my statistics.

  • Age: 30
  • Female
  • Height 6 feet
  • Weight 210 pounds
  • Activity Levels:
    • 8 hours of sleep
    • 14 hours of relative inactivity
    • 1 hour of light exercise
    • 1 hour of medium exercise
  • Daily calories (as calculated on your calculator) 1910

The exercise was the hardest part to estimate because the program does not allow 1/2 hours and it assumes you do the same thing every day. I ended up adding up all I do and finding the daily average. I walk 2 miles 5 days per week (1/2 hour @ 4mph) and I do 20 min. of Stairmaster, 20 minutes of weight lifting and 15 minutes of stretching 3 days per week. On weekends I am usually fairly active, but it’s hard to predict.

Should I be eating a different number of calories each day depending on how active I am that day? It’s a lot easier to just pick a number and stick with it, but I could probably vary my daily intake if it would make a big difference. The only way I have ever lost weight in the past is to extremely limit my calories (<1200/day) or to work out A LOT.

When I do this I can usually lose about 2 pounds a week. Even doing this I haven’t been able to maintain the weight loss or even get to what your program considers an ideal weight for me (160). I have never been able to keep the weight off for more than a year or two because it is so difficult to work out that much and eat that little.

I would really appreciate it if you would respond to this. I am very frustrated and I’m not sure what to try next since this clearly isn’t working. Do I have a serious health/metabolism problem?

If you are eating 1910 calories per day and getting the exercise you describe above, then you should lose 2 pounds per week. Do your clothes fit the same, tighter or looser? If your clothes fit looser, then you probably have put on muscle as 1 pound of muscle takes up less physical space than 1 pound of body fat because muscle is denser and has a higher water content.

If you have gained 5 pounds in 6 weeks, then you are gaining about 1 pound per week. If you are off by 100 calories each day, it won’t account for your weight gain (+100 calories for 7 days = 0.2-pound weight gain per week) as the numbers don’t add up. Another possibility may be that weight training, Stairmaster and aerobics may have increased your muscle size.

Unless you had your body fat measured prior to your calorie counts and again at 3-month intervals, you won’t know if you have added muscle or fat or a combination of both. Your body weight as measured on a scale will only tell a change in physical weight, not composition. So you may be increasing muscle mass and decreasing your fat stores through exercise without any change in your scale weight. That is why scale weight is such a gross measure, as it doesn’t tell you what percent body fat you are. Perhaps you should have your body fat tested. If your body fat is less than 20%, then you are lean and probably shouldn’t lose any weight even at 210 pounds since you are 6 feet tall.

You should follow a consistent calorie and exercise goal each day even though what you end up doing may vary which is OK. People need to be flexible with their eating and exercise programs to enjoy life to the fullest. Given your height, you do burn more calories than a shorter person and I am surprised that you have to follow a 1200 calorie diet to lose weight and keep it off previously.

Write back with how you are tracking the calories you eat as you may be underestimating how much you eat. Do you write down everything you eat, amount and measure i.e. 1 1/2 cups 1% milk? Then do you use computer software to do the analysis or do you do analyze calories on paper? Try My Food Record as it has a food record analysis and 3 exercise tools, developed by my programmers and myself.

There is no ideal weight and 160 is the middle of your healthy range. Perhaps 176 pounds would be a more appropriate weight goal for you.

Unless you have some long-term illness that you are aware of and have not disclosed to me, the information that you have provided doesn’t indicate you have a serious health problem. To rule out any health issues please talk to your doctor.  If you would like your metabolism measured with a medical device, contact a Registered Dietitian in your area.