T Nation

Morbidly Obese? Do the Math (JB's math that is)

I went back through my T-Mag files and found my highlighted printout of John Berardi’s “The Winning Formula” from issue 205. I ran the calculations again and thought I would post them for review. The results are surprising.

John used a 180 lb male with 13% body fat. (Why that male would be obsessed with losing fat, I don’t know, but that’s just me.) Instead let’s start with a 350 pound male at 40% body fat. That translates to 210 pounds LBM, or 95 kg LBM. (That’s the first surprise.)

Let’s calculate Maintenance Calorie Intake (MCI) from John’s formulas.

MCI = (RMR * Activity Factor) + TEF

where RMR = Resting Metabolic Rate = 22 * LBM in kg + 500 and TEF = Thermic Effect of Food = 10-15% * RMR.

I’ll assume a low activity factor of 1.5 which JB suggests for office work and a low 10% TEF.

So doing the calculations I get
RMR = 22 * 95 + 500 = 2590
MCI = (2590 * 1.5) + (10% * 2590) = a whopping 4144 kcal just for maintenance!

Of course, fat loss requires less intake, which John recommends to be 85% of maintenance. So a fat loss diet program for my theoretical subject would still get 3522 kcal per day. And all of this BEFORE adding in an exercise program.

John breaks down the diet into macronutrient rations, suggesting about 29% protein, 47% carbohydrate and 24% fat. This translates into:

Protein ------ 1021 kcal (255g)
Carbohydrate - 1655 kcal (413g)
Fat ---------- 845 kcal (94g)

Wow!

Am I doing this correctly? Does “The Winning Formula” even apply to the morbidly obese?

Many people have found those calculations a little high, but they are used in several texts. I would imagine they would even be more off for the morbidly obese as many in that group would tend to have a slow metabolism.

barn-e, do you know how many cals, and grams of the macros your eating now?

My real question is whether or not I can even use this formula for planning.

At the moment I’m not keeping a food log, so I don’t know what my macronutrient intake, other than to say it’s probably pretty poor. When I DID keep a log, I discovered that I was only getting about 2500-3000 kcal per day. I’m sure part of that was simply the discipline of keeping a log spilled over to food preparation.

I did learn a lot about my bad habits from the log though.

As a corollary question, is it possible that when a morbidly obese person diets severely and exercises at the same time, his or her body is in some weird state, going back and forth between catabolism and anabolism constantly and never settling in one place?

As another corollary question, let’s look at an assumption behind “The Winning Formula”, which is that you want to preserve lean body mass. Should a morbidly obese person NOT try to preserve lean mass?

The more obese or fatter you are, the higher your caloric intake can be and still lose weight…as your BF% decreases, so will your diet calorie level also have to decrease to maintain fat loss…Often, (but not in every case) the obese are eating at high calorie levels (~4-5000) and any reduction will result in some fat loss. Remember even fat mass has some contribution to BMR and in general, the bigger you are, the more calories your body is capable of using…so a fat person can lose fat on a higher calorie diet than a lean person…and a fat person, when dieting seriously, will lose fat at a faster rate initially and rate of fat loss will decrease as BF% decreases. Even if a fat person doesn’t exercise, it takes a lot more energy to for a 350# obese person to move around then it does a 250# lean person…try loading a 100 or 150 pound bag of potatoes on your back and walk around all day…that is what the obese are having to do every day.

Is this Maintenance calculation the same as finding out your Basal Metabolic Rate?

B/c that is done like this:

1 kcal x bw (kg) x 24 hr.

So then;

1 kcal x 159 kg (350 lb. male used) x 24 hr. = 3816 cal/kg

So that means he using 3816 kcal everyday just to perfomr the vital functions that his body needs to function, as in heart beat, pumping blood, digesting food, so on adn so forht. SO this is just the amount of calories he burns by just sitting his ass on the couch all day and not moving at all.

Is this the same thing as the calculation above? Someone please explain, b/c the numbers are different.