My personal experience is that you need to weigh yourself daily and chart what you're eating. (Similar to a food diary but easier.) Download my chart. I've discovered the easiest way to gain weight is to overeat protein. Desserts are less of a problem. EVERYONE is different!
Vox: What I learned about weight loss from spending a day inside a metabolic chamber, 2018-Sep-4 by Julia Belluz
Studying thousands of subjects in the metabolic unit — the chambers plus NIH hospital wings for patients with diabetes and obesity — has helped researchers show how adaptable the metabolism is, and how it works with our appetite, body composition, and physical activity levels to adjust the calories we’re burning at any moment.
For example, by giving people a medication that causes them to lose (through their urine) an extra 360 calories per day, they’ve shown that we unknowingly compensate for those calories lost by eating more.
They’ve found that exposing people to cold temperatures while they sleep causes them to accumulate more brown fat — fat tissue whose main function is heat production — and burn more calories. (These results reversed completely when the study participants slept in warmer temperatures again, revealing how dynamic metabolism is.)
In a remarkable study of Biggest Loser reality TV show participants with obesity, researchers showed that crash dieting can permanently slow a person’s metabolic rate, leading them to hang on to the calories they were eating for longer, though this isn’t true for everybody who loses weight.
The big theme in many of these studies: Our metabolism silently shifts under new conditions and environments in ways we’re not usually aware of.
When it comes to diets, the researchers have also debunked the notion that bodies burn more body fat while on a high-fat and low-carb ketogenic diet, compared to a higher-carb diet, despite all the hype.
“We could have found out that if we cut carbs, we’d lose way more fat because energy expenditure would go up and fat oxidation would go up,” said Kevin Hall, an obesity researcher at NIH and an author on many of these studies. “But the body is really good at adapting to the fuels coming in.” Another related takeaway: There appears to be no silver bullet diet for fat loss, at least not yet.