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Calories, BMR, noob questions (I'm STILL waiting on my book!)

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  • Calories, BMR, noob questions (I'm STILL waiting on my book!)

    I hope these aren't covered in the book; my book is still somewhere in USPS land, and I didn't want to hijack someone elses post.

    I am 30 years old, female, 5'6", 157 pounds. I do defensive kickboxing two hours a week (T/Th) and ride horses on the weekends (it's not really strenous excercise, but definitely work). The rest of my time is spent at a desk (accounting) or laundry/housework. I half-ass IF each day from dinner (6-7pm) to lunch (11 am) with the exception of coffee and heavy cream so that I can take my drugs. Maybe that ruins any benefit I'd see?

    I have checked varying places to determine what my base caloric need is, so that I can figure in a 4-500 cal deficit, and hopefully start losing some fat, but I have no bloody idea what I need.

    I've done two rounds of HCG, which did nothing for me, and I'm afraid perhaps it 'broke' my metabolism, which was already faulty thanks to a malfunctioning pituitary gland. I don't make TSH, which means my thyroid must be completely endogenous, and I take 6 1/2 grains Thiroyd (NTH) per day. My basal body temp is high normal, but I have no other signs of hyper. I also take 6 mgs of methylprednisolone to replace what my adrenals glands do not make; a physiological rather than pharmocological dosing. No idea if it's pertinent or not. As a teen I did have EDNOS-a combination of bulimic and anoretic behavior, but once I got my adrenals fixed, that behavior vanished.

    My caloric intake ranges from 12-1800 a day, but I haven't seen a single pound of weight loss. My carbs have been consistently under 50, usually closer to 30; my protein is roughly 90 - 115, based on an estimated LBW of 108, and fat makes up the difference. (Per

    I don't sprint, but I do 'rapidfire' - jabs/hooks/roundhouse in sets of 20 to thirty seconds for what ends up being nonstop for anywhere from a minute to three, pushups and situps to failure twice-beginning of class, and again and the end. Same effects as a sprint, I think-maybe I'm wrong and need to add that in on top? By the time we're done with our sets, I'm blowing hard and its all I can do to finish.

    Is there a reliable way of determining caloric need other than cutting back til you start losing? I'm afraid of cutting calories TOO far, and further slowing my metabolism, but I'd really like to be rid of my baby weight. He's going to be four in Oct, so its not been a good excuse for oh, three years now!

    Last edited by Eklecktika; 06-30-2010, 01:17 PM.
    Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

    ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~

  • #2
    Hi, Laurel

    I suspect if you don't get answers to your questions here, it's because your particular situation is quite unusual. People don't feel like putting on an expert hat and pretending to be confident when they aren't.

    I hope you find your answers soon. It sounds to me like you are already doing quite well. Sometimes the last answer people want to hear is that they shouldn't be doing any more than they already are.


    • #3
      If you have a pituitary issue, how are your sex hormones?


      • #4
        Ha. Funny you should ask. Presumably close to okay, as I have no glaring symptoms of any deficiency. I have more than enough HGH, which is great. I menstruate every 28 days like clockwork, and I ovulate every month (thank you NFP!) That said, I do have a test pending, as its one of the last things I can think of that's out of balance. I just have to wait for the appropriate day to get blood pulled.

        The only other thing I can possibly think of is insulin resistance, but I've been relatively low (under 100 grams) carb for nearly 12 months, and low (under 50) for - three? And I have been sort of IF'ing (8 pm - noon) for shoot. Six or eight months?

        I'm frustrated as heck-I ran between 2 and 5 miles a day last summer while under 100 grams carbs-no change. Stopped running due to winter and lck of day light-no change. I weighed 123 for years, prebaby, so it's not like I'm just built for 160ish.

        Any other ideas? I realize that it may well be a SH issue; but if not, what else can I change? I'm out of ideas, but I'm too close to be objective.

        Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it!
        Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

        ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~


        • #5
          I have a compromised metabolism (nothing as bad as yours) and find I cannot lose unless I severely restrict calories. I found a plan that really helps keep the metabolism steady--it's called "alternate day dieting" or JUDDD (Dr. Johnson's Up Day/Down Day). Basically, it's <500 cal on alternate days, followed by a 'normal' day. I only do the low calories on M, W, Fri for convenience, but I've been doing this for the past 15 months and have lost 80 lbs with this plan. I eat primally, of course.

          The theory is that only the 24 hrs. of low calorie isn't enough for the body to respond--Dr. J (a medical doctor) says it takes at least 48 hrs. So you never do consecutive low calorie days--ever. The plan was first developed for health reasons--longevity, and studies show that, for some reason, it also improves asthma. On another board, there's a woman with emphysema who said that eating this way really helped her lower her meds and breathe better.

          I know I need to stay <1000 cal daily in order to lose, and that was too difficult to sustain every day. On JUDDD, I have been eating 400/1400, and those 1400 days seem like a feast after 400! My endo loves this plan--mainly because of the results he's seen. He confirms that I need such low calories, and he thinks this is a great way to do it.

          Because my metabolism is so flawed, the only way I could determine my deficit level was trial and error. None of the calculators work for someone like me, and I think they wouldn't work for you either. I've only been losing at the rate of about a pound a week, so I know this number isn't too low for me.

          By the way, I stalled for almost a year believing that I could lose on 1200 cal a day. Everyone is different, and my calorie level is unique because of my physical situation. Yours will be unique as well.


          • #6
            Is the scheduled test for FSH, LH? I'd ask for estradiol, progesterone and testosterone as well. Are you spacing your adrenal meds throughout the day or taking them all at once?

            Some people gain weight when over-medicated on thyroid meds. How does your Free T4 and Free T3 look? Taking thyroid replacement can increase the risk of insulin resistance in some people.

            How long have you had pituitary issues?


            • #7
              It is for FSH, LH, Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, Free T3, Free T4, RT3, Anti-TPO & TBG, Ferritin, D, chem panel with Na, K, Ca and Mg, Aldosterone, Renin, fasting blood glucose, prolactin, and one other-insulin levels? I'm not sure on the last one.

              At last check: Free T4 is at the top of the range, and Free T3 is slightly over, but I have no hyper symptoms-

              increased appetite
              weight loss
              heat intolerance (provided I'm not hyponatremic, anyway.)
              Irregular cycles
              Difficulty concentrating
              Increased sweating
              Weight loss
              Clammy skin
              Hair loss
              Hand tremor
              Itching - overall
              Lack of menstrual periods in women
              Nausea and vomiting
              Pounding, rapid, or irregular pulse
              Protruding eyes (exophthalmos)
              Skin blushing or flushing
              Sleeping difficulty

              I sleep very well, my resting pulse is 68, I don't tolerate heat well, but that's an electrolyte issue and due to my needing to increase my fludrocortisone for summer. It came on rapidly here and my increase hasn't 'built up' yet. It takes about a week to notice a change.

              As far as adrenal stuff goes, I take Medrol, which is a longer acting form of prednisone thats easier on the liver. (premethylated) I take four mgs in the AM and two in the PM, and stress dose with HC as needed.

              I have had minor pit issues (suppressed TSH with below range free's) since have mono my freshman year of college. It really got bad though in 2007-my son was born in October 06, and I was thrown from my TB gelding when he got tangled up in wire buried in tall grass (riding cross country). He freaked, and threw me. I sustained a whiplash concussion, and as I was still nursing (heavily....I'd make a great cow!) my pit was slightly enlarged, enough that when the whiplash caused the sella to move it affected the anterior portion.

              Craniosacral therapy helped, but my therapist moved, and I haven't found another capable one yet.
              Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

              ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~


              • #8
                Thanks for all the info. I was wondering if it was a sella issue.

                Because your frees are high in their range you may be atypical when it comes to hyper symptoms. I have heard more than one person who went in for a med increase, because of hyPO symptoms only to find out they were hyPER-frees being high out of range.

                I would be interested in hearing more about your mono /pituitary issues, as my daughter had mono her freshmen year and continues to have health issues.


                • #9
                  In reading your post it certainly looks like your macro nutrient profile is correct. You didn't say what your carbs consist of but at the 30 - 50 grams per day, I can't imagine that would make or break anything.

                  I have read that methylprednisolone's endocrine side effects include: "glucose intolerance by reducing the utilization of glucose in tissues and increasing hepatic glucose output". I would think that increase in serum glucose levels would certainly have the potential for insulin resistance, since your body would need to be dumping insulin to reduce the glucose load. Additionally it often causes fliud retention.
                  "I am a member of PETA...People Eat Tasty Animals"


                  • #10
                    That's a good point. I have read that too, and the big question that I haven't found anywhere is if that happens only at so called pharmocological dosing, eg for cancer, severe reactions, etc, or if it's the case at 'physiological' dosing, eg replacing what the body cannot make otherwise. I have just assumed that it's pharma only, but it might be overall, regardless. I HAVE had random fluid retention, it doesn't seem to be related to the medrol, as it's a steady dose, and the fluid will range from +2 to +6 pounds, in the space of a few days, but you never know! I've tried everything else....why not?

                    The effects you mentioned are one reason I'm suspicious of my glucose levels and insulin levels. I have never, EVER had a spare tire, and I have one. It ain't pretty. It's not awful, but dammit, I used to be hot. :-) Its still in there somewhere, I just have find the combination to the lock!

                    I am going to try zero carbing it-or as close as I can, maybe <20 for a while, then ZC-to see what happens. It's not like I might plateau or something...right?

                    Carbs typically consist of, gosh, cream (trace), veggies-broccoli, cukes, the random (small) serving of berries (once-twice) a month? A small amount of dairy-cottage cheese, sour cream, nuts. Jerky seasoning, stuff like that. Nothing too outlandish-a bite or two of 86% cacao dk chocolate a couple times, but less often even than the berries. Maybe once every two months at most? Dairy, save cream and butter, is off the menu for a while until I can discern it's effects.

                    I might try changing back to HC only and seeing how that works. The Med is easy with twice a day dosing, but if it's wreaking this much havoc, no dice.

                    Thanks for the help...I really appreciate it!
                    Chief cook & bottle washer for one kid, a dog, 6 hens, 2 surprise! roosters, two horses, and a random 'herd' of quail.

                    ~The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something one knows nothing about and refuses to investigate~