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Do I need more calories??

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  • Do I need more calories??

    Hello Primal friends! I'm brand new to the scene. I started eating Primally on Tuesday of last week, so I'm on day 6. I'm also a brand new meat eater - I've been vegetarian for 17 years and vegan for the last 5. I'm extremely knowledgeable about macro nutrients as far as NON-meat food goes, but since I don't have a clue as to meat, I used Livestrong's Daily Plate to track my calories for the last 2 days. The first day I clocked 997 cals, and the second day (trying reeeeally hard to EAT) I got in 1180. Yesterday's nutrient breakdown was 55% fat, and 22.5% for both carbs and protein (the banana got me). I'm definitely going for weight LOSS - I'm female, 27, 5'4, and 190 lbs. I wasn't at all hungry yesterday after about 900 cals, but I tried to make myself eat because I don't want to deprive my body of what it needs. So does anyone have any advice? Should I take a shot of coconut oil once in a while (lol...but seriously)? Is it ok to have that much of a calorie deficit? I'd like to be able to "listen to my body," but I find that I'm slow to actually recognize physical indicators. Anyway, sorry for the mass of info, I just want to be as successful as possible, and any advice people have would be wonderful! Thanks, everybody!

  • #2
    Can you give an example of your meals and portion sizes...calories seem low.
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
    PS
    Don't forget to play!

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    • #3
      Sure - thanks for the reply!


      Cod - 6ish oz
      Spinach - 1 cup
      Olive Oil - 1/2 Tbsp



      Lettuce - 3? cups
      Onion - 1 Tbsp
      Cucumber - 1/2 cup sliced
      Avocado - 1/2
      Pepper - 1/2 cup
      Smoked Whitefish - 2-3 oz
      Olive Oil - 1/2 tbsp



      Bacon - 2 slices
      Kale - 1 cup
      Garlic - 1 clove
      Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp
      Green Beans - 1 1/2 cups
      Olive Oil - 1/2 - 1 Tbsp



      Banana - 1 med
      Hazelnuts - less than 1/4 cup


      2 Eggs
      1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil


      Those are divided up into "meals." I tried tracking calories w/ livestrong and also by hand using nutritiondata.self.com and while they weren't exact, the difference wasn't big enough to be real noticeable. Honestly, after each of those meals I felt completely stuffed and wasn't interested in eating more.

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      • #4
        If you're not hungry and you're not feeling any other symptoms such as lightheadedness, fatigue, etc., then I'd say that your physical indicators are not that far off and listening to your body in this instance is okay. 1200 calories is a decent amount to shoot for in your case for weight loss (I'm a believer in the calories in<calories out model) and you're not that far off. You may find yourself getting hungrier as your body becomes more used to animal products again and that's not a bad thing, either. You're only six days into a pretty massive paradigm shift and so your body needs to adjust to that a little bit more, I'm thinking. You're on the right track to my way of thinking.

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        • #5
          Thanks, RobinNM!

          I feel basically energetic physically - but I do feel a little tired/fuzzy at times and I'm not sure whether this is a result of not getting enough calories, or just typical carb flu. I'm indeed aiming for around 1200 calories - my reason for counting for a couple days was to see if I was generally in range of that. I guess it won't hurt to keep doing what I'm doing for a couple weeks, and if these potential carb flu symptoms don't let up, I'll try eating more. Hopefully you're right about getting gradually hungrier! This is the strangest "diet" phenomenon I've ever experienced lol - less food AND less hunger.

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          • #6
            Just keep an eye on your weight. I find that when I don't eat enough calories I actually gain weight. I have to be sure I am full pretty much all day, as weird as that sounds.

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            • #7
              Unless you're doing a fast (and there are lots of reasons you might), then I'd recommend eating close to maintenance level. Of course, I have no idea what yours is. But if you stick to near that level, then you can easily make a slight deficit through exercise. And when you do that, the pounds will come off (if that is your goal).

              On the other hand, if for some reason, you cannot exercise to create the deficit, then you can take your maintenance level and subtract about 200 calories and shoot for that. I would not, however, go much below that. You want to be eating enough to maintain a healthy thyroid. You won't have much weightloss if your thyroid is unhealthy and not able to produce the necessary hormones.

              A note of caution though... You should have a day every once in a while where you consume significantly more calories than you normally would. A long term calorie deficit can be very hard on the body and it will appreciate a day to "recover" from the stress of such a deficit.
              "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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              • #8
                Thanks, you guys. I need to work out my maintenance level again - I think it's changed. And yes, what I DON'T want is to gain weight. I guess if I can start losing, my calorie needs will go down and I won't have to worry about eating more than I actually want! Thanks for the recovery tip, Drumroll!

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                • #9
                  Oy, maintenance level is around 2100. I guess I'd better aim much higher than 1200/day. This is not the type of challenge I was expecting!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Moll View Post
                    Oy, maintenance level is around 2100. I guess I'd better aim much higher than 1200/day. This is not the type of challenge I was expecting!
                    2100? If that's the case, you should be aiming for eating that level and exercising. Perhaps 1850 - 1900 calories is a good goal for a day when you can't make it to the gym.
                    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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                    • #11
                      Coconut oil shots, here I come

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
                        Unless you're doing a fast (and there are lots of reasons you might), then I'd recommend eating close to maintenance level. Of course, I have no idea what yours is. But if you stick to near that level, then you can easily make a slight deficit through exercise. And when you do that, the pounds will come off (if that is your goal).
                        I can't wrap my head around this at all. 5'4" and 190 is pretty significantly overweight - I know, I've been close to there. I could understand eating just under maintenance for goal weight, but any more than that, especially if it's an effort, seems crazy when the goal is to lose.

                        Moll, I often have a day or two per week in the 1100 cal range, but I generally aim for closer to 1500 and every couple of weeks will have an occasion that pushes me up to 2000. My maintenance at goal will be 1700-1800 cals, so I look at this time as training for that. I started out 6 mos ago at 30% fat/50% carb/20% protein, slowly shifted to 40/30/30 and am pushing toward 50/25/25. The weight has been dropping steadily the whole time and I feel great. I always thought that since I had been overweight almost my whole life, there must be something "wrong" with my metabolism. I can see now that there wasn't a darn thing wrong with me that couldn't be fixed by removing the crap from my diet and as a result, eating a little less.

                        I wouldn't worry 6 days in about much other than getting the hang of eating differently. Over time you'll find higher calorie/higher fat foods that you enjoy and you'll find yourself getting a little more liberal with the fat you use in cooking.
                        50yo, 5'3"
                        SW-195
                        CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
                        GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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                        • #13
                          I'm also an ex vegan who is losing weight. I've been doing primal since May, and I average anywhere between 800 and 1200 calories in a day. I track my intake religiously to make sure I'm getting enough vitamins & minerals, but I don't pay a lot of attention to calories. I eat three meals a day, and I eat enough so I'm not feeling hungry between them. I never go hungry, and at the same time I don't stuff extra food in just to make sure I meet some random calorie requirement.

                          Let your body tell you what it needs. Don't let some chart or diet guru tell you how many calories you should be eating.

                          Do track your food intake and use the data to figure out what kind of tweaks or changes you need to make to help you function your best and meet your goals.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks so much, guys. I'm going to try to shoot for around 1500 - even that is difficult for me! Seriously, I love olive oil and coconut oil, and I feel like 1/2 - 1 tablespoon is really generous for when I'm cooking or eating - any more than that and it's all I can taste. I'm going to try very hard to listen to my body - it's not something I'm super good at for some reason. I don't really register pain until it gets intense, and then I wonder why I didn't notice it creeping up on me! But as long as weight loss progresses, and energy stays up, I can't be going wrong.

                            LauraSB - yeah, I don't want to have to be pushing food down my throat when I'm not hungry - it does seem counter intuitive.

                            palebluedots - good advice on the vitamins and minerals - I do need to pay attention to that!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Moll View Post
                              Sure - thanks for the reply!


                              Cod - 6ish oz
                              Spinach - 1 cup
                              Olive Oil - 1/2 Tbsp



                              Lettuce - 3? cups
                              Onion - 1 Tbsp
                              Cucumber - 1/2 cup sliced
                              Avocado - 1/2
                              Pepper - 1/2 cup
                              Smoked Whitefish - 2-3 oz
                              Olive Oil - 1/2 tbsp



                              Bacon - 2 slices
                              Kale - 1 cup
                              Garlic - 1 clove
                              Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp
                              Green Beans - 1 1/2 cups
                              Olive Oil - 1/2 - 1 Tbsp



                              Banana - 1 med
                              Hazelnuts - less than 1/4 cup


                              2 Eggs
                              1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil


                              Those are divided up into "meals." I tried tracking calories w/ livestrong and also by hand using nutritiondata.self.com and while they weren't exact, the difference wasn't big enough to be real noticeable. Honestly, after each of those meals I felt completely stuffed and wasn't interested in eating more.
                              You might be able to get more calories in if you eat meatier meat. Have a steak. Have some ground beef. Have a portion of pork butt roast or pork belly. Since you like fish, switch to salmon with the skin on.

                              If you want more fat, rather than choking down plain coconut oil (ew), make some fatty treats. Liver pate is awesome. Pesto makes everything taste better. I put it on thin slices of cheese. Yum!! I've also made coconut manna, cocoa and chopped macadamias into little balls. I store those in the freezer. They're pretty good. Not very sweet. Maybe they'd be better with some dates or honey, but I kind of like them unsweetened. Another treat is to blend a few slices of frozen banana, a few frozen strawberries and some coconut milk. Just like ice cream.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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