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Keeping lower calorie intake.... this is hard!!!

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  • #16
    I'm on the opposite end as j3nn. I've never known a thin woman who ate much more than 1500-1600 cal/day. Nor one who ate three full meals a day.

    Also, from Atkins to Primal, I've read (here) and heard in real life over and over that just going low carb with no calorie restriction works for about 40 pounds and then levels off. That 40 pound number (actually 43) was also my personal loss if I didn't restrict calories and only restricted carbs.

    Exercise is good for many things, and not exercising will probably make life tougher with each decade that passes. But it pretty much sucks for burning calories. Building muscle will make you more of a calorie burner (because muscle is more metabolically active), but lifting weights doesn't burn a lot of calories. There are a few exceptions. Scuba burns a lot of calories.

    The easiest way for me to adhere to 1200 calories per day is to build it around the meal I like best. For me that's dinner/supper. Maintenance is the same - build the 1500 cal around my favorite meal. Also, remembering that it's calorie deficit over time. So, plan for social events. Thin people occasionally overeat; most likely they compensate for a couple of days afterward. There was also a PBS show many years ago that claimed that naturally thin people showed a slight metabolic uptick after overeating while people who gained easily didn't. It ain't fair, it just is.

    Lastly, once you find something that works for you, whether it's calorie restriction, carb restriction, or hey, even telling society that 140 pounds at five feet tall is just fine, put your fingers in your ears and listen to yourself. What works for me might not work for anyone else, and what works for you is all you need to know.
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
      I'm on the opposite end as j3nn. I've never known a thin woman who ate much more than 1500-1600 cal/day. Nor one who ate three full meals a day.
      I think it's actually more common than not. The Harris-Benedict equation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is based on the typical man or woman with "average" body fat to lean mass ratios; it gets skewed when body fat is higher or lower and/or hormonal irregularities change the metabolic rate. But it's a pretty good estimation for most people. I've always found it to be accurate (even when I weighed over 300 lbs) if I am honest about my activity AND diligent about measuring/weighing portions. If you play with the calculator (Harris Benedict Equation), you'll find that the estimation for most women over 30 is close to or over 2000 calories per day unless very light and/or very sedentary. Not saying that it is accurate for everyone, but I do believe the formula was created based on what the average is, which means more often than not women, even over 30, can maintain or lose on more than the standard 1200-1500 recommendation, which usually equates to one's BMR, not their TDEE.
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      • #18
        Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
        Exercise is good for many things, and not exercising will probably make life tougher with each decade that passes. But it pretty much sucks for burning calories. Building muscle will make you more of a calorie burner (because muscle is more metabolically active), but lifting weights doesn't burn a lot of calories. There are a few exceptions. Scuba burns a lot of calories.
        I disagree. Lifting weights burns a ton of calories. And the after burn is crazy!! I wear a bodybugg, and on the days I lift weights my calorie expenditure is considerably higher than my cardio days.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by j3nn View Post
          I've known many women over 30, myself included, who can lose or maintain on 2000-2500/day depending on activity level, etc. don't fall into the low-cal myth. Modify what you're working with. Not everyone has to be very low cal.
          How very timely. I have been struggling to eat enough calories. I got use to low, I was full, thought I was doing a good thing. But weight loss isnt really happening. Up, down, up, down is happening, just enough to keep me happy, but really only masking the non-existence of real progress.

          I thought I would try zig-zagging. From the calculator, the numbers for a low day, were hundreds and hundreds of calories higher than I normally have. Red flag. So now I am thinking hmmmmm. So I have been trying to increase.

          Result: Weight gain. But I have also increased exercise. I was/am bummed a bit about the weight gain about 7lbs but I figure I will just have to suck it up for a bit and then maybe I will start losing again. And I think I am on the downward side of things now, hopefully.

          Then I have been reading that I might should be eating closer to BMR, and I have been 500-900 under BMR (much less TDEE) for over a year! Now THAT bummed me out. Big time. ugghhh
          65lbs gone and counting!!

          Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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          • #20
            Originally posted by gopintos View Post
            Then I have been reading that I might should be eating closer to BMR, and I have been 500-900 under BMR (much less TDEE) for over a year! Now THAT bummed me out. Big time. ugghhh
            I think a lot of people confuse BMR with TDEE. BMR is (an estimate of) what your body needs to lie in a coma, more or less. I think the best method is to eat freely for ~6 weeks and track every calorie you consume and your activity level while tracking your weight's behavior. This is how you find your true maintenance level. If you find it to be lower than average, I think there are many ways to improve it, from investigating hormonal balance to building muscle and even just adding in a little extra activity.
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            “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

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            • #21
              Gopintos,

              I think you are onto something, and if you are weight training, you may not see quick drastic results on the scale, but lost inches. Do you measure yourself? I am in a similar predicament. For many years I did the low cal thing, and it worked, but boy, when I turned 38 my body totally rebelled against that! Its taken me a long time, but now I eat the food. Healthy, real food. And I weight train. And do HIIT workouts. And even though the scale is not where I want it to be, my body has, slowly, lost fat and built muscle. I went from eating 1200 calories a year ago, to anywhere between 1800 to 2000. But it was a slow progression. If you went up in calorie intake quickly, you might see an upward trend on the scale, but it's not fat. Add to that an increase in workouts, and there's your 7 lbs. You're doing the right thing, it may take some time, but keep up the good work, and keep listening to YOUR body.
              BTW, I am 43, started at 142 lbs. a year ago (which may not seem big, but I am 5'3" and it all settles in my butt/hip area). Now I fluctuate btwn 126-129, am a size 4, and my progress is sustainable. Lasting. And that's what we want, right?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by j3nn View Post
                ... I think there are many ways to improve it, from investigating hormonal balance to building muscle and even just adding in a little extra activity.
                Originally posted by 14emom View Post
                Gopintos,

                I think you are onto something, and if you are weight training, you may not see quick drastic results on the scale, but lost inches. Do you measure yourself? I am in a similar predicament. For many years I did the low cal thing, and it worked, but boy, when I turned 38 my body totally rebelled against that! Its taken me a long time, but now I eat the food. Healthy, real food. And I weight train. And do HIIT workouts. And even though the scale is not where I want it to be, my body has, slowly, lost fat and built muscle. I went from eating 1200 calories a year ago, to anywhere between 1800 to 2000. But it was a slow progression. If you went up in calorie intake quickly, you might see an upward trend on the scale, but it's not fat. Add to that an increase in workouts, and there's your 7 lbs. You're doing the right thing, it may take some time, but keep up the good work, and keep listening to YOUR body.
                BTW, I am 43, started at 142 lbs. a year ago (which may not seem big, but I am 5'3" and it all settles in my butt/hip area). Now I fluctuate btwn 126-129, am a size 4, and my progress is sustainable. Lasting. And that's what we want, right?
                Glad I posted. More glad y'all posted!

                My calories dropped when I went HFLC. The higher I went, the lower calories dropped until weight loss stopped. And energy tanked. I was blaming it all on HFLC. Now I am guessing it was low calories.

                So I switched macros, a couple months back, which I don't regret that part. I feel better having more carbs. My fog lifted and I was able to exercise more. So adding a few more calories was easy, because activity makes me more hungry.

                So then I feel really pretty good on a 3way split on macros. I thought I hit my groove. Then in looking at my charts, I realize that I am the same weight now as 5 months ago.

                So then I am bummed about the weight gain but I am eating all good foods. And I feel really good. And I realize it could be exercise too. I do ST, and I do some HITT every 3rd day, and I started walking most daily. But with weight & calories increasing, I am thinking there is no way in hell I can go any lower in calories & sustain that forever.

                So I am thinking WTH, what works for me? I lost most of my weight pre-primal on 50c/30f/20p - and my calories were probably just below BMR. But honestly, I was hungry alot of the time, but in all fairness I was also learning about foods and satiety, which I didnt have a clue at that time.

                So anyways, I feel much better. The 7lbs had me bummed because I had just hit 70lbs lost, for like a day or two. Even with this gain, the jeans I finally fit into, still fit. One shirt, the sleeve that was tight, fits fine now. I know (or think) things look better and I felt like things were slimming but the scale was just not cooperating.

                I do take measurements, maybe half a dozen places and I just remeasured this past week, and nothing much moved but my thighs did a little. Decreased that is.

                Anyways, I started a journal yesterday on this very subject, so I wouldnt hijack threads like this with my own babble.
                http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread78870.html


                Thanks you guys. Really. The thought of "giving up" never occurred to me but it was still frustrating. I really do feel so much better having our little chat.
                Last edited by gopintos; 02-23-2013, 11:02 AM.
                65lbs gone and counting!!

                Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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                • #23
                  GP, I wouldn't sweat the 7-lb gain! It's probably not pure fat gain, more than likely a mix of water and glycogen and maybe even some muscle? Hmm! Fluctuations are normal. All in all, you're still in a downward trend. You'll find your formula, I'm sure. But you won't unless you experiment. Do what works!

                  BTW, sometimes cutting back on sodium helps reveal your true weight if your intake is always high and you retain fluid as a side effect. But if that's not you, disregard this.
                  Last edited by j3nn; 02-23-2013, 12:26 PM.
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                  “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

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                  • #24
                    I'm glad you posted too! Whenever I read your posts in strikes a familiar cord in me, and gets me thinking. And it brings me back to what I know to be true.

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                    • #25
                      Whatever happened to eating whole foods when you're hungry? It's all this talk about MacRats and Calories that's getting people lost and confused in what should be a pretty simple world. Do you have to be your own science experiment to find out exactly what works for your individual body? Sure, but purposefully trying to limit caloric intake is going to fail 99% of the time.

                      Eat for micronutrients and low toxicity, not for MacRats. If your body can't handle safe carbs without weight gain, replace with fat and test.

                      Working out 4-5 days a week on top of walking dogs a lot is probably taking you into the realm of chronic exercise. Have you considered that cortisol could be the cause of your plateau? How's your sleep been? Exercise isn't that necessary (assuming you have healthy activity levels) -- you might want to cut back on that.
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