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Thread: Too Few Calories for an Athlete page

  1. #1
    MissJecka's Avatar
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    Too Few Calories for an Athlete

    Yes, I know chronic cardio = bad, but I am in training and run about 15 miles per week (which will increase by 10% weekly for a while). I do move slowly (walking 3-4 times per week, 15-35 minutes each, during my lunch hour at work) So, let's just consider my running as an unchanging constant in my life. "Quit running" isn't an answer at this point, but I will be done with my training in the next 6 weeks.

    Anyway...

    About four years ago I began dieting (low-Calorie) and lost 40 pounds over two years. As a result, I'm addicted to Calorie-counting. I own a Garmin GPS watch to track my Calorie-burn during my runs, walks, and bike rides. I know, even without logging it online, what I am eating and how much of each nutrient (including energy, i.e. Calories).

    Since starting eating like Grok a month and a half ago, I've found that I'm having a very hard time consuming many Calories. Back when I was Calorie-restricting, I found it hard to stay in my given range (1200-1550/day) but now that I'm free to eat all of the delicious meat, healthy fats, and fresh produce I can get my hands on... I can't even come close to a reasonable number! I've been eating on average 1480 Calories/day, yet I burn about 250 Calories/day (about 1700 Calories total for the week).

    I don't care about losing weight anymore, just size; I want to get lean/toned and I'm scared that my Calorie deficit is too great. I also don't want to count Calories anymore, but I fear that if I don't, I'll eat even less than I am now! I only eat when I'm hungry, but at the end of the day I find myself forcing down half an avocado just so I get above 1200 Calories!

    Sorry for the length of this post! Please... any advice is welcome!
    >> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
    >> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF

    >> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
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    Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!

  2. #2
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    All that cardio is going to need to be fed, that's for sure..

    Carbs will keep you hungrier than higher fat tendancies, there are plenty of primal carbohydrates for you to indulge in.. Potatoes & fruits may be the ticket.. Snarfing down a banana, side order of potato with dinner.. Think about clean yogurts with added fruits.. (I personally am not a fan of the carbohydrate, but you probably handle them better than I do.. I prefer to cram my body with higher fat calories)

    Fatty meats are fine as well, but I wouldn't spend a lot of room in your stomach on veggies.. You need calorie dense foods or the weight will just keep falling off (I'm similar to you without all the cardio.. eating as an athlete to keep weight/energy/calories up.. not looking to keep dropping weight).. Nuts, fatty meats, potatoes, fruits, whole eggs, yogurt, maybe even drinking some coconut milk if you can handle dairy? There's like 700 calories in a can of that stuff.. All of these are calorie dense & will keep you from dissolving into thin air..

    Don't be afraid of what this eating style will do to your body, you're new & the body may be adjusting to its new found nourishment.. A grainless, low toxin diet is feeding you correctly, so the body is certaintly going to drop weight & deflate inflammation as it cleans up.. I personally noticed that my body dropped weight in the beginning, then I started to put back on healthy, toned, proportioned lean weight (which is what you're looking for) while eating less food.. Almost like nature grabbed me, unraveled all the knots & my body sculpted to what its supposed to look & feel like.. It did take a little time to undo the damage from years of eating breads & grains ("health guru" propoganda)

    You also mentioned this cardio-craze will only last another 6 weeks, so whatever you do to jam in more calories is only temporary until you can calm down after the race & get back to a normal activity level..
    Last edited by abc123; 08-15-2012 at 03:04 PM.

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    abc123's Avatar
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    Also, I read through your blog & Love it! You're gorgeous & love the writing! Good luck in that Tough Mudder, I just did one myself, ha.. (hence my avatar.. 1st place )

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    MissJecka's Avatar
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    Thanks abc123! I appreciate both comments!

    I'm doing a 10k running training program at the moment that will last another 6 weeks, but I still plan on running at least 6 miles per week (during the warm weather, at least) to keep my running conditioning up before the big race day, which isn't until May of next year... 8 months away! I've been reading Mark's info on Primal for Athletes and doing sprint work, so I may give that a try after my 6-week training. I'm more of a "I wanna die on hill runs!" than a sprinter when it comes to training, but the change may do my body good.

    I love canned coconut milk, and the Calorie-counter and former-fat-girl in me is absolutely petrified of consuming 700 Calories of [healthy] fat in one can... even half a can gives me a teenie bit of anxiety! Sometimes the mental game is much harder than the physical one for me, and that's another thing I need to work on!

    That is AWESOME that you got 1st place at the Tough Mudder! I'm hoping just to finish without injury! My upper body strength absolutely sucks and always has, but luckily my teammates have told me that they'll help me out throughout the course.

    Thanks again for your comment!
    >> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
    >> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF

    >> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
    >> Check out my super-exciting journal by clicking these words.

    Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!

  5. #5
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    You may not feel hungry because your body has switched over to using its fat reserves for energy more readily than it used to. Enjoy this time of being able to keep your calories low. It'll wear off when the excess fat depletes. If you are lucky, you are depleting hidden abdominal fat, thus becoming much healthier.

    A lot of people on Barefoot Ted's huarache Google group love running like you do and many of them prefer to be very low carb paleo to fuel their running. They feel it gives them a huge performance advantage come race day. Many of them follow the Maffetone training program. Anyway, it might interest you to read their group for a different perspective on paleo and running.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

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    If you are running that much you may need to add more healthy fats, sweet potato or even rice in your diet to get enough calories. Monitor your body's response and adjust.
    Last edited by Dirlot; 08-16-2012 at 08:15 AM.
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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    MissJecka's Avatar
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    Thank you both for your comments. Again, the former-fat-girl and calorie-counter in me still has a slight fear of calories and fat. I currently eat at least half an avocado a day, 1/3 can of coconut milk a day, and cook only using olive oil and coconut oil. I think I do need to start eating more sweet potatoes, which will be no problem because I love those things!

    I just have to get over the mental complex of "eating too much food and fat will make me unhealthy!" that I've been living and breathing for so long.
    >> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
    >> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF

    >> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
    >> Check out my super-exciting journal by clicking these words.

    Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!

  8. #8
    Dirlot's Avatar
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    I heat ya, the government has spent millions brainwashing the masses that low fat is the way to go and the results speak for themselves. The more you move away from SAD and start eating primal the better you will feel.

    PS if you love running 6 miles / week is NOT chronic cardio....enjoy.
    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
    PS
    Don't forget to play!

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