Weight and Resistance Training - Eating More (calories/volume)




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JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 02:54 PM
I just had lunch with a coworker and was trying to explain to her my approach with weight loss and weight lifting.

I'm curious if it jives with your own experience and if you agree with the approach. I'm also curious if you have had to explain to people "how to lose weight". (Obviously, it's working for me, so I'm not going to change it ;))

The way my trainer describes it, and I remember or interpret it:
You bulk up first, ie build muscle, then work your way down from there, this helps the body manage weight loss without it simply being all about restriction and resulting in a full body sag. (My trainer lost 180lbs and doesn't have an ounce of loose skin on him!)

To do this nutritionally, you have to fuel your weight loss. You take your BMR, add your calories burned from exercise (I'm conservative with that number), subtract 300 to no more than 500 calories, and that's how many calories you need to take in). This way the food builds the muscle and the calories don't put you into restriction, resulting in a yo yo effect that dieters experience. You lose weight slowly (2lbs/week) but it's sustainable loss.

I find this puts me at 800 calories more than most diets would put me on. And yes, I yo-yo'd like crazy before this.

Anyway, thoughts?

It seems this shocks most people who just believe "eat less" and move more to lose weight. I tried explaining to her that it works and is better, and I just got looked at like I'm from Mars. However, my body is living proof.... Yet people are married to our rarely successful diet culture, aren't they...?


mandalinn82
01-10-2008, 03:04 PM
Well, this certainly isn't how I did it, and it doesn't make sense given my experience.

3500 calories equals, approximately, a lb. If you subtract 500 calories a day from what you're burning, you'll lose, approximately, 1 lb per week. I don't see how a difference of 3500 calories, maximum, a week would result in a loss of 2 lbs a week.

To lose 2 lbs a week, I had to reduce my consumption to 1000 calories per day below what I was burning. That is what worked for me, and so far it has been successful. Of course, there are lower bounds (I never went below 1200 calories a day unless I was sick), and nutritional considerations as well.

I can see how building/fueling muscle would increase your BMR to a small extent, but that'd change the amount you'd have to eat under this plan, right? So it still wouldn't account for the 3500 cal a week discrepancy.

:shrug: we all find something that works for us. Glad you and your trainer have a way that works for you!

I spend a lot of time telling people that there is no one thing that works to lose weight for everyone...everyone's body is different. While it is true that regular exercise and a reduction in calories will result in some loss for everyone, maintaining that level of exercise and eating works better for different people on different plans. I try not to tell people "how to do it" at all, since I know we are all so individual that what works for me might not work for them.

JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 03:40 PM
My BMR is 2100. If I took 1000 calories off, I'd be at 1100 calories. I was before I trained and was dieting on Medifast, I could not lose weight.

Perhaps I stated the math incorrectly. Hmm. I suck at math, dontcha know.

If I add the anticipated 800-1400 calories I burn from activity, that's 2100+ 800min=2900. Minus 1000 and I'm at 1900. Well, I eat a range of calories, mostly hovering at the 2000 mark, so that makes sense.

Ok. I'm officially number-discombobulated.


JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 03:42 PM
maybe half the weight comes from the caloric reduction and the other half from a sped up metabolism?

All I know is how it was emphasized to never take off more than 500 calories or you'd throw the process out weight loss out of whack.

mandalinn82
01-10-2008, 03:46 PM
JerseyGirl - that may be, but that increase in your metabolism increases your BMR - so under what you said you'd eat more to compensate. I took off 1000 calories a day and it never gave me a problem. It may throw things out of whack for some people?

I don't know. I also strength train, which boosts my metabolism, so it all works out.

JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 03:57 PM
When I first came to my gym, they ran a nutritional assessment that recommended 2900 calories (I weighed 320). I gained on that.

My Tanita scale suggests my BMR is 2100. That's what I use as a number, but maybe it is higher and the only way it works is when I'm low carb/high calories?

Meg
01-10-2008, 07:05 PM
Hm, eating less and moving more is what worked for me. :)

I simply picked a reasonable calorie level (1600 to start and gradually dropped down to 1200 calories as I lost pounds) and focused on lean protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. That's the "eating less" part.

I lifted weights five days a week and did an hour on the elliptical every day. That's the "moving more" part.

I lost 122 pounds in a little less than a year and have maintained that loss for 5 1/2 years. My BF dropped from 57% to 14.5% and I added eight pounds of muscle at the same time that I lost 130 pounds of fat.

My goodness, it must seem awfully simplistic, but it's what worked for me. :)

junebug41
01-10-2008, 07:25 PM
Hm, eating less and moving more is what worked for me. :)

I simply picked a reasonable calorie level (1600 to start and gradually dropped down to 1200 calories as I lost pounds) and focused on lean protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. That's the "eating less" part.

I lifted weights five days a week and did an hour on the elliptical every day. That's the "moving more" part.

I lost 122 pounds in a little less than a year and have maintained that loss for 5 1/2 years. My BF dropped from 57% to 14.5% and I added eight pounds of muscle at the same time that I lost 130 pounds of fat.

My goodness, it must seem awfully simplistic, but it's what worked for me. :)

You never cease to knock me off my chair, Meg. Unbelievable.

And I agree. I'm a less/more/more though- less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff (which sort of knocked me out of the calorie counters because I didn't count veggies), and more moving. I never created a science out of it or even thought too much about the process (thinking about the food though is QUITE another story). In retrospect, I think it was just what I thought and felt I should be doing.

JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 08:16 PM
Meg, I had tried all sorts of calorie levels--1000-1200-1500-1800-2000-2400 and on carb focused diets, couldn't lose more than 10lbs on them over 6mo to 1 yr.

THe training staff emphasized for me that I needed to eat to fuel my work outs and build the muscle and that to just go from the BMR and down from there would be **** on the body, result in flab and likely unsustainable weight loss. FYI, they've helped quite a few people lose 100lbs+. so....

I just looked at my fitday logs and it seems last week when I ate 2100-2900 I lost more, this week (1600-2100) I'm stalling slightly.... Problem is 1600 is easier to tolerate than eating more....

Mel
01-10-2008, 08:16 PM
I'm also an eat less and BETTER and move more person.
From my own experience and my experience with working with other obese people, they seem to fall into two categories. There are the obese who eat one or two huge meals a day and under-estimate what they are eating because they get so hungry that they are eating way more at those few meals than their bodies can utilize within the digestive time frame. These people are baffled why they are fat because they insist they don't eat much. Sometimes that's true. The other category are people who just eat way too much, snack and nibble without paying attention to what, how much and when they are eating, and eat all the "wrong" foods in the wrong portions.

JerseyGirl, cutting to 1000 or 1200 calories would have been close to starvation for you at the time. Did you exercise then? I doubt that you could have kept it up for very long on a strict medifast diet. Starvation is a good way to end up skinny flabby, I couldn't agree more.

If what you are doing is working for you, congratulations! But it runs counter to most people's experience who've successfully lost weight and kept it off. I agree totally with your trainer's advice to eat to fuel your body- but I doubt that you are eating more and moving less that you did originally. As you lose more weight, you will have to cut calories. The "golden time" of boundless muscle building only lasts about 3-6 months for most women.

Before you started dieting, did you seriously track what you ate so that you can absolutely say that you are eating MORE now? Most people who are not dieting or extremely health conscious have no idea what they eat. I suspect that you are making better food choices now and it feels like you're eating more (forget about the medifast days) although you are in fact eating less calories than you were to get to 320 pounds.

I had to eat less, better and move a lot more to lose weight. I have to do the same thing to maintain my weight.

And personally, I'd question whether your trainer really has no skin issues. I find that really hard to believe.

Meg
01-10-2008, 08:29 PM
There isn't a one of us who can defy the laws of physics and lose fat without creating a calorie deficit. I'm sure we all can agree on that, right?

JerseyGirl, it sounds like you've found a calorie level that's working for you. That's great! You're creating a calorie deficit sufficient to lose two pounds a week, which means you're eating about 1000 calories per day less than you're burning (your total calories burned are BMR + activities of daily life + exercise + thermic effect of food). That sounds pretty much like what the rest of us did -- admittedly, with much less analysis! :lol:

Mel
01-10-2008, 08:38 PM
JerseyGirl, in your own blog you say that the way to lose 2 pounds a week is to create a 7000 calorie deficit. Isn't this what you are doing?

How To Lose Weight

-Consider your priorities, make sure they align with good health.

-Determine your BMR

-Determine the caloric burn of your regular or proposed plan of activities (I suggest to be conservative and consider it 10-20% less than stated).

-Strive to have a total defecit for the week of 7000 calories or more for a 2lb+ loss per week.

-Do not fret over the scale--your body will go up and down. Monitor it only to understand patterns and make changes to your program.

-Expect slow loss (1-2lbs a week) for healthy loss. In our Biggest Loser and diet culture we have come to think that's not enough. It's perfectly healthy. What isn't is a perception that it's not enough.

-Create a workout plan. Get a minimum of 5 days a week one hour exercise daily (3x a week weight lifting and 2-5x a week cardio and core). Your plan should include strength, core work, and cardio, but the first two will have the biggest change on your body and the first on your metabolism for lasting weight loss and weight management.

-Workout hard. Ask for advice from experts if you need to accomodate any specific health challenges (there are many ways), but you should not fear high intensity and hard work. it is what will make you achieve results.

Sounds like eat less/move more to me. Maybe we are just calling something different.

JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 08:42 PM
Before you started dieting, did you seriously track what you ate so that you can absolutely say that you are eating MORE now? Most people who are not dieting or extremely health conscious have no idea what they eat. I suspect that you are making better food choices now and it feels like you're eating more (forget about the medifast days) although you are in fact eating less calories than you were to get to 320 pounds.

I had to eat less, better and move a lot more to lose weight. I have to do the same thing to maintain my weight.

And personally, I'd question whether your trainer really has no skin issues. I find that really hard to believe.

I measured my food and tracked my calories for 3 years on Fitday. I was mostly eating 1200-1500 calories in those 3 years. I'm not now.

And yes, I exercised while on Medifast. No problem doing that....I could eat 900c and not feel hunger.

JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 08:47 PM
There isn't a one of us who can defy the laws of physics and lose fat without creating a calorie deficit. I'm sure we all can agree on that, right?

JerseyGirl, it sounds like you've found a calorie level that's working for you. That's great! You're creating a calorie deficit sufficient to lose two pounds a week, which means you're eating about 1000 calories per day less than you're burning (your total calories burned are BMR + activities of daily life + exercise + thermic effect of food). That sounds pretty much like what the rest of us did -- admittedly, with much less analysis! :lol:


If Fitday is close to accurate, between BMR and exercise I burn 3700 calories every day (with my activity level). Minus 1600-2100 calories, I'm at a deficit of 1600-2100. so 3.2 -4.2 lbs.

But here's the thing. When I eat 2600-2900 now on low carb, I lose those kind of numbers. When I eat 1600-2100 I slow down/stall.

Ah who knows...I'm brain dead and shouldn't have attempted to think and work my job at the same time.:D

SOrry for the confusion--I'm trying to define the "pattern".

elisa822
01-10-2008, 08:50 PM
For me what worked was creating a calorie defecit. I don't recommend this to people but any means but if I'm being honest, I did strictly reduce my calories and didn't exercise too much. I (wrongly) focused on food first and health later.

I'm working on correcting it now but I did lose and maintain a significant loss for more than a couple of years with calorie reduction.

Absolutely I think the answer is "whatever works for you", not in the quick fix sort of way, but some people swear by calorie counting, some by low carb. I think that some methods are more sound or healthy but I'm not sure if there's anything that will work across the board for everyone.

Also, people just have trouble with the message to eat more. Understandably it's so counterintuitive to what people have heard. If it works for you, keep it up. And if it continues to work for you, more people might "come over to the dark side"! ;)

JerseyGirl69
01-10-2008, 08:51 PM
Sounds like eat less/move more to me. Maybe we are just calling something different.

The difference I'm thinking is eating after you account for the workout calories and making reduction from there, rather than simply saying "my BMR is 2100, I'll eat 1600 and exercise." That the staff told me would be ineffective.

nelie
01-10-2008, 08:55 PM
JerseyGirl,

May I ask how much you weigh and how much you've lost?

I'm pretty muscular but if I eat over 2000 calories, I stall. At my highest weight, I was able to get away with eating in the upper 1000s to lose weight but those days are long gone. I really need to eat in the lower 1000s to lose weight along with exercising every day.

I just have to say I'm amazed by how many calories you can eat and lose. I know everyone has a different metabolism but wow, I'm amazed.

JerseyGirl69
01-11-2008, 07:19 AM
I started at 320 and am now high 280s. I had done as I said the high 1s and mostly they didn't work when I was doing higher carb. Plus, because I was 300ish, they didn't want me entering starvation and stalling. They didn't want me having a 1500+ deficit, which I would in the 1s.

Part of this goes to the whole--build up muscle, then lose. (I am pretty muscular, BTW.) Building up first was to make the transition most effective on my body. I was willing so as not to look like a sagging sack of skin.


I do vary my intake because eating in the high 2s is hard for me--my body prefers about the mid 1s, but if I do the mid 1s, I'm not getting in enough protein. But again, the irony I find, when I look at my Fitday records, is that I lose the MOST when I'm in the high 2s, not high ones.

Well, I'm still tweaking my intake, trying to find the pattern so I can plan well for ongoing loss.

nelie
01-11-2008, 09:45 AM
Unfortunately for me, I was building up for years :) I used to do weights, done lots of exercise, always was walking, etc. At my highest weight (360s), I'd take a 5 mile walk without thinking anything of it. I could lift lots of weight, do lots of strength exercises, etc. I ended up cleaning up my diet and I lost although I stalled in the upper 200s which is really where I had to get strict with myself.

Although I should also mention that I love love love muscle. When I do decide to increase my calories for a while, I can maintain my weight a lot easier. Although it was much easier to maintain nearly 100 lbs ago than it is now. Now even with muscle and exercise, I have to be careful or else I can gain fairly quickly.

JerseyGirl69
01-11-2008, 12:28 PM
I just have to say I'm amazed by how many calories you can eat and lose. I know everyone has a different metabolism but wow, I'm amazed.

A trainer at my gym is about 105 and 5'3? She eats 3000 calories a day and works out about the same I do!

I just can't imagine powering through a workout on low 1000s.

3Beans
01-11-2008, 01:28 PM
Well, I'm not nearly as seasoned as the other posters on this thread. But when I first started at 190, I was also losing at 1800-2000. At the time I was working out 6-7 days a week and serious about strength training. So, I can believe that 2000+ can may for some people in the 300 lb. range. Of course, if it doesn't work for you, you'll need to re-evaluate.

Now I'm at 1500-1700 and focusing more on flexible strength due to an injury, so my needs have changed. But when I work out intensely more than 4 days in a week, I find I need a little extra calorie boost or my energy gets so low I can't get through an hour of cardio. This is working for me, albeit slowly. Like you, I don't think anything below 1400 could fuel my workouts, at least at my current weight.

Again - every body is different! Monitor your progress and change up your plan when necessary. Advice is great - but you have to listen to your own body most of all, IMHO. And it sounds like you're doing that.

P.S. You mention 'volume' in your post title. That's something different. Volume doesn't change daily calories, but it does affect how full you feel.

JerseyGirl69
01-11-2008, 01:42 PM
Volume as in amount.

I'm just trying to find out what's going on with my body to know how best to plan for more weight loss. T hat's why I'm so confused.

Meg
01-11-2008, 03:37 PM
JG, I can understand how confusing this all is. :hug: It's hard, maybe impossible to reduce weight loss to a formula, but I think we all want to understand "the process". But bodies often don't work according to a timetable or a formula. Often we can do everything right and be stalled for weeks, then whammo -- a huge loss.

In the end, it's going to be trial and error to find what works for YOU as a unique individual. You've written about this in your blog -- how your gym's formula said you should be able to eat X calories and lose, when in fact, you gained. So you and your trainer (he sounds like a gem!) tweaked calories and carbs until you found out what works for you.

Trial and error will also be the way to tweak your plan as you lose weight and your calorie needs drop, and also after you reach maintenance. As the moderator for the Maintainers forum, I can tell you that we have huge variances in the number of calories members can eat and still maintain. No one can predict in advance what will work for YOU ... it's trial and error: adding back in calories, tracking, monitoring and assessing.

When you said:

If Fitday is close to accurate ...

I think you identified a source for your confusion because it's not, at least when it comes to exercise calories burned. Fitday is notoriously INaccurate estimating calories burned and many (most?) people ignore that feature. The only accurate way to measure the calories you expend in a day through exercise and daily living would be to put you in a lab and measure your O2 output. Which is not very feasible for most of us! All other estimates are guesses based on averages of others and many (like Fitday) don't even take into account weight, age, or muscle mass.

The same is true for logging food. Studies show that people underestimate what they're eating by about 20% even when they're trying to weigh, measure, and accurately log food intake. And I think you wrote on another thread about your "heaping tablespoons" of PB, so your Fitday isn't going to be entirely accurate if you're only entering "2 T". It's very important to track your food, but we all need to recognize that there's a margin of error in even the most scrupulously kept food log.

Also, how are you determining your BMR? Is it being measured by a BodyGem test or something similar? Or is it just the average of a woman of your weight? Because BMRs have at least an 800 calorie range within woman of the same age, weight, and height. That's a pretty big margin of error.

All this is a long way of saying that it's impossible to quantify the weight loss process and distill it down to a formula. Calculators and formulas are a goood starting point, but as you've already discovered, they often need to be tweaked to fit individuals.

The key is that you've found a calorie level that is allowing you to lose two pounds a week. It doesn't matter if it matches up with a formula or is X calories above or below your purported BMR. It's working! :cp: And if it stops working, you tweak until it works again.

It's easy to want to overanalyze to try to get a handle on weight loss. Believe me, I understand how important this is to you! But try to relax and just go with the flow ... you're doing great! :carrot:

JerseyGirl69
01-11-2008, 03:53 PM
My BMR is based on calculators online which concur with my scale's data on my BMR, but of course this is not the same as other tests.

The irony about the calories is that when I was at the calories they recommended, it seems it didn't work because of the carbs because it is working as I'm doing it at that caloric level but lower carbs. Like I said, higher carbs and lower calories and I couldn't lose zip.

I actually do account the 2tb as 4 ; ) but it's not frequent. Also, Fitday says my training session is likely 650 calories, but my trainer says more like 800-1000.

Gotta run 2 a meeting.

Meg
01-11-2008, 04:11 PM
My point is simply that it's impossible to derive a formula for weight loss, especially when you're using information that's estimated or based on averages -- and which may be totally incorrect in your individual case. When you're using guesses and estimates (your BMR, how many calories you're burning) and your numbers don't add up, all it means is that the numbers must be wrong. Unless you're living in a weight loss lab, input and output can't be accurately measured. So please try not to stress about those silly numbers! :)

JerseyGirl69
01-11-2008, 07:31 PM
I hear ya. It was just somewhat easier when I was on LA Weight Loss and knew that my day had a formula like this:
PPpVVVVFFFSSSSDDFaFa
P serving protein
p 1/2 serving protein
V serving veggie
F serving fruit
S serving starch
D serving Dair
Fa serving fat