Many of us here in the 100+ group get to eat a satisfying large amount of food each day and still lose weight. At my current weight I lose reasonably well at around 1700 calories per day. But I know there will come a time when I will have to shave that back to 1500 or perhaps even lower to get where I want to be.
So, often when I look at what I've eaten for the day, and where the calories came from, I think about what I can remove when the time comes for me to do so. So my questions for you are: are you thinking about what you will do when you have to drop calories? What will you remove? Or, will you try stepping up your exercise and leaving your calories alone? What will you cling to as long as you possibly can?
Here are a few of mine:
* Often I get a turkey sandwich for lunch at work. It comes with a bag of chips or pretzels. My usual turkey sandwich on multigrain bread, with some veggies, pickles, a little tabasco sauce, and the bag of pretzels is about 400 calories. Not an unreasonable lunch - but when the time comes to shave calories, I will ditch the pretzels (100 calories). Then eventually I'll lose one of the slices of bread.
* I eat a lot of fruit. A lot. Usually 4, sometimes 5 pieces of fruit a day. A banana, 1-2 oranges, 2-3 apples. When I have to shave calories, I'll probably drop a banana or one of the apples. Not that I got fat from eating too much fruit, but since I know my diet skews a little too high in carbs right now (see the item above), this is an easy place to shave 75-100 calories without sacrificing protein or other nutrients I want to have.
* A few of the dinners I prepare in regular rotation at home are larger in portion than is strictly necessary. For example, when I make myself fried rice, I allow a full cup of brown rice for a portion - when the protein, little bit of oil, and other ingredients are added in, it can be a 550 or even 600 calorie dinner. I have room for that in my calorie budget now, but when I don't, I can easily reduce the amount of rice I use in a portion.
* This is the one I'll cling to as long as I possibly can. I put whole milk in my coffee. Over the three mugs of coffee I drink most days, it comes out to about a cup of milk. That's 150 calories - not empty calories, but still an obvious place to shave some if I need to. Milk-fats have such nice chemistry with coffee - I really don't want to go to lower fat milk, but when I run out of other options I will grudgingly do it. Skim milk in coffee will not work for me - the chemistry just isn't there - but I have used 1% or 2% in coffee before, and I am sure I can get used to it again, if I have to.
Of course, some of these things are changes I can make now. But, as long as I am content with how things are going and in a reasonable routine, I'm not inclined to work even harder until I absolutely have to. ;) So I'm keeping them in reserve, observations on room for improvement in my diet in the future.
What about you?
10-28-2010, 11:39 AM
I haven't been strict about tracking my calories. I eat a 300 - 400 calorie breakfast, lunch and dinner. (with breakfast sometimes closer to 450, and lunch closer to 300) And have 2 or 3 - 150 - 200 calorie snacks. (that totals 1200 - 1800 calories - but it is usually never lower than 1600)
So... when the time comes, I will be strict about writing what I bite.
I will probably cut out my evening snack.
And I exercise regularly, but I am hoping to up the intensity, distance, time, etc. as I go.
10-28-2010, 11:48 AM
I have had to drop my calories ridiculously low. :( Unsustainably low. :( But I'm so determined!
I have cut out condiments on my sandwiches, chocolate (!), chips and almonds. I have cut out pop, though I did that a year ago.
More than cutting, though, I have added vegetables. I can't just cut foods out. Instead of snacking on almonds, I switched over to snow-peas. Definitely not the same! LOL! I also cut portions down, instead of cutting foods out. Instead of a whole sandwich, I eat a half. I've also cut out some of my snacks. Instead of six 200 calorie meals in a day, those "snack" meals have become true "snacks" of 100 calories or less.
I've always required fewer calories than most people, unfortunately. Most of the time I'm ok with this, but as I type I'm actually quite hungry. :tantrum: I'm white knuckling it until lunch time.
10-28-2010, 11:49 AM
Instead of using 2 pieces of bread for a sandwich, take off the top piece and have an open face sandwich or double it over. I love a serving of horseradish mayo, I could do without that. I could cut out my treats of keurig cafe mocha and sugar free jello pudding. That would be around 250 calories shaved off in a day.
10-28-2010, 11:50 AM
When I've needed to shave calories it was from breakfast. Last year my standard breakfast was a wheat bagel with jelly and a banana. That ended up being ~500 just for breakfast! Then, over time, I dropped the banana and just had the bagel. Now, for the past few months I've given up the bagel completely and I've moved onto oatmeal in the mornings. I eat about 1.5 to 2 servings of oatmeal for breakfast and it ends up being no more than 300 calories. Also, it fills me up and has good fiber count.
I think the calories that I eat now are pretty good to still lose more weight and I don't think I will have to drop any more. For my height and weight I need around 2000 calories for RMR. I generally eat around 1800 or so and regularly get exercise.
10-28-2010, 12:09 PM
It's a funny thing, I lost the bulk (heh) of my weight eating about 1800 cals a day, the lowest I ever went (and that was for about 2 months) was 1600.
NOW i'm back to eating 1800 (and more) and maintaining slow steady loss of 2 pounds a MONTH tho. I'm in no hurry.
Throughout it all, I had choices to make. One choice was to have full-fat cream in my ONE coffee each morning. It made life better :) One thing I could cut was the extra fruit ~ it's like candy to me, I can pack away enormous amounts of pineapple/watermelon lol so I cut back on that.
10-28-2010, 12:37 PM
1. No more sugar in my coffee (only a swoosh of light soy milk)
2. No more eating after dinner (just a tea or low cal hot choco)
3. Oatmeal for breakfast! I add an apple, sliced super thin while cooking. The apple is sweet and eliminates the need for added sugar.
4. Load my sandwiches with sliced beets, cucumbers,and arugula - on toasted whole grain bread - with my favorite mustard.
5. Cauliflower, mushrooms and romaine lettuce. I saute cauliflower and mushrooms in my wok (with one tsp of soy butter) for almost everything I eat - it adds an amazing amount of bulk and is virtually no calories. I also cut romaine lettuce thinly and layer it throughout my whole grain noodle dishes, etc.
6. Shoyu soy sauce - great for seasoning, replaces the need for any oil or crazy, high calorie sauce.
Doing this makes 1300 - 1400 calories almost easy to maintain.
10-28-2010, 01:12 PM
When I first started I allowed myself 1800 calories/day and now I am down to 1200/1300. At 1800 calories, I allowed myself more snack food. I would have 100 calorie packs and now I have learned how to get more food for less calories. I ate sandwiches often and now they are rare. I ate some fast food and now I don't. My morning snack at work was instant oatmeal and I changed that to carrots or some other low cal veggie. I tweaked my breakfast from eggs and 2 slices of whole wheat toast to 3 servings of eggbeaters and one slice of whole wheat toast. My Mon-Thurs lunch included Green Giant Simply Steam Green Beans and Almonds and many days I change that to steamed green beans. There are very few things that I gave up, I just don't eat them as often.
Like Eliana, I have added vegetable to bulk up my meals. For example, I have planned a few more calories than normal during the day today so tonight I am having cabbage stir fry, cauliflower, green beans with half a chicken breast. That is lots of food for under 250 calories.
10-28-2010, 01:33 PM
When I feel the need to shave calories it's usually less fruit or a starch.
10-28-2010, 01:50 PM
Enjoying reading everyone's suggestions and experiences.
More than cutting, though, I have added vegetables.
This is a really good point. I left it out of my original post. I already eat plenty of vegetables, but I'm sure I'll add more when I have to cut out other stuff. When I reduce the number of calories in my lunch, for example, I'll supplement with some additional vegetables.
The only thing stopping me from doing this now is either frugality (because it means hitting the salad bar when I'm already paying for a sandwich) or laziness (because it means bringing veggies in from home).
Heh, I'm glad to have lots of room for improvement. ;)
10-28-2010, 02:34 PM
I actually thought about this the other day and was thinking about what I would do when I got closer to goal and when I'm in maintenance. I came up with very similar strategies to the ones you outlined, carter. Here's how I think I'll cope and shave down calories:
- Bread will definitely be cut back even further. I already eat substantially less than I used to, and I avoid white bread like the plague (white bread single handedly took me from overweight to obese!). But things like a buttered piece of bread or half sandwich with my soup will probably go.
- I'll have to change how I eat cereal. I eat oatmeal almost every day with a splash of milk and a wad of butter... it's a habit since I was young. I measured once and it's about 2tsp I put in there. So that will definitely go when it has to.
- Starbucks!!! I have a list of Starbucks drinks that are under 200 calories each that I stick to so I can indulge in my favourite treat once in a while. Most of the drinks on there are actually under 150, so as I cut back those indulgences will be fewer and farther between, and I will stick to the lowest calorie drinks on the list. I've already started taking my coffee and tea black, so progress is being made.
- I can't see myself ever cutting my breakfast back. They range from 300-550 depending on the day, but it's my meal. Ranges from poached eggs on a bed of spinach on multigrain toast, to scrambled eggs, yogurt, and half a grapefruit, to oatmeal with milk and margarine, to a yogurt/granola/fruit/nut parfait, and so on. I'm not a night eater, and I don't eat when I'm restless, so I could cut my dinner back substantially and will when it's necessary. But the quality and quantity of my breakfast directly correlates to the quality of my day, my mood, and how closely on plan I am. Breakfast is my best friend!
10-28-2010, 05:59 PM
I've gradually been reducing the sugar in my diet even though it doesn't lower the calorie count that much. For example I used to eat raisin bran with a teaspoon of sugar. Reduced that to 3/4, then 1/2, then 1/4. Finally eat it plain. Same thing with my yogurt. I don't like artificially sweetened yogurt so I eat Stonyfield vanilla which uses sugar. However I now cut it half with plain yogurt.
10-28-2010, 10:30 PM
my big ones are soda and sugar.
i used to eat a slice of cake (at least one) every single night. now i have a square or two of dark chocolate.
i have lost pretty well drinking a few cokes/day, but i know i need to cut those out.
i recently cut cheese off of my turkey sandwiches- and surprisingly, have not missed the cheese AT ALL.
i am also cutting back on mayo and avocado- i still use both, but less than i used to use- on my sandwiches.