Weight Loss Support - I don't understand the "I just can't eat enough" threads

06-14-2011, 08:07 AM
I really, really struggle to keep to a higher deficit of around 1600-1700 calories now, at 130lbs, but it just adds up so fast, and I just can't comprehend how people say they struggle to eat their daily calories which are often low (1200, 1300).

Physiologically, it would make sense that a person at 150,200,250lbs should struggle at such a low deficit. Why do I struggle so much at my size?

What are they doing different? Is it all mental? Is it a physical response? Is it that they keep themselves busier? How do you find the balance? Do they not think about food?

Please help! If you are one of those people, is it a combination of factors?

06-14-2011, 08:13 AM
I'm interested to hear people's responses, because my calories always add up fast.

06-14-2011, 08:37 AM
I'm one of those people some days. Here are some of the factors that lead to a difficulty in reaching 1200.

> Intermittent fasting. The later I start my eating in the day the quicker I get full. If my first meal is at 3 PM I'll usually be satisfied at around 400 calories. That leaves 800 calories for dinner, and I really have to push myself to eat a meal that big. I usually do 600 and have nuts or something for a snack later on to get enough nutrients.

Note: related to this is not eating when I'm not hungry. I never force myself to eat during what is "supposed" to be a normal meal time. If I eat when I'm not hungry for some reason that begets more desire to eat. I started IF because I don't like eating breakfast. When I don't eat breakfast I don't end up grazing/overeating later in the day.

> Exercise. Seriously. When I run for 45 minutes or do an intense hour of yoga I am not hungry afterwards, and when I am I only want really healthy food. Today I ran 7K in the morning and didn't really want anything to eat except fatfree yogurt and a small bowl of Kashi. Even now it's 5 PM and I've had those two items plus a 12 oz latte for about 500 calories. I'll eat a normal sized dinner and that will be it.

> Protein/fat and other calorie-dense, nutrient-dense foods (aka eating a meal until I'm full): A breakfast of 2 oz of cheese, Greek yogurt, a wasa crispbread, and 2 tbs of peanut butter gets me way full and makes me not want to eat anything until lunchtime.

Note: This also has to do with eating FULL meals of 400-600 calories. I do NOT do well with meals of 200 calories, snacks of 100 calories, etc- the whole "minimeal" thing. I never get satisfied and always want to start munching/grazing.

> Whole foods. When I eat only whole foods I get full/satisfied quickly. I also don't WANT to overeat- I feel healthy and happy. But the minute I start munching on Pringles, fast food, or other junk foods the calories add WAY up WAY fast and I don't want to stop.


So I guess the bottom line is BIG meals of whole foods with protein/fat during a smaller eating window. And exercise, although I don't really know how that one fits in there!

06-14-2011, 08:38 AM
Review your food list—if you use an online or smart phone calorie counter, review the nutrients.
I find that when I eat processed carbs, the cals add up quickly, but when I eat fewer to no processed carbs and very little sugar—even hidden sugar in foods, like fruit-flavored Greek Yogurt—I can eat way more satiating food, but with fewer cals.
That's not to say, some days are not more ravenous than others. I do have 1500-2000 cal days, but usually when I am OP, I have between 1000-1300 cal days. I usually crave pre-TOM and for social gatherings and have been known to binge on cake and :jeno: which really spikes my cals!!

06-14-2011, 08:43 AM
Thanks for these great tips :)

I'm starting to notice a link between a low fat breakfast and eating too much (almost systematically) later on at night.

06-14-2011, 08:52 AM
You know I used to read those "oh how do I get all these calories in?" Posts and not understand either. I'm on an 1800 calorie plan which is A LOT of food when I make smarter food choices. In the past 2 weeks there have been several days when I haven't been able to eat 1800 calories.
I think that the difference is that I have become more active, increasing my cardio from 3 days to 5 days.
I started drinking a protein shake post workout in the morning which fills me up through about 1 or 2 pm & I think that is the difference. I think it all boils down to how I start my day.
When I have the protein shake I just don't want to eat until later and then I find myself trying to get it all in between 2 & 9 which is hard.
But I do have my days where I'm wishing for more.

06-14-2011, 09:02 AM
That is part of the reason I struggle, when I work out I am very intense, doing 2x10 barbell squats with over 100lbs, although when I do cardio it's even worse... working out makes me want to eat even more (which is fine, I'd rather go over and have a good strenth workout than avoid it and eat less)

I think my problem is mental. I've never gotten over the "eat eat eat" mentality I developed in my pregnancy. Although sometimes I don't eat as much as I think I do. I've maintained for several months now so I can't be eating much more than 1900-2000 on average which is fine, I'm not unhappy, but I don't know why I can't break down another 300 or so.

06-14-2011, 09:04 AM
I have never had this problem and don't think I ever will. I love to eat and I always have a big appetite.

It just underscores once again how we're all different, and we each have to do our own science experiments to figure out what works for our own body.

06-14-2011, 09:19 AM
I love to eat too and I LOVE LOVE LOVE food. It's one reason I love traveling and living abroad.

Admittedly, I've had to seriously curb my love for food in order to stay under 1200 cals. I have to look at food as more functional rather than pleasurable. Not to say I don't try to make my health-conscious food as delicious as possible, or that healthy food can't be delicious- because it definitely can and should be. I just have to seriously try to curb some of the "mmm this is pleasurable and FUN" part of the way I look at eating in order to stay within calories.

That said, when I am traveling sometimes I really couldn't care less about calorie content and just try to savor whatever cultural gastronomical adventures arise. :)

06-14-2011, 09:51 AM
I am an occasional "I can't get all my calories in!" person - it's been happening this week a lot. I totally concur with what indiblue said. I eat low-sugar and have been at about 40 net carbs per day. Fat, protein, and fiber are FILLING! Whole foods are filling! And many times when I work out in the evening I won't be hungry again afterwards. I don't intentionally do IF but I have noticed some days if I eat most of my day's calories in a few hour window, if I've felt especially hungry or unsatisfied during that time, then I won't want to eat for the rest of the day and night. Most days I'm a small meals/snacks person though.

Not wanting to eat enough in a day isn't a great problem to have. It's unpleasant to force yourself to eat - maybe as unpleasant as forcing yourself to stop eating.

06-14-2011, 11:17 AM
It also has to do with time. When i started out 5 months ago, I was eating between 1800-2000 calories. That dropped to 1600-1800. Then 1400-1600 and now it's around 1000-1200. I eat for hunger. So, why am I less hungry now? Well, I think it's several reasons. One, I think my stomach has shrunk, so I feel full faster. Two, I eat a lower carb diet of around 100 net carbs a day (many times under 75) and the fewer carbs I eat, the better/fuller I feel. The reason for that is that carbs spike EVERYONE's sugar and what goes up, comes down and that triggers the body to say, "I need more fuel". Well, if I don't eat sugar/carbs, I don't get those spikes, so I stay more 'even' in my hunger or lack there of it.

And I stopped being afraid of fat. I eat peanut butter, avocados, lean meats, protein bars and shakes and all of those things have fats (and proteins). I'm not eating cream cheese, bacon and a lot of 'bad' fats, but I don't shy away from them as much as I used to and my health has gotten a LOT better - including my cholesterol level!

I exercise moderately about 6 days a week too.

06-14-2011, 11:18 AM
I've never voiced this problem on these forums, but it has come up.

For me, it's none of the above. I love to eat, and I love food. That's the bulk of the reason I weigh as much as I do. The only time I struggle with eating is when I am working to lose weight, and that's because I have an all or nothing mentality. For me, especially in the past, if I'm on plan I'm ON PLAN. That means you're eating none of the foods you like and you are going to eat low calories. In that mindset I used to be 100% committed and it would eventually backfire, but ultimately I couldn't bring myself to eat what I should have been because all my energy was so focused on my diet and losing weight and eating started to seem counter-intuitive.

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're talking about, but I imagine some of the things you see are stemmed from this kind of thinking. This time around I am working hard to incorporate weight loss into my life, rather than make weight loss my life, because "not being able to eat what you need to" only ever leads to huge backlash and gaining long term. Things like losing ten pounds in two weeks and gaining 15 the following two led to worse, actually. Stretch marks galore at 24!

Don't feel bad, you're doing it right. : )

06-14-2011, 11:35 AM
Totally agree that low/no sugar, whole foods, especially non-starchy veggies, and regular activity, are key, but if I started eating as late in the day as indiblue, I'd be in the hospital. I eat little meals, spaced every few hours and always protein and a small amount of good fat. I was always one who when I focused on calories, thought of nothing but food and was constantly hungry. Now, I really do have to remember to eat.

06-14-2011, 12:41 PM
For me its mostly mental, the harder i have to work out the less i want to eat just becuase i know how hard it is to remove the weight i've put on. Its almost like food is taboo to me now lol. the biggest problem is i dont regularly eat breakfast but i've gotten to where i substitute it with a portien shake that has 3oo calories. another reason for me is becuase i'm glutin inteolerant so no bread or pasta, and that initself cuts out a lot of calories i have to eat twice as much vegtables to make up for the calorie deficientcy. Its weird though the more i work out the less i eat and the less i workout the more i eat.

06-14-2011, 12:48 PM
Thanks everyone for all your great info! Although all your methods are slightly different, goes to show it can take time to find your right balance.

06-14-2011, 12:53 PM
I go back and forth between days when I feel like I have to force myself to sneak in a few more calories... and days where "OMG THERE'S NOT ENOUGH FOOD IN THIS HOUSE!"

I'm not exactly sure why. :shrug: Each day can be a struggle in its own way.

06-14-2011, 01:01 PM
I recently put up one of those threads... I fill my day with high protein foods, and I try to avoid sweets or very starchy dishes. So I stay full longer, feel satisfied, and am not hungry. This usually leaves me having 500+ calories under my budget at the end of the day. My goal right now is 1750 calories because I'm nursing, so I really need to make sure I eat them all... but it is hard.

I find that on days I just eat for calories and don't pay attention to nutrients, I eat more carbs and sugar and then I'm much more hungry all day long and have to watch myself carefully. I'm also not on a low-carb diet, I'm just trying to make my protein be about 30% and carbs usually end up being about 40% at the end of the day.

06-14-2011, 01:32 PM
I think for a lot of people it is completely mental (although some truly are physically unable to take in that amount and get full quicker). Dieting can turn into disordered eating really fast. It is really easy to go from being able to diet in a healthy manner to wanting it to come off quicker and quicker etc. Then it is a mental battle to get all of the calories in that you SHOULD be eating during a day. You can start to feel like you are falling and the quilt can creep in so it is easier just to stay under the calories...

If you find yourself ever feeling that way, be careful. It is a slippery slope to an eating disorder and NO amount of weight loss is worth the **** of an ED (I know from past experience)!

Good luck on your journey!!

06-14-2011, 06:42 PM
I have been having trouble eating enough healthy calories too.

Key word being healthy!

Sure, I could mow down a shopping basket full of junk food, but there is only so much salad I can take in one day!

So, often way before I get to 1200 calories I am so turned off eating, that I struggle to get all the nutrition that I need.

06-14-2011, 07:31 PM
Fruit and vegetables! If I would put everything I eat in a day on the table you would find that these take up the majority of my food intake.
I don't count calories but when I do (mostly out of curiosity) mine are always very low when I'm 'on plan'. I do get TOM cravings and have like pizza sometimes but most of the days its low.

06-14-2011, 07:42 PM
My calorie limit is 1200 calories. I normally eat low calorie meals and can easily eat 3 meals plus a snack or 2 and end up with a little over 900 calories.