Weight Loss Support - How to determine daily maintenance calories?




tricon7
08-15-2011, 11:08 AM
As I've been stuck on my weight loss for weeks now, I think I've "found" my daily maintenance calorie amount. It seems extremely low, even with my sedentary job. I can't imagine eating this little for the rest of my life in order to keep from gaining. Anyway, I was looking perhaps for a site that would give you your daily maintenance calories with the necessary input of information about oneself? I figured that my maintenance would be around 2000/day, but I'm not losing on 1600 - and I bike hard every day.

I've started going to the gym 2x/wk, but that's just started. I figure that with my unnecessary nibbling of treats and snacks, I'm eating about 1600-1700 calories a day (on non-nibbling days, 1500). Add the bike exercise and I've not lost a pound in almost three weeks - long enough to know that my plateau isn't water weight. I have no idea why I didn't balloon to 300 pounds back before I started dieting, when I got no exercise and ate whatever I wanted. I think the adage is true that the lower your weight gets, the harder it is to lose more. It's like my body absolutely refuses to lose one more pound, no matter what I do.

Since I don't really want to drop calories more (I'd risk binging), I'm going to have to get into a calorie deficit by exercising more, even though I don't really have the time for it. I'll bike for one hour instead of 30 minutes, try it for several days, and see what happens. Bike hard for 30, ease off for 30 to make it somewhat easier. Desperate times call for desperate measures.


zoodoo613
08-15-2011, 11:22 AM
I don't remember how tall you are, or how long you've been doing this, or how fast you've been losing I do remember that you're a guy. I really doubt that your maintenance calories are 1600 calories.

A few ideas: 1) plateaus happen. Three weeks really isn't that long. You may just need to wait it out. 2) That nibbling? You sure it's only 100-200 calories? It may be holding you up more than you think. 3) How long have you been biking? Your body might be adjusting to that. Are you taking measurements too? You might be seeing changes in other, non-scale ways.

mkroyer
08-15-2011, 11:31 AM
how do you KNOW you are eating 1600 cals a day? im serious..
do you WEIGH (with a digital scale) every single bite, lick and taste? 99.99999% of the population drastically UNDERESTIMATES the amount of cals they are eating. if you are eating ANYTHING prepacked (lean cuisines, whatever) those, by FDA rules, can be off by as much as 20% in the calorie department

This is the first place to look, when stalled. Do you count splenda packets? sugar free gum? PAM sprays? I cant believe its not butter? they all have calories, even though they "say" they dont, and can add up to a couple hundred innacounted fro caloies a day


April Snow
08-15-2011, 11:32 AM
try working on building more muscle, not just doing cardio. Muscle metabolizes more calories so your maintenance calories will be a little higher.

tricon7
08-15-2011, 11:35 AM
how do you KNOW you are eating 1600 cals a day? im serious..
do you WEIGH (with a digital scale) every single bite, lick and taste? 99.99999% of the population drastically UNDERESTIMATES the amount of cals they are eating. if you are eating ANYTHING prepacked (lean cuisines, whatever) those, by FDA rules, can be off by as much as 20% in the calorie department

This is the first place to look, when stalled. Do you count splenda packets? sugar free gum? PAM sprays? I cant believe its not butter? they all have calories, even though they "say" they dont, and can add up to a couple hundred innacounted fro caloies a day

I write down everything I eat and use digital scales for everything that I don't know the calorie count for. How many calories are in a PAM spray, btw?

I finally found a site that gave maintenance calories for men and women. It said that for my height/weight, mine should be about 2,000 a day, and this was "sedentary" (even though I sit all day at work, I do bike 30 minutes a day, so I erred on the side of caution in the calculations). Even with massive daily cheating, I'm not eating anywhere close to that a day, so I'm perplexed as to my weeks-long plateau.

@April, I just joined a gym this week. ;) I don't want to just lose weight; I also want to get nice muscle shape - you know, bigger chest than waist instead of looking like a pear.

For fun I calculated the maintenance calories needed for an 18 year-old at 1,020 pounds in the "heavy exercise" category. It's 9050 calories a day. :)

christine123
08-15-2011, 12:39 PM
Have you tried calorie cycling? When I follow it rigidly, it really prevented me from plateauing.

gagalu
08-15-2011, 02:25 PM
if you're nibbling, your estimation of calories is likely off. i would stick to exact calorie counts. my weight loss stagnated when i was nibbling, too.

sontaikle
08-15-2011, 02:30 PM
Instead of just adding exercise or cutting calories you might try switching it up a bit and doing some different exercises. Changing your routine might just be enough to give you the push you need.

ennay
08-15-2011, 02:43 PM
Also, just because you are currently not losing on 1600 calories a day it doesnt mean you will start gaining at 1700. For MANY people the body likes to hang out at certain places and will stay there until a wider jump in calories or a SUSTAINED surplus/deficit pushes them over the edge.

In my life I have noticed that no matter WHAT I am doing there are specific weights that my body hangs out at and it takes great effort or neglect for me to move up or down and then I move quickly up or down to the next comfort zone.

Patience and change things up.

Things that may work/things to try
- temporarily add 100-200 calories - say for a week or two, then return to your current level.
-Add 1-2 higher intensity exercise sessions a week. 20 minutes.
-Get away from the nibbling, instead add those calories intentionally to a meal or snack, planned and scheduled.
-Shake up when and what you eat. If you always eat X for breakfast eat something else. Move around your macros a few % Even if it is only temporary

mkroyer
08-15-2011, 03:40 PM
r. How many calories are in a PAM spray, btw?

:)

7 calories for 1/4 second of a spray, i believe..... i dont think its even POSSIBLE to spray for 1/4 of a seond..... most of spray at least for 2 or 3 seconds...3 second spray equal 120 UNNACCOUNTED for calories, and thats if you use it for ONE meal.....

sumire
08-15-2011, 03:56 PM
I write down everything I eat and use digital scales for everything that I don't know the calorie count for. How many calories are in a PAM spray, btw?

"Everything that I don't know the calorie count for"-- does this mean that you don't weigh, say, a piece of bread, or a granola bar, you just go by the information on the package? One thing I've found is that the serving sizes on packages are often smaller than the actual food object. I started weighing everything at one point, and I found that I was eating an extra 100-150 calories a day in packaged items that weighed more than the supposed serving size.

7 calories for 1/4 second of a spray, i believe.....
The info I see out on the 'net says 7 calories for a 1 second spray. 120 calories would be an entire tablespoon of olive oil, and if I spray for 3 seconds, I don't end up with nearly that much on the pan.

ennay
08-15-2011, 03:59 PM
7 calories for 1/4 second of a spray, i believe..... i dont think its even POSSIBLE to spray for 1/4 of a seond..... most of spray at least for 2 or 3 seconds...3 second spray equal 120 UNNACCOUNTED for calories, and thats if you use it for ONE meal.....

I think it is less than that (the last can I had said 2 cals for 1/3 second and I typically sprayed for 1-2 seconds so 6-12calories. ), but if it is that high (120) why on earth use it in the first place?

On the counting to the last calorie mindset. That works for some, it does not work for others. And truthfully it doesnt really matter as long as you are consistent and get the heavy hitters. (which if PAM is 120 calories would be, if it is 6-12, thats a judgement call if you use about the same amount every day)

i.e. it doesnt really matter if "1600 calories" is REALLY 1600 calories as long as every day "1600 calories" is about the same and you have a method that gets you where you need to go. Bottom line is you feel the amount you are currently eating is less than you would feel comfortable eating for the rest of your life, which means finding a change.

The nibbling is a more insidious problem because it is more likely to lead to inconsistent recording. Once I decided my "grab 3-4 almonds on the way through the kitchen " might be an issue. I thought this happened a certain frequency and was recording about an ounce of nuts. One day I locked my almonds in the car. The awareness of how many times I opened the cupboard to find them not there was eye opening.

lin43
08-15-2011, 04:23 PM
Also, just because you are currently not losing on 1600 calories a day it doesnt mean you will start gaining at 1700. For MANY people the body likes to hang out at certain places and will stay there until a wider jump in calories or a SUSTAINED surplus/deficit pushes them over the edge.

In my life I have noticed that no matter WHAT I am doing there are specific weights that my body hangs out at and it takes great effort or neglect for me to move up or down and then I move quickly up or down to the next comfort zone.

Patience and change things up.

Things that may work/things to try
- temporarily add 100-200 calories - say for a week or two, then return to your current level.
-Add 1-2 higher intensity exercise sessions a week. 20 minutes.
-Get away from the nibbling, instead add those calories intentionally to a meal or snack, planned and scheduled.
-Shake up when and what you eat. If you always eat X for breakfast eat something else. Move around your macros a few % Even if it is only temporary

This is great advice that I'm going to keep in mind if I plateau.

tricon7
08-15-2011, 04:55 PM
I think it is less than that (the last can I had said 2 cals for 1/3 second and I typically sprayed for 1-2 seconds so 6-12calories. ), but if it is that high (120) why on earth use it in the first place?

On the counting to the last calorie mindset. That works for some, it does not work for others. And truthfully it doesnt really matter as long as you are consistent and get the heavy hitters. (which if PAM is 120 calories would be, if it is 6-12, thats a judgement call if you use about the same amount every day)

i.e. it doesnt really matter if "1600 calories" is REALLY 1600 calories as long as every day "1600 calories" is about the same and you have a method that gets you where you need to go. Bottom line is you feel the amount you are currently eating is less than you would feel comfortable eating for the rest of your life, which means finding a change.

The nibbling is a more insidious problem because it is more likely to lead to inconsistent recording. Once I decided my "grab 3-4 almonds on the way through the kitchen " might be an issue. I thought this happened a certain frequency and was recording about an ounce of nuts. One day I locked my almonds in the car. The awareness of how many times I opened the cupboard to find them not there was eye opening.

One of my downfalls is peanuts, and I have half a container right now at home. It's what I'm going to try and avoid like the plague. Another downfall of mine is late-night/middle-of-the-night cravings. I do great during the day, when I can stay busy. But when everyone has gone to bed and I'm reading in the den, the refrigerator and food cabinets sing out their siren song and I realize just how hungry I am. And when I have to get up during the night to use the bathroom, I pass right by the kitchen - darn it! More often than not I do stop and nibble something, as I can't imagine waiting until the distant piddling breakfast before I eat something. Those food thefts all adds up. I think I may have to have a supply of ready-to-eat green beans in case of emergency or something when I get these cravings.

ennay
08-15-2011, 05:18 PM
One of my downfalls is peanuts, and I have half a container right now at home. It's what I'm going to try and avoid like the plague. Another downfall of mine is late-night/middle-of-the-night cravings. I do great during the day, when I can stay busy. But when everyone has gone to bed and I'm reading in the den, the refrigerator and food cabinets call and I realize just how hungry I am. And when I have to get up during the night to use the bathroom, I pass right by the kitchen - darn it! More often than not I do stop and nibble something, as I can't imagine waiting until the distant piddling breakfast before I eat something. Those food thefts all adds up. I think I may have to have a supply of ready-to-eat green beans in case of emergency or something when I get these cravings.

Cravings or hunger?

If you are truly hungry eat something real and sustaining, dont nibble nibble nibble.

My go-to is Plain, unsweetened unflavored protein powder, 12 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk with a dash of cinnamon. If you have more of a sweet sensor than me then a dash of stevia or splenda, but keep it as unsweet as possible. 140 calories (give or take) PERFECT for the late night hunger

I also like a summer squash soup I make - I keep it on hand this time of year when squash is everywhere. its ~65 calories a cup. It doesnt have the protein hit so it isnt as good before bed but it is good for those "can't quite make it to mealtime" hunger pangs. I get those because I get up super early so I would like to eat dinner at 5 but dh doesnt get home from work until usually 6:30. But a warm cup of vegetable soup is low in calories and the heat and liquid both can stretch the hunger.

Thats what I mean by have a plan for the snacks. Dont wait until you are hungry to decide what to have. Know what you will have if you become hungry (means you may or may NOT eat it)

Middle of the night hunger is common because while you sleep ghrelin levels peak so if you wake up when you are supposed to be sleeping you can feel very hungry. It WILL subside if you wait but it can be hard to get back to sleep (its the same reason why if you eat a HUGE meal before bed you will be starving in the morning). A small amount of protein is best then. String cheese if you do dairy, a slice of turkey. But really, try to just go back to sleep, after a few nights it becomes easier. 30 minutes is usually how long severe middle of the night hunger lasts. A few sips of water should ease it enough to slip back to sleep.

If you are just craving try and just get rid of the stuff you eat then. Break the habit.

mkroyer
08-17-2011, 11:00 AM
i could be wrong on the pam calorie count... but it is substantial enough to add up... maybe it is 1 second is 7 cals.... and 1/4 second is how they get away with the "calorie free" labeling....
my point is still tho, that hidden cals are everywhere.. and though for some, those things dont matter, for others, every calorie counts, kwim?

tricon7
08-17-2011, 11:46 AM
Cravings or hunger?

Oh, it's hunger all right. Your suggestion to be prepared is good instead of raiding my food cabinets to see what I might like at 2 a.m. To be honest, during times like this no amount of anything I eat short of a full-course meal will satiate me - I think it's a sugar-low thing, too. And I agree that to allow myself something, even if it goes over my daily calories, is better than binging.

I may prepare an "emergency" supply of something high in protein for those just-in-case moments during the night. Then, once eaten, know that that's it, no more food, so go to bed. :club: