Calorie Counters - Not eating enough

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07-10-2013, 02:13 PM
Okay, so I'm finding myself in a bit of a bind. I use MyFitnessPal to track my caloric intake for the day, and measure my exercise. I have myself set at 1200 calories, and will only eat back the exercise calories if I'm hungry. Lately, though, like the past few days, I haven't even been meeting the 1200 calorie limit, even on my heavier cardio days. Yesterday my NET calories was only 454! (food calories was 979, exercise was 525).

I'm trying to find out whats going wrong, because I'm just not hungry! I'm not a smoker, I only drink one cup of coffee a day, if that, I don't take any funny "magic pills" or appetite suppressants. Just diet and exercise. My fiance tells me to eat something just to get the calories in, but I don't want to eat just to eat, if that makes sense. That's what got me overweight to begin with, mindless eating when I really wasn't hungry. I'm afraid if I start doing that I'm going to revert back to my old habits.

I'm still losing weight at a regular pace, about a third of a pound a day give or take, so it ends up being about 1-2 pounds a week. I'm scared that I'm doing damage, and it's going to come back to bite me. Should I eat something just to get the calories in at the end if the day if I'm really low?

Any help is appreciated :hug:

07-10-2013, 05:40 PM
Personally, I wouldn't worry about that. It's only been a few days, not a long-term trend. We mammals have a range of calories that we spend, day to day. Some days we are hungrier than others.

The eventual problem will be if you're trying to increase your daily caloric burn and you do weight training to build muscle. You need nutrients to build the muscle. When you just cut calories and only do cardio or no exercise at all, a portion of the weight you lose will be muscle as well as fat and water. Then you lower your ability to burn calories. Keep up with weight training and you'll experience hunger more.

07-10-2013, 05:47 PM
Also, are you reading the calorie burn off a machine, like a treadmill? Because that was 454 calories that you burned overall during that time (including all your normal body functions like breathing, heart pumping and thinking), not above what you normally burn during that time.

I never factor in my calories for exercise. There's really no accurate way for me to track what I burn. I stick with BMR x 1.2 (sedentary) for RMR. I'm not always pumping weights or doing a step class. I have a desk job. I set that caloric level as my upper limit, then shoot for 500 calories below that on average per day. Some days I eat more, but never over RMR for my weight.

07-10-2013, 07:23 PM
The amount of calories burned is what I read on the elliptical machine. I am getting a Fitbit (should arrive in the mail this week or early next week) so I can be more accurate with it. I'm only doing light weight lifting (3lb weights, 10 min each night) and I really don't factor that in as "exercise calories" because I'm not really sure what it burns (and doubt it can burn that much).

I don't intend to eat exercise calories back unless I'm hungry...kind of like the Weight Watcher Activity Points, they are there if you want to use them, but it's not necessary. I just find it odd that a day where I do an hour on the elliptical, where at least 40 minutes of it my heart rate is above 140, I'm not hungry enough to eat all of the calories for the day.

I'll just keep tracking what I've been tracking, and hope I don't see a trend for much longer. Two weeks ago I was struggling to not go over 1200 calories, and this week I'm struggling to even get close to it.

07-11-2013, 12:54 AM
Wouldnt worry about it too much, i went through a patch like that and i just got naturally hungrier, if it goes on for much longer add a handful of nuts, easy to eat and not very many can put you back in your calorie range quickly. Dont worryi'm sure it will resolve itself

07-11-2013, 02:53 AM
I have that problem too. My husband is currently overseas and I have 4 kids, so some days I'm just honestly too busy to eat. Other days I seem to eat all day but still manage to stay at 1300-1800 calories. I use MFP too and most of my regular foods just aren't high in calories/fat. I've cut out pretty much all processed foods, drink diet soda, and the kids devour any junk food before I get a bite lol. I try to find higher calorie foods that are still healthy, oatmeal with 2% milk is a good amount of calories (I add blueberries and strawberries). Yesterday I took the kids to Burger King and even with a small onion ring and a grilled chicken sandwich (bbq sauce instead of mayo) I was under 1300 for the day.

eta I sometimes find that I'm not hungry on exercise days but the next morning I'm ravenous. So now I stay at 1300 on exercise days and roll over the exercise calories to the next day. It seems to be working, I'm down 8 lbs this month.

07-11-2013, 03:47 AM
Thank you Sheena and Arrwillia :)

I've been contemplating keeping some almonds or walnuts at my desk with a measuring cup handy so that I can nibble a little with it still being healthier than the junk food I used to get. I'm not avoiding processed foods, per se, but I keep a lot of cooked chicken around, bags of frozen veggies that I can microwave, etc so that i have healthier options on hand.

As I looked at the past few days, I noticed I'm doing almost an intermittent fasting, where I eat very little throughout the day, and have one meal that is much larger. My larger meal is generally at night, however I'm noticing it is only maybe 400-500 calories (and that keeps me full for a while), and the rest of the food I eat during the day doesn't equate to much, especially with the workout.

I'm not too worried about it yet...going to give it a little bit of time to see if things straighten out and eating becomes a bit better for me. If I have to get some nuts, or fresh berries or something to snack on during the day, that's something I can probably work with. I'm just very nervous about eating when I'm not hungry because that's what got me this way in the first place.

Thanks all for your support!

07-11-2013, 10:32 AM
Hey buffinlovin,

I do roughly the same, i know people sometimes say ahving a larger meal at night isnt any good for you but i hate going to bed hungry!!! I have an avocado and 30g walnuts every day for lunch, i know it sounds boring but it was a good way of getting around my reduced appetite , high in healthy fats, decent amount of calories.

I know what you mean about not eating when you aren't hungry its a bit scary when you have put so much effort into retraining yourself to eat more intuitively but i found i was more scared of having big losses because i wasnt eating and then having the scale jump up because i went back to normal.

When i was a (silly silly) teenager i went on a diet and lost 3 stone really quickly by basically drastically reducing my calories and then reducing them more till i was probably eating 300-400 calories a day. I didnt have an ED i was just being bloody stupid. The weight came back so fast i didnt even notice, terrified of doing that again. So i do adjust up if i am really below, if its 100 or so i dont worry about it, my husband will turn up with a cheesecake once in a while so i figure it all evens out. I think hes fighting back because i've taken away his crisps and ice cream, LOL!!

Good luck, i'm sure you will fix it!!