Calorie Counters - Calorie Cycling?




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cdavidowsky37
02-07-2014, 08:26 PM
I'm an overeater and I've been looking into calorie cycling throughout the week to keep myself from giving up and pigging out on junk food.

I just wanted to see what everyone's opinions are on it? Everyone at 3FC has always been so helpful in giving suggestions and ideas, so I figured I'd ask on this too. Has anyone done it? If so, did it work well for you?

I went onto freedieting.com and used their calculator to find my weekly cycle. Based on my weight and what I had calculated before from other sites, it seems to be pretty accurate. What I was told to eat is below:

Day 1 - 1718
Day 2 - 1472
Day 3 - 2061
Day 4 - 1718
Day 5 - 1546
Day 6 - 1890
Day 7 - 1718


abbyin
02-07-2014, 08:37 PM
I don't know if it's called calorie cycling but I do something called Zig Zagging sometimes. I usually try to eat around 1250 calories everyday but, at least one time a week I eat 1600 - 1800 calories. It does help kick start my weight loss sometimes. I think it's because your body gets used to you eating a certain amount of low calories each day and so it adapts and goes into starvation mode and slows your metabolism down. But when you eat more calories your body thinks the starvation period is over and your metabolism speeds up. Not sure if this is exactly what happens but, It does work for me :dizzy:

Changergirl
02-07-2014, 09:07 PM
I've read that calorie cycling isn't really any different than eating at the average every day but I figure everyone is different so if it works for you that's all that matters. When you calorie cycle it also allows you to eat a bit more on days when you're exercising and probably need some more calories.

The total calories look pretty good. I'd try it out for a month and see what happens, it's really hard to say what works for you will work for other people or vice versa.

Good luck!


Koshka
02-07-2014, 10:47 PM
I don't have an issue with calorie cycling, but I am 5'4" and I couldn't eat that amount of calories in average and lose any weight. You may be much more active than I am. I work from home, mostly sitting, and have a 1 story house. So I don't burn all that many categories except when I exercise and go somewhere. Again, you may be different and if you can lose on those calories then I think the cycling is fine.

Defining
02-08-2014, 01:20 AM
In terms of actually calorie counting, any caloric estimation is just that - an estimation. The numbers we hope are accurate can have a variation of 20-45% - in either direction. At the same time, our estimates for body fat %, muscle mass and energy expenditure/needs in general are also estimates. Pretty much, we're all just guessing about all of it, more or less.

What that means to me - personally - is that when calorie cycling, bigger contrasts between 'low' and 'high' days are more effective when aiming for a ballpark average. For example, if you're looking to consume an average of 1,700kcal every day, you could alternate with 3 'low' days of 1,400kcal, and 2 high days of 2,200kcal. With that kind of cycle, if you're off by ~100kcal on any given day, you still have a good 'buffer zone' to make sure there's a difference - as opposed to 1,600/1,800 where eating a banana and a glass of milk can literally make your 'low' day actually a 'high' day.

I get confused easily ;), and so I would just try to aim for 'high' days when I workout, and 'low' days when I don't - the 'in between' days just make things more complicated than I'm willing to deal with. Eating carbs/calories around your workout (pre/peri/post) tends to help prevent muscle breakdown, and it also promotes growth and recovery. For that reason alone, if I were to start 'cycling' my food intake, my first step would be to make sure I'm eating more when I'm being physically active, and less when I'm not.

Personally, I believe that there are two major advantages to calorie cycling. A)You have the 'wiggle room' to be able to eat out, or indulge in a treat one day without royally screwing over your 'average'. And B)You are able to eat a bit more around your workouts, which gives you more energy/better recovery without feeling that you're sacrificing your weight loss goals.

If I were you, interested in getting into calorie cycling, and assuming that you workout 3-4x a week, this is what I'd do:

A) Find an estimate of your average TDEE (don't forget to factor in any physical activity!), and then figure out what your 'weight loss calorie goal' is at ~85% of your maintenance calories - making sure that you are consuming a minimum of 1g protein for every kg of bodyweight.

B) Take away ~200-300kcal from that number for days when you're not doing much physical activity.

C) Add ~200-300kcal to the days you're working out, ideally sometime near the workout itself.

D) Continue for 4 weeks, and then evaluate how this system has worked for you.

E) If it works, keep on with it - if it doesn't, try manipulating a variable!


I will add: I am not a doctor, dietician, or fitness professional. Please do your own research on the topic in order to make educated decisions. And consult with a doctor or health professional before changing your diet/fitness routine.

Best of luck, 'hope this helps a bit! :hug:

Paisleymama
02-08-2014, 08:58 AM
I zigzag unintentionally. Some days I struggle to fill 1200, then others I go a bit over. Weekend dinners aren't counted so they're my high days. It's worked for me so far so I'm not going to nit pick it.

lin43
02-09-2014, 09:13 AM
I lost all my excess weight calorie cycling and have been maintaining for more than two years doing that. I don't know if it made any difference in my rate of weight loss, but it does make a huge difference in my feeling of freedom. During the week, when I have a more structured schedule of work, it is much easier for me to eat lower calorie. However, I like to let loose on Friday, Saturday, & sometimes Sunday, and calorie cycling allows me to eat more on those days. Also, calorie cycling has helped me combat the typical dieting mindset that is, "Oh, I've screwed up and gone over my calories so I may as well give up/pig out more." Now, if I exceed what I intended to eat on a given day, no problem! I just cut back a bit the next day or later than week. I has worked out fabulously for me.

Paisleymama
02-10-2014, 12:56 AM
I lost all my excess weight calorie cycling and have been maintaining for more than two years doing that. I don't know if it made any difference in my rate of weight loss, but it does make a huge difference in my feeling of freedom. During the week, when I have a more structured schedule of work, it is much easier for me to eat lower calorie. However, I like to let loose on Friday, Saturday, & sometimes Sunday, and calorie cycling allows me to eat more on those days. Also, calorie cycling has helped me combat the typical dieting mindset that is, "Oh, I've screwed up and gone over my calories so I may as well give up/pig out more." Now, if I exceed what I intended to eat on a given day, no problem! I just cut back a bit the next day or later than week. I has worked out fabulously for me.

Totally this!

ediesbeads
02-25-2014, 05:08 PM
There is something in the Weight Watchers world known as the Wendie Plan. It's basically calorie cycling. When I did WW about 10 years ago I lost 60 lbs. in about 7 months by eating high points one day and low points another. Of course then I went and had another kids and gained back (you guessed it) 60 lbs. with that pregnancy! I've been heavy ever since. It would be nice to get down to a BMI that is just "overweight" again.

Edie

Pattience
02-25-2014, 05:27 PM
I know nothing about calorie cycling but i'd say given what people above have said about how it works for them, try it out for a few weeks. If you don't see results on the scale and can't keep to the schedule ditch it.

I think its good that your calories are not too restricted because i am an advocate of slow and steady loss.

But i'm wondering why you are inclined to pig out on junk food. I think for long term, i mean permanent weight loss, we should think about eating the way we want to eat for the rest of our lives.

Its true it can take some time to mentally process the changes we are going to have to make but its worth thinking about right now.

For me, i don't feel i need to quit junk food like hot chips and hamburgers or pizza for ever as i never really loose control on them anyway. But junk food like icrcream and chocolate and sweets and cakes are a big problem for me so i am learning to live without them. It has taken me about 3 years and one previous successful dieting attempt to get to the point where i am now which is i feel i can commit to a very restricted for the rest of my life on those foods. But meanwhile, hot chips and still foods i avoid as much as possible while i'm losing weight. When i'm out, as yesterday, and get hungry, i will have a salad sandwich or buy fruit but try to avoid highly fatty foods as much possible. Even sushi i avoid now because i find it hard to limit myself, but i can go with a proper meal at the korean place or a little japanese restaurant i know.

But if you are eating more sometimes than you wish at the moment, is it because you find yourself getting caught short (which if so is easy to address) or because you are really not yet ready to let go these foods (in which case there is nothing to do about it at the moment but be aware that they are making weight loss more difficult.

By caught short i mean finding yourself hungry when you are out and about and don't have any healthy low calorie alternative to hand.

Changing Me
03-08-2014, 11:10 AM
I just started to try calorie cycling about a month ago. I had been working out, logging, measuring, weighing my food but not getting anywhere. I was hovering around the same 4-5 pounds, up and then down etc. I was trying to stay around 1200 cals. So remembering that I had read about calorie cycling, I decided to look at the info again. I went to Freedieting.com and found my "numbers" for weight loss. They seemed a little high to me. I couldn't imagine losing weight eating that much. And the different cals everyday seemed so confusing. So I tweaked the numbers a bit and at around 1400 cals for my low days (5 days) and a bit higher for two days. I also work out on the high days too.
The first week I lost 1.5 lbs. I was so stoked. I lowered the cals a bit more and I have lost another 4.5 ibs. It is my TOM right now, so I haven't weighed myself, but I am so happy to be seeing some weight loss. I do think I was eating too little before and had stalled my progress. It is also nice to have the higher cal days (one I use on Saturday). I can usually stick to eating lower cal during the week, but weekends are always harder. I still eat well on my cheat day, but eat a bit more than I normally do during the week and maybe allow myself that glass of wine!! I am definitely sold on calorie cycling. It seems to be working for me. And I had tried everything to get my weight loss going again and nothing was working!!

Pattience
03-08-2014, 04:01 PM
Changing me, have you ever calculated what your total maintenance calories should be. Chances are it is exceedingly high compared to your 1200 or even 1400. I'm eating about 1600 now, with little exercise and i'm 3 inches shorter than you and losing weight easily.

I maintain its a good idea to start from understanding maintenance calories but don't overestimate the amount of exercise you do. I mean an hour at the gym if you are on your backside for the rest of the day is not really much exercise. But if you are on the move the whole day, it is.

Changing Me
03-08-2014, 05:04 PM
Changing me, have you ever calculated what your total maintenance calories should be. Chances are it is exceedingly high compared to your 1200 or even 1400. I'm eating about 1600 now, with little exercise and i'm 3 inches shorter than you and losing weight easily.

I maintain its a good idea to start from understanding maintenance calories but don't overestimate the amount of exercise you do. I mean an hour at the gym if you are on your backside for the rest of the day is not really much exercise. But if you are on the move the whole day, it is.

Hi Pattience
When I enter my information into freedieting.com, it tells me that my maintenance calories are 2046 a day (at 175). I usually exercise 4x a week and the calculator considers 20 mins of an elevated heart rate as exercise. I always work out anywhere from 30-60 mins each session. My job is pretty sedentary but once I am home from work, I am on the move. However, I don't eat back my calories burned either and I use a HRM when working out to get my calories burned, which is pretty accurate. I probably could be eating more, but old habits die hard. LOL. I have only been calorie cycling for a few weeks, so I am still playing with my calories etc. I am pretty close to my goal and that is when I will be very interested in finding my maintenance number. I really don't want to put any weight back on this time!!!

Pattience
03-09-2014, 05:57 AM
I'm not suggesting you eat 2046 calories but you see i think if that's your maintenance you are eating only 1200 and not losing weight, its clearly because your calories are too low.

Now i'd suggest your weight loss continues because you are eating more but still significantly less than your maintenance.

But also when you eat too few calories, you risk breaking your diet or rebounding badly through hunger.

So i'm glad what you are doing now is working for you. I don't think there's anything wrong with calorie cycling from what i can see, but i think there is something wrong with not eating enough. And i would guess your improvement is mainly due to increasing your calories rather than cycling.

Its got to do with the way the body processes carbohydrates and proteins and how it maintains health. When you don't have enough calories to do all the usual jobs, the body starts shutting down some processes that are required for good health. Imagine its like there is a shortage of power on the electricity grid. IN the real world when this is a problem, as in india, there will be a black out so that there is power where its needed most. Meanwhile millions of households all over the country have no power for hours at a time.

I hope that analogy may be clear enough to be useful.

Anyway i read that about how the body conserves energy when energy supply is low in this way some time ago and i thought it was a reputable source.

When calorie restriction is really severe, its easier to see where the body saves energy. Things start going a bit wonky. Women stop menstruating and other hormonal factors start playing up so you get things like hair growth in the wrong places. I"m not saying this is a risk for you at all. I'm just saying these examples so because they are quite easy to identify in yourself but it may not be so easy to see the effects if your calorie restriction is not that severe but you can be sure your body is not functioning at its most efficient when calories are restricted to this level.

I"ve heard that number 1200 bandied around a lot but it can't be the same for all of us. I think i think its for a woman of average height. but it also refers to the amount needed in a sedentary situation, not an active lifestyle or even for a working person.

christine123
03-27-2014, 12:53 AM
Calorie cycle and it's the only thing that has kept my weight loss consistent. It allows me to eat more on certain days and less on others. I can "bank" calories and have a much bigger meal one day.

What I look at is 7 day total of calories allotted for that week. My average needs to be around 1200 cals a day or I don't lose well. So, based on that, I eat more on some days and less on others. I have one really high day and then a low day right after. It's my own method, I guess.

I use my fitness pal and track everything I eat.... it will show me my weekly calories, so I know exactly how many calories I have for the week and I can "spend" them, and break them up over the week however I want. At the end of my week, it will calculate the daily average. I usually fall between 1150-1250 as the daily average for the week. I never once plateaued using this method. It has given me a lot of freedom also. Keeping it off is a different story altogether!