Calorie Counters - Eat more calories???

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06-25-2014, 02:56 AM
I need some advice for a problem that I don't think I've ever had before in my entire life!!!....eating enough calories.

I have tried to go by the rule of "eat until you're full" and "only eat when you're hungry" but for some reason, I am just not as hungry lately. I eat at least 2 full meals and 2 snacks each day. I'm drinking all my water and trying to start exercising some. However, when I started actually tracking my cals, I'm still under what my minimum number of calories should be. So, should I stick by the rules and just eat when I'm hungry and until I'm full, or should I add more high calorie foods? I'm afraid if I start trying to add a lot more calories, I'll just go overboard with it. But, I have always been taught that if you don't eat enough calories, you'll stall or even gain because your body goes into starvation mode. Any advice?????

06-25-2014, 04:09 AM
How many calories are you trying to eat? That is what do you think your minimum calories should be? And, how did you determine that amount?

Starvation Mode

I like this article:

Yes, if you don't eat much food then your metabolism may slow down some, but it won't cause you to totally not lose weight or to gain (if it did, then people wouldn't die of starvation, but they do).

Eat until Full

If you wait until you are full before stopping eating, then you will probably overeat. There is a lag in time from the point where you have really had enough until you feel full. It is better to determine a reasonable portion size before you start eating and eat that, rather than just keeping eating until you feel full.

Eat only when hungry

Yes and no. Yes, I agree that it is best to eat to provide needed fuel to the body. If I am eating because (1) I'm depressed, (2) I'm angry, (3) I feel sorry for myself, (4) I can't bee happy without eating, or (5) I must eat what I don't want to eat to be polite -- then, yes, that isn't good.

On the other hand, if I wait until I'm truly hungry to eat, then I am way more likely to overeat. It is much better to set a time to eat and eat then before you get to the super hungry point.

No, if you truly aren't hungry and food makes you want to gag, then I'm not saying you should eat. I'm just advocating eating before you get to the really hungry point.

06-25-2014, 07:05 AM
How did you determine your calorie amount? Did you calculate your BMR, TDEE, etc.? What percentages are you aiming for with your macronutrients? Fat tends to be the most caloric of the most macronutrients; what percentage do you aim for on that?

Do you weigh everything that you eat? If not, you could well be eating more than you think you are. The scale is the most accurate way to track your food. Guessing and measuring cups/spoons can be way off.

If those things are in line and you're still low in calories then, yes, you need to figure out how to increase your calories because (1) too few calories affects your metabolism (2) you're more likely to lose muscle than fat - not a good thing! and (3) as you lose weight and your calorie needs decrease, if your calories are already too low then you have no way to drop them further.

06-25-2014, 10:18 AM
It depends a bit on WHAT you're eating as well.

Are you getting enough healthy fats? That would up your calories without drastically changing the volume of what you're eating (and make it much tastier if you're not eating fats now).

What about protein? Are you eating enough of that?

I could see someone not being able to eat enough calories if they are sticking to big salads with minimal fat free dressing, and things like that. It would be easy to eat until you're quite full without consuming a whole lot of calories. If you put some full fat salad dressing and a few ounces of cooked chicken on there, then you have a full meal at a calorie count that is more in fitting with the standard advice.

06-25-2014, 02:50 PM
I have used calculators, advice from physicians, etc. etc. etc. and I keep getting that I should be eating approx. 1600 cals/daily.

A few times I have had to force myself to eat, And I never seem to fully get to the "hungry" point.

Here are some of my daily meals:

Day A
3 slices of lean turkey bacon, 4 eggs (only 1 with yolk), 2 T of cheese, 4 strawberries / Protein shake: protein powder, slim fast shake, unsweetened almond milk / 5 oz. of baked chicken, a whole bag of steamed broccoli, and 1/4 cup cheese / protein bar.

Day B
3 slices lean bacon, 4 eggs (only 1 with yolk), 2 T cheese / Greek yogurt & strawberries / protein bar / 5 oz. chicken, whole bag of steamed veggies / 2 ginger cookies w/ 2 T of cool whip and cup of unsweetened almond milk.

This is pretty much what my days are looking like. I'm getting enough food, but I only end up with around 1200 calories. I feel like my food choices are okay, and I'm terrified that if I start adding in too many higher calorie foods, then I'll go overboard....

Thank you guys for the responses & support!!

06-25-2014, 03:05 PM
Excuse me as I'm not a calorie counter, I hope you don't mind if I butt in with my two cents! I really like the link Koshka posted about starvation mode (though I don't 100% agree that it's entirely calories in/calories out, but I'm not highly educated in this...I've just formed an opinion based on what I have read on the internet!).

Which leads to my (important!) question...are you losing weight? If so, I would just keep doing what you're doing! If you're losing weight and you aren't hungry and you feel healthy, why change anything?

However, if for some reason you still feel the need to up your calories, you can easily make some swaps in what you're already eating. 4 eggs with one yolk can easily be swapped for two or three whole eggs (and probably just as filling). Regular bacon instead of turkey bacon, or sausage if you like it. Just a thought, but honestly it sounds like you're doing just fine.

06-25-2014, 03:09 PM
I have just started really tracking my calories, but I've lost maybe 4 lbs. in the last week and a half or so. So I don't think I'm losing too fast, especially since I weigh more, I (and most people) lose more in the beginning anyway.

Thank you :)

06-25-2014, 03:11 PM
Sounds like a great start :) I wouldn't change anything unless you go like a month without a loss (or start to get miserable). Keep it up!

06-25-2014, 03:32 PM
Oh i wish i had your problem;-)) I always feel hungry!;-)) Counting calories is rather difficult thing(( I envy you and think that you have nice food choices and calories are enough. I agree with above person: if you feel good and active, if you don't hungry, if you lose weight - then why change something?) good luck to you! keep going;-)

06-25-2014, 03:35 PM
Sounds like a great start :) I wouldn't change anything unless you go like a month without a loss (or start to get miserable). Keep it up!

Yep. Agreed.

06-26-2014, 06:37 AM
Do you use a food scale? If not, you could well be eating more than you think you are. The scale is the most accurate way to track your food. Guessing and measuring cups/spoons can be way off.

06-27-2014, 12:19 AM
Glad I found this thread. I'd really like to learn more about calorie counting, perhaps I'm doing it wrong?

Madison, if you don't mind me asking, what resource are you using to generate the amount you should take in?

06-27-2014, 03:04 AM
Thank you guys so much! I knew I could get encouragement and support from you guys. Thank you everybody !

As for the calorie info....I have used several apps and google calculators. I kept trying different ones to is I got drastically different results...but I didn't.

06-27-2014, 06:57 AM
This is a common issue with people when the begin to pay attention to what they eat. Don't worry about it. Your body will self correct. None of us got here by having a long term problem of not eating enough calories.

See how you feel energy-wise, mood-wise and what the scale does over time.

06-27-2014, 10:06 AM
Thanks seagirl :-)