Calorie Counters - Do you have to eat all of your calories?




SophiasMom
06-26-2014, 05:37 PM
Hi everyone :)

I recently started counting calories and have been able to eat a majority of them; however, there are days that I do a really good work out and, according to the My Fitness Pal App, I have lots of calories left for the day. Well I make I conscious effort to eat them (especially on hard workout days to refuel), but some days I feel like I'm forcing myself to eat them.. is it okay to not eat them? There have been times I haven't and then my app says something about putting myself in starvation mode. Trust me.. I'm not starving lol!


Any feedback on this would be great - thanks for reading :)


I came back to edit to get some light shed on appropriate intake, too. I am currently allowing myself 1200/day - I have been very happy with that.


Koshka
06-26-2014, 06:14 PM
My favorite article on "starvation mode"

http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/starvation-mode/

As far as eating all your calories, I guess it depends. I'm 5'4" and on MFP my calories are set at 1200. I do average that over time, but there are days that I'm well above that and some days I am a little below it. It doesn't bother me if, for example, I end the day at 1100 calories. On the other hand, if it was evening and I was at 500 calories then I would certainly eat more food.

Novus
06-26-2014, 06:19 PM
How did you come up with 1,200 calories per day? Have you calculated your BMR and TDEE? MFP adds your exercise expenditure to your TDEE...this is why your calorie amount increases when you log exercise. If you've figured your TDEE with the correct amount of exercise, you don't need to worry about eating the additional calories. And remember that you don't want to set your calories too low because as you lose weight, you will need to decrease your calorie allotment.

Also, do you weigh your food with a scale? If not, you may be eating more than you think you are. Guestimating and measuring cups/spoons can be very inaccurate.

Finally, starvation mode is a myth. However, your metabolism may be affected by consuming too few calories. This is referred to as "survival mode" or "conservation mode."


seagirl
06-26-2014, 07:53 PM
When I see these posts, I always know that the person has just started on their weight loss. None of us got here because we have a long term problem of not eating enough. ;)

Just go by how your body feels. Yes, the first few days you may be less hungry. Other days you may be more hungry and eat more towards the high end of your calorie range.

SophiasMom
06-27-2014, 12:14 AM
Thanks everyone for their replies, I really do appreciate it. I used an online calorie calculator that generated what calories I should take in based on weight, height, etc.

Novus, I'm not sure what TDEE is; however, I'm sure if I googled it I could no more about it, lol. I'm very new to counting calories and I have done other diets in the past such as South Beach and weight watchers. Is there more to it that am not aware of? Maybe I should research it more. I am measuring my food with measuring tools such as measuring cups and measuring spoons - but no scale yet. Should I be weighing my food? I have been following nutrition labels and MFP searches for meats and other items that can not be put in a measuring cup.

Koshka,,thanks for the link - I will definitely keep that in mind :)

Seagirl, don't get me wrong - I'm not starving, but I am hungry lol. I had 200+ and 300+ calories to spare one my first two days (today and yesterday) and was fine until right before I hit the bed. Literately seconds before I fell asleep. My stomach was growling. There was no way I was going to eat that late, much less before going to bed :/ maybe I should eat the calories anyway?

I just want to do it right. I want this to be the final time I "start over" - know what I mean? Any suggestions or resources would be great :)

Thanks again for reading and posting!


----

I found this thread to be very helpful. Maybe I can follow the guidelines on here about how many calories I should take in?

I can't post the link because I don't have enough post counts, but it's the thread with the calorie counting FAQs

seagirl
06-27-2014, 07:00 AM
If I am starving before I go to bed, not usual but it happens - I'll have yogurt or something right before bed otherwise I wake up nauseous. If you find it happens a lot, add 100 calories to each meal and you'll meet your goal. That could be as simple as using full fat instead of non-fat dairy and a piece of fruit or something.

Good luck!

SophiasMom
06-27-2014, 10:13 AM
sea girl - yogurt before bedtime doesn't sound like a bad idea. Thank you :)

pattience - thanks for your response. I'm getting a cleared picture of starvation more each day. I didn't read up on it until yesterday when a forum member posted a link to what it means and then input from others and a little web research. I wasn't worried about starvation mode, at any point, I was more concerned about the extra number of calories I had left over by the end of the day. What worries me even more now is that, according to what new material I am reading, I should be taking in 300 more calories a day which will put me at a higher remaining number come end of day.

I think I will take your and others advice and just consume a 100 calories more in each meal and that should cover me :)

I truly appreciate all of the feedback, y'all! Thanks~

berryblondeboys
06-27-2014, 11:46 AM
Until very recent times there was no counting calories as we didn't know how to measure calories. So, ideas, to me, of trying to be so precise with counting calories seems ludicrous.

If you aren't hungry, you aren't hungry. Leave it be. When you get hungry, eat in moderation to still create a caloric deficit, but otherwise, don't worry about it.

nonameslob
06-27-2014, 11:53 AM
Until very recent times there was no counting calories as we didn't know how to measure calories. So, ideas, to me, of trying to be so precise with counting calories seems ludicrous.

If you aren't hungry, you aren't hungry. Leave it be. When you get hungry, eat in moderation to still create a caloric deficit, but otherwise, don't worry about it.

I agree.

It's also incredibly difficult to accurately measure how many calories you've burned through exercise, so I don't find it wise to rely on those numbers and then "eat back" your exercise calories. Obviously if you're more hungry from a hard workout, eat something! but otherwise I don't find it something you should focus on?

berryblondeboys
06-27-2014, 12:01 PM
I agree.

It's also incredibly difficult to accurately measure how many calories you've burned through exercise, so I don't find it wise to rely on those numbers and then "eat back" your exercise calories. Obviously if you're more hungry from a hard workout, eat something! but otherwise I don't find it something you should focus on?

Exactly... and some things we can't measure easily. Like an apple can be 80 calories or 180 calories. Meat can have more or less fat on it. Fruits can have more or less sugar in it and so on. Even when we think we are measuring precisely, we could be (and probably are) 100-300 calories off daily. Like last night I made flour, egg, and bread crumb battered pork cutlets for the family - cooked in oil. I cooked them at appropriate temp and drained on paper towels, but how can I REALLLY know how much flour, egg, bread crumbs and oil are in each piece? Only thing I can really weigh ahead of time was the meat slice, but total calorie count at the end of the process could vary wildly.

SophiasMom
06-27-2014, 12:14 PM
nonameslob and berryblondeboys,

I love it. I think that what you are saying is fair. My primary focus is to be very conscious about what I eat and how much of it I eat. Thanks so much for responding :)

Pattience,

You give me hope on not having to kill myself with exercise, haha. I've jogged 2 miles in the last two days with some upper or lower body exercises afterwards (alternating days). Today is core day and I really want to do it, but am REALLY sore.. I still plan on doing it, but may just do 1 mile beforehand, instead of the 2 - who knows.. but it's great to see that you have incorporated light workouts in your WOE and have lost weight!

You guys are great!

TooWicky
06-27-2014, 12:51 PM
I count calories to the best of my ability. I do not estimate calories burned through exercise, and don't "eat back" calories I've earned through exercise. I definitely eat very close to or all of my calories, lol. I had never dieted before 15 months ago. I did not and still don't know very much about dieting and nutrition, but calorie counting appeals to me because it helps to teach me portion control and helps to distinguish between lighter and richer dishes. Best of luck to you!

I settled on a daily calorie amount myself; I didn't use a formal calculator to figure out what mine should be. When I first joined here I saw some serious dieters use "1200" so I just started at that. I found I was super hungry at that number, so very soon after I adjusted to 1400. At my height and current weight, 1500 calories a day results in a modest weight loss of about 1 to 1.5 lbs per week. I seldom exercise. (that needs to change :ebike:)

freelancemomma
06-27-2014, 11:03 PM
Until very recent times there was no counting calories as we didn't know how to measure calories. So, ideas, to me, of trying to be so precise with counting calories seems ludicrous.

If you aren't hungry, you aren't hungry. Leave it be. When you get hungry, eat in moderation to still create a caloric deficit, but otherwise, don't worry about it.

Totally agree. OP, you're making it more complicated than it needs to be. Just eat at a slight-to-moderate caloric deficit and don't worry about all these details. A more apt term for "starvation mode" is conservation mode. Your body does seek to conserve energy when you're dieting, but it can never conserve enough energy to prevent you from losing weight. You'll lose weight whether you eat 800 or 1,000 cals or 1,200 cals in a day.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of not being hungry enough to eat your allotted calories (after all, as someone pointed out, none of us got overweight by being too full to finish our plates), but if you're truly not hungry there's no earthly reason to force yourself to eat.

Same with drinking, by the way. Drink if you're thirsty and don't worry about getting X amount of water in your system.

F.

SophiasMom
06-27-2014, 11:05 PM
Wicky - seldom exercise and you are where you are in weight?! That's fantastic to hear! It's very inspiring and I hope you continue to do great :)

Patience - I feel like I've been jotting down all of your info and really appreciate it. Can I keep you in my pocket??

Freelance - thank you for the input. I have taken it a little easier today and didn't worry too much about stressing over accuracy but I was very mindful on portions and water intake. Thanks for adding on to what they've said - very relieving!