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Old 08-04-2007, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default I Still Can't Understand

How so many of you are able to subsist on such low calorie counts. A lot of you eat between 1200-1500 calories a day and seem to be thriving. On the other hand I'm struggling to stay below 1800 and at that level I'm constantly hungry and I have to struggle to get through the workday. And yes I am eating healthy food and avoiding the vending machines

What are all of you eating (besides skinless chicken plain veggies and --yuck!-- cottage cheese) to keep your calories so low?

I'd appreciate it if nobody jumped in to say that I'm not ready to lose weight simply because I asked this question.
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Old 08-04-2007, 05:55 PM   #2
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LOL Who in the world would say you are not ready to lose weight just because you asked a perfectly legitimate question?

How long have you been counting calories? It will take your body some time to adjust to eating so much less. I went from 2500-3500 calories a day to 1700...And I was really hungry at first.

Instead of trying to do it all at once...Just make one small change every week. No more cokes one week....No more fast food the next week. Slowly start weeding out the bad portions of your diet so you can gradually get used to the change. Or, do what I did, and just tough it out the first week or two at your new calorie range and eventually you will adjust
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:01 PM   #3
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I don't think you can really go by what you see others doing. Metabolisms and appetites do vary a lot. When I weighed 305 lbs (and 15 years younger) I went to Nutrisystem, and my starting calorie limit was 2200 calories, and I was losing well on that. Now I weigh more than that, but I have to eat a lot less to lose any weight because I can't be as active.

Instead, if you're losing weight 1800 calories a day is fine for you, and in fact if you feel like you're starving and you don't mind losing 1/2 lb less per week, you could even raise your calories to 2050. There aren't any magic numbers for anyone, you just have to tweak until you find a balance that is comfortable for you.
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:08 PM   #4
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Hi there,

I am to get under 1500 and do so most days of the week. This summer has been mostly about maintaining a 10 lb. loss from the spring - it is a challenge for me to get 1500 or fewer many days in the summer because for us there is LOTS of entertaining, eating out, more drinking, eating at friends (like tonight), so maintaining is where I am right now. However my body requires me to eat only around 1200-1300 to lose, so soon I plan to drop down a bit and focus on losing the last 5-10 lbs.

To answer your question of WHAT to eat - a typical day for me would be

breakfast -- 3 -4 egg white omelet with 1/8- 1/4 c. low fat feta cheese (tastes delicious) and sliced fresh tomatoes on the side. If I have avocado, I will add a 1/4 sliced Haas avocado to top omelet. Some days I will have egg on a high fiber whole wheat wrap instead of omelete (like a breakfast burrito - with onions, pepper, etc. if I have time)

Snack could vary -- maybe a high fiber muffin with a smear of lite cream cheese
OR one serving crackers with laughing cow cheese wedge
fruit - maybe with yogurt
maybe 12 almonds

Dinner -- we have been eating out a lot this summer, but at home I often have a HUGE salad with dark greens (no iceberg) - feta cheese, chick peas, whatever veggie I have, diced chicken if I have chicken, etc. I use Newman's Own dressing

Night snack -- 100 calorie pack popcorn or something ... I have to have a night snack.

Ok, I know this is long winded, but that might be a typical day. Oh, I forgot lunch, but you get the idea. I think you can sustain yourself on fewer calories IF you make choices that include protein, some complex carbs, and lots of fiber.

Also, you did not say your height or weight - it's very possible that you may not need to even lower your calories - a lot of people on here seem to LOSE on 1700 -1800 calories or even more (obviously depends on your size, individual metabolism, and amount of exercise).

So, just experiment and see how many calories you can eat and still lose a reasonable amount of weight on. Then I would stick to that and make adjustments as needed.

Best of luck to you... sorry to get so rambling
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:16 PM   #5
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marlu~what is your typical menu? Write down a day's worth of eating and we'll help you "trim" it.

As for me, I often come in around 1200-1400 (although it was over 1500 yesterday). I do eat a lot of vegetables because they are filling and low in calories. I love cottage cheese, but don't eat it that often.

One thing that I do is check out Cooking Light recipes weekly and choose my dinners from there. I can make a very nice dinner for between 200-350 calories per portion and a lot of the time it includes a side (for example chile rubbed steak with corn and red pepper relish is 190 per person and it was YUMMY!)

I try to eat like this:
B~200 calories
S~100
L~300
S~100
D~500
that's 1200. It isn't always that way, but it seems to work for me.
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sockmonkey70 View Post
LOL Who in the world would say you are not ready to lose weight just because you asked a perfectly legitimate question?

How long have you been counting calories? It will take your body some time to adjust to eating so much less. I went from 2500-3500 calories a day to 1700...And I was really hungry at first.

Instead of trying to do it all at once...Just make one small change every week. No more cokes one week....No more fast food the next week. Slowly start weeding out the bad portions of your diet so you can gradually get used to the change. Or, do what I did, and just tough it out the first week or two at your new calorie range and eventually you will adjust
In an earlier post I expressed my feelings that the 1600 calorie limit the Daily Plate suggested for me seemed a little low for someone with a physical job ( I bust my butt all day) who also exercises and got several replies basically stating that I wasn't ready to commit myself to weight loss.

As far as changing things in concerned, well I hate fast food and I mostly drink water. I eat a lot of lean proteins, veggies and grains.Lately I've been snacking on plain popcorn and apples. Sometimes I have a hard-boiled egg. Dh and I both use splenda and fat free half and half in our coffee.

I honestly don't know what else I can change or cut out.
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:28 PM   #7
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You haven't told us your weight. Are you so close to goal that it's very hard for you to lose weight or are you quite heavy? Weight Watchers has heavier people eating more and as your weight goes down so does your food intake. A bit more info would allow us to help a bit more.
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:46 PM   #8
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Hey marlu!

As I remember, you eat a very large dinner every evening with your husband. You struggle during the day because you're working physically, but at the same time trying not to eat so much so you can eat that large dinner with him. Do I have this correct, or am I remembering someone else? If so, I apologize--I do read a lot of posts. Anyway, assuming I do have the story straight...

You're likely to get hungry if you're not eating enough during the day. Unfortunately, our bodies don't care if we ate a big dinner the night before--we still get hungry! So, as I think some members suggested before this, you need to space those calories out more. Less at dinner, more during the day when you're working. This is probably what you're going to have to change, if you haven't done so.

Hope it helps!

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Old 08-04-2007, 06:47 PM   #9
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I think everyone else pretty much said what I would. Somedays I struggle to get to 1200 and others I'm way up at 1600. Once you limit yourself you won't be as hungry. And you will also start enjoying things like veggies instead of craving sugar.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:00 PM   #10
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Marlu I am a big advocate or spacing meals and snacks about 2-3hours apart. This on a good day gives me 5-6 meals during the day.

Breakfast is using either a bowl of oat meal and either a yogurt or piece of fruit such as a banana or apple.

snack 2-3 hours later and thats either a piece of fruit, a yogurt (sometimes both), some string cheese or 2 hard boiled eggs.

Lunch 2-3 hours later either chicken breast (found some low cal smoked ones) or tailpia fish (I know I spelled that wrong) with a veggie (corn, sweet peas or brocolli) and a small helping of whole grain brown rice

snack either a yogurt or string cheese

Supper I usually modify what everyone else is having to fit me. Tonight is chicken leg quaters. I'll have one without the skin or fat. Whatever veggie they are having probably string beans and small helping of whole grain brown rice.

One last snack sometimes either 100cal pack of cookies, a yogurt or fruit.

Mine is more of a range for calories. I can never get right on the mark for calories so a range works better for me and equals out in the end.

Most important thing is to find what works for you. One which will keep satisfied and helps you lose weight. What works for one here may not work for another. You have to experiment and see what will work for you.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:03 PM   #11
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Honestly, I used to eat 2-3,000 calories without blinking.. but that's because of the foods I was eating. My servings were way off, so I was consuming a ton of calories. Now I am aware of what proper portions are, and my outlook has changed. Now, I focus on 'whole foods' and foods that I love and I find that I stay a lot more full and eat a lot less often. I also get to eat a LOT more because most 'whole foods' are also low in calories. I don't eat any 'plain skinless chicken, cottage cheese, or veggies plain'... I search all around for yummy, healthy ways to prepare all of my favorite dishes.. they're out there, you just have to look. I eat pretty normal foods.. chicken and fish prepared in a million ways (not a big meat eater), grilled/roasted/steamed veggies with delicious herbs/olive oil, tons of delicious fruit, nuts, wraps and sandwiches, soups, sweet potatoes, all kinds of stuff! I still have waffles, PB & J, sweets, crackers, pizza.. everything that I did before, but in a new, much healthier way. I don't deprive myself of anything! It's actually fun to learn how to cook things in new ways and see how yummy they are. My breakfast is usually under 250 calories (english muffin + egg + fruit or 2 waffles + yogurt or cereal + milk + fruit), and then my lunch and dinner are about 400 or so each (maybe a wrap pizza, a pita w/ turkey and cheese and veggies, or a PB & J or soup for lunch and some veggies or chips, and usually some variation of chicken + veggie + pasta/rice/potato/salad for dinner), and that leaves plenty of room for snacks (crackers, fruit, trail mix, chips, whatever I want really).. and I have been aiming for around 1300 calories per day.

Why don't you post the foods that you usually have in your diet, and we would be more then willing to help you learn how to prepare/cook them in a healthier, delicious way. We all got 'fat' by either eating the wrong foods or too much food in general, so we're all willing to help.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:46 PM   #12
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I used to just shake my head when people (with a lot of weight to lose, especially) said they just couldn't get in all of their calories (1200 - 1500 calories especially) because they were just too full. I wondered if they were measuring wrong or were in some alternate universe I'd never visited.

I understand it a little better now. My daily calorie goal is between 1200 - 1800 daily (lower on the days I don't get in any exercise). There are days that I can eat on the lower end and still feel fairly satisfied, and others when I exceed 1800 and still am absolutely starved.

I've been keeping a food journal, a daily diary, and a list of the most filling low calorie foods.

I've learned that for me:

Regular exercise initially increased my appetite, but after a while I've noticed that it actually helps lower my appetite.

Water really helps reduce appetite. I don't go nuts, but try to get in 2 - 3 quarts every day. (I do count all beverages, including those with caffeine, really helps reduce appetite more than say diet soda). Plain water reduces my appetite more than other beverages, followed by unsweetened beverages. Diet soda's sometimes increase my appetite for salty snacks, but satisfy my sweet tooth, so it's a trade off.

Oatmeal is one of the most filling breakfasts. Followed by reduced-yolk omelets with lots of veggies (I use one whole egg and then 2 - 3 more whites).

Raw veggies with low fat dip are very helpful. So are roasted low cal veggies (my absolute favorite is eggplant. I cut in cubes, toss with a very tiny amount of oil and ranch dressing powder then roast at 400 for about 25 minutes). I found that I can eat a lot less meat and be satisfied if I eat roasted eggplant or mushroom.

TVP - textured vegetable protein - made from soy. I buy it in bulk and use the granules, which look like grapenuts cereal). I use it to extend and lighten the calories in ground beef. For taco filling I brown 1 lb of 85- 90% lean ground beef in a little cooking spray with lots of veggies (onion, celery, fresh or dried garlic, green pepper, and even sometimes finely diced carrot, eggplant, mushroom). Then I add 1 cup of tvp granules, and 1 cup of chicken broth, or water and a bouillon cube of any flavor. Then I add 1 can of black beans, or nonfat refried beans (or sometimes leftover wheat berries, which are cooked like rice). Then I add my taco seasonings and 1 can of finely diced or pureed tomatoes, and maybe a small can of diced green chilis.

This is so yummy that many of my husband's friends have asked for the recipe, and are shocked that it contains "fake" meat. Using corn tortillas saves calories over flour, but making taco salads save even more.

I make a brazillian shrimp cocktail for lunch or for a fancy pre-dinner appetizer. It's not really measured, just shrimp in Pace picante sauce with a dash of lemon or lime juice, a tsp of Splenda, diced red or green onion, and if I want it spicy some pickled jalapeno slices, diced. I thaw frozen cooked shrimp in cool water, and toss them with the salsa. The restaurant dish I patterned this after served it with diced avocado in it and saltines on the side. I eliminate the saltines and the avocado (or once in a great while, dice a tiny bit of avocado into it).

I make a virgin strawberry daquiri that makes a very filling low cal dessert or snack. About a cup of frozen strawberries go into the blender with diet Mountain Dew I don't measure, I just pour the Dew until it covers about 2/3 to 3/4 the strawberries, and pulse until slushy. Maybe add a little Splenda (but usually not).

WW zero point soups or other low cal veggie or broth soups are also great lunch and dinner main dishes or starters (I googled zero point soups and found tons of great recipes from egg-drop to borshct).

I've found that the principles of lower glycemic index foods, and in the book Volumetrics (high volume, low calorie foods are more filling) were probably the most influential in finding low cal filling foods.
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Old 08-04-2007, 07:52 PM   #13
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Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that my taco recipe feeds a crowd. Though I make it this way even for just my husband and I because I put the leftovers in a ziploc freezer bag, and about every 15 minutes, go to the freezer and mush the bag around (lightly, so as not to crush the beans), until it is completely frozen, but crumbled. This way, I can pour out what we need for future meals and microwave it, or stir it into a simmering soup or other hot dish. Often I do not add the beans or taco seasonings before freezing. This way the crumbled beef mixture can be used in place of browned ground beef not only in tacos but in any recipe that calls for ground beef.
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:32 PM   #14
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This is what I ate yesterday for 1299 calories:

Woke up - 16 oz. water
Breakfast - 1/4 cup old fashioned oats cooked in 1/2 cup skim milk with 1/4 cup raisins
About a half hour later - 16 oz. water
Before lunch - 16 oz. water
Lunch - 1 cup raw spinach with 1/2 a cucumber (sliced), 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, and a cut up portobello mushroom burger (my own recipe) with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsalmic vinegar
Afternoon - 16 oz. water and a hard-boiled egg
Before dinner - 16 oz. water
Dinner - (This was a weird day - we're leaving on vacation so I'm trying to clear out the fridge - normally I wouldn't have this for dinner!) 1 cup fat free cottage cheese with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts with a 16 oz. glass of skim milk
Dessert - one 100 calorie ice cream sandwich

I don't know if that helps you or not. When I started calorie counting I was easily eating over 2000 calories a day and when I cut down to 1500 I was starving for the first week, but now I can eat 1300 and feel satisfied.

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Old 08-04-2007, 08:59 PM   #15
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My typical day is something like this (it hurts my pride to include the empty calories, but here we go):

Breakfast:
Kashi GoLean Crunch - 1/3 cup - 77 calories
Natural/plain yogurt - 175 grams - 100 calories

Lunch:
-4 cups of lettuce: 39 calories
-chicken breast, 3/4 cup diced: 198 calories
-parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp: 21 calories

Dinner:
-Grillissimo Hamburger Bun: 160 calories
-BBQ sauce: 60 calories
-Janes Chicken Burger, grilled - 130 calories
-cheese: 29 calories
-relish: 19 calories
-mixed greens, 4 cups: ~40 calories

Snacks:
-two egg whites, cooked: 33 calories
-Del Monte frozen yogurt bar (empty calories, I know): 110 calories
-Larabar cinnamon roll natural bar: 210 calories
-banana, whole, small: 90 calories
-Real Fibre tablets, 2: 18 calories
Small fruit salad:
-Honeydew melon - 44 calories
-Watermelon - 23 calories
-Grapes, raw - 21 calories
______
Total: ~1400-1450 calories
~25% protein, ~50% carbs, ~25% fat

I eat pretty much non-stop all day, so I rarely feel hungry. And, as you can see, I could probably substitute veggies for some of the emptier calories (Del Monte bar, BBQ sauce, etc.) and dip my calories even lower without suffering too much, so I suspect that the people eating ~1200 calories are doing just that.

Hope that gives you some ideas!
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