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Calling calorie counters. I REALLY need your help!!!

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Old 01-06-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default Calling calorie counters. I REALLY need your help!!!

Hey ladies. I tried doing a little research online and couldn't find an answer to my question. I knew you ladies and gents are the place to come for help.
Quick background. I have lost some weight successfully simply watching what I ate and exercising. Of course I hit a plateau because I wasn't following a strict diet or counting calories religiously. I have remained at that plateau for oh so long and I feel my only way to get moving on is to join the calorie counters.

This will be my first attempt to really commit to tracking everything, and I know it’s the right way for me. I love to cook, and love to lighten recipes. And have found the software to calculate recipe calories and I have a great handy app right on my phone. So I feel prepared and ready to follow this method of losing weight.

Here is my issue. I am afraid of making a bad choice in how many calories I set as a goal.

I believe that slow and steady wins the race, but I have recently let about 7 of the 16 pounds I previously lost sneak their ugly heads back on. I am training for a race in a few months and know that these 7 pounds will be a huge issue in training. I really want to lose the first seven really quickly. Like 2-3 pounds a week quickly. I would like to be close to my previously settled at weight by February 1st. Fueling for training is very important, so I can’t restrict calories too crazy much when I am really pushing the training. I don’t have the energy for long runs if my body doesn’t have proper fuel. So once I get back down those seven pounds I am totally happy with 1/2 to 1 pound a week weight loss.

Anyways I am VERY tempted to go down to 1235 calories a day for the remainder of the month of January. That is what calorie calculators say I would need to eat a day to lose 2 lbs a week. Hopefully with exercise I can make it closer to 2.5 lbs a week or so and get back down those 7 lbs by the end of January.

Problem is I am deathly afraid that I will end up becoming settled at that low amount of calories and then have no place else to go. I am afraid I wont be able to add calories without gaining weight back. Also I know that you shouldn't eat less than 1200 calories in a day. So when I hit a plateau I fear I'd have no place to go.

I have never restricted calories to that low of a level before, at least not consistently. I may have had days I ate that low or less, but I have never consistently counted calories for more than a two week "journaling" period. And when I have tried to ballpark calorie count I had goals of 1500-1800 calories a day.

I apologize I am so long winded in this message. I really want to be sure I am not setting myself up for failure. But I am also feeling desperate to get these few pounds of quickly so I can be assured to be at least at my normal weight by the time I really start trainging for this race. Having extra pounds greatly hampers my running time. I have been heavier and lighter than this in the 6 years I have been running half marathons, and have seen the difference extra pounds make on my training and race time. And this race is important to me. I am starting training earlier than ever for it (hopefully feb 1st) and hope to get my best time.

Thanks again and any comments are greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kara View Post
http://www.karacooks.com/share/Calculations.xls

I created this spreadsheet years ago when I got confused by all the online calculators out there. This is based on the 3 major calorie calcuation formulas: Harris-Benedict, Mifflin-St.Jeor, and Katch-Mcardle. I set it up so you can put in your stats and see how each one calculates your calories and then provides an average of all 3.

I use the average of all three and adjust accordingly from there.
Thank you so much! This is amazing by the way. I really appreciate your sharing your hard work.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I was so overwhelmed finding all different recomendations. This is a huge help.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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I think is a little bit low. I think 1500 - 1600 would be more like it. I follow a formula I have seen several times in different places, but don't remember where but it says 10 or 12 calories a pound per goal weight. Your goal weight is 139 so calories should be 1390 or 1668 depending on your activity level.
Using that formula for myself I take my goal wight and multiply by 12 and get 1440 calories per day and it works well for me.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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bargoo- I was feeling it was too low. I just let myself get caught up in this mini desperation of feeling I need to lose those recently gained back pounds quickly.

I think I knew that 1235 is much too low. But when you keep seeing it come up as an amount to lose those 2 lbs per week, I felt maybe I needed to be that low.

I need to just be happy if I am losing. And not be crazy about trying to drop weight faster than I can maintain anyways. Thanks for your reply. And congrats on your weightloss. You and Kara have both had such success. I feel it is always comforting to take advice from people who have been doing things that work.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:38 PM   #5
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ma, your dilemma sounds like mine, the last few years.

I have carried a few extra pounds, but usually not enough to be "overweight."

A few years ago, I started running, and I ran 26 marathons in 4 years. You'd think with all that running, I'd lose weight, but it was the opposite. It was a constant battle, because I needed to eat more, but it was a fine line.

Last year, I needed to take some time off running to focus on my academic work, so I went on Nutrisystem and started losing weight. A couple months later, I started running a little bit, and before I knew it, I'd signed up for a half marathon. It really worried me that I would start eating too much once my runs got up to 8-9 miles.

But in September, I bought a Fitbit, and that took all the guesswork out of it. Now I can run a half marathon, or be completely sedentary, and I know how many calories to eat, either way!

I sound like a commercial, because I'm always talking about it, but this little gadget really has been a great tool for me!

By the way, I ran two half marathons in a row this fall, and PR'd both times! It really does help to lose the weight. Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
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Queen Sarah- It is nice to know someone understands my dilemma. Is that like a body bug? Where it tracks the calories you are burning? Well done on your marathons! I have never done the whole 26.2. Just 1-4 halves in a year. Unfortunately I usually slack off in the fall and winter and my first race (the one I havent missed for 5 years) is in the last bit of April. Usually I have to go from almost no excercise to running again about feburary, but dont start really trainging hard until March. This year I want it to be different. I ran a race in November, but still let myself use the holidays as an excuse to slack off for about a month and a half. And gained those 7 lbs in that time!

Hopefully in a year from now I can be pretty close to goal weight and keep running through the holidays. I do want to go the whole distance soon. But when I keep having to start at square one again in the late winter I never see myself close enough to ready for that distance.

I have heard alot about body bug, but the intial cost plus monthly fees have made it hard to stomach paying that much. I am hoping that seriously counting calories can be enough.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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Kara, do you know why many of the calorie counters out there produce a lower number? If there are three major calorie counters and they all seem to produce a similar number, how can other sites, such as myfitnesspal, give a lower number? Your calculations are showing me around 1500 calories, but MFP has me around 1300. Really worried I'm going to really screw this all up.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for the information. I re-ran the numbers and one of the calculators gave me a high 1500 number, which is where I pulled that from. I was looking for the lowest possible number on the page to compare with the one from MFP. I was also guessing at my BF% as I've never had that measured before.

Thanks again for the information and your willingness to share your calculators.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Ok, I think I might be figuring this out. I went behind the scenes on MFP to customize my calorie intake instead of taking the one they automatically put on there. They are indicating my maintenance calories to be very close to the ones on your equations. The 1320 is my "net calories", meaning intake calories minus exercise calories. So realistically, I am eating around 1600, but working off almost 300, leaving me the net calorie intake. I was reading it as a specific calorie intake number and getting frustrated that it all didn't make sense in my head.

I can see where this could be misleading, because if I don't work out today, I'm only eating 1320 calories, which may be too low for me. I'll have to think this out in my head.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ma26 View Post
Queen Sarah- It is nice to know someone understands my dilemma. Is that like a body bug? Where it tracks the calories you are burning? Well done on your marathons! I have never done the whole 26.2. Just 1-4 halves in a year. Unfortunately I usually slack off in the fall and winter and my first race (the one I havent missed for 5 years) is in the last bit of April. Usually I have to go from almost no excercise to running again about feburary, but dont start really trainging hard until March. This year I want it to be different. I ran a race in November, but still let myself use the holidays as an excuse to slack off for about a month and a half. And gained those 7 lbs in that time!

Hopefully in a year from now I can be pretty close to goal weight and keep running through the holidays. I do want to go the whole distance soon. But when I keep having to start at square one again in the late winter I never see myself close enough to ready for that distance.

I have heard alot about body bug, but the intial cost plus monthly fees have made it hard to stomach paying that much. I am hoping that seriously counting calories can be enough.
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I'm concerned by the number of people who seem to think that they NEED some kind of electronic equipment to lose weight successfully. The bodybugg or any other device doesn't DO anything for you to cause weight loss. When you say you "hope counting calories will be enough" ... that's still what you do with the BodyBugg/GWF. The device doesn't make any difference ... all it tells you is how many calories you're burning. You still have to count them and eat less and you can still do that by running the calculations and estimating.

I have a GWF (same thing as a BodyBugg). I've used a fitbit. I've got a polar heart rate monitor. I'm a big time geek and I love my toys. But I lost plenty of weight before I got those things. They made not one teeny tiny bit of difference to my ability to lose weight by counting calories. All they do is give me more data points to go on and show me that the calculations are pretty much correct to begin with.

No one needs any of this crap to lose weight.

I have to disagree with this a little bit -- it's true, many people would do fine without a gadget to measure calorie burn. But in my case, it really was a dilemma because my calorie burn was all over the place -- sedentary one day, and running 14 miles the next. It really was an enormous help to me, to get an estimate on how much I was really burning. Not just in the exercise periods, but in my daily activity (which sometimes involved walking up to six miles a day, but sometimes not.)

It just takes the guesswork out. It will be even more important when I start running the full marathons again!

The Fitbit is smaller than the BodyBugg, much less expensive, and has no monthly costs. It doesn't give you quite as much data, but it gives you all the important things.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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Ma26, I'm glad you're figuring all of this out and I hope you don't mind me making a comment? It sounds like you are really wanting to lose weight quickly and I totally get that because that is my instinct as well. I want this weight off asap. However, I've been through this lots of times and I do feel (really hope) that this time is different. I have learned a lot from one of the members here. Her name is Kaplods and her posts have really helped me SO MUCH with how to deal with this process mentally. I just wanted to recommend that you search some of her posts, particularly ones involving setting time limits for losing x amount of lbs. by x date. Either way, I want to wish you all the best!
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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luckymommy- Thank you for your comment and I will look her up. After posting this and seeing some responses, as well as looking other places on this site I am realizing that while I may have put that weight on very fast, if I expect to lose it just as quickly I am probably setting myself up for a fall. Yes I want to be back to my previous stalled weight to say the least. But more than that I want to eventually get to a weight where I feel comfortable and good. And I have done crazy workouts and diets that cut whole food groups and lost weight quickly, and inevitably gained it back. I know slow and steady is best. So I need to accept that and just be consistent! Thanks again!

Queen Sarah- The crazy differences in calorie burn from day to day when in a training program is exactly why I am a little worried about calorie counting on my own. That's why I said I hope its enough. If I lift and run three miles I know that I can stick with a calorie allotment like the 1700 that the formula says I should eat to lose. The problem lies in the 6-9 to 12 mile runs. If you dont give your body enough fuel you wont perform. And I have not been able to find that balance thay enables me to have energy and still complete the long run work outs while losing weight. Maybe form counting caloires i will be able to easily figure it out as I go, but if not its great to hear about how technology can really help. I think I will start with this calorie counting plan for January (since I dont plan to do more than six miles this month). And then when I start adding miles I'll see if I can adjust and still lose a little weight. But I will definitely keep the fitbit in mind. Hearing there is no monthly fee is awesome. And I know I will hit a plateau and perhaps that will be a great way to not have to stress and guess what I need to eat for the long runs.

Thanks again to everyone for their posts. I am gleaning a ton of very good information from all these posts.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #13
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ma, I have a feeling you are going to do just GREAT! I can't wait to hear about your race! (makes me want to sign up for one, as well!)
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