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Old 05-15-2013, 04:43 AM   #1
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Default New To Calorie Counting Trying To Find A Good Balance Advice Please!!

Hi everyone! I'm new to several things recently. Let me start by giving a little background, I'm 25, 5'5" and 156 pounds. I would like to loose 25 pounds or so. I haven't ever had a flat stomach or been considered thin, aside from when I was a little kid. I've always been called thick or other similar words which are just nicer forms of chubby. (Pretty sure I've been called that too) I feel like if I could just loose these 25 pounds I might be in my goal body that I've never seen!

I've tried many things like cutting things out completely that are considered "bad" and I have always failed because I really just love food and I can't stand to deprive myself to be honest! Recently I had a big change in my schedule and I was feeling really blah to say the least so I decided to start Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (side note, it seemed fitting because I'm counting down to moving to a different city and to being reunited with my boyfriend) and I'm actually sticking to it! Today I start level two. I've never completed level 1 of a workout before!! Usually I do a workout for a few days and stop maybe try again in a week or two or not. So now that I'm all pumped up and feeling motivated I figured I'd try calorie counting again. I had tried it before but rather blindly, now I've done a lot of research and I'm still finding myself confused.

I have used several calorie calculator sites to try to figure out how many calories I should be eating. It seems the general calculation is, to maintain my weight I should eat 2000 something, to lose weight 1600 something and severe weight loss 1200 something (I think the somethings are usually in the 70's) I'm working out intensely for half an hour everyday, sometimes an hour and I walk quite a bit. I set my calories at 1500 and that's just based of a friend's calorie limit, I know it's different for everyone.

So basically what I'm trying to say is I'm worried because when I put in how much I exercise it tells me I should eat 1900 something!! That just seems like way too much. I'm really concerned because I keep reading things that talk about your body going into starvation mode if you don't give it enough to do what it needs to do and it starts storing fat. Am I depriving myself of food for how much I exercise with 1500 calories or do you think I'm on the right track?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I just want to do whats best to meet my goals without starving and without taking way long hopefully!
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:24 AM   #2
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I've found that counting calories is very much a trial and error process. I'm only 6 weeks in and mine have varied pretty wildly as I try to figure out what the right balance is myself. I've never been even remotely as small as you are but I'm eating about 1600-1700 a day and am losing about 4 lbs a week right now - but that is because I'm much heavier than you are and changed my diet pretty drastically (for the good of course). I've also been exercising - a strange concept I never thought about as I put on 120 lbs in a little over a decade. I realize that my weight loss won't and shouldn't continue at this pace.

You definitely don't want to go much under what you are now. There are various calorie trackers online that should be able to help you. I've heard the best thing is to enter your info into 5-10 of them and get an average because they all figure out calories differently. Maybe start at 1900 for a week or two and great if you lose weight - if not, make adjustments.

Congrats on the exercise though! For me that been the toughest part. Best of luck to you.

You Have to Earn Your Body - one for every 10 lbs lost:

Last edited by punkrocksong; 05-15-2013 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:41 AM   #3
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Calorie counting is definitely a trial and error thing and it takes a long time to figure it out. It also keeps changing as you lose the weight. I've been at it for 6+ months and am still working on it. I started off at 211 and didn't exercise at all. I lost steadily eating around 1650 however I was not exercising at all. After I lost about 25 pounds I readjusted my calories to about 1450. I kept them there even after I started exercises about a month and a half ago. For the first month my weight loss completely stalled. I was so confused. I was eating under my calories and exercising, why wasn't I losing weight. It turned out I needed to bump them back up to that 1650 range. The last 2 weeks I've been losing again.

I'm about 20 pounds heavier than you are now so I think 1500 is a good place to start. If you aren't seeing much success there, I'd increase your calories before decreasing them.

Good luck!
2nd Restart @84.7 kg- Mar 1, 2018
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:50 AM   #4
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I would echo punkrocksong - it's trial and error! My advice to people starting calorie counting is always to start as high as you can and still lose weight (even if it's slow, say .5-1 pound average per week). Slow is FINE. I'm a fan of this because - especially as your weight drops lower - you will need to cut calories, and if you start too low it's often mentally harder to do it.

Why not start around 1600-1700 for a couple of weeks and see how you feel and how you do?

As far as eating "enough," make sure what you eat in that calorie range is mostly nutritious, high quality food. Lean protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fats - stay away from processed junk, and you'll be fine. Don't worry about starvation mode. Do a search on the forum and you'll find more than enough about it to reassure you.

One more note - 30DS is a pretty challenging workout if you're not used to working out. Don't be surprised or bummed out by scale fluctuations, even if your weight goes up sometimes. Sore muscles like to retain water. If you're eating fewer calories than you expend, you WILL lose weight over time. It's just not always a linear process.

Good luck!
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #5
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it all depends on how much muscle mass you have really. women with high muscle mass need to eat more calories, like 1900, to be healthy to lose weight. and yes, lower muscle mass you need to eat less thats why changergirl had to bump her calories up, her muscle mass was requiring larger calorie amounts! i always find that at the beginning of a diet and exercise plan, 1400-1600 calories are perfect for me. then depending on what style of exercise i focus on the most (aerobic or anaerobic) i will adjust them accordingly. and if ur eating healthy foods, in the actual serving sizes, its hard to get all the calories you need!!
rely heavily on fruits and vegetables for snacks (as well as sides for dinner!) and make sure every meal has a serving of protein (either lean meats or nuts on a salad or beans) and keep starches to small serving sizes!
good luck and remember, you wouldnt put sugar in the gas tank of a car, so dont put it in your body!!
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
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Forget what you've heard about starvation mode (a.k.a. metabolic slowdown when restricting food consumption). For one thing, substantial metabolic slowdown only occurs at much lower levels of food intake than 1,500 cals. Also, the metabolic adaptation is never great enough to prevent weight loss from occurring. People who consume 500 cals per day WILL lose weight, and usually lots of it -- just not quite as much as predicted from the calories-per-pound-of-fat math.

I've lost 30 to 50 pounds on 6 or 7 occasions in my life. Every time I did it by eating 1,500 cals per day. It seems to be my magic number. I highly recommend the figure, because it's high enough that you won't feel too deprived, and low enough that you should see steady (if slow) weight loss.

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Old 05-15-2013, 11:16 PM   #7
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This has been really great! Thanks so much everyone for weighing in ;D I actually am pretty muscular, I've always worked out sporadically but I never have stuck with a program for long. I think I will try staying at 1500 for now maybe a couple weeks and see how I feel, I also have to get used to cooking differently so maybe I'll find that 1500 is enough to keep me going. If not I'll bump it up to 1600 and see what happens!! Thanks again everyone, I'm so glad I found this site!
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