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Old 12-06-2007, 11:16 AM   #1
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Question Low energy - could it be diet?

Hi all,

I've been on my latest 'push' since late September. All was well (nearly 10 lbs. down) until a plateau hit that lasted through Thanksgiving when I took it kind of easy. So after the holiday I started a new push. I'd previously been eating 1500-1700 and working out 4x/week (mix of cardio, strength, and pilates). For the last couple of weeks I've attempted to work out 5x/week, up the intensity, and stick more strictly to my lower limit of 1500.

Here's how the experiment has gone. Last week, after about four days, I went pretty wildly off plan and ate close to 3000 in one day. But I brushed myself off and got back to it the next day. And today, lo and behold, another pound gone - plateau busted. I should be happy, but I'm not. After my weigh-in, I headed to step class as usual. About 5 minutes in I started feeling light-headed and cold and my muscles felt week. I tried to push through it, but after 15 minutes of nearly tripping over my step I quit and took off.

This is a dilemma for me. If I eat over my 1500, I may not lose. Yet clearly this isn't supporting my level of activity. The fact that I still lost after that 3000 calorie day suggests that I can eat more, but my plateau before the holiday suggests otherwise. Perhaps I should give 1500 a day more of a chance before changing my plan but I really don't want to experience what happened this morning again.

Any advice for me? TIA!
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:26 AM   #2
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Hey 3Beans,

Do you also track proteins/carbs/fats? It could be that you need to adjust the mix of nutrients. If you're exercising that much, you could be not getting enough protein. With daily exercise, it's not unusual to need around 100 grams of protein a day.

Do you take any vitamin supplements? If you're eating healthy foods and staying above 1200 calories, you may not need them--but a typical multivitamin, taken as directed, would not be harmful.

I try to aim for a nutrient mix of 30%-40%-30% (protein-carb-fat). That helps keep me from feeling too tired.

We do lose muscle as well as fat, and exercise helps lessen the amount of muscle loss while burning calories.

You may also be exercising too much--and could scale back from that.

These are just some thoughts--if you continue to feel tired, you should consult a health care practitioner such as your doctor.

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Old 12-06-2007, 12:30 PM   #3
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What are you eating to get to your 1500 a day? If it's full of empty calories then you may not be getting the nutrition you need to keep up with your level of activity. Enough protein is very important if you're exercising that much.

I eat 1200-1300 a day but I am very careful about getting the proper nutrition. I track it on Fitday and work especially hard to be sure I'm getting enough good fats. I think it's really easy to cut too far back on fat and that always makes me feel a little less energetic. Iron is another that I pay special attention too. You might enter your info. and see what the little piecharts tell you.

Last thought. Is TOM just around the corner? That can make me dizzy and less than energetic for a couple of days and my usual workout can feel absolutely overwhelming. It's possible that the weakness is related to that and not with the calorie intake at all.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:47 PM   #4
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First, make sure that if you're restricting your calories, you are getting them from the best possible sources. A 100 calorie pack won't fuel you for long, but 100 calories worth of eggbeater, chicken breast, and broccoli omelette will. So check your sources and see if you can't get some more nutrient dense foods in - 1500 calories worth of high-nutrient foods with a good combo of fiber and protein goes a VERY long way.

Second, one day of tired/dizziness isn't necessarily indicative of a problem. I sometimes get dizzy, weak, and exhausted 3 days before TOM. Most common for me is an inner ear problem called benign positional vertigo...every time I get a cold, I get it, and get dizzy for a week afterward. So certainly, if it continues, you might want to get it checked out with your doctor, but while that dizzy/weak feeling can be scary, it doesn't always mean something is seriously wrong. Checking in with a doctor, though, can never really hurt if you're concerned...I never knew until I asked my doc that my routine benign positional vertigo could be completely fixed with a few specific head movements, in less than 5 min, with a quick trip into his office.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback.

I'm very careful about where my 1500 come from. I don't eat junk, and I've totally eliminated all trans fats and HFCS. I never eat fast food, never drink soda (except a diet coke every once in a while at the movies). TOM was earlier this week but it's over now.

I use Calorie King's palm pilot program to track my calories, but I never paid much attention to the fat/carbs/protein. I eat a balanced diet and shape my meals around a vegetarian protein or occasionally fish, and allow for a reasonable treat now and then. However, when I looked back at my protein intake in the last few weeks (based on your advice) I realized that it had been quite a bit lower this week, partly because I switched from cottage cheese at breakfast to oatmeal due to the cold. I think I'll switch back!

Also, the iron could be an issue. I donate blood every two months and the last two times my iron was right on the borderline for donation.

It's possible I was over-reacting a bit. I feel better now, just hours later. And this exchange has reminded me to keep an eye on my protein and iron, and take a multivitamin daily instead of when I happen to think of it. Otherwise, I'll keep doing what I'm doing!
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:24 PM   #6
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Aside from the fatigue and dizziness you were experiencing, the thing that caught my eye was that you lost a pound after having a heavy calorie day (previously being on something of a plateau). Some people have very good results if they mix up their calorie amounts a bit - maybe you might too. Say, over a week, have one light day, one heavy day, and the rest mediums, so that it evens out in the long run? Might be something to research.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:26 PM   #7
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3Beans - thank you for donating blood. I'm currently a little bitter because I CLEARED my honeymoon destination with them before I went, being an every-two-months blood donor myself...I called before I left and checked when I went in for my appointment. Then I called once I got BACK and asked one more time. It wasn't until I'd hauled myself down to the donation center and gotten THROUGH the needlestick that they determined I wasn't eligible for a YEAR due to being in one honeymoon stop for a grand total of 4 hours.

I can go back in April. I miss it!
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
3Beans - thank you for donating blood. I'm currently a little bitter because I CLEARED my honeymoon destination with them before I went, being an every-two-months blood donor myself...I called before I left and checked when I went in for my appointment. Then I called once I got BACK and asked one more time. It wasn't until I'd hauled myself down to the donation center and gotten THROUGH the needlestick that they determined I wasn't eligible for a YEAR due to being in one honeymoon stop for a grand total of 4 hours.

I can go back in April. I miss it!
Sometimes ...rrrrrr My friend is permanently ineligible to donate because she is British and the whole mad cow thing...despite the fact that she has been strictly vegetarian since 1976. Her husband used to donate regularly and then they added italians to the list.

And I used to have a coworker that donated regularly - beautiful high iron blood. He had that disease, I cant remember what it is called, where the body collects too much iron. It is genetic, not contagious and his blood is perfectly good, in fact his blood is a little bit better than most because of the high iron/red blood cell. But they wont let him donate after they found out he had the disease because the donation benefits him. The only treatment for the disease is to regularly let blood so that the body makes more and uses up the iron stores in the liver. So every 6 weeks he goes to the doctor, has a pint of blood removed and it gets thrown out. SAD. OH and he is O negative too...so they REALLY need his blood.

Hemachromatosis...thats what it is. The ironic part is he discovered he had the disease because he had been a regular donor forever but then was traveling and got busy and didnt donate for awhile and started having symptoms. After it was diagnosed they wouldnt take his blood anymore.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:01 PM   #9
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And what's funny is that I have a slight blood disorder the OTHER direction - part of my blood cells are shaped funny and don't hold as MUCH iron, so I'm always borderline on the iron test even though I'm not anemic. The donation DOESN'T benefit me, but my blood is slightly less oxygen-bearing than other blood, since it has less hemoglobin, and they WILL let me donate. It's still good blood, so its good that they let me donate, but its so funny that they didn't let him.

3Beans - sorry for the threadjack!
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:24 PM   #10
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3Beans - sorry for the threadjack!
No problem! While we're on the topic, do you up your calories at all when you give blood? I usually eat a few hundred extra but I'm not sure if it's justifiable.

I do bring my own snacks, though. It bothers me that a health organization offers junk food to donors. Set an example, will you?!
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RoseJasmine View Post
Aside from the fatigue and dizziness you were experiencing, the thing that caught my eye was that you lost a pound after having a heavy calorie day (previously being on something of a plateau). Some people have very good results if they mix up their calorie amounts a bit - maybe you might too. Say, over a week, have one light day, one heavy day, and the rest mediums, so that it evens out in the long run? Might be something to research.
Oh right, that! Well, I suppose I do this anyway by default. I usually end up going over one day on the weekend. It hasn't hindered my weight loss so I don't fight it. Rather, I consider it on plan and try to make decent choices with the extra calories. For instance, if I go out to dinner I'll have a glass of wine but just half an entree, and share a dessert with the table. I live in a real foodie town where the restaurant food is decadent but usually made with high quality (often local organic) ingredients. I enjoy myself, but avoid stuffing myself to bursting, and guesstimate the calories generously.

I do feel like my treat meal gives me a boost and gets me feeling revved up for the week to come, so maybe that's the effect you're referring to. I think it might explain why I can manage to stay at 1500 the other six days and keep up my exercise.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
3Beans - thank you for donating blood. I'm currently a little bitter because I CLEARED my honeymoon destination with them before I went, being an every-two-months blood donor myself...I called before I left and checked when I went in for my appointment. Then I called once I got BACK and asked one more time. It wasn't until I'd hauled myself down to the donation center and gotten THROUGH the needlestick that they determined I wasn't eligible for a YEAR due to being in one honeymoon stop for a grand total of 4 hours.

I can go back in April. I miss it!
I remember you were going on a cruise for your honeymoon. May I ask where you went? We are going on a Disney cruise in Feb for my DD's wedding. I wonder if the same thing will happen to us.

We'll be in Key West, Cozumel and some of the islands in the Western Carribean.
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Old 12-06-2007, 04:44 PM   #13
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Check the Carribean islands...I was in a single coastal town in Mexico (Zijuatenejo) that had a SINGLE case of malaria in 3 years.

You should check all of your destinations with your blood center. Not that it'll do much good, since they apparently don't know what they are talking about...
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Old 12-06-2007, 05:41 PM   #14
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Thanks.
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