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A few more questions about calories in vs. calories out etc

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Old 05-12-2010, 11:18 PM   #1
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Red face A few more questions about calories in vs. calories out etc

I hate to drive you guys crazy but I have a few questions and I hope you can help.

First off I have started adding in proteins and tons of veggies to my daily food. I started tracking at livestrong because it just seems more user friendly to me. I drink 64 ounces of water a day! All of this I learned here, so thanks to you all!!!

My question is with the whole calories in vs. calories out thing, does that mean if you eat 1200 calories today you need to burn 1200 calories as well? I am trying to keep my calories at a healthy rate but even with working out and lifting weights I am not going over what I have eaten that day? That part confuses me.

Also if I am counting calories how do I know how much fat grams I need a day or sugars, carbs etc? I know that eating a 100 calorie ice cream is just stupid because I could have 100 calories of something else that's better for me and a lot more food but I get lost when it comes to tracking carbs, fats and sugar etc. Does that even matter?

Also with foods like low calorie bread and peanut butter. If I have 2 tbsp of peanut butter as a snack that's 180 calories on a 40 calories slice of bread. Is that a bad snack to have? Is the fat content too much?

Again thank you guys for answering my questions. I hate to bother you all but sometimes all of the info you get from everywhere else just meshes and nothing makes sense.
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Last edited by Tonyia : 05-12-2010 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:54 AM   #2
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Well, your body burns a lot of calories just by existing -- keeping your organs working properly, etc. I believe (may be wrong) that the amount your body burns just by existing is called the BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR depends on your height, weight, age and gender; try googling "BMR calculator" and you can figure out how many calories your body burns without even doing any physical exercise. As an example, my BMR is 1450, so if I ate 1450 calories a day I would maintain my weight.

That said, do NOT go under eating 1200 calories a day -- you probably already know that, but just as a precaution. I find that in order to lose weight I have to work out so that I'm burning more than 1450 calories a day.

I don't know about all the fats, sugars, carbs etc. I try to eat as much protein and fiber as possible -- usually high-protein or high-fiber foods are fairly low calorie, which is what I really care about. Somebody else can probably give you more information about carbs and so forth.

I've heard snacks should usually run 100-200 calories. I myself had to switch to a lower-calorie peanut butter because a) peanut butter is kind of high in calories and fat and b) I could never stick to just two tablespoons. I buy a brand called Better 'n' Peanut Butter that is 100 calories for 2 tablespoons -- I've cut it down to one tablespoon in my morning oatmeal, and that way I still get my peanut butter fix for only 50 calories. In my experience it works better to have snacks that are high in fiber or protein -- a half cup of cottage cheese, an apple, a couple sticks of string cheese, that kind of thing. You'll be full longer and it's better for you health-wise.

Hope this helps!
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:01 AM   #3
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Actually go to this calculator. It will tell you your BMR plus different calorie ranges depending on your activity.

http://www.fat2fitradio.com/tools/bmr/
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:36 AM   #4
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It's really about experimenting and seeing what works best for you: the best calculators in the world are giving you rough estimates of an average person. Try different things, note your mood and energy level, see how much you lose, and adjust. It's like playing Battleship: it takes time and experimentation to find your target, but once you do, things become surprisingly easy--and quick.

I would recommend you think of it more like "what's the most I can eat and still lose at a good rate", not "what's the most deprivation I can endure". If you can lose weight fine at 1500-1700 calories a day (and I bet you could, if you are working out), why eat 1200? Personally, I'd up your calories to 1500, track for 3 weeks, and see how it goes.

As far as macronutrients go, I am for 40% protein and 30 grams of fiber, and let everything else fall where it may. Pick some numbers, try them for a while, see how you feel. This really is a process.
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:38 AM   #5
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Oh, and 100 calories of ice cream is a great indulgence once in a while. Learning to have and enjoy small indulgences is wonderful--as long as it isn't a trigger. We all have different triggers that make us binge. But I have 2 McDs ice cream cones a weeks, duly recorded and accounted for, and it makes all the difference in the world. Suffering doesn't burn fat in and of itself.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shmead View Post
Suffering doesn't burn fat in and of itself.
LOVE this!! I need to remember this sometimes.

Yes, if you are only eating 1200 cals a day, then you exercise off 1200 cals a day, your body doesn't have anything left over to fuel itself, to have brain function, to have a heartbeat.

I agree you have to play the numbers for a few weeks, find out what works for you. I eat the most calories per day of any member of this board , but I'm still losing. . .
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