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Old 01-14-2009, 01:01 AM   #1  
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Question Calorie Cycling?

I've heard cycling daily calories mentioned a few times in these forums. Does anyone have any information or experience with it? I think I want to try it, but I'm not sure what the evidence backing it up is quite yet.


Thanks all!
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:09 AM   #2  
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I haven't tried it myself- but I look froward to hearing the answers because I too was thinking about asking about it because I'm seriously considering it
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:27 AM   #3  
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Calorie Cycling is, essentially, setting an "average" calorie goal, then going higher or lower than that on different days of the week, so that the calories for the week average out to your target.

So let's say you're aiming for 1500 as your daily calorie goal. One way to average 1500 calories is to just eat 1500 every day. But a calorie cycle might take that 1500 calories and eat it as follows:

Day 1: 1500
Day 2: 1300
Day 3: 1700
Day 4: 1400
Day 5: 1800
Day 6: 1200
Day 7: 1600

The numbers for the week average out to 1500 calories a day, but you have some higher and lower days in there. These are useful for special events/evenings out/heavy workout days. Theory suggests that by mixing up your calorie level, you can "trick" your body a bit, preventing it from going into starvation mode and slowing your metabolism. I know a lot of folks here have used it to great success.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:29 AM   #4  
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I used calorie counting and calorie cycling to get to goal -- I basically had high days of 1800 calories or so, low days of 1300 and medium days of 1500 -- averaging over the week to a 1500 calorie a day target. As I started my plan, I read on a number of sites about the philosophy behind it -- the idea that it "tricks" your metabolism into not becoming increasingly more efficient as can happen when you feed it a constantly lower level of calories. This idea made sense to me. But I also used it for a couple of other reasons (1) I liked the variation and the "higher" days to look forward to and (2) it helped me fit "special occasions" or a bigger family meal into my plan without having to go over my calories for the day. I would just make those days fit as my high calorie days.

It did, however, make a little extra work as you have to keep track of your week, and how many calories you are going to eat each day...not just how many you have had on a given day. This never bothered me much because I did quite a bit of advance menu planning.

Anyway, I am only one person, so my experience is completely anecdotal evidence, but I lost my weight very steadily and very consistently -- averaging a touch over 2 lbs. a week all the way down -- around 50 pounds in 5 months. I also, of course, did strength training 3x a week and HIIT cardio on my exercise bike for 45 minutes 6 days a week.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions.

Last edited by Schumeany; 01-14-2009 at 02:35 AM.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:21 AM   #5  
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hmmmm.... interesting....I tihnk I'm going to give it a try starting next Monday! lets see how it works... I've kinda hit a plateau recently for the past week I've gained and then lost the same pound every day... I cant seem to shake 290! grrr.. thanks for making a post about this I was wondering about it myself!
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:20 AM   #6  
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That sounds good to me. I might have to try this after a month or so op.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:41 AM   #7  
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I just want to say that calorie cycling is working for me I've lost 36 of my 51 pounds since I started cycling and I'm rarely hungry or craving. I just track everything and the high days and low days seem to work out on their own. Best wishes to you!
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:28 PM   #8  
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I definitely think I'm going to try this once the semester starts and I'm not on a crazy budget. Right now, I have to eat the same thing every day, but when I start my meal plan again this should be AMAZING.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:34 PM   #9  
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Default QUESTION: How great a calorie difference do you need between hi and low days?

I actually am trying calorie cycling right now. I'm alternating every other day, going on a 1150-1250 range on Day 1, and a 1550-1650 range on Day 2.

However, I'm not sure if the difference between day 1 & day 2 is great enough (its only 300cals). If those of you with experience in this can render an opinion, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:58 PM   #10  
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I like this idea, there are some days where Im just not that hungry and have to force myself to get to the 1600 calories and other days I want to eat everything. So basically instead of 1600 a day it would be 11,200 a week (I had to go figure that out). Keeping it within limits, meaning not doing 2500 one day and 600 the next, no extremes?
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:42 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetshauna View Post
I actually am trying calorie cycling right now. I'm alternating every other day, going on a 1150-1250 range on Day 1, and a 1550-1650 range on Day 2.

However, I'm not sure if the difference between day 1 & day 2 is great enough (its only 300cals). If those of you with experience in this can render an opinion, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!
That's probably enough difference. You can always alter it if your weight loss stalls or you seem to be too hungry at times.

I cycle between 1300 and 1700 cal per day averaging 1550 since Christmas. When I started this in September (weight about 245) my average was about 1800, but I've reduced it because I'm not as active during winter and I was getting full, but still trying to eat more

It's been so much easier counting cals by cycling than trying to achieve one certain number every day and I have lots of energy-I don't seem to get lazy and tired losing weight this way. Of course, the last time I tried counting calories was in the 80's when the recommended daily cal count was 1000 or less (no wonder I couldn't stick to it!)
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:18 PM   #12  
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I did this last year during my initial 40 pound loss. Love it because you can make your weekend days higher. Now I calorie cycle in the sense of Mon - Fri, 1500-ish and weekends are higher (2,000+).

Another thing calorie cycling is great for sometimes (at least w/ my experience) is bumping you out of a plateau. It sounds backwards but I seemed to have the biggest losses the week after I had a high-cal day (2500-3000 calories) followed by going back to "in-range for weight loss calories".

Anyone else have this experience?
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:44 PM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetshauna View Post
I actually am trying calorie cycling right now. I'm alternating every other day, going on a 1150-1250 range on Day 1, and a 1550-1650 range on Day 2.

However, I'm not sure if the difference between day 1 & day 2 is great enough (its only 300cals). If those of you with experience in this can render an opinion, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!
I'm exactly your height, 36 years old. I did some calorie cycling with 300 cal differences between days and it worked just fine. I will tell you though, that on days I found myself below 1200 for the day I was starving the next morning when I woke up, and sometimes woke up starving during the night. I actually targeted 1250-1350 later in the process for that reason and added in a little more protein.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:29 PM   #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle7 View Post
I did this last year during my initial 40 pound loss. Love it because you can make your weekend days higher. Now I calorie cycle in the sense of Mon - Fri, 1500-ish and weekends are higher (2,000+).

Another thing calorie cycling is great for sometimes (at least w/ my experience) is bumping you out of a plateau. It sounds backwards but I seemed to have the biggest losses the week after I had a high-cal day (2500-3000 calories) followed by going back to "in-range for weight loss calories".

Anyone else have this experience?
this has happened for me several times already. When I hit a plateau, I ate high for a couple days (because I was mad at myself) then ate low for 3 or 4 days and suddenly, the scale moved again. I'm not exactly sure how that works, but it does, so I use it anytime I stay hovering around one number for too many days Glad to hear I'm not the only one who's had this happen!
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:44 PM   #15  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronni62 View Post
this has happened for me several times already. When I hit a plateau, I ate high for a couple days (because I was mad at myself) then ate low for 3 or 4 days and suddenly, the scale moved again. I'm not exactly sure how that works, but it does, so I use it anytime I stay hovering around one number for too many days Glad to hear I'm not the only one who's had this happen!
I think it keeps your body guessing! Glad it's worked for you too! The biggest challenge is going back to lower calories after high calorie days LOL I decided I would eat whatever I wanted today and tomorrow it's back to the plan :-)
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