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Old 03-31-2009, 04:47 AM   #1  
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Default afraid to eat 1,500 calories... HELP!

Hi--

I'm a calorie counter... I've lost 129 lbs to date by eating generally between 1,200-1,300 calories on a daily basis (save the occasional calorie cycle).

I've only lost 2.4 lbs in the last 3 weeks even though I've kept track of my calories and exercised pretty hard at the gym/home.

Quite a lot of people (on and off 3fatchicks) recommended that I up my caloric intake to 1,500.

My question is this: do I eat 1,500 calories a day for this week or just every other day to see if I lose any weight? Any suggestions?

(*I'm one of those people who easily gain weight just by LOOKING at a plate of brownies Figure of speech, I know, lol-- but in all seriousness, I do gain weight very easily.)

thanks!

~ tea

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Old 03-31-2009, 05:26 AM   #2  
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How long is your gym workout and how many calories are you burning on average?

If you're working pretty hard (more than 400-600 calories an hour), then after a while, you need to eat more to lose more since your body needs fuel. Up it 1500 on the days that you work out the hardest. On the days that you don't exercise, eat your usual 1200-1300. If you're looking for "safe" foods to eat before or after, try yoghurt for extra dairy or fruit for quick carbs to burn during a workout (they're both good for you!), or a slice of multigrain toast with 1tbsp peanut butter after your workout (the protein helps repair your muscles, and the carbs will give you extra energy).
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:00 AM   #3  
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According to the elliptical machine I did earlier Monday, I burned 500+ calories in an hour of cardio (I take it with a grain of salt since machines are not exactly the most reliable. I would guess I'd burn about half of what the machine actually "says" I burned in terms of calories.)

I also do the treadmill, but I'm still learning my way around the gym and the various cardio machines. And granted, some days I do an hour of cardio but I don't feel like pushing myself like a maniac and take it easy instead

I do about an hour of cardio six times a week with sundays off from exercise (both cardio and resistance training).

I also just began to do about thirty to forty-five minutes of resistance training three times a week (starting last week), but I expect it to go up to an hour as my trainer introduces me to various machines in the gym for a total body workout.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:20 AM   #4  
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Blimey, you've done well!

I've just started trying to eat to 1500, because when I try to eat to 1400 it works out nearer 1300, and I think that's too low, because I still have a lot to lose!
It's scary though, isn't it?

And I'm not nearly as active as you, you put me to shame!

Good luck.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:43 PM   #5  
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I have a theory. It's that when someone initially starts to lose weight, their metabolism is slow. Therefore, they begin to exercise and they eat fewer calories to lose weight. As time goes on with this program, the increased fitness and consistent exercise means increased metabolism. But the person who started out with lower calories is now afraid to increase them. Their "proof" that they should not is that if they do eat, say, 1500 calories, they see a weight gain the next day.

I got into a long plateau. How it went for me was that I would stay on my low-cal plan for 4 or 5 days, and then I would get so hungry that I would end up eating more like 1800 or 2000 one day. My weight just went up and down, up and down.

I joined a new gym and started working with a trainer. The trainer said that I should be eating much more than I was. At first I just laughed--like this trainer didn't know anything about formerly obese people. But I kept looking around at calculators, and they all said about the same thing.

I thought, what if my metabolism is no longer so slow...

So, filled with trepidation, I raised my calories to 1500 ave. per day, as my FitDay calculator told me to do. I set my burn for moderately active instead of sedentary. I set my goals for 4-week periods these days and aim for 3 pounds in 4 weeks. Of course, I have kept going to the gym and working out.

The result is that I'm down 5 pounds in 6 weeks, which is slow, but it's real. And I do not feel out-of-control hungry. In fact, it's been hard for me to get up to 1500 because I've gotten so used to eating less.

So--I'd say, if you're going to try it, try at least 2 weeks and maybe 4--and don't freak out if the scale goes up at first. Just slog it out for the alloted period of time.

Jay

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:48 PM   #6  
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I just want to point out that it is very likely your loss slowdown has nothing to do with what you're eating, and everything to do with the fact that you just modified your exercise routine to include strength training. If it was sufficient to make you sore the next day (and I've never had a trainer that didn't get me sore the next day), your muscles are going to swell and retain water until you adjust. It may be that this problem is going to go away organically as your body adjusts to the change in exercise.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:53 PM   #7  
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I've had thoughts similar to the ones Jay expressed - when I first started dieting I didn't lose until I dropped to 1200-1300 calories. Over time I increased exercise and improved my diet which I believe increased my metabolism - I was able to go up to 1600 and still lose pretty steady. Continued to lose at a slower rate up to 1750-1800 once I tried to maintain. I'm now around 2000 and am stabilizing.

I think you would still lose on 1500 with the exercise that you do. You might see a jump right at the beginning, but give it a little time to see what the long term effect is of the change. At least two weeks, I would think.

I know it is scary to think of increasing the calories! I initially did it by adding in calorie dense foods here and there (peanut butter, nuts) and leaving the basic diet the same.

Good luck!

ETA - just read Amanda's post, and agree with it as well. Every time I changed my exercise routine I stalled on weight loss, and I inevitably hold a few pounds of water every time I work out to the point that I feel sore the next day, even now.

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Old 04-01-2009, 04:17 PM   #8  
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Hi Shannon & JayEll--

Thanks for your support!!

I admit I am a bit afraid to try this out... I've done monday & tuesday with 1,500 calories and I'll ask my trainer at the gym today what she thinks I should do in terms of caloric intake.

~ tea
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:51 PM   #9  
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I think a lot of the fear comes from blowing the risks out of proportion. What do you really have to lose? You're not going to gain 10 lbs in a two month-long experiment of a couple hundred additional calories. At worst, you're likely to lose a month of progress - is a month longer to goal really that big of a risk?

Part of it is the seemingly illogic of adding calories to lose weight, but it's really not mysterious. Let's even forget, for now, the mysterious ways in which your body may find to conserve calories, such as slowing the digestive process, or lowering body temperature - on a more obvious level - if you cut calories too low, you'll have less energy to burn calories. So eating just a tiny bit more, can give you enough energy to DO more. It can even be in subtle ways you don't notice (would you really notice if you spent 15 more minutes on your feet, or woke up 20 minutes earler?)

Yes, it is all a matter of calories in, calories out - but sometimes by taking a little extra in, you can put a lot more out. The experiment does make sense, and is worth considering. You'll be monitoring your results, so you really have little to lose by giving it a shot.

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Old 04-01-2009, 07:10 PM   #10  
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Hey if eating 1200-1300 is what works for you keep doing it Just remember to take breaks Great job on the work you have done so far!
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:28 PM   #11  
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Thanks guys for your support & encouragement!!

I spoke to my trainer today, and she said definitely eat 1,500 calories a day and if I gain weight next week, then cut it down to 1,400 and then after that, if it's still not doing me any favors, calorie experiment until I "hit my groove."
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:18 PM   #12  
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I've noticed weird things with my calorie intake. I lost 3.6lbs during a week I ate between 1600-1800 calories. Then I ate 1300-1500 calories the following week and lost 1.1lbs.

I guess I've been really obsessive lately and am starting to get afraid of eating too many calories so I've lowered myself. But I am thinking I may actually lose more at a higher intake. It's crazy to see how our bodies work. I've noticed it's all about trial and error. Just try the 1500 calories for a few weeks and see what happens. It won't hurt!
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:05 AM   #13  
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I'm having trouble now making my calorie goal, too. I have hesitated to post because I didn't want to be one of those people ("Oh, I coudn't POSSIBLY eat more than a tiny bite of that sandwich!"). But I'm finding that here it is, supper is over, and I'm just barely over 1200 calories. The Daily Plate says that I need to be at 1750 and that's if I'm sedentary, which I'm not--I'm doing cardio every day, at least 30 minutes of sweaty, heart-pumping, shakey-legs-when-I'm-done cardio. So if I change my activity level, TDP says I should be eating 2107 calories! My daily average this week (if I don't eat anything else tonight) will be right around 1625. So either way, I'm under what TDP says I should be eating.

What should I do? Today I didn't eat an afternoon snack because I was full from lunch and didn't want to stuff more food down. Now tonight I feel uncomfortably full from eating a pretty good plate of spaghetti (turkey meat sauce, mmmmmm). Should I be trying to get more calories in? I had a good week last week, loss-wise, but nothing is moving this week so I don't know if I'm eating too much or not enough!

Why is this so confusing!? LOL
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:22 AM   #14  
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Our bodies drive us girls crazy!!
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:00 AM   #15  
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Windchime, one gets used to eating less. Weird, isn't it? To increase your calories, try adding larger portions of foods with protein. For example, try 4 ounces of chicken breast instead of 3.

I also found that I can have a sandwich with TWO slices of bread from time to time... wheee!

Instead of six Triscuits as a snack, have eight.

Nuts are a good way to increase calories, but they are a trigger for me so I have to be cautious.

Eat whole eggs instead of just egg whites. (I've done this all along.)

By the way, I also monitor my fat intake because I don't want to increase calories by overdoing fats. I'd like to keep it at 25%, but often it creeps up to 30%. That's not bad.

Jay
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