Featherweights For those with just a few pounds, or trying to lose those last few pounds.

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Old 06-04-2011, 06:48 PM   #1  
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Location: Initial goal was 150ish. Kept adjusting down to 135. Recently set new goal to 125! BMI Normal Weight!
Posts: 42

S/C/G: 185.5 / 132 / 125

Height: 5 feet exactly

Default Caloric Intake issues

I'm not sure if I belong in the featherweight forum.

I'm not actually sure where I belong on this site... but either way, I figured this seemed like a good place to ask this...

I'm having trouble understanding the calories issues.

Basically, before I started my weight loss journey, here is what I'd be eating like on an average day:

7am Breakfast: eggs, or fast food breakfast 300-500 cal
8am upon arriving at work: dr pepper 150 cal
12pm lunch: bring lunch or eat out - 450-600 cal
dr pepper 150 cal
3pm snack: things at work, cookies, cheeze its, etc 200-300 cal
6pm dinner: me or mom cooks (mostly healthful) 700? cal
cranberry or other juice 200 cal
10 pm dessert/night time snack, candy or etc? 300 cal

So I could maintain weight of 185 eating approx 2400 calories a day, and keep in mind this is a "good" day. on a weekend day, or a night out with friends, this would even get worse.

Now here's a sample day (for the last 6 months) and how I've lost 29 lbs:

breakfast: 2-3 eggs 300 cal
snack: yogurt, string cheese, or fruit 100 cal
lunch: chicken, 1/2 cup rice 400 cal
snack: yogurt, string cheese, fruit, or a cookie 100-200 cal
dinner: chicken (or lean meat), rice, vegetables 500 cal
(on occasional day -dr pepper-because I'm addicted)150 cal

So 1400 calories max. (I eat a little less of something if I have a soda that day)


But, for the last few weeks, seems like I can't lose a thing anymore. And, when I do lose, it will be like this:

day 1: 157
day 2: 156.8
day 3: 156.6
day 4: 156
day 5: 157!!!!!
day 6: 157.2!
day 7: 157
day 8: 156.8!
it's like an endless cycle. (not perfect but just stays in the same range)

Can anyone offer some insight as to what I'm doing wrong here? I thought the point was that if you eat less calories than you burn, you will lost weight (makes sense mathematically)

Am I eating too many carbs or something? I love carbs, but I'm not really sure what ratios of carbs, protiens, and fats I should be eating. I've only done calorie counting up until now.

Sorry if this is a whiny post, I know I've come so far, and 29 lbs is something I should be grateful for (I'm nearly out of the obese range).

By the way, I'm at work 10 hours a day right now, and I don't really enjoy exercise. The little exercise I do get is only on the weekends, when I can do something that doesn't involve a gym. I had a gym membership, but I hated it.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:00 PM   #2  
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I think the problem is weighing yourself every day. Those look like normal water weight fluctuations (You can see the proof in how you went from 157-156 in two days..not physically possible with almost anyone's calorie intake unless it's just water). I'd give it another week, and you'll probably see that you've actually dropped 2 lbs over the two weeks
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:58 PM   #3  
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Adding to that, as you get smaller, your body needs fewer calories, though 1400 is definitely not a lot. Also I've heard of people's bodies getting "used to" the diet, so you might try bumping up the number of calories you eat for a day or so through the week to get your metabolism going again. Seems counterintuitive, but it works for some people.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:07 PM   #4  
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Calories in must be less than calories spent, that's the essence of it. I'm guessing your job doesn't involve you being active, so all of your activity is on the weekends. My job is like this, and I maintained my 130lb weight on 1400 calories, and didn't start losing until I started doing 1200-1300 and being militant about counting my calories (15 chips is 150 calories? Then I'm gonna count out 15 chips) and doing cardio 2x per week and weights 3x per week.

I plugged your height and weight into a BMR calculator, and made a huge assumption that you are around 25 years old--the output was 1427 calories (the older you are, the lower it will go), meaning thats how many calories per day your body uses in the act of eating, breathing, sleeping, and sitting around not moving (i.e. at a sedentary job).

You're maintaining your 150-lb weight because you're eating exactly your BMR! Without working out to create a calorie deficit your weight loss will be slow! Assuming you work out twice a week and burn 200 calories each session (thats like an hour of medium-intensity cardio both days) totalling 400 calories burnt over the weekend. Assuming you never go over your 1400, it'd take you 8.75 weeks to lose one pound.

Last edited by mimi86; 06-04-2011 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:00 PM   #5  
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Are you drinking enough water? I find my weight gets stuck like this if I don't get 2-3 liters a day. If it is true that your body has gotten used to this amount, maybe try cycling your calorie intake (1200 one day, 1800 the next, etc.)
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:20 AM   #6  
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Initial goal was 150ish. Kept adjusting down to 135. Recently set new goal to 125! BMI Normal Weight!
Posts: 42

S/C/G: 185.5 / 132 / 125

Height: 5 feet exactly

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Wow, you guys are a wealth of knowledge!

Thank you doopdoop, I guess I could probably stand not to weigh myself every day, it's just gotten to be sort of a routine.

Bama girl, I do find that when I have a "free" day, sometimes weight loss that week will be better (only sometimes). Can't hurt to try it though, haven't had a free day in a while. I kind of got used to my healthy eating plan now.

Mimi, your age assumption was very very close to actual age range. Wow, almost 9 weeks for one lb! I clearly either must lower the cals a little more, or work way harder at fitting in some exercise! (yes, I have an office job, blah)

Astrild, I try to drink water all day, but I never really make sure that I'm getting enough, just drink when thirsty, pretty much. I could start monitoring that, it might help, and would probably be good for me.

I read a lot of other people's posts, but it really helps to write out your info, so people really know the picture. I know from reading the forum that the water thing is very important. I will definitely try to do better on that.

It seems like with weighing yourself every day, there is an up and a downside, I do get to see the daily fluctuations, so I know I haven't actually gained a pound in just 1 day. But also, it does make you start to get a little bit obsessive. I've read that I'm not the only one with that problem. We'll see how long I can stand to stay away from the scale and remain on plan...

Thank you again for your replies and advice, it's very helpful.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:41 AM   #7  
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Actually the BMR is just the calories needed to stay alive, if you were essentially lying still all day.

The TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is the calories needed to stay alive AND move around throughout the day- take a shower, walk the dog, fidget, work a sedentary desk job, etc. That's one reason incorporating little things throughout the day- parking your car far away from the store, taking stairs instead of the elevators add up.

So the TDEE is going to be a bit higher than the BMR. I think my BMR is around 1350 but my TDEE is around 1700. That means if I eat at 1700 I'll maintain but if I eat at my BMR 1350 I'll lose (albeit slowly). If you eat at your BMR you'll still lose, though slowly, depending on how much movement + exercise you get during the day.

Both the TDEE and BMR are rough guides though, so you'll have to experiment with what works for you. If your TDEE is allegedly, according to calculators, 1800 and you eat at 1400 for a month with no loss, you may need to cut calories to 1200. Or you may eat at 1200 and not be happy with it and up to to 1400, finding you can still lose at that figure. It's a lot of trial and error!
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:16 AM   #8  
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Those weight fluctuations look perfectly normal. I am guessing that you are slowly losing weight (maybe 1/10 of a lb a day) and it is just being masked by weight fluctuations that are larger than your weight loss. I weigh every day, but I know that I can't fret if the numbers go up instead of down. (Actually, I do still fret, but I know it's pointless.) Leading up to TOM, my weight can go up several pounds. Ovulation, which occurs midcycle, can also cause hormonal weight gain. It can also go up 3 or 4 pound in a single day if I eat something very salty or workout hard.

One thing I did a long time ago to help deal with the frustration of fluctuations was to keep a separate tab of my calculated weight loss. I calculated my TDEE conservatively and tracked my calories. Then assuming those figures were right, I calculated my new weight each day. So, that number decreased every day, albeit slowly. And my scale weight was usually several pounds lower than that calculated weight. Inevitably there were stalls, some of them quite lengthy, and temporary upticks on the scale weight. But my scale weight never did go higher than the calculated weight, even though there were times they were a lot closer, and I liked having a decreasing number that I could "count" on.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:59 AM   #9  
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If you have a smartphone, apps that take your BMR, TDEE, and help you with calorie counting (both consumed and expended) are a HUGELY helpful tool if you're going for strict calorie counting as your method of weight loss. I lost the last 9 lbs. of my weight loss using one of those.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:52 AM   #10  
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Initial goal was 150ish. Kept adjusting down to 135. Recently set new goal to 125! BMI Normal Weight!
Posts: 42

S/C/G: 185.5 / 132 / 125

Height: 5 feet exactly

Default

indiblue, I think that's what I've been slowly accomplishing with the BMR lately, maybe just eating at my BMR and losing slowly due to activity. Maybe my body has just accustomed itself to my eating habits, I plan on changing them up a little to see what happens.

I tried to figure out my TDEE and I think it is about 1782-1857. (I have a usual activity of gardening, but it's light gardening).

So, I'd think I should still be losing. Maybe it's just a stall and I'll have to wait it out.

Yoyo, I do keep a good spreadsheet of my calories/weight/etc, so I might incorporate something like your "decreasing weight math" based on conservative TDEE and calories.

Kat, I am not using a smartphone at the moment, but have a blackberry and am thinking of switching over to using that just for benefits like you mentioned!

Thanks again for all of the insight.

I'm going out with my mom today, and might have a free day! Just have to talk myself into it, lol.
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