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Old 04-08-2009, 09:34 PM   #1  
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Default Am I starving myself or eating too much?

I'm a bit worried. I've gained weight, and for months, I haven't really been losing any. I'm up to 120lbs, which I know sounds like not a lot, but I'm tiny, only 4ft 11" and honestly, most of it is fat, I am very chubby looking and feeling.

I lost weight by counting calories but the problem is lately, I have been exhausted and unable to exercise (there's a health reason I won't go into). I wasn't big into exercise before but I have been too ill lately and have barely been able to move.

I had stuck to about 1200calories for months, but I realise that most days I'm eating about 1000calories. My weight goes up rather than down these days, and my boyfriend thinks that my body is rebelling, that my metabolism is damaged and that I am not eating enough, although what I do eat is fairly healthy (fibre, fruit, milk, veggies, fish, grains and some sugary stuff occasionally). I also seem to be retaining water and have swelling in my thighs.

Thing is though, right now, because I'm not able to be that physically active, I know my Basal Metabolic Rate is very low, around 1300calories, and because of my now slow metabolism, it's probably even lower than that. So although that sounds like very few calories, if you do the maths, it would have to be 500 calories lower a day to drop a pound.

What I am scared of is that I have to drop even lower to lose weight. But I already feel that I'm running on empty. I went to the doctor to ask to be refered to a dietician but she just said to pick up a healthy eating leaflet in the waiting room. The doctors always applaud me on my weight loss even when I tell them I feel like total crap.

I gain weight very easily. I have PCOS so keeping my weight under control is a struggle.

I don't know where to go from here. Can anyone offer any advice?

Last edited by anneelk; 04-08-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:38 PM   #2  
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Maybe try calorie cycling? Sometimes that extra big boost of calories during the week helps the metabolism. Try maybe 1200-1400 since you're not active. It doesn't hurt to experiment! Anything under 1200 isn't too healthy and as said without a doctor's supervision.
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:58 PM   #3  
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You're boyfriend is right and so is wormwood....nuf said.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:01 PM   #4  
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I am about the same height and same weight as when you started your loss. My ideal weight is where you are now. Problem is when I was 117 I too was very ill and ended up gaining 60+ pounds in a matter of months as I became too fatigued to exercise. Not that I liked exercise to begin with but at least I had been able to do it.

Not that I am any kind of expert but what has really helped me is drinking a lot of water. Like a couple quarts a day. Usually when I retain water and swell it is because I am not hydrated. Also, when the water is flushed the weight comes off. Might be worth a try
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:52 AM   #5  
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Aw anneelk, I'm sorry to hear about your struggles. It's rough being short so I understand about that and the PCOS since I have it to. Has your general practioner sent you to an Endocrinologist yet? If so, they probably should since PCOS is not just something that throws off your reproductive system but it is also hormonal and if one hormone is off the rest are likely to follow, so my biggest advice is see a specialist. My Endo has helped me so much. She is a Godsend and has changed my life for the better. You could also look into picking up Jillian Michaels' new book called Master Your Metabolism which will give you really good insight into what might be throwing your body and hormones out of whack because a lot of people don't realize the things in our environment and the foods that we eat can greatly affect how we lose, gain, or maintain weight. But I'd really recommend seeing an Endocrinologist. I really can't stress it enough.

As for thinking you might be eating too much, you're definitely not. Since you're only like 10 pounds away from your goal weight you have to start eating differently. Jillian Michaels also has another book called Making the Cut and it's all about how to lose the last 10lbs or so. I could give you a brief synopsis but that'll bore all the other readers/posters on here so I just say pick up that book because it'll give you all the tips you need to shed those last few pounds. Good luck!!!
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:46 AM   #6  
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I suggest you should try calorie cycling. It works good on me.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:05 AM   #7  
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The BMR would drop if you are not physically active and theirs no other way to elevate it unless you get a little active. Is their a way you could do lsome kind of activity 4 times a day in sessions of 15 minutes each...would that be still taxing to your body ? At this point I recommend you to stop worrying about losing your weight rather try to maintain it and work to increase your BMR by adding little exercises in multiple sessions. If we assume that you your BMR is not in good shape then your first priority is to increase it slowly and slowly by adding muscle mass to your body and then once it goes higher you can go back and change your diet/training schedule to get into weight loss.

Eating low would bring down your energy levels and keep you away from exercising further..had I been on your place I would not worry about losing weight rather regaining my strength to get into a routine of physical activities..theirs no way we can maintain unless we eat properly and exercise regularly.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:43 AM   #8  
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I will chime in with seeing your doctor and having a physical, especially having your thyroid checked. Eating more in the mean time will only help and not hurt, even if there is a bit of weight loss, since you need to get your metabolism back on track.
good luck! and kudos to your supportive boyfriend.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:01 AM   #9  
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I'm not far from you weight-wise, although I'm slightly taller. I had the opportunity to wear a senseware armband for 5 days and had a baseline metabolic assessment done. (it was a special program offered through my fitness center). It calculated that my basal calorie burn rate runs at just over 1200 calories per day. That's calories just to sustain life, no activity. My general moving around burns an average of 300-400 more calories per day. So without "exercise", my "maintenance" intake can only be 1500-1600 calories per day. That's it.

I don't do well at ALL on calorie intake less than 1200 calories per day. I can do it for a few days, but then I get tired, hungry, and end up bingeing which is completely counterproductive. So, do the math, and you can see that if I stay PERFECTLY on plan at 1200 calories per day, the best deficit I can establish is about 350 calories per day, so a pound lost every 10 days. And since I'm rarely perfect, then I end up losing nothing or worse, gaining.

I have to exercise to lose weight and to maintain. Fortunately, I exercise a fair bit, and actually burned anywhere from 1800 to 2800 calories in a day, total. I particularly liked the day when I did a 5 mile run, followed by 3.5 hours of kayaking - 2775 calories burned that day! Exercise makes me feel better, and burns calories so I can eat more.

It blows that little people can't eat much, but there you go. It works a lot better for me to increase the energy burn side of the equation rather than keep cutting back on calories.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:20 AM   #10  
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Originally Posted by anneelk View Post
I lost weight by counting calories but the problem is lately, I have been exhausted and unable to exercise (there's a health reason I won't go into). I wasn't big into exercise before but I have been too ill lately and have barely been able to move.
Anneelk, this sounds like a serious health problem. If it's something you'll be living with long-term, perhaps you can focus on getting it under control before you continue to pursue your weight loss goals. If it's something acute, perhaps you can wait until it's resolved/healed.

You're right now at a high-normal BMI. If you're concerned about becoming overweight again during your illness, which I can certainly understand, maybe you could eat maintenance calories until you feel better, which would be approximately 1400 for someone of your stats.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:40 AM   #11  
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Exercise doesn't have to be strenuous or energy-draining; sometimes a leisurely activity ups energy a bit and will raise your BMR enough to at least keep you from gaining. If you have access to a stationary bike, you can cycle at a slow pace while reading. Or you can do bicep curls with small 5 lb weights for a half hour while watching TV.

I don't think lowering your calories further would be healthy at all, so if you want to lose weight upping your burn is the only way to go.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:07 AM   #12  
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You can get a basal metabolism test at a dietitian, but health insurance rarely covers it. I think it costs $40-60. That might give you better guidelines then to cut a couple hundred calories to create a deficit over time.

One other thing you might look at doing is to cut down or eliminate sugar and artificial sugar. That might help, too!
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:14 AM   #13  
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1000 calories is definitely not enough- I am sure a great deal of your fatigue has to do with the very low amount of calories you are eating. I'd make sure you eat at LEAST 1200 calories a day. In fact maybe while you are ill go for a range of 1200-1400, once you start feeling better stay at the same calories but encorporate some exercise.

I know when I was eating 1200-1500 calories a day I was exhausted and lethargic. I changed it to at least 1500 a day and the pounds started coming off again and I felt better.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:28 AM   #14  
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I do uderstant your struggle anneelk. My wife went thru the same issue... But with lots of will and consistency she made it happen and she lost 20 pounds from 71 back in 2003. Before she got pregnant she was turning around a 54 average... and with her pregnancy she just 63 pounds.

You definitely can do it!

They are now talking about a program that helps improve the level of brown fat... I personally post a some lines about it one my blog... I cannot tell you for sure if it'll work for you since it's still a study project... but you can still find valuable informations about it on the internet... Which it helps.
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:41 PM   #15  
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I have to go in a sec but just wanted to say thanks for your responses. I'm in the UK so free medical care. I've had my thyroid checked, it's all good. I have to go get tested for anaemia, which isn't serious, but likely. The health problems aren't something I want to go into but yeah, it is depleting my energy severely.

I think I'm in a catch 22 in terms of exercise; too tired to do it but more tired without it. I agree that exercise is probably the key to my health and future weight loss. The people around me agree with you that I shouldn't be too focused on weight loss right now when I'm not very well.

I was wondering, do any of you swim and how does it affect your weight and body? I used to cycle but that's too taxing for me right now. I wondered if starting a swimming regeime, gently at first, might be a good idea?
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