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Old 06-04-2009, 12:34 AM   #1  
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Default Calorie Cycling

I am wondering what people's advice and thoughts are to calorie cycling or zig zag? I have not tried it but I would love to hear from others who have or do. Also, how do you figure out the amounts needed for each day if you decide to cycle?
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:58 AM   #2  
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I love all these weight loss terms I learn here at 3FC..."calorie cycling" is one of my favorites. I never knew it had a name. I've done this cycling thing for many months starting around 40 pounds lost. I started out at 1200 calories a day and stayed there for around 3 months and then decided it was too hard to make it through the weekends with only 1200 calories, so I decided that I'd eat 1200 calories/day on Monday thru Thursday and raise it to 1500 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I've done that now for around a year and I'm still losing at a nice pace. Sometimes I have been known to save all my extra weekend calories, (900 total) and eat them all at one meal. Like Easter Sunday, and Mothers day. It was nice to splurge a little and still know I didn't blow it. Give it a try. It can't hurt and it might speed things up again for you.

Last edited by Lori Bell; 06-04-2009 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:07 AM   #3  
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You rock! I have read so much from you and you have done so great and I take every piece of advice you give to heart. Thanks
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:34 AM   #4  
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I do it off and on. Right now my life is REALLY busy so I'm just sticking to 1700 even per day so I can eat the same things for most of my meals... it's easier.

When I do calorie cycle I tend to do low days at 1400 and high days at 2000 and that works well.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:36 AM   #5  
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My "calorie cycling" if that's what you want to call it, tends to be the same as LoriBells. To a T. Monday to Thursday one number, then Friday thru Sunday another. And it's just about the same numbers as well.

I don't do it that way because I feel it will provide me with a greater loss. I do it because that's what fits into my lifestyle.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:31 AM   #6  
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I've always done it when trying to lose weight (didn't know there was a name for it until I read it here). I eat at my parents house twice a week and they give very large portions of everything, have cake and other puddings etc. so rather than making a big deal out of it I work out how many calories I will have that day and lower the calories the other day to compensate (even then I'm having to refuse extra food from them all the time!). So I'm having about 1450 calories a day at home and about 1800-2000 when we visit their house giving me an average of 1550 a day most weeks. If my mum does give us even more food than that then I lower the calories a bit more on some of the other days.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:40 AM   #7  
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Like RockinRobin, I don't do it for greater weight loss but that is a plus, it just fits my eating style better. Sunday and Mondayy are my highest days at 1800, and then Tuesday, Wednesday I go back down to 1400; Thursday is 1500, Friday is 1600 and Saturday is 1400. I think it totals out to about 1525 a day.

Mainly I do it because I just don't feel I can survive on 1200-1300 calories a day. I used to be this person who skipped breakfast and wouldn't eat lunch until around 2PM, then dinner around 6PM. Now that I have started cycling the calories, I am hungry about every 3 or 4 hours. Probably because instead of consuming my calories for the day at lunch and dinner, I have had to learn (and am still learning) better portion control. When I began slacking off the volume of food at one given eating time, I noticed that I was hungry on a more regular schedule.

Freedieting.com has a calculator you can use. So far, it is the most realistic one I have found. You can stick with their fat loss calculator or come up with your own numbers that better suit you, just stay with the same pattern.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:18 PM   #8  
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I went to freedieting.com and here are my results

7 day calorie cycle (zig-zag)

Ex Fat Loss Fat Loss Maintain
Monday 1680 2081 2601
Tuesday 1680 1680 2081
Wednesday 2016 2497 3121
Thursday 1680 2081 2601
Friday 1680 1873 2341
Saturday 1849 2289 2861
Sunday 1680 2081 2601


Does that seem right? It just seems high to me but that may be because I have always been under the belief that less is better when it comes to calories :|
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:01 PM   #9  
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I know it does seem like A LOT of calories. It took me a while for it to really sink in that starving myself (going far below my calorie needs) just doesn't work. In the beginning, you may lose a ton of weight fairly quickly, a lot which contains water and even some muscle. What you are trying to achieve is actual fat loss, but preserve as much muscle as you can.

The larger in size, the greater amount of calories it takes to just maintain that size. I wouldn't say this calculator is 100% accurate (what is when it comes to weight loss, haha). But I think it is pretty close. Here is mine:

Ex Fat Loss Fat Loss Maintain
Monday 1399 1865 2332
Tuesday 1272 1492 1865
Wednesday 1679 2238 2798
Thursday 1399 1865 2332
Friday 1272 1679 2099
Saturday 1539 2052 2565
Sunday 1399 1865 2332

The column for regular weight loss would average out to about 1865 calories a day. I am doing about 300 calories per day below this figure. The column for extreme weight loss, which the attached info on the page even says it is not recommended, averages to about 1422 per day. I am doing almost 150 more than that on average and I may bump it up soon. I want to lose steady weight, but at the highest calorie level possible.

Trust me though, I KNOW how scary it can be to get used to the thought that you can eat to lose weight. I believe almost every single one of us here, at one time in our lives, has thought in order to lose weight we must drastically reduce caloric intake. Science just says it isn't so.

So you may want to start somewhere in the middle and go from there.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:10 PM   #10  
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Thank you so much for the help. Will it be normal to experience a weight gain while my body adjusts to this routine or no?
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:15 PM   #11  
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This is an interesting idea. How would I go about calorie cycling if my weekly avg. is around 1350? It seems like there's not too much room to cycle, but I guess I could do 1200 - 1500? I'm not sure I want to go as low as 1200, but it could be worth a shot. Any ideas?
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:16 PM   #12  
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I cycle my calories and the biggest reason is just to keep me sane. I don't necessarily plan out which days will be my high days but sometimes a day rolls around where I just seem so much more hungry than other days! Or a day rolls around that I'll be having a few alcoholic drinks or eating out or something like that. With calorie cycling I can eat more or have a drink or two or enjoy a meal out without going crazy, feeling guilty, beating myself up, giving up, binging, etc. etc. and then I make sure to follow it by 2 low days. It's tough on my "up" days not to go overboard but I seem to be doing ok with it.

As far as figuring out how much you should be consuming on each day what I read was that your weekly average should come to a certain amount (that you decide). I want my weekly average to run around 1500 per day so depending on how high my high days are or how low my low days are I sort of "fly by the seat of my pants" to make it all work out.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:51 PM   #13  
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I just have that big ole fear of gaining a lot back if I up too high and all the web sites and calculators just keep me confused.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:01 PM   #14  
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Chunkychic;

You have lost a great deal so far. I was wondering because I don't remember you saying, how many calories were you taking in per day before you hit the plateau?

Just looking at that scale, I would say you would be fine taking in approx. anywhere from 15-1900 per day in a zig zag kind of way.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:57 PM   #15  
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Honestly, I have been averaging 1000-1200 which I am sure is too low. It is so hard for me to understand eating more means pounds go bye bye but I am trying :|
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