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jazills 03-22-2013 11:54 AM

Confused about Cals
 
Hey guys!

I believe in counting calories in this lifestyle. So I've searched, skimmed, read, pondered, and over thunk (?) calories until I'm blue in the face. I remember the first time around I did 1500 cals and then switched down to 1200 as I lost body fat.

WELL I'm currently at 195 and I'm 5'2. I'm doing 1200 calories right now, very little exercise if any at all. Well I feel VERY restricted and sometimes even more hungry, like I'm not eating enough. I've tried one of those little calculators that recommend how many cals you should eat and it says something around the tune of 1100. I'm like do what?

Anyone help? What do yall do?

picklepete 03-22-2013 12:07 PM

Low calorie is risky because you have fewer options for complete nourishment (Victorian housewives were eating an estimated 3000+ kcal of meat/dairy/fruit to support their duties). Eating to satiety is crucial for stress and sleep management, offset with walking and leisure movement. Sitting + starving can produce early results but it's a trap IMO.

CarolynF 03-22-2013 12:16 PM

Jana,

We don't count calories, but calories count, especially for women..My LC doctor totally
understands carbs, but she wants me under 1300 for weight loss with 70-90 grams of protein. I'm a lot older than you (63) and it makes sense to me..

You might try 1300 and see what happens..Just make sure you have enough fat/protein and very few carbs at first..

mom23kids 03-22-2013 12:19 PM

How old are you? I can plug your numbers into the calorie calculator site I use, for you :)

jazills 03-22-2013 12:29 PM

24

synger 03-22-2013 01:06 PM

I get a basal metabolism rate for you of almost 1700. That's just for breathing for a day. Even just being sedentary, you need 2000 calories.

If you plug in a maintenance level of 130 pounds, you'd need 1400 calories just to live for a day, and 1700 for sedentary.

Calories Per Day Calculator - Basal Metabolic Rate

If you're feeling restricted, you may want to change things up a bit. Personally, I give myself a calorie range, and keep track of my weekly average (since I track it daily anyway). Having a range allows me to eat a little more on especially "hungry" days.

You also may want to consider intermittent fasting. It allows you to keep your calories overall pretty low, but eat larger, more satisfying meals. Doing JUDDD for about six months really helped me when I went back to straight calorie/carb counting.

jazills 03-22-2013 01:24 PM

I like the idea of having a range. I also count everything I eat everyday. So i think i'm going to have my range 1200-1500 per day...today I'm just extra hungry and tomorrow I might not be. Thank you so much!!

mom23kids 03-22-2013 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jazills (Post 16330627)
24

Ok, the calculator that I use and trust, says the calories you need to maintain your current weight is 1,908 a day and to lose weight your calories need to be around 1,560 a day :)

jazills 03-22-2013 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mom23kids (Post 16330806)
Ok, the calculator that I use and trust, says the calories you need to maintain your current weight is 1,908 a day and to lose weight your calories need to be around 1,560 a day :)

Thank you :) It's good to have a good target now. I don't know where the calculator I used got 1100...crazy calculator! Thank you so much!! :) :):shake:

Strawberry 03-22-2013 03:09 PM

Your picture is really beautiful, by the way :-)


It seems like you are losing weight at a good rate according to your stats... I think eating slightly more calories so that you arent torturing yourself is a good idea.

Also, have you thought about incorporating some type of exercise?

Another thing is to think about your AVERAGE calories over the whole week. If you are starving, have a little more to eat one day. Then on a day when you are not so hungry, dont force yourself to eat. As long as you are on average getting enough calories, it should be fine if you are varying day to day. Eg, one day you have only 1000 cals, the next day you have 1700 cals... it balances out on average to 1350 cals a day.

jazills 03-22-2013 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Strawberry (Post 16330902)
Your picture is really beautiful, by the way :-)


It seems like you are losing weight at a good rate according to your stats... I think eating slightly more calories so that you arent torturing yourself is a good idea.

Also, have you thought about incorporating some type of exercise?

Another thing is to think about your AVERAGE calories over the whole week. If you are starving, have a little more to eat one day. Then on a day when you are not so hungry, dont force yourself to eat. As long as you are on average getting enough calories, it should be fine if you are varying day to day. Eg, one day you have only 1000 cals, the next day you have 1700 cals... it balances out on average to 1350 cals a day.

Thank you :) :o

Interesting thought. This does make perfect sense though :) Today I ate 1437. I feel full, satisfied, and happy. Before when I did LC I really did starve myself to lose weight because I would only strictly eat 1200 a day and feel terrible about it if I went over. I was desperate. Now my goals have changed, it's health oriented now. My tracker is averaging less than 1000 for the WEEK. That doesn't seem good. I didn't log for Tuesday either because I away at a few concerts but I remained on plan. Thank you for putting this into perspective too! Awesome! I also read before you can trick your body with eating higher calorie one day and lower calorie the next to avoid plateau. Is that right?

As far as exercise goes, I want to. I have all the equipment necessary and I love to exercise. I just NEED to make time for it. I fell in love with Kettlebells and distance running before and I'd like to get into that again. It's just time management. I take care of my parents, I have a job, working on my masters, and finding time for hobbies and me time is few and far between. I manage though.

lisamt 03-22-2013 08:04 PM

I'm the same height, about the same weight and was eating an average of 1400 calories a day for 2 months. Last week I upped my calories to 1500 and I'm still losing.

Strawberry's suggestion to look at caloric intake as an average is spot on. Below is what mine looks like for the last 7 days. Some days I'm above or below 1500 but it averages out to 1507 per day.

1546
1576
1170
1550
1490
1780
1440

jazills 03-22-2013 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lisamt (Post 16331331)
I'm the same height, about the same weight and was eating an average of 1400 calories a day for 2 months. Last week I upped my calories to 1500 and I'm still losing.

Strawberry's suggestion to look at caloric intake as an average is spot on. Below is what mine looks like for the last 7 days. Some days I'm above or below 1500 but it averages out to 1507 per day.

1546
1576
1170
1550
1490
1780
1440

Awesome! I like to hear from people with almost the same specs as me :) I'm definitely going to take the average into account from now on. I never really cared about that number but I will now :)

DairyQueen 03-22-2013 11:05 PM

Well just for argument's sake, I used another counter. I know that some people say that they increase their caloric intake and lose weight, but, seriously, this isn't magic; it's science. So if you up your intake 100 calories a day, you should also increase your exercise (if you want to lose weight).

Anyway, I try to plug my stats into as may calculators as possible (and they are ONLY computer algorithms and they are not your best friend-- ie, don't know you from a pot bellied pig)
This is what i have for you: at your weight and height and if you are sedentary, you need about 1971 calories to maintain that weight. A sedentary person your height and age and at weight of 155 needs 1768 calories a day to maintain.

If you want to lose 20 pounds in three months, you would need to ingest about 1150 calories a day, give or take 40 calories. If you want to lose 10 pounds in three months, then 1350-70 should work. So it all depends on how long you are willing to take to lose the weight and how much you want to exercise (and I haven't even considered exercise -- I am sedentary 5 days out of 7 and that isn't going to change. I am very fit though -- haha! went skiing last month work out on a stage every friday and saturday --bands)

Now, you may ask, "Why even do Atkins then? I could eat 1200 calories of lettuce and cabbage or bread and cookies every day or even ice cream or miracle Turkish posing as Greek yogurt and lose the weight, right?" And I would say, right. BUT... if you are going to eat only 1200 calories in a day, many people feel way more satisfied with 1200 calories of protein and fat vs. 1200 calories of carbs. THAT is one of the reasons Atkins works (for many people -- not all).

Atkins is NOT an easy way of eating. I don't particularly like meat. I am a natural vegetarian. But I consider food to be fuel. And I enjoy most of the things that I am encouraged to eat on Atkins and I am not often hungry and I rarely have cravings, and that is one of the small keys. But Atkins is not for everyone. Anyway, back to you...

So, one of my questions is -- have you done Atkins induction for two weeks? During those two weeks you don't count calories -- you just get used to eating a certain way. You eat enough so that you aren't starving. This doesn't that you have to fill FULL all the time. Just don't feel as if you are being punished.

That's the first question, and the rest follow in logical order.
Those two weeks get you to enter a particular Mindset. They also JOLT your body --almost shock it; if you are able to get into that atkins zone, you will succeed, and you will lost weight.

Some other things people don't like to hear:
* many people way way overestimate how many calories they eat.
* many people way way underestimate how much exercise they get.
* many people way underestimate how many carbs they eat in a day.
* many people way underestimate how many calories they have burned in a day.

Basically -- I'm just sayin'.
When I get in a terrible stall, frustrated - exasperated -- I usually do something like -- just eat eggs and meat for a day. And you know what? That usually works! Because I'd probably get sick if I ate 1200 calories of eggs and meat! hah! (an aside: I am nearly at goal- and it gets terribly difficult to get to my own sweet spot. I may actually be trying to get to a slightly underweight, which makes it even more difficult. But that's just me)

Anyway, i'm just butting in to give you a little different point of view and be a cheerleader! you CAN DO IT!

dq

unna 03-22-2013 11:45 PM

It is very important that you have the feeling of true "satiation" at least once a day (whether this is breakfast, lunch, or dinner). In a way, this keeps your hormones in check and will prevent binging later (diets really bring out the binge behavior in everyone!).

The way you eat now should look a lot like the way you can imagine yourself eating for a lifetime and be happy with. The weight loss should be quite slow. I could link numerous studies from obesity journals on how "dieting" always leads to future weight gain - you want to be smart and avoid this!

You have to do some inner soul searching to determine the difference between "overeating" and "healthy portions" - this is actually really hard for me and I still struggle with it! I think we naturally tend to always overeat.

mom23kids 03-23-2013 06:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jazills (Post 16331348)
Awesome! I like to hear from people with almost the same specs as me :) I'm definitely going to take the average into account from now on. I never really cared about that number but I will now :)

Do some googling for zig zagging calories to get more info on changing your calories around throughout the week. And like someone else mentioned JUDDD is a calorie woe that changes up calories every other day, you might want to head down to the JUDDD section on this board to get more info on it (and 5:2!). There's several people on this site who combine JUDDD with lc :)

jazills 03-23-2013 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mom23kids (Post 16331588)
Do some googling for zig zagging calories to get more info on changing your calories around throughout the week. And like someone else mentioned JUDDD is a calorie woe that changes up calories every other day, you might want to head down to the JUDDD section on this board to get more info on it (and 5:2!). There's several people on this site who combine JUDDD with lc :)

I really thought about doing this as it has been recommended to me on more than one occasion. I guess I should give it a shot, it can't hurt. YESTERDAY I was ravenous...today I'm not even that hungry. It's weird how our bodies work.

Thank you everyone for their insight and knowledge! I'm blessed to have you guys because yall are so SMART!:jumpjoy:

A&F 03-23-2013 08:48 AM

Great advice here (as always)!

My calorie calculator says that I should be eating around 1200 per day, but I've found that if I try to stick to that I get too stressed out, weighing everything and becoming more than a little obsessive which for me can trigger a "cheat" that can turn into falling off the wagon.

This time around I'm not worrying about my calorie intake too much. I still keep religious track of what I put into my mouth and keep my carb intake between 15 and 30, but I don't pay attention to how many calories I'm consuming. Following this method I've consistently lost weight and inches while never feeling deprived or hungry and my average daily intake is around 1400. Some days it is over 2000 and some it is under 1100 - depends on how hungry I am and what I choose to eat that day.

Of course this is all subject to review and revision during a plateau or stall.

Good Luck!

Dottie 03-23-2013 08:53 AM

One more thing: weight loss is not linear. You may not lose for a week, then you may lose steadily every day for a week on the exact same calories (even the same menu). So don't get discouraged:)

Kumambert 03-23-2013 08:53 AM

Sorry to butt in. I was just about to start a similar thread myself, before I found this one.

Low carb hasn't been working for me for a while, even though I almost never cheat. I'm thinking I am probably just taking in too many calories for my mostly sedentary body to burn off, even without including carbs. I do love to eat!

I just decided to switch to low calorie regular carb instead, and two days in I can't take the hunger anymore. It is constant- eating does nothing.

So I too am considering counting both calories AND carbs. I am hoping that doing this, i won't have hunger problems anymore (I am never hungry on low carb to the point of shaking and headaches as I am on a 1500 calorie a day carby diet).

But most low carb foods I can think of seem so humonguously high in calories! It's so daunting! Breakfast is a big problem for me. I hate bacon and eggs and never have any time in the morning so my thinking in going low calorie reg carb was- a low-calorie carby cereal would be quick and easy, but I'm starving again by the time I get to work!

On low carb, I usually make a 'cereal' of ground flax, 1 spoon dark cocoa powder, truvia and unsweetened almond milk topped with chopped nuts. Removing the nuts would cut plenty of calories, but otherwise would this be ok for low calorie low carb?

I think I REALLY need to eat low carb because it makes me feel GOOD and oh god, I can't stand being hungry. But I also have some stubborn weight to shift and it's not just going to go away merrily on its own with low carb (backstory- lost 25lbs with low carb, loved it, started a (hormonal) medicine with weight gain as a potential side effect, it also made me crave carbs and junk food horribly so i gave in and went off low carb, gained 30 pounds back, now off the medicine and back on low carb but not losing the weight :( )

DiamondDeb 03-23-2013 09:09 AM

I once thought I could not lose eating more than 1200 calories (where do we get these ideas?) but found my weight loss pretty much stopped. I added extra cardio to my normal workout routine weights & cardio) with no results.

A fitness guru diagnosed me with "over-dieting" - calories too low combined with too much exercise. He prescribed increasing calories by 400 calories, taking one week completely off working out (yes, while increasing calories!) and making sure I got 8 hours (or close to it) of sleep every night.

The suggestion of increasing calories so much scared me but I did it. Within days I'd lost several pounds! Made a believer out of me. BTW, I am 5'3"

DiamondDeb 03-23-2013 09:12 AM

The whole thing about finding the right amount of calories is just guesswork.

Every calculator will suggest a different number & the range between them can be large.

It is frustrating when we want to eat the right amount of food for healthy fat loss and find so many different suggestions about what that amount is.

jazills 03-23-2013 09:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DiamondDeb (Post 16331984)
I once thought I could not lose eating more than 1200 calories (where do we get these ideas?) but found my weight loss pretty much stopped. I added extra cardio to my normal workout routine weights & cardio) with no results.

A fitness guru diagnosed me with "over-dieting" - calories too low combined with too much exercise. He prescribed increasing calories by 400 calories, taking one week completely off working out (yes, while increasing calories!) and making sure I got 8 hours (or close to it) of sleep every night.

The suggestion of increasing calories so much scared me but I did it. Within days I'd lost several pounds! Made a believer out of me. BTW, I am 5'3"

Very interesting you mentioned a loss over raising calories. I think that under 1200 we may put our body into starvation which I am now seeing is silly for me to go with the 1200. What in the world was i thinking. Maybe because for people doing a HC Low Fat diet need fewer calories than we do to balance things out. It's backwards in our world. I ate 1430 calories yesterday and lost a pound. Our bodies are something mystifying.

picklepete 03-23-2013 10:33 AM

Calories are really good at confusing us. Yes there is always energy coming and going but as a "master control lever" I found it to be pretty useless. Unless we know which types of food are going to cell repair, gut flora, endocrine synthesis, etc. we're really shooting blind. If counting calories leads us to cut protein too low, feel hungry or stressed, sleep poorly, etc. then it's definitely not going to burn fat.

MaryMary 03-23-2013 11:08 AM

I eat between 1200-1400 cal day with 70 net carbs and 30 grams fiber. I lose about a pound a week until I got into the goal range, then my body naturally started to slow the weight loss. I don't expect to lose more than another 5 lbs. and that is ok as I am nearly 5'8" and 65 yrs old.

But my carbs comes from vegetables at lunch & dinner and a fruit in the morning with my breakfast protein. I get raw veggies and cooked ones, with butter, evoo, or dressing. The only low fat item I eat is the fat free Greek because I can't tell the difference between it and the whole milk variety. I have been eating this way for 10 years, but found that depending on the protein I chose, I could increase or decrease the calories for the day. For example, if I am being indulgent, I might have 4 oz of cooked bacon, or I am not real hungry, then 4 oz cooked haddock. It is a few hundred calories difference. I would have TVP with soy milk and fruit in the morning, as it is packed with protein but low in fat. I don't feel deprived and the quantity is pretty much the same as it was 10 years ago.

The thing I found helpful is to decide on a plan, whatever and how ever much you want to have, put the bathroom scale away until the first of the month, and focus on what you have control over, which is the food you eat and the amount of exercise you get each day. The weight loss is a byproduct of eating healthy and moving. On the first, when you weigh yourself, it is a nice surprise. Ten put the scale away for the first of the next month. If you need validation, use a measuring tape or a pair of jeans that you want to get into.

Having a range is a really good idea.

Leo41 03-23-2013 12:28 PM

I count carbs and calories--because I must. And IMO people make two mistakes with calories.

1. They rely on some arbitrary number that they've read should 'work.'

2. They use some 'calculator' to determine what their calorie level should be.

Both methods are seriously flawed. Calculators are based on large populations of people similar in age and height and weight--but we all have unique physiologies that can make calculator predictions completely wrong.

The best method is to track one's eating. If you are neither gaining nor losing (over 2 weeks), you are eating to your maintenance level. If you're losing too quickly (more than 2 lbs a week), you're eating too little.

Because of age and medical conditions, I eat at an extremely low calorie level, but when I lose, it is never more than a pound a week--evidence that my level is not too low. I would not advise this for anyone else. It's a level I arrived at through experimentation--and it's been affirmed by my doctor as right for me.

When I plan my menus around this calorie level, I first make sure that I have sufficient protein, and then I keep my carbs at <20g. Making sure to get adequate protein is essential for health at any calorie level.

coffeelover 03-24-2013 02:29 PM

I also believe that this is mostly a numbers game and use a calculator to figure out how many calories I need to eat to lose the amount of weight that I want. Every time I lose 10 pounds I recalculate. I also believe that I could be eating anything and losing weight but eating LC is more satisfying and makes me feel better. Right now I'm eating about 1550 but I'm only allowed that much because I'm in the moderately active category.

Best wishes to you! You can do it!!! :)


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