Not eating enough to lose weight?
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|Dec 8, 2010 6:59am||
Hi – I’ve been monitoring my caloric intake and working out at least 3-5 times a week; at least 3 cardio sessions and in addition to a mix of weights and yoga. I never exceed my caloric intake goals, and most days (including adjustments for exercise) am between 1000 – 2000 calories under. the goal. At 5’7 and 165, I’ve lost about a pound in two weeks. However, I’ve noticed my monthly expected loss go from 6.5 lbs to 3.4 lbs. Even with a healthy diet and frequent exercise, I don’t seem to be getting results. Is this because I’m not eating enough? Won’t I gain weight if i suddenly start eating another 1500 calories per day?
Does anyone have some advice?
|Dec 8, 2010 10:51am||
Your BMR (Basic MEtabolism Rate) is 1750 ish,
|Dec 8, 2010 4:59pm||
Your body is like a camel…..to a point. It’s not going to store fat when there aren’t enough resources to go around. The “starvation mode” is largely a myth. If I lock you in a room for a month and only give you 500 calories per day…I guarantee you’ll lose weight!
What happens is that your metabolism slows down a certain percentage. But, you certainly will continue to lose weight and fat. The problem is that you’ll also lose muscle mass, and you’re likely depriving yourself far more than you need to….and not getting much extra for your troubles.
To the OP: You’re eating up to 2000 calories below your goal? That would mean that you’re eating like 500 calories? That doesn’t add up.
Sometimes I hear people say that they are only eating 1000-1500 calories per day over a period of time yet they aren’t hungry/ In these cases it’s almost always because they are way underestimating what they are eating (I’m excluding those who have an eating disorder because this falls outside of my level of experience). Are you weighing every gram? Because if you aren’t then you don’t really know how many calories you’re eating.
I wouldn’t advocate for most people to weigh every gram of their food intake. But, if you believe that you are eating a very low amount of calories yet you aren’t losing weight…..it’s the first thing I’d recommend. Let’s see what you’re really consuming. It’s a very enlightening endeavor and one that you can try for a few weeks. After doing it you’ll have a far more realistic sense of your calorie intake going forward. I did this for months. And eventually I got to the point where it wasn’t necessary. I’ll still do it every once in a great while just to recalibrate my mental scale. Everytime I’ve come back to it I find that I’m always underestimating my calorie intake.
|Dec 8, 2010 5:12pm||
-1939 was the absolute max under target indicated. That day I did 45 min of cardio and 30 min weights and just had three simple healthy meals; yogurt, salad w/chicken, and fish w/ steamed broccoli for dinner. I’ll certainly redouble my efforts to make sure I’m entering food accurately.
Nonetheless, the question remains – is it more important to to meet the daily calorie goals to keep my metabolism at a certain rate or allow larger calorie deficits honoring the conventional wisdom that consuming fewer calories promotes weight loss?
|Dec 8, 2010 6:51pm||
well maybe to simplify it, take ur Your BMR (Basic MEtabolism Rate) is 1750 ish, and create ur calorie deficit from there. so u want to lose a lb per week, then between exercise and diet make the deficit 500 cals less.
for u Q, if u go to low ur body may freak and think its starving..IE holding onto fat more. also if u again drop to low u wont have any room to go lower when u start hitting walls. I think a good # to start with would be 2200 cals cause of all ur exercise and take measurements and scale..and mirror every week. after a month make a decision. if ur losing to fast, add 250 cals per day, to low, reduce 250 cals.
its hard to give #s cause everyone is diff.
|Dec 8, 2010 7:24pm||
@daveonate, when it comes to successful weight loss, slow and steady DEFINITELY wins the race.
Stay within your goal range. If you go too far under, your body won’t just raid your fat stores to make up the difference for what it needs. It will also go after your muscle mass, nutrients stored in your bones (like calcium) and will shortchange your immune system.
|Dec 9, 2010 12:56am||
And yet, you must know that Basic Metabolic Rate changes from person to person. It isn’t a general rule at all. If you have not done it yet, I suggest you entering the body fat percentage in your profile. When you do this, seems like DB uses another equation to evaluate your goal range, one that includes this variable. For instance, if you have an above-average BF, your BMR is supposed to be smaller, once fat doesn’t require as much energy as muscles in order to function properly.
|Dec 9, 2010 4:19am||
To answer the OP’s second question:
I wouldn’t eat extra food just to meet a number. But, I would realize that I’m under eating and that I need to plan my meals better.
Also, you don’t create your deficit from your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). You want to use your BMR plus your activity level. The easiest thing to do is set the activity level correctly in Dailyburn and then have some faith. You don’t need to add up the calories from every cardio session. That’s far too much work, and if you aren’t using a good heart rate monitor then it’s incorrect anyway.
|Dec 9, 2010 10:14am||
My advice is to read what chaddukes wrote.
Just….+1 to what that dude said.
|Dec 13, 2010 2:32pm||
I was going to start a new topic, but this one really fits my experience as well. When I started trying to eat healthy- at first I was well meaning, but didn’t know what I was doing. I was eating healthy foods, but just eating a lot LESS. I was probably taking in between 800-1200 calories a day, and not getting much exercise. When I was doing that I lost weight fast…about 8-10 pounds in a month. As I started learning more about how to eat a balanced diet, and trying to target the amount of calories I /should/ be getting in a day, I upped my caloric intake to target 2000, and I started doing weight training and cardio for the deficit. Once I started getting more calories though- my weight loss slowed to a virtual stop. I started hovering at 1-3 pounds around the same weight. I wasn’t even hitting my caloric target most of the time, I was probably getting 1500-1800 a day, and I really HAVE been counting grams and servings as closely as possible, using dailyburn and using a food scale etc. It’s possible there’s some extra calories unaccounted for by error (but that would go both positive and negative).
I’ve had to really try to get that many calories in when eating healthy foods… I don’t ever feel hungry, and many times feel full. I’m afraid that if I try harder to hit my target calories i’m going to end up GAINING weight again… It’s definitely frustrating to be working so much harder and seeing no results when before I was just eating less and losing weight at a fast pace… I could be gaining a little bit of muscle from the weight training, but I don’t think it’s possible that i’m gaining it at the rate I was losing weight before…
|Dec 13, 2010 11:52pm||
I also to a look at the exercise log and the first thing that comes to mind is that you are very very very carefull not to overtrain yourself :) Come on you can do a lot better than that. When you start working with weights you should try to do challenging exercises for your whole body about 3 times a week. Throw in some serious cardio exercise a couple of times a week and you will notice body changes.
|Dec 14, 2010 7:28am||
Look up Leigh Peele.
|Dec 14, 2010 5:31pm||
Thanks for the replies guys:
wedzir- I appreciate the time you took, and no you didn’t offend me :) Actually my food log has some lags here and there for some things that I eat and dont’ know the nutritional info for. Sometimes I try to estimate sometimes I leave it off. The days around 1500 are probably the most accurate, but a little under my real intake. So I think I DO need to up it, I was just afraid that maybe I was still somehow getting more calories than I thought when my scale stopped moving…
As for my exercise log- that is NOT even near up to date :) I do 5-6 days a week of resistance training, rotating chest/back, arms/shoulders, legs/abs. I’d say they’re pretty good workouts. I’ve also been doing about 30-40 min of cardio daily. It was off and on before, but now I try to do it every day.
I use resistance bands for my exercise and found that none of the stuff I do was in the database…so sometimes I try to estimate, others I don’t find anything close enough so I just kind of give up.. most of the stuff in my exercise log is just there when I get the urge to put something in just to remind myself that I did it, or estimate calorie deficit.
Anyway, I guess I have to up my calories…hopefully I don’t end up gaining weight. I am NOT lean right now (about 6’ 232 lbs). I’d like to lose a little more than 4lbs a month if possible, but if it’s not possible to do it in a healthy way, then I’ll have to adjust my expectations.
|Dec 14, 2010 6:04pm||
Nothing wrong with resistance bands….but do you have other options? Sometimes real weights are needed. Also, you’d be far better off doing three days of full body (or even two upper body and two lower body) as opposed to a body building split. You’re not a bodybuilder. You’re also not on steroids…..so it’s not going to do much for you.
As for your calories, I was eating about 1800 per day when I weighed 170lbs. And, I had a cheat day. So, eating 1500 calories at 230+ is probably too low. When is the last time you had a day where you ate over 2500 calories?
|Dec 14, 2010 7:16pm||
The main reason I use the bands is because they are a space saver in my cramped place and I don’t have the money for a gym membership. But trust me, the routine I have going kicks my ass good, my muscles can’t tell the difference. With the different door attachments and my incline bench there’s a pretty large range of workouts I can do. I probably should be mixing it up with my free weights though. I planned to switch up my routine about every 3 weeks or so.
For food- I do have a cheat day every once in a while. Probably about once a week. I don’t go nuts, but I just don’t watch what I eat as hard. last time I had 2500+ was probably the weekend before last. I hear you guys though, I just need to take in more calories. I’ll try to get over the mental hump and do it. I feel like I have to eat a LOT to do that without getting excess fat, sodium etc, but I’ll keep working on it.
|Dec 14, 2010 11:39pm||
@tyreegiles. What chaddukes means is that when working with weights and when trying to loose weight you will be better of by exercising all the muscles in your body 3 times a week in stead of deviding your body up in parts and exercise those. Working the big muscles in your body is far more important than working relative tiny muscles like biceps. When you get more advanced you can start using splits. A good split to begin with would be upper/lower body splits. Bodybuilders typically eat(a lot) to grow muscle. They are less concerned about loosing fat unless they are cutting. They have other goals then you. I have learned myself this year that the fysical appereance is made for lets say 75% in the kitchen and 25% in the gym :)
|Dec 15, 2010 8:16am||
Your biceps and triceps are getting most of your attention and they are small, weak muscles. As such, they are easy to work out really hard, they will become sore easily and you’ll see the results easily in terms of definition. You will do all that and have added very little muscle or real world strength.
That is why you are feeling and seeing results but it isn’t helping.
The lat pulldowns are good. I’m doing those now in my, probably misguided, hope of some day doing a real, big girl pull up.
A good compound exercise, on the other hand, would be something like a full, bodyweight squat. That will work your glutes, quads and hamstrings primarily while also using your abs and your lower legs. Also, push ups use your whole upper body as well as your abs.
You don’t need anything for those. You just need proper form. Just get somebody who knows their stuff to check your form. You’re good to go.
That’s the backbone of your training. Then, here’s a really good list of other stuff to do:
These are hard core, effective exercises you can do at home with no equipment. You can add some plyometrics for cardio/weight loss. T-hops, monster truck tires, football heroes.
No gym. No equipment. Most inconvenience you’ll experience is possibly having to move your coffee table.
|Dec 15, 2010 11:40am||
I think maybe my workout log might be contributing to the confusion- as I mentioned it isn’t even close to up-to-date. I tried for a little while to find similar exercises to a few of the ones I was doing, but for the most part gave up because it was too much work to try and add them all and a lot of them weren’t there.
The results i’ve been seeing are starting to be reflected on the scale again, probably because of the more regular cardio, so I’m glad about that. I’ll still try to up my caloric intake though so I can get closer to the range I should be in.
|Dec 15, 2010 5:25pm||
Tyreegiles: I’d love to continue this conversation with you. But, the nutrition section isn’t the right place for it.
Dec 16, 2010 5:11pm
Hay Daveonate, I had the same problem, I’m a PT who trains constantly and I am currently on a 4000 calorie a day meal plan because at 3000 and 74kg I was still losing weight and muscle, recently went on the 4k diet 3 weeks ago and I have properly noticed changes in my body, All I did was roughly worked out my calorie expenditure, but manipulated it by feeding my body 6-7 meals a day of organic whole foods and no crap at all, only constantly giving my body the right nutrients, have a look at what I have eaten the last 3-4 days as I have not kept track of it all. Good luck and any advice just ask!!
Sep 23, 2011 12:42am
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|Mar 14, 2012 11:56am||
I am having a similar problem. I am female, 5-5" and currently 269#. I started at 290, and lost 10, then 5. For two weeks after that I lost 2 lbs a week, so I was thrilled that I was CONSISTENTLY losing for the first time. Not so much….the next three weeks I gained 4 back. The next two weeks, I lost 6. I don’t understand why I can’t consistently lose. I have reduced my calories, workout three to four times a week and eat well most of the time.
Am I eating too few calories? I was 1200-1500, but have upped it to 1400-1700 now. I do bootcamp classes three times a week and average about 600 cal burn each class. Any thoughts?
|Mar 14, 2012 4:44pm||
are you measuring yourself? inches can drop when pounds don’t since muscle weighs more than fat. Also the scale can fluctuate a lot depending where in your menstral cycle you are. so I recommend, keep doing what you’re doing, if it’s too easy up the intensity but don’t pay so much attention to the numbers on the scale, focus more on how you feel and inches lost!
Aug 21, 2012 2:55am
Water is the key. So many people dont relize that drinking water ONLY helps you lose weight faster then anything. This other website talks about that also.
Aug 22, 2012 5:05am
Drink plenty of water and its really good for you.