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I understand you're looking for support, but you need to find out what will work for you first. Then you'll not only get support, but be able to give it too!
Good luck! :)
I ask out of curiosity. I have used the tools, and I am also keeping track of calories and weight to see what works.
At the same time, I am curious to know where other people are at. While the tools are supposedly accurate, everyone is different, and I am interested to get a sense of the range that works for people. I thought this was a perfectly harmless question.
So, for those of you who are in a situation similar to flowerbud, please share what works for you :)
Personally I'm just under 5'4" and around 134, trying for 132 so I'm not maintaining yet. So I'll refrain from this thread :) so as not to cause any confusion/frustration/etc
flowerbud, I wish you nothing but the best. May you find the support you need. Have a great weekend!
I am upping my cals into maintenance so this week I've had 1550/day and it's only been 4 days so I don't know if I'm losing still...
BUT I sure HOPE this isn't my maintenance cals because I'm working out pretty regularly. I think my exercise combined with my completely sedentary job would have to average to at least a "light" lifestyle (in lieu of entering everything manually, which I know is more accurate but I'm looking for more of an average approach these days) which according to the tools would allow for 1800 cals.
Edited to add: best wishes and a great weekend to you too, suzi :)
The tools on the site tell me that I burn about 1900 on average (I consider myself lightly active because while my job is sedentary, I live in a very dense city and walk a mile or two a day just to get around) and my workouts tend to run 300-400 calories. So I am guessing a maintenance level is somewhere between 2000-2200 a day.
But I start to feel really terrible, thinking I am going to gain a ton of weight if I eat anywhere approaching that and eat a lot of things I can't get the exact calorie count on without being so anal I alienate everyone around me. So no more counting or measuring out cereal portions. Just making healthy choices, working out, eating when I'm hungry, stopping when I'm full. I'm still trying to avoid the scale thing, but I plan to measure my waist fairly frequently and adjust if I see an upward trend.
I'm not saying everyone needs to stop counting in order to maintain. It's probably a good idea to keep with it at first. I just find myself unable to be satisfied with myself and ignoring conversations with loved ones to think about how many calories I've eaten so far that meal. The fact that this scares me indicates it might be time to relax.
I thought I could count forever. Then I went to a nutritionist for advice on how to maintain because my weight continued to freefall after I hit my goal. Besides being told I had to double my food intake immediately, she also told me I had to stop counting as soon as I figured out what the proper amount of food for me looked like. She was right. My doctor told me the same thing. They were both right.
Now I just keep a rough estimate in the back of my mind so I know if I need to eat more later in the day to make up for a deficit I created. When I eat out, I know I need to eat 2 decks of cards worth of protein, and load the rest of my plate with veggies, and limit the starchy carbs to the size of 1 or 2 baseballs depending on my intake earlier in the day. I still weigh the very dense foods and hard to eyeball foods, like raw oats and rice.
I also do my food diary every day. However, mostly I estimate... I count in increments of 25. This keeps the math simple. I also sometimes specifically eat in increments of 50s and 100s. When I look at a plate of food I decide if it is 300, 350 or 400 calories. Really, when some calorie guide tells us a square of lasagna is 369 calories... is it really? How do I know that the section I got had more or less cheese? The calorie guide is an estimation. So since we're estimating, might as well pick a round number. I keep my pocket food diary (scrap paper) because it's quicker to glance at it, then stop and add up what I ate, trying to remember. I also do the diary because I want to keep the records, in case my metabolism shifts, or I get some new theory.
I do all this, but I am not obsessing. It is two minutes a day, tops.
So flowerbud, with some experimentation you will find your right calorie number... and you are right that you may vary from what this site says.
I collect data for people... how many calories to maintain how many pounds. Of the people who are close to your height...
5' 92 pounds 1200 calories
5'2" 108 pounds 1300 calories
5'4" 106 pounds 1250 calories
5'1" 103 pounds 1800 calories
5'4" 108 pounds 1350 calories
5'3" 120 pounds 2100 calories
5'4" 123 pounds 1900 calories
5'3" 138 pounds 1250 calories
5'3" 107 pounds 2250 calories
5'3" 111 pounds 1400 calories
5'4" 142 pounds 1800 calories
5'4" 115 pounds 1900 calories
5'4" 108 pounds 1400 calories
5'4" 107 pounds 1200 calories
5'2" 118 pounds 1600 calories
5'2" 105 pounds 1266 calories
5'3" 117 pounds 1390 calories
5'3" 105 pounds 1460 calories
5'3" 98 pounds 1885 calories
5'4" 120 pounds 1780 calories
The last five were from a book, so the calorie numbers are not rounded. Some of the data is from this website, others I found elsewhere on the internet. The people with higher numbers exercised a lot. Some people with low numbers reported exercising a lot. But even when the exercise appeared about the same, people's daily calories still varied a great deal.
I think this makes sense. Maybe for some people keeping track forever or weighing in every day is what's necessary to stay on track. But for me, those behaviors are both easy to maintain and anxiety-generating.
I did come at the weight loss phase from a different angle than most. I never had a goal weight, partly because my goal was as much to get in shape and learn to run as it was to lose weight and partly because I have tons of bone and muscle and didn't know what would end up being below what's healthy.
I've found that when I keep counting calories, I get anxious at the idea of NOT having a deficit, as if changing my habits to maintain will cause me to gain all the weight I lost back (which is unlikely, as I lost less than twenty pounds in more than a year through mostly excercise and some being more conscious of hunger, additives and portion size). Counting calories makes me feel like I have to keep losing and at this point any further loss is with a goal of pleasing people whose opinions I don't rationally care about and trying to look more like what I see on TV. It's NOT what's healthy for me, particularly if I want the energy to be able to function throughout the day.
Okay, I'm totally hijacking a conversation about something else right now and I apologize. I probably should go start a new thread about the terror of letting go without letting go of oneself...
oh and just incase....I saw someone was stopping her calorie counting, I hope she is still eating well and exercising because this is a life long (depressing huh?) commitment. You can't lose the weight, and expect it not to come back, we need to keep on it, especailly as we get older.
Oh, yes, I definitely am. I just want to stop feeling guilty for not doing enough, even on days when I run four miles before work and eat salads with no or fat free dressing for lunch AND dinner. I HAVE healthy habits (and recently realized that if someone told me I could stop excercising, would not gain weight, but would get out of shape and lose the mental health benefits, I'd still run. It was a great realization). I'm just way too hung up on guilt and pride with regard to this stuff and I want to relax and enjoy my life and my habits.
And will dm stop trying to tell people that they can't possibly count calories forever.
It may not be what a lot of you want to hear, but it's the truth.
The whole point of counting is that it's a temporary tool to help you achieve weight loss. During the counting process, you are supposed to get a handle on the caloric values of the food you eat, so that when weight loss is over, you can maintain without having to count.
It's not normal to obsessively count once weight loss is over. So no, I won't stop discouraging it, but hey if you want to live with OCD for the rest of your life, that's your choice.
However, I find that when I keep careful track, I try to conserve calories for the end of the day. Not just a hundred or two extra for a small dessert, but I often hit 7 PM with a thousand or more calories left in my daily allotment. Some days I end up with 1400 or so by bedtime and go to bed hungry and feel proud (my BMR is around 1800-1900 and I excercise off 300-400 most days). Other days I backload a large meal and a few drinks. Which, yeah, I know some of you are big proponents of calories in and calories out, but there is no way I am believing that's healthy. But when I count, I get that message so strongly that I conserve, conserve, conserve, just in case and am so hungry by the end of the day that I can eat a 500 calorie dinner and still be starved.
On the other hand, before I lost weight I spent 6 years as a vegan and 3 months eating no simple carbs whatsoever (but tons of whole grains and veggies) and protein at every meal for medical reasons. The habits I developed during both those periods have rubbed off on me - left to my own devices I'd eat 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day, at least some lean protein at every meal and mostly whole grains. I tend to avoid saturated fat, but do love olive oil, salmon, avacado, nuts... things that when counting I feel the need to avoid because they're too calorie-dense.
I haven't even gotten into the things that counting and being hyper-aware of nutrition does to me mentally. Basically, it makes me crazy. OCD is only the beginning. I do not want my happiness determined solely by how virtuous (ie maximizing nutrition at the minimum calorie level to the detriment of certain types nutrients and the ability to pretty much ever not be hungry) my food choices have been. I do not want to feel that I shouldn't accept my body the way it wants to be (a strong and healthy weight, but nowhere near stick thin) and hear the voice inside my head saying "come on, you should have a deficit again, just in case." No, this is just the negative effects the counting mentality has on my diet.
So, yes, if you've yo-yo'd a lot before (I haven't... this is the only time in my life I've lost weight and I went from a BMI of 25.5 or so to 23 or so - yes I'm 5'2" but apparently I am muscle girl and those muscles are dense and get hungry...) then maybe keeping track forever makes you healthier and happier. For me, it does neither. I think that's what dm is getting at when he's telling people to stop.
dm - I'd be interested to know if you had an experience similar to mine with counting during maintenance.
Yes. I've wound up having days where I had a 1,500 calorie deficit by the time dinner came around. Even today I sometimes think way too hard about what I am eating.
Now to be clear. I'm not saying people should be oblivious to how many calories they're eating, but it's not healthy to be formally logging every single thing and obsessing over hitting or not hitting the number for the day.
As long as you eat realistic portions of real food 90% of the time, you will be ok. I suggest people count for a week or two just to see how much food they need to eat to hit their maintenance goal, but after a few weeks, it really is time to let go.
That's the mentality I want to have. Of course, by "let go" I mean let go of the control and the guilt over every indulgence in the 10%, not the good habits.
Of course, wanting that mentality and getting there are very different.