Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Am I Hurting My Weight Loss by Eating TOO FEW Calories?!?!

So, I have mentioned the last couple months my weight loss has sorta plateaued.  I would aim to eat 1300-1400 calories during the week and 1400-1500.  On the weekends my calorie count really fluctuated higher and more like 1700-2000…because, honestly I was HUNGRY.

During the week I was tired and had no energy.  Many nights I would go to bed when Henry did because I was so tired.

I lost 24 pounds pretty quick, but as my weight loss stopped, I would get mad and eat even fewer calories and then it seemed like one day a week I would eat close to 2000.  This is still less than what I used to eat, especially when I had a binge.  But still, to eat 1250 calories for 3 days and then 2000 the next seemed to be causing issues and confusing my body more than actually helping it.

I started talking to friends and reading as much as I could about eating TOO FEW calories and the effects.

Everything I read stated things like this…

“When you diet aggressively and make drastic cuts in your daily calorie intake, your body panics, signaling starvation mode; this actually slows metabolism. The best way to diet effectively is to cut 100 calories from what you normally would eat.”

“The truth is that cutting calories below 1,050-1,200 per day is counterproductive, because you need strong muscles to be able to exercise effectively.”

"When you eat too few calories, you lose fat but also precious muscle, which is the worst thing you could do because it slows your metabolism and makes it more difficult to increase exercise intensity or duration,"

“It's one of the most frustrating realities of dieting—if you cut out too many calories, your metabolism thinks times are lean and puts the breaks on fat-burning to conserve energy…”

Well Damn.

Frustrating is right.

You eat too few calories and you don’t lose weight. Eat too many calories and gain weight.  Eat the wrong calories and you don’t lose weight.


No wonder celebrities pay for personal chefs.

But it explains a lot.  It explains why I was SO tired.  Why I always felt hungry.  Why on the weekends I would eat more, because my body is telling me I need to eat more.

And I am sure the back and forth of low low calories and then higher calories was not helping and confusing my body more.

So last week I decided to follow the calorie count that EVERY calorie calculator (even when I manual determine my calories based on good old fashioned math) told me.  For my height 5’11” and weight (a lot!) and being 35 it was NO WHERE CLOSE to 1300 calories.  Infact, that 1300 was closer to someone looking to lose 2 lbs a week who weighs 160 pounds….you know, my GOAL weight.


For me to lose approximately 2lbs a week (maybe a bit more), not working out, I am looking at 1600-1700.

So this is where I am now, 1650 calories.  Not even counting ANY exercise, which I will need to adjust accordingly. 

It hasn’t been quite a week, but I already FEEL better.  I have more energy.  I haven’t lost anything yet, but the fact I am not tired and not thinking about food all the time is a good start. 

I am going to try keeping my calories around here for a month and see what happens.  If I am still not losing weight it is off to a nutritionist to see what they suggest.

Some other tips I have found that I will be using this month:

Eat lots of vegetables to help you feel full.
Drink plenty of COLD water. (cold water kickstarts your metabolism)
Stay busy -- you don't want to eat just because you're bored.
Eat only from a plate, while seated at a table. No grazing in front of the 'fridge. (Guilty!)
Don't skip meals.
Eat every 3-4 hours.
Eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up.

My schedule will look something like this: (approximately*)

7-8 a.m.: Breakfast 250 [calories]
10 a.m.: Snack 200
1 p.m.: Lunch 350
3-4 p.m.: Snack 200
6-7 p.m.: Dinner 650
Avoid eating after 8:30

I am trying to incorporate at least 20-30 minutes of exercise into my schedule.  It has been hard…

Trying to workout...about 15 minutes into it.

…but I will keep trying!

I still like sweets, I like love bread, and chips with any sorta dip cannot be in the house at all. But I still want to eat those things I love and have no plans to give them up…. just eating them in moderation.  I have a near 4 year old I have to cook for who is semi-picky and a husband who prefers hardy foods so I am trying to find ways to make sure we all eat healthy without breaking the bank and cooking separate meetings for all three of us. 

I have learned a few tricks the past 6 months on my diet like buy things like healthy Life bread (35 calories a slice), air popcorn or skinny pop for snacks, and if we eat a higher calorie dinner like pasta or pizza I always include a very large salad.

So I am trying this all again.  Just like my first post on this journey where I said I feel motivated and refreshed…that is me now.  Again. 

"If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started.  And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."  

I have come way too far in my weight loss, my binge eating, the way I look at food to let this little bump in my journey stop me.  I am really hoping by increasing my calories to a more realistic calorie count, working out, and eating every few hours my body will get the kick it needs to start losing weight again!!!  So this may take me a little longer than I wanted, but what is important is that I get to where I want to be…right?!?!

*As I have mentioned before, I adjust depending on what I am eating for dinner.  I plan meals out at least weekly, but normally bi-weekly or a month at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring.

    Look at all that you've learned. Look at all you're doing. This will make a difference. and you're right, "If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started. And when I started, I was desperately wishing to be where I am now."

    You can do this.