Fitness Minutes: (3,615)
4/20/13 4:11 P
Thanks for all the feedback! I'm going to incorporate some of these suggestions - focusing more on the healthy stuff and also plan on eating 2 healthy snacks a day so I don't have to stuff myself in one sitting...letting myself eat less on some days and more on others, etc.!
There's more to healthy eating than calories. How are you doing with your nutrition targets? If you get to 1400 calories and you have gotten enough fiber, calcium, protein, etc, then it's fine not to eat those last 100 calories. If you look at your tracker and see that you have only had 700mg of calcium and you're a little below your protein target, have a glass of milk or a little yogurt. If you're short on fiber, have an apple. The lower limit exists to make sure you've eaten enough food to get those nutrients; generally you can't hit those nutrient targets if you eat much less. It's really that simple. If you're getting your protein, calcium, and so on, you won't go into "starvation mode" or anything.
i tend to be a little hungrier on rest days than exercise days too. it's not that unusual.
the first thing i will say is that, particularly if you plan on maintaining that sort of level of exercise, 1700 cals is not an overly high goal. unless you are very short or very old, you're going to maintain at a higher level than that once you reach your goal weight. so at some point you're going to have to learn how to eat that much. though, yes, becky is right that you're large enough right now to lose a little more than the program will let you set up, so going a little under those ranges [for now] isn't an issue. again, long term you're likely going to need to figure out how to do so, but for the short term you have enough extra calories in fat to use as fuel to make up the difference.
the second thing i will ask is if you have averaged your workout and non workout days through the week? what do you get when you average them? that's going to be key. if your low cal workout days are in the 1200-1550 range and then you eat a little more than your actual ranges on your non-workout days, you may be, on average, in your ranges. in which case, don't worry and keep doing what you are doing.
third, sneak in a little more food to help you get there. in other words, if your serving of cereal is 1 cup, try 1 and 1/8 cups instead. bump up the fat milk that you buy and add an extra ounce or two. instead of having 2 cups of broccoli, have 2 and 1/4 cups of broccoli. instead of 60 g of cheese, try 65 or 70g cheese. with the milk, have 1 and 1/8 cups instead of a cup. with your yogurt and honey add a little granola [1/8 cup is fine] or some fruit [doesn't have to be a whole serving]. little things like this don't look like much, but they add up through the day without making you feel like you're stuffing yourself.
Fitness Minutes: (85,382)
4/20/13 8:01 A
I've found your body adapts to a certain calorie intake. There are times while losing weight I dropped to 1200 cals and after a week or so was satisfied on that amount. If I tried to eat 1500-1600 cals, I'd feel disgustingly bloated and stuffed. Now I eat 1500 cals a day and am fine on that amount because my body has gotten used to it, I can eat 1800-2000 cals and not feel stuffed. It's the same reason if you're aneroxic you eventually don't feel hungry eating under 600 cals.
So my suggestion would be to stick to your spark range. Otherwise you risk starvation mode where your body will conserve fat and burn energy from lean muscle and tissue.
There are a few things to point out: Sometimes our SP formula does give a calorie range that is on the high side for someone who has more weight to lose. 1500 calorie intake is not dangerously low. Many people report less appetite on the days they are more active and then the body wants slightly more food the next day.
Following your hunger signals and responding with a calorie intake that is still "safe" is fine. So from what you descibe you can use the 1500 calories on some days and can eat within your given range on others.
Becky SP Registered Dietitian
Fitness Minutes: (38,152)
23,495 4/19/13 8:23 P
5lb per month is actually a healthy loss, and not slow at all. It took me 16 months to lose 50lb - a MUCH slower rate than yours. I happily sat there for a year before deciding to move on down. I am now at my goal and have been for over 2 years. But guess what??? I am now heaps lighter than I was at the beginning of my journey - I had been overweight for about 30 years.
This isn't about getting the weight off quickly - it is about getting the weight off in a healthy way, and if it means a bit slower than we would like, well so be it.
There are two sayings which apply here:
"Rome wasn't built in a day!" ......
"Patience is a virtue!"
As you are struggling to eat enough, why not try nibbling on a few nuts along with the extra fruit - even adding a couple dried dates or apricots etc. to the mix. The calories will increase, and won't leave you feeling stuffed.
Fitness Minutes: (3,615)
4/19/13 8:08 P
Thanks for the advice! But I've been exercising like this for years...I love to work out. I was really athletic before I gained all this weight and still enjoy going to daily classes (not weekends) at my gym. I've always had the loss of appetite on exercise days, too, and I'm super hungry on days where I don't work out. I've never known why. I did see a therapist for my binge eating disorder and have been 'binge free' for 3 months now. I'm currently just really frustrated with my slow loss (5 pounds a month for 3 months) and have felt confused over how much/how little to eat. Of course I've had my calories calculated for my weight, but the range doesn't feel right because it's usually a struggle to eat enough. I'm going to try restructuring my diet for a couple of weeks to see if that moves the scale! More fruits/veggies and less carbs...which I really struggle with because I love them so much! That's mainly what I eat, and protein.
Fitness Minutes: (38,152)
23,495 4/19/13 8:00 P
Considering you had a past eating disorder, and considering that you are now finding loss of appetite with exercise, and the amount of exercise you are doing, I would be inclined to talk with your Dr and ask for a referral to a Therapist who specializes in this sort of thing - especially while you are trying to lose this weight. Some times people can go from one type to the opposite.
It really IS important to eat, but unfortunately we can't always listen to our body because our brain doesn't always give the appropriate signals.
I would say for now to stick to the actual numbers and the diet plan Spark recommends - and yes, that means eat the recommended calories even if you're not feeling hungry. You can also try incorporating higher-calorie foods that don't leave you feeling so stuffed. (Like nut butters, cheese, etc., versus tons of low-calorie foods that make you feel overly full -- ie: bunches of broccoli, etc.)
Now - that's not saying stay away from the fruits and veggies, as they're important for balanced nutrition (and as a vegetarian, I believe in the power of veggies!) But experiment some with good quality high-calorie foods.
Regarding listening to your body... you have a ways to go yet before you can trust in how your body is supposed to respond to food like a "normal" average-weight person.
Let your weight start coming down, and pay attention to how you're feeling. You've only been following the plan since January.
I didn't fully get to a point where I felt comfortable with the "listen to your body" bit until I was close to my goal weight, and I will tell you right now, it doesn't come easily. Like one day you decide "Oh, I'm going to listen to my body" and then magically it's all better from that point forward. I STILL have days where my taste buds and my emotions dictate what goes into my stomach instead of listening to what my stomach is telling me.
Another option is to reduce the amount of exercise you are doing. It's not totally necessary to do 2.5 hour workouts twice a week (in fact, even at my weight, that's just too damn much work!). If you reduce the amount you're working out, your suggested calorie range will adjust.
Good luck. I'm sure there will be other great suggestions, too.
Fitness Minutes: (3,615)
4/19/13 6:25 P
I work out fairly vigorously, and on days where I work out, I have zero appetite and have to force myself to eat. When I do eat enough to get into my 'range', I feel stuffed, like I've had a binge. Then I feel guilty and discouraged (past binge eating disorder). I feel like I should listen to my body, and if my body tells me that it's satisfied at 1500 calories, why should I continue to eat (albeit healthy stuff - almonds, etc.)? But - I don't want my body to "shut down" (i.e. burn muscle, not fat!) by not eating enough. It's a really frustrating situation for me, especially because my weight loss is so slow and I have so far to go. I want to do the right thing but it seems counter-intuitive to eat when not hungry.
Example: today I had my vigorous 2 1/2 hour workout. Cereal for breakfast, homemade broccoli soup (2 c broccoli, 60 g. cheese, 1 c. milk) for lunch, a snack of Green yogurt and honey. I felt totally satisfied, but I was so low on my calories. I made a homemade pizza with all-wheat crust, ate it, felt uncomfortably stuffed and bloated, and I'm STILL 250 calories shy of my range.
I would really appreciate any feedback on this issue! Thank you!
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