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TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/19/13 7:37 P

Ok so it's been a couple of weeks and I was tapering for my race and not exercising as much, though the work on the one house was extensive especially towards the end. I was planning on just one week of taper, but it was messed up by the all the work I had to do on the house, so I ended up doing two weeks of taper.

During that time I was not watching what I ate and especially the first week of it, since I was out of town and didn't really have access to a kitchen at all, I was eating out at least once a day, not always healthfully due to time constraints and budget. I just ate whatever I was hungry for at the time, as I was also trying to reset my metabolism. After the 1700 calorie experiment, my TOM was delayed but came back within a week of freely eating whatever.

After two weeks of eating this way - my weight is exactly the same (I wasn't weighing during these two weeks). I ran my race and though it was a smaller field of around 175 people, I was the first place woman finisher overall in the 18+ category. My running has felt a lot stronger as well in training, I'm able to push it faster.

So, since calorie counting did not seem to be working, what I had considered doing was this: just eat when I'm hungry, but set a cut-off time at 8 PM after which I don't eat anymore. I did a similar thing in January and lost 8 lbs in about six weeks, though I was not training as much at the time. I think I was actually tracking but not trying to eat a set amount, if that makes any sense. The thought of not tracking makes me a bit nervous, but it seems I don't really gain weight when doing that, so cutting that back by a little bit each day by not eating after 8, perhaps I will lose the remaining weight.

This was all until I saw the race photo of myself when I was getting the medal. I realize it was a bad photo, I'm wearing spandex short race shorts and the sun was shining from behind, but I feel like I looked huge and it emphasized any cellulite I had on my leg too.

So now I am trying to resist the urge to go to 1300-1500 calories a day or similar. I am trying to focus on the fact that I raced well even at my current weight rather than the photo in which I looked TERRIBLE!! But that photo makes me want to lose the weight by yesterday!!!

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/3/13 10:14 P

Well, this weekend, especially since I don't have my food scale here, or weight scale, or anything, I am just eating when I'm hungry. What's funny is, in the past when I have done this... I've pretty much always lost weight. Part of the reason is, I'm so busy typically, I don't have time to eat or forget about it. Not that it's healthy. I started tracking as I was worried my calories were too low. I start getting tired, cold, etc if I am not eating enough.

I took half the day off to go shopping, but did another calorie calculator today and it said for the 4 1/2 hours I was scraping paint I burned 947 calories. If I did burn 950ish calories, and 580 from my run, 1250 from my BMR and 300 shopping and other normal activities, that is like 3080 calories. So yeah I'm definitely realizing how 1700 calories was too low...

I don't pay much attention to calories burned from when I'm working on things, but I know it does burn a boatload of calories. I don't know that my body adjusts to it to burn less because I'm not always doing the same activity as say a painter who day in and day out just paints. It's actually easier to lose weight if I were say sedentary and working out once a day. As you said it's all estimates... and the more variables that are involved the wackier the estimates get.

It seems now the more I eat the hungrier I am. A nutritionist told me once when I met with her while training for a marathon, that is a sign your metabolism is firing up. She said if you haven't been eating enough, once you start eating more, it's like the floodgates open, and you start getting HUNGRY. Strength training has always made me totally hungry too.

So now I'm considering not focusing on the marshmallow, LOL, NOT tracking and just doing my thing. I typically lose weight that way... at the same time I don't want to because calories are too low at the same time. So I'm in a quandry. The same happens when I train for triathlons as well, it is really hard for me to eat all I burn, but at least then I have "some" idea.

When I get back to where I'm staying this week, I'll probably start tracking again. But not sure at what range yet.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/3/13 7:55 A

Yes, for sure. That's definitely one of the frustrating things about the 1/2 lb/week thing. I'm experiencing the same thing, patience is the key here. I love the marshmallow test metaphor used by Martin Berkhan of Leangains.

I'm trying not to focus on the marshmallow! Maybe for different reasons than Mark applies it here. I'd love to lose 5 lbs of "fat" (keyword fat, which involves a slow weight loss) to clean up my last remaining problem areas. For me, yes it's vanity that's my driving force for this goal. I am very goal driven which it sounds like you are too. I tend to put all my focus on achieving that goal. I have to remind myself to take my eyes of the marshmallow. That I am fit and healthy right where I am right now and that "goal" isn't so important that it requires all my focus. So I've put those 5 lbs on the back burner and am just focusing on figuring out where I maintain.

So for me, I'm trying to focusing on monthly trends over time. I'm prepared that just figuring out my approximate TDEE may take a couple of months.

Really, those calculations are all just general estimates. I wouldn't put too much chips in them. The only way to find out is through trial and error and use yourself as the experiment. If you are working out, staying active and eating enough calories to support that regiment (and strength training for sure), you'll achieve your goal.

A month should be enough to rule out whether the loss is bloat or what not. If you find yourself losing more quickly than you like, adjust your calories the following month or vice versa. Eventually, you should see a trend and get a better picture of you TDEE. Be prepared that it may take some time to figure it out. Especially in your situation where you don't fit in with the general public as far as activity level and exercise regiment goes. Your body is probably used to this high level of performance which means it may not burn as many calories performing these tasks as the average Joe. So I'm pretty sure the generalities of TDEE calculators are going to be useless. It's going to require grunt work.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/3/2013 (08:08)
TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/2/13 10:39 P

I'm actually not set on 1lb a week. I was just saying that in reference to what the Spark range represented. After reading this thread, I'd be ok with a half lb a week at this point. My only qualm with that is, how can you even tell if it is working? Weight fluctuates so much as it is. Like after month, you may have lost 2 lbs or maybe just dehydrated. Or if you are bloated with pms it could also be hard to tell.

I saw the calculator and it looks good. I just don't really keep track of what i do because it's so varied day to day. Today was my day off from working out, but I went around and shopped for and loaded all sorts of building materials and supplies, around 10K steps plus loading/unloading. Then I pressure washed a whole house for I don't know, over 5 hours. I put those numbers into the calc and it was like 3753 calories.

Tomorrow I have my long run, core workout and then I am scraping and painting all the trim and front porch of a 1 1/2 story house. If it rains, I'll still run and workout of course but I'll replace out bathroom flooring instead. Sometimes I start on one project, have to do something else, then come back to the first. So this is what I mean, things are hard to calculate. It would be pretty tedious to try to log how many hours of each activity I do and try to put a calorie value on it.

Logging exercise is actually the easier cut and dried part, lol!

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/2/13 11:59 A

You can try this calculator for reference. Found it a couple weeks ago when I was trying to figure out the same thing as you. I also find most of the online calculators "generic" and absolutely abhore their definitions of activity levels, so vague.

This one is a little more detailed and seems accurate as long as you are accurate and not too generous with your time spent doing a particular activity. It closely lines up with Spark and gave me a bit of a better picture of how Spark defines its activity levels.

So you can play around that:

And as much as you are set on the 1 lb/week loss. DragonChilde is correct. You should really only be creating an average -250 cal daily deficit in your healthy BMI. I know how long that can feel but from experience losing too quickly in your healthy BMI really throws your body out of whack. You have to be even more careful that your loss isn't consisting of lean muscle/tissue because you have much fewer fat stores than someone in their overweight/obese BMI. Not to mention the havoc it can wreak on your hormones and metabolism.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/2/2013 (12:01)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
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8/2/13 11:32 A

The other thing to remember is that actually, when you're on the last 10 lbs? 1 lb per week is too aggressive a weight loss. A good rule of thumb is around 3% of your total weight loss goal. Basically, it's because you lose more slowly the less you have to lose.

You can maintain a 1,000 calorie a day deficit when you have 200 lbs to lose, because there's enough fat that 2 lbs a week can come off.

But at 10 lbs to go, you're looking at something more like 1/4 to 1/2 a lb a week. You actually have less room for error, because there's less to lose, and your body will fluctuate more.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 8/2/2013 (11:34)
TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/2/13 9:40 A

Yeah that's sort of what I was trying to do. I went to about 5-6 calorie calculators online and put in my height, weight, age, and their generic categories of the top two most active levels, and averaged what I got from those, which came to 2230 calories per day. I knew that was totally generic but at least it gave me a starting point. So I subtracted 500 from that and that's where I got the 1700 calories a day I was using.

I was trying to use just that one number because when I was using the Bodymedia and then the FitBit, I was having to change how much I ate every day based on what it said I burned, and doing that got old. For example the FitBit, on some days it told me I should eat like 1250 other days 1850, and so on. So I figured if I used just one number, it was just easier for me as far as eating, even though I knew on some days it might be too low and other days too high.

Since 1700 was too low I am going to go to 1900 or even 2000. Since Spark had me at that 1840-2140 ish with just one short workout, it may even have to be a bit higher. But in any case I should be feeling better with that than with the 1700. And yeah after I know my range, I can vary it more.

Yeah when I put in "Sedentary" Spark gives me a range of 1200-1550 calories to eat a day. When I put in the "Lightly Active" it still says 1200-1550 calories a day. When I put in the "Very Active" (or whatever the highest level is called), then it puts me at 1320-1670 calorie per day, just 120 higher. Weird.

I wonder if it has my BMR as super low for some reason, because I read before Spark won't go lower than 1200 for females, so maybe they have my sedentary level is actually lower than 1200 but it defaults to that range.

I know my BMR (by calculations but also was tested in a lab) is 1250. So it would kind of make sense because if I were sedentary, they probably used the common formula that says I would burn my BMR * 1.2, which gives 1500 calories a day. If you subtract 500 for one pound loss per day, that gives a range of 1000 calories a day, below my BMR, so my "spark range" would be 750-1100, which is below the default, so that's probably why my first two ranges are the same.

By that logic if I were sedentary and burning around 1500 calories a day, and working out one time at around 500 calories for the workout, 1600-1700 wouldn't be such a bad range for the last 10 lbs of weight loss. But since I'm almost never sedentary (unless I am sick, for real) and workout 1-2 times a day burning on average a lot more than the 500 calories, I can see now why the 1700 was too low.

I guess we are all an experiment of one so, yeah, have to find out what works for me. The irregular nature of my work makes that calculation sort of hard though.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/2/13 8:33 A

I went a lot longer than you (I think) eating too little so I'm in the same boat, "reset". It's pretty much a give-in that I slowed my metabolism because when I gained weight back my weekly deficit was barely above my projected maintenance. Even though I had some days I overate, I had other days where I was creating a significant deficit.

So it's really a stab in the dark where my maintenance level is at. I'm just increasing calories slowly and watching the scale. Hopefully, a few months of maintaining and keeping up with my ST will get me back to where I need to be. I'm sticking to the amount Spark gives me for my activity level (without exercise). Around 1700-1800 cals for now, it's a bit soon to tell but I appear to still be losing on that amount.

I'm surprised it only adds an extra 120 cals? When I played around with the activity level it gave me an extra 250-300 cals for sedentary and an extra 250-300 cals on top of that for lightly active. My BMR (without activity is approximately 1300 cals). Sedentary gives me 1580 and lightly active gives me 1810. I didn't try the active category. Or do you mean it adds that to what you can eat?

Just like me, you're just going to have to control as many variables as you can for about a month. Maybe try to stick to an average calorie range within 100-200 cals and not worry about eating more on your higher active days, just figure out an average between your less active and more active days. That way it will be easier to make adjustments as need and see what your body does with that amount of calories. Once you figure out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) or the amount you are losing 1/2-1 lb a week. You can cycle calories between active/less active days during the week. I've cycled calories before and it works well, (that's essentially what Spark has done by syncing your calorie range with your exercise calories burned). So say you seem to be losing 1/2-1 lb a week eating between 1700-1900 cals. Then if you want you can eat 1600 cals on some days, 1700 cals on others, 2000 cals, etc. to average out to 1800 cals for the week. You're going to want to stop looking at it on terms of your daily deficit and instead a weekly deficit (on your more active days you may be creating a -600 cal deficit, on your less active days it may only be a -200 cal deficit). It might make sense to keep your calorie intake fairly consistent just so you can get a better idea of what your average TDEE is, once you figure it out you can get all fancy with it. I'd say figuring out your TDEE would be your first goal. If you find a range you're maintaining a 1/2-1 lb/week loss and average 1800 cals, add 250-500 cals to that number and it should equal your TDEE; 2050-2300 cals.

It will be much easier to figure out how many calories you should eat and on what days once you figure out how much you maintain your weight on. You should also have a better idea of how many calories you're burning. If TDEE is averaged for the entire week at 2500 cals/day and BMR is 1300 cals, you figure you burn 2000 cals a week through planned exercise (which would average 285 cals/day). Subtract BMR and daily planned exercise from TDEE and what's left over should be how much you burn through activity, 914 cals. Of course like you said, some days you work harder than others so you would burn more than this amount and others you would burn less but this should equal the average amount of calories you burn at work and at rest for the entire week. Of course that would be your TDEE and if you want to lose 1 lb/week you'll subtract -500 cals, so your average calorie intake for the week would be 2000 cals. Then you can choose to eat higher than that amount on more active days and lower than that amount less active days, as long as your weekly average is 2000 cals. Hope this is making sense and I haven't lost you with my overly wordy explanation. :P

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/2/2013 (09:09)
TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/2/13 6:29 A

Also, what is interesting is I played around with the new lifestyle activity settings. For some reason the first two lifestyle activity settings (sedentary and lightly active) give me the exact same baseline sparkpeople calorie range. The most active category only adds 120 calories a day to that sedentary setting range.

So, I will need to watch the calories I burning, because If I am doing demolition work, construction or even painting or tiling for 6-8 hours/day that burns a lot more than 120 calories.

And you're right, I read about the calorie range, the middle # gives 1 lb a week loss, lower is 250 below that and upper is 100 above, so yeah when I'm less active I would use the low number perhaps and more active then the higher.....

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 10:21 P

Also I found it interesting my Garmin said I burned 448 calories and Spark said I burned 468 calories so it was very close. I think Garmin has my weight as a couple pounds less as well (it bounces around).

The real variable is what I burn remodeling. I'm not always doing the same types activities for the same amount of time, it changes depending on the project. I will just have to gauge for myself I guess if it was a heavier activity day or lighter and use the range for that.

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 10:03 P

Ok. Well the fact I was having so many symptoms at 1700 calories a day tells me that it was too low. The Spark Calculations are just another confirmation of that. Thanks for the descriptions with that. I've not really had to diet before in this way to lose weight so I didn't know what it was "supposed" to be like or not. I figured you would not "not" feel hungry or have awesome training performance but I didn't know where on the spectrum I needed to be.

What is funny is that I am also hungrier on my less active days - for example the only day I don't workout on Fridays, though I still do the remodeling, but I am much more hungry on that day. If I workout, it's like my hunger goes away. It's odd, but I read that many athletes can't go by hunger for this reason, because exercise tends to suppress the appetite. Which makes things even more confusing, LOL

I'm going to eat at the higher end of the range for now. I really feel worn down and like I need to "reset" things. I already feel somewhat better after one day of eating more. Before it's taken 2-3 days. I am out of town working on one of my rental houses, so I'll drop to the lower end of the range or "experiment" more when I am back in town hopefully early this coming week, I'm not sure, there's a lot of work to do here.

It seems like a pain logging all my exercise, but I guess once I know a range for my various routines I don't always have to log it on here anymore. I used to use a Bodymedia, which was way too high, and then a FitBit, which was way too low, so I've given up on tracking devices for now.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/1/13 6:28 P

I think when I figured it out, if you eat on average in the middle it *should* give you your weekly goal (1lb per week in this case) but remember it's all just estimates. It's very difficult to tell how many calories you're actually burning. You're mostly going to try by trial an error. You can check your daily reports under "my trackers" and daily or weekly deficit to see if you're losing at the rate of your deficit and make adjustments from there. However, you won't really see a trend until after a month or so.

You could definitely eat on the higher end on your more active days (days you're remodelling) and on the lower end on days you're not working. Up to you, really. I would just go by your level of hunger. I actually find I'm not as hungry on the days I'm really active but the following day I am.

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 4:47 P

Ok my tracker is set to the new tracking method on the highest level to account for my normal remodeling work. I normally don't track my fitness on this site since I use my Garmin for that, but today out of curiosity I put in the short run I did this morning. Since I'm tapering for a race I won't be running as much, I just ran 5 miles. Normally I'd run up to twice that, and do a second workout later on, a power Kettlebell circuit workout.

So anyway with just that run only, spark says I should eat 1842-2192 calories, already more than the 1700 I was at. I'm pretty sure that is to lose 1lb a week too. So yeah I think not enough calories...

My question is what is the range for? Do I eat at the higher end if I'm more active working (framing, construction/demolition) and at the lower if I'm less active or??


My question is what is the range for?

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/1/13 1:28 P

"Throughout history there have been cultures that have lived and thrived on a no carbohydrate diet."

The only "culture" that was entirely carnivorous was the Neandethals, not the same species and I don't see many of them walking around any more. Homo Sapiens evolved from a primarily vegetarian diet like other great apes and evolved to a diet that contained more protein (ie: meat). I'm quite versed in human evolution, history and culture and am quite surprised I've never heard of these entirely carnivorous cultures. We are omnivores quite simply, in the winter omnivores consume more protein and fat, in the spring/summer/fall our diet is primarily plant-based. Similarly in colder climiate, their diet is more protein and fat based but then, they do not eat high fat/protein the same way we do in our western culture (eating the organs and such raw) and do eat carbs, they are not carb-less. The beautiful thing about being an omnivores is we easily adapt to any type of diet when certain foods are scarce. We will eat and thrive off any food source that is available to us. That's what makes us so resilient. However, a human would not likely survive on an entirely carnivorous nor herbivorous diet... we would likely succumb to disease due to vitamin, mineral and other deficiencies.

I'm sure we could go back and forth all day. ;) But at the end of the day, you enjoy your low carb lifestyle and I enjoy my moderate approach to macros.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/1/2013 (16:02)
SIMONEKP Posts: 2,760
8/1/13 1:08 P

CMCOLE response is what I would say.

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 1:04 P

Hardly defensive, but don't see how I'm damaging my health or need to go to the doctor for a full blood work nor over training myself because I do more than two days of cardio a week.

Fine if low carb is your lifestyle. Not a one-size fits all solution though.

I've gotten helpful info from this thread.... Thanks all.

8/1/13 12:22 P

Jenni-Observational Studies... enough said.

Google Vilhjalmur Stefansson's research in the early 1900's.

Throughout history there have been cultures that have lived and thrived on a no carbohydrate diet. I'm not saying it's ideal I'm just saying they are not essential like fat is. People die without fat and protein, not so for carbs.

Tri- 100g a day is not drastically reduced and it's hardly eliminating a whole macronutrient! lol

Why ask a question if you're going to be so defensive and closed minded at the responses you get?

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 8/1/2013 (12:32)
TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 12:18 P

As I posted before, I am not nationally competitive yet but regionally, so yes for medals. I am not jeopardizing my health, that's why I posted, to find an accurate range in the last few pounds, what is a normal level of hunger when dieting and what is not, so I could do so healthfully. My period was delayed for two weeks, hardly amenorrhea in itself, and came back when I increased calories, the next month it was better with that and more carbs... I was pointing out the well proven link between calories, carbs, athletes and menstrual cycle irregularities. So no, I don't believe I need to go to a doctor.

I don't think drastically reducing or eliminating an entire macronutrient is particularly healthy, but to each their own, I suppose.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/1/13 11:55 A

"Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that a human can live without. Humans die without fat or protein. Our brains and our bodies can function and function well without any carbohydrates at all."

That's hardly true.

8/1/13 11:39 A

What kind of competitive runner are you then? For fun or for medals? Is it worth sacrificing your health for? If you can do it when you not dieting then maybe you shouldn't be dieting. If losing weight is more important then don't work out as much. You need to set a clear goal and then figure out how to achieve it.

Amenorrhea is a serious problem that can be caused by many different things. You should go see you doctor for a full check up and blood work.

RE: The Brain

Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that a human can live without. Humans die without fat or protein. Our brains and our bodies can function and function well without any carbohydrates at all.

I am not anti carb. I just think that it's easy to get stuck on the roller coaster sugar highs and lows that they can cause. For me the more bread, pasta and sugar I eat the more I crave and I prefer to avoid that so I limit my carbs to veggies and fruits.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 8/1/2013 (11:41)
TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 11:02 A

I doubt it's over training, I've been an athlete since I was a teenager, and if I'm not dieting the symptoms go away. That wouldn't happen if I were over trained. In fact I've cut mileage somewhat this year to support my weight loss goals. If you think a distance runner can be competitive with just two days a week of cardio... Well I guess everyone has their own theories, but I can tell you it's not going to happen lol. Sure if people don't train that much they can probably have less carbs. Also depends on the person. There's been studies done to show that amenorrhea in female athletes has to do with calories deprivation, not the stress of training, and especially carbs. Also, one of the biggest user of carbs is actually the brain.

I'm not anti-fat either but I think when calories are too low and you're training hard your body will just start to demand carbs to refuel as mine has. I'm not binging yet but you're right I don't want to go there.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/1/13 10:34 A

Yup, yup, yup. That's exactly what happened to me; depressed, irritable, fatigue, low sex drive, I actually lost my cycle for about 4-5 months. Just got it back recently but it's still erratic. I thought I was eating enough but Spark way low-balled my TDEE and suggested calorie intake.

So definitely, go for a slower weight loss. Otherwise, it's likely what happened to me will happen to you; your hormones will take the driver's seat and *force* you to eat. Perhaps more than you'd like to and things you'd rather not eat. Concentrate on your body fat percentage over the scale. I know you want to drop these 10 lbs for competition but you have to ask yourself if it's really worth jeopardizing your health and well being over.

JUSTEATREALFOOD- I meant she should increase her calories and if she maintains her same macros it will in turn up the amount of grams she's taking in, in carbs. (Everything will increase). With her level of activity, more carbs is what her body just might needs right now because it is lacking energy. I personally, suffer greatly any time my carbs are low. By carbs of course I mean more healthy carbs; veg, fruit, legumes, whole grains...

You'll know better than me but doesn't it take time for the body to adjust to ketosis (where it will use fat for energy)? So considering her situation now (body in need of energy) I would think it would be better to get it from a source her body knows how to get fuel from already. If that makes sense.

No. I did 3 days low carbs, 1 day refuel for 2 months and never got relief. I just don't believe macros are one-size-fits-all. I personally perform at my peak on a 40-45%, 25-30%, 25-30% breakdown.

She appears to have a moderate fat intake to me. Some days were low but most days appeared to be around the moderate intake of 20-30%. I'm definitely not anti-fat. My intake is usually between 25-30%. I would just think in her current situation, carbs are going to provide a quicker fix than fat. If I recall correctly anything below 15% would be considered a low fat diet so I don't think that would apply to her.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/1/2013 (11:12)
8/1/13 10:32 A

Jenni - She shouldn't lower her calories, I said she should eat more and specifically more fat.

Yes I do very well at around 100g of carbs a day. You say my body has had time to adjust and that's why. Probably true since I have been eating this way for a long time. You only tried for 30% carb for 3 days and it does take a few weeks for the body to get used to using fat for fuel.

The interesting thing about eating more fat is the more fat I eat, the more fat I lose. Healthy fats, not refined seed oils or hydrogenated fats.

Low fat diets are bad for your brain and can lead to depression.

TRI - The more you work out the hungrier you are going to be. I prefer to focus on quality over quantity. 1-2 high quality strength workouts and 1-2 high quality cardio workouts a week is all that you really need. I personally think your symptoms are all symptoms of over training.

A great article on over training here.

We all have to find what is going to work for us in the long term. I wish all the best to you.

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 9:44 A

I tried going down in carbs at people's suggestions on here and it was worse, and my sports performance was down. The particular day you picked out anyway, I was sick and I don't diet when I am sick, I give my body what it craves so it can heal itself, which lately has been carbs.

For a while too, recently, I was using a Fitbit, I was losing weight fast with it but it was way underestimating. I ended up getting sick with some sort of respiratory ailment, all I could think of was food and my period was two weeks late as well. It was only after I took a break due to being sick and ate more, esp a lot more carbs, my cycle came back. Before that as well, I used it for 10 days then had to take a sick day because I was so worn out I literally had to stay in bed and just EAT to get back to normal. Some days it would have me all the way down to like 1280 or something, it would undercalculate my mileage, power circuit /Kettlebell classes and also my renovation work. When I drop calories too low my sex drive goes away totally too. Maybe that's TMI but there I said it. The depressive feelings stink and always being hungry is bad too, I know what you're saying about nights, sometimes I'm excited about morning because I know it will be breakfast. I chew gum sometimes to avoid eating. That doesn't seem right.

I've started to eat more sugary foods than I normally do because my workouts burn carbs like crazy and my body has just been demanding it. I don't normally eat those foods either. I'm not at a nationally competitive level but I'd say I'm around regionally competitive level right now. I don't NEED to lose 10 lbs no, but to take my running back to the next level I do. I didn't gain by the way eating bad, I had poor health and some misdiagnosis, long story short that caused me to gain with medications.

I am around a size 4-6 now, 23.5% bodyfat so there is room to move. I just want to do it in a healthy range. Most of what I've read for athletes says you shouldn't diet more than 200-400 calories per day while training, and that also seems to correlate with what people are saying for the last 10lbs so that's what I will shoot for. You always want to lose faster but not at the d pence of feeling bad.

Training goes down as well, on my last couple runs, I struggled and even had to stop for a few seconds going up hills, my legs are not healing and don't have energy. I don't think it's carbs too low or protein too low per se, I think it's overall calories too low ence both areas are too low. Not enough carbs and no energy to train or do much, not enough protein and the body doesn't heal, not enough fat and feel hungrier and hormones are affected.

I did like 6 different calories calculators online and averaged the results of the highest two activity levels and subtracted 500 from that. Perhaps I should have just taken the highest level and subtracted from that or subtracted less.

Edited by: TRI_BABE at: 8/1/2013 (09:46)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/1/13 8:50 A


Personally, when I increased my fat and lowered my carbs I suffered from similar symptoms to what she's experiencing; irritability, fatigue, heavy-leg syndrome, brain fog (and carb binging) despite getting adequate micronutrients. It took me 3 weeks of returning to my moderate carb diet to get relief and that was only dropping from an average 40-45% intake to 30% (for 3 days) with one refeed day at 50%.

I know you do well on a low carb diet, your body has had time to adjust but it just seems to me that lowering carbs at this time (if she's under eating) would only make her symptoms worse.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/1/2013 (09:00)
8/1/13 8:27 A

You shouldn't be hungry, ever. If you're consistently hungry you need to eat more healthy foods.

Re-evaluating your goal is a great suggestion because 18% body fat and a size 4 is where you are at now right? Fitness competitors typically are 9-16% body fat.

What BMI are you aiming for? I would think you have quite a bit of muscle as you are very active. So you might be quite healthy at a mid BMI range and not need to lose any more weight. How do your clothes fit? Do you like what you see when you are looking in the mirror? What specifically are you trying to change with losing those 10 pounds? Is it healthy for you to lose 10 more pounds?

According to the BMI chart I could lose another 10 lbs and still be in the healthy range. I don't have 10 lbs of fat to lose though. If I lost that fat I would be very unhealthy because people do need some fat for their hormones to function properly. Body fat is an endocrine organ. It produces hormones such as leptin and estrogen and it is essential for a properly functioning body.

So the question is. Do you really need to lose those 10 lbs?

ETA: I looked at your tracker and your carbs are not low. Consistently over 200 g day. July 19th you had 404 g carbs. So definitely not too low. However your fat intake is very low. Increasing your fat intake will give you a lot more energy and keep you feeling full.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 8/1/2013 (08:45)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/1/13 8:18 A

Nearly the exact same thing happened to me except it hit me hard once I reached my goal weight. It led to late night binge eating (on foods I'd rather not eat huge quantities of) and even waking in the middle of the night to eat! Like you, I'm strong willed (and was my entire weight loss, I never suffered from binge eating before). I'd manage to do fine during the day, but late at night when my will was weaker and in the middle of the night before I had my wits about me, I started pigging out. It caused me to gain back about 13 lbs in 3 months. Which was probably a good thing because I had grown too skinny. I set my goal weight to what I weighed before I gained weight but during my weight loss I built a lot of muscle, so my goal weight turned out to be too thin for me.

I've since been maintaining 120 lbs at 5'2 and luckily the weight gain went to the right places. I still wear the same size 1-2 I wore at 107 lbs. I just gained fat where I needed it (got my curves back) and probably gained some extra muscle because I was strength training.

Anyways, come to find out I've been under eating in my last 20 or so pounds. All the signs were there but like you, my strong will (and stubbornness) and fast weight loss caused me to ignore them. In the end it caught up with me. I was averaging 1400-1500 cals which I thought was a decent amount for weight loss without under eating. Spark had me assumed as sedentary. Well, maybe I was when I first started this program but I am certainly not now. They added the new feature to the program where you choose your activity level (I chose lightly active, you'd obviously be in the active category). This bumped my range up significantly. I now average about 1700-1800 cals.

I feel much better in this range, the late night eating stopped almost as quickly as it came. I stopped obsessing over food. I am now reaching for maintenance and am upping my calories slowly but I'm eating in my "new range" and seem to be losing at the rate of my deficit (I always lost more than my deficit before).

For your last 10 lbs you should only be aiming to lose 1/2 lb/week. I wish I had listened to my own advice. Slower is better. My body rebelled against a fast weight loss. It was like a very hungry little alien (with an affinity for Graham crackers, peanut butter and chocolate chips) took control of my body every night. The next morning, I'd wake up wrought with guilt; I'd do extra cardio, eat way too little to do damage control. This of course, only exasperated things and I found myself caught in a vicious cycle of binging and purging.

All your symptoms are signs of under eating and probably not getting enough carbs for your activity/fitness level. If you haven't done so already, switch to the new tracker. I find it's much more appropriate for people with higher activity levels and who burn a lot of calories through exercise.

8/1/13 7:45 A

You're absolutely right: Changing our lifestyles isn't supposed to feel that bad...if it does, we're more likely to revert to the previous behaviors that led us to become unhealthy in the first place.

CMCOLE has a very good point about rethinking the goal when we get within the last time. The number of the scale has NO bearing on the reality of who you've become if you are exercising and have changed your food choices to healthier ones.

CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
8/1/13 6:40 A

I'm not sure, other than your solution may be the right one.
As you get to, or approach maintenance, you'll generally be eating more, to maintain, rather than lose.

Also, if you're very athletic, as you seem to say, it's quite possible that your body really does need more calories/nutrition to keep it stable.

I've been pretty much "maintaining" about ten pounds away from my original perceived goal for nearly a year, now, so I'm wondering if it's my body telling me that's enough - that the last ten is just a number on the scale, and has no basis in reality. That keeping fit, and continuing to eat right is where I should be focusing.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,271
8/1/13 6:30 A

IMO, no you should not be *that* hungry, nor more tired, lethargic, depressed etc. Usually, when you get down to the last 10 pounds or so, you're NOT going to be losing 1-2 pounds a week; it'll be more like 1/4 - 1/2 lb. per week. It gets too hard to adequately fuel your body, while still maintaining a deficit to lose.

I'd suggest you reset your weight loss goal for a smaller loss per week (set your goal date out there further) and see how that adjusts your calorie range. Assuming you've got your calories burned per week accurately reflected, as well. We all want to get the weight off as soon as possible, but it's not worth feeling like crap every day to try to do it.

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
8/1/13 6:17 A

Ok, in lieu of no answers to this question, I am going to start eating more. I think hungry is one thing but being tired, worn down, almost feeling depressed, not having the energy to do my regular activities, along with some other symptoms probably means that I'm not eating enough. I don't think dieting is supposed to make you feel that bad.

I'm going to go from 1700 to maybe 1900 or 2000 and see what that does. I'm fine with losing around a 1lb a week but not with feeling crappy.

TRI_BABE Posts: 2,968
7/31/13 7:12 P

I am in the last 10 pounds, well actually it varies from 10-14 pounds. When I get to the 10 lb mark I get so hungry, it's kind of ridic.

I have strong willpower, but then other things will happen besides being hungry - after 4-7 days I'll start getting tired/irritable, won't heal as fast from workouts, and sometimes get so tired I don't feel like doing anything (not like me), or even I'll get sick (which may or may not be related, but I don't normally get sick).

I'm very athletic, 6 days a week I train 1-2 times a day (both running and strength workouts) and in addition to that, most days I remodel houses. I understand that my training might not feel the best when dieting as well, but not sure how much that should be affected either.

I'm eating around 1700 calories a day. I don't know if it's just normal to be really hungry in the last 10 pounds and I should just suck it up, or if I should eat more.

Before, I was wearing a Bodymedia armband to track calories, and many times I was not hungry at all with a 500 calorie deficit from what it said I was burning, but I was also not losing weight. So I think you have to have some level of hunger in order to lose weight?? I just don't know how much.

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