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How many calories should I be eating?



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LEAHHAVA
SparkPoints: (2,368)
Fitness Minutes: (2,529)
Posts: 28
1/17/10 12:05 P

Dear Jessalyn

I agree with you that I just want to do something that works. I also want to applaud you for losing so much alreay. Were you on a different plan before than spark? I think your awards for yourself at each ten pounds is a brilliant idea. I think I am going to start that for myself.

I posted to this board and heard back from a SP Coach (Nancy)and then sent her a message with more questions but she didn't respond. I think my biggest problem with Spark is the lack of personalized attention or any human being to actually speak to to get some answers, but it is free and actually when I was doing weight watchers online, and paying a lot of money, there still wasn't anyone I could talk to to get answers.

It sounds like you have the opposite problem I do- you are working out SO much that you may need to eat more calories. I am working out possibly not enough to lose. Spark has me at their lowest calorie range for women (1200-1500) so my sense is that I may or may not lose any weight on that amount- it will all depend on how much I work out. At the beginning, it suggested I burn 250 calories per day. I have a heart rate monitor and I was dismayed to see that I was burning much less than that during my workout. I am only working out .5 hr per day though. When I up it to 1 hr, I can burn that much.

Right now I am just going to stick to their calorie range and work out at a rate I feel I can do without getting discouraged and quitting because I feel like I "just can't do it long term." I'm going for a slow weight loss (1.5 lbs per week- is that considered slow?) So that I can keep it off. I've lost before and gained it all back plus more.

I'd love to hear any ideas you have to get a more scientific answer to these questions.

I have heard of a monitor called the body bug. It is a heart rate monitor you wear all day on your upper arm. It is expensive but comes with software for your computer and I think even a coach for awhile. It calculates all the calories you burn in a day (not just the ones while you exercise) so it can accurately determine how many calories you can eat to still lose. I am tempted to get one of those but I don't want to go too crazy!

Leah



AHEALTHIERJESS
Posts: 2,583
1/14/10 11:36 P

I just started spark last week. At first, it told me 1500-1900, but when I started putting in the amount I actually ended up working out, it said I should change my fitness goals to make sure I was getting enough calories and then it went up to 1610-1980. Today, however, I was actually under my calorie range by about 100. I just want something that works. I work out 6 days a week, doing high-intensity cardio and weight training. Anything under 1400 I'd be too hungry, but I'm wondering if I should stick to around 1500 or have more.



DALLASMAINE
SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (15,471)
Posts: 2,111
1/14/10 10:57 P

Ive been trying to adjust my calorie range to what feels right for me. I'm 49 years old and I'm 5'1". I work out 6 to 7 days a week. I do high intensity workouts for one to two hours at a time, cardio & toning. I've been given a calorie range of 1800 to 2150! I'm having a hard time eating all those calories. when I first started Sp I had a calorie range of about 1300 to something. Then when I started exercising it said I was burning off too many calories and I had to adjust my food calorie range. at The lower end I was losing a couple lbs a week, now I'm having a hard time, this week I gained .4 lbs. I don't know maybe my HRM is off and I'm not burning as many calories as I thought I was. Should I just lower my range again and see if I'm losing only one to two lbs a week? Maybe start around 1500 to something? Thank You for any advice you can give me!

Dallas



LEAHHAVA
SparkPoints: (2,368)
Fitness Minutes: (2,529)
Posts: 28
1/5/10 5:18 P

Thanks for your kind advice. I think everything you are saying is true. I heard of a product called the bodybug. It's an expensive kind of heart rate monitor that you wear all day on your arm. It tells you exactly how many calories you are burning from your daily activities. It also comes with a subscription to their website or something. It sounds super scientific but a little too obsessive for me. I am going to give my 1200-1500 awhile and see how I do. I need to lose gradually so I don't want to overdo it. Thanks for your help.



TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/5/10 12:25 P

1200 has been found to be the minimum for an adult to get the bare minimum calories, vitamins, minerals, macro and micronutrients.

Many people think less is more when it comes to weight loss, but many times that's not true, it really does depend a lot on our activity level - we need to eat enough to sustain the energy output.

So for instance someone who is basically a couch potato will burn far less than a waitress with kids, first running around at work, then runnin around at home. I wear a pedometer all the time to help me figure out my overall activity level. I found this a couple years back:

Up to 5,000 steps = Sedentary
5,000-7,499 steps = Light activity (normal, everyday tasks)
7,500-9,999 steps = Moderate activity (exercise 3 to 4 times per week)
10,000-12,499 steps = Very Active (exercise 4 to 6 times per week)
12,500+ steps = Extremely active (exercise 6-7 times per week)


Now while it's true that our bodies get used to an activity, such as say a waitress - she can't really count that as "exercise" because she's not in exercise mode/speed. But it's still activity that still requires energy, which means calories/food.

What I've found a lot is sometimes people don't lose weight (and it can take as much as 8 weeks to show up) so they think decreasing the calories is the way to go, and sure, that might be true. But also increasing the calories might be the way to go.

When I started Spark since I was basically bedridden and my range was 1200-1550 I thought for sure 1200 was the way to go. Well, I didn't lose weight. So since I couldn't go down (and I was hungry) I went up to 1350, and after a few weeks still no luck, and then I hit the magic 1500 number - and then I started losing weight.

The ranges are "reaonable estimates" but there's no way to be exact, same with calories burned doing exercise - many calculators will have different numbers for the same activity.

So you might be working out more or less intensely, for instance. Or you might have a higher or lower meatabolism, or you might be injured, or all kinds of things.

Leah - I wouldn't go down to 1200 if I were you, because you ARE exercising, you are NOT completely sedentary. I would at least eat 1300, perhaps more.

Remember, give this time. We need the right balance of calories, carbs, proteins and fats FOR US, plus exercise, and the tape measure as well as the scale for at least 6-8 weeks before we'll see a change.

And if the tape measure is lower, your clothes are looser, then that counts, even if the number on the scale dones't go down - because it will. Where the tape measure goes, the scale will follow.



LEAHHAVA
SparkPoints: (2,368)
Fitness Minutes: (2,529)
Posts: 28
1/5/10 11:04 A

Hi Forgottenquill

Sparkpeople has me at 1200-1500. I also wish I could eat more. I don't think I am going to lose very much by eating at 1500 by the way. I might need to eat the 1200.



LEAHHAVA
SparkPoints: (2,368)
Fitness Minutes: (2,529)
Posts: 28
1/5/10 11:03 A

Trillian- thank you for the information. I guess spark people was about right if they said 1200-1500. If at daily tasks I should eat 1300 then I guess I should eat closer to 1200 than 1500. Also,
I bought a high quality heart rate monitor to see how many calories I am actually burning and I was dismayed to see that I am burning much less than the person in the aerobics video is telling me I am. I did a half hour low impact aerobics workout, but it was a lot of squats and although it wasn't super rigorous I was sweating and working hard. I only burned 144 calories! That's why I'm not counting on the exercise to help too much. Do you guys think sparkpeople takes into account your fitness targets when they calculate your calorie goals? Also, someone mentioned that 1200 is the "minimum." What does that mean?



CHR15A113N
Posts: 1,794
1/5/10 10:55 A

I usually always eat later at night if I only eat about 1600 calories. Yesterday I tried to hit 1900 and I felt pretty satisfied. It was actually really nice! Can't wait to see the results!!



TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/5/10 10:08 A

We all have to eat what is right for us. I know 1200 is the minumum but I'm crazy hungry if I eat less than about 1400 calories, I feel best at a minimum of 1500.

Sometimes I wish I was satisfied on less so I wouldn't have to buy and eat so much food! Then there are other times I enjoy it.

Are you losing weight and feeling satisfied at 1200 calories?



FORGOTTENQUILL
Posts: 1,632
1/5/10 10:04 A

I see everyone with these "high" calories levels. My nutritionist put me on a 1,200-calorie diet plan, which I'm still on BTW. I wish I could eat 1800 calories a day.



TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/5/10 9:59 A

Leah, I'm getting 1301-1993 calories from doing every day tasks to working out hard 6-7 days a week.

I think Spark takes age into consideration - it's pretty standard for calculating calorie requirements.

Honestly I find figuring out calories burned per week in terms of trying to get to goal a bit complicated, still after all this time. I go for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobics working out in the right heartrate zone, plus toning, and it just works.



CHR15A113N
Posts: 1,794
1/4/10 10:11 P

Thank you SO much for the help!! :)



LEAHHAVA
SparkPoints: (2,368)
Fitness Minutes: (2,529)
Posts: 28
1/4/10 6:25 P

Hi Trillian. I am 37. I wonder if sparkpeople takes that into account with their calculations? Maybe I entered my birthday when I did the initial sign up? Who would know? How can one contact the sparkpeople staff? Also, I don't really work out much, maybe half an hour a few times a week and it's just some low impact aerobics. According to my sparkpeople plan I should be burning 900 calories a week if I worked out 1/2 hr 5 days a week or something. I don't know. I have a Heart rate monitor which can count calories so I think I will start using that soon.



TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/4/10 2:19 P

SHAN5176 - I need your weight.

Edited by: TRILLIANTOO at: 1/4/2010 (14:20)


TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/4/10 2:18 P

Leah, I need your age, but FWIW, I am 5'4", I started at abbout 140 and my range was 1500-2000.

I found I could lose 1+ lbs a week working out about 60 minutes 6 days a week, but then I'd need to be at the high end. Though I do have some other medical challenges, so I don't know how much of a difference that makes.



SHAN5176
Posts: 24
1/4/10 2:02 P

Would you mind entering my info in there too? I don't want to short myself calories with working out and also don't want to eat more than I should. The spark tracker gave me a 1200-1500 range (appx) but I'm curious what your tracker shows. I'm 5'7" and 33 years old. What other info do you need?



LEAHHAVA
SparkPoints: (2,368)
Fitness Minutes: (2,529)
Posts: 28
1/4/10 1:55 P

I am also wondering how many calories I should be eating. I typed in my weight and how fast I want to lose, but I think it should take into consideration my age. I can't remember if I ever typed in my age. I just want to make sure I can lose on the 1200-1500 calories it is suggesting. I am 5'5'' and I weigh 140. I would like to lose 15 lbs. at the rate of 1.5 lbs a week.



TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/4/10 1:39 P

I ran your numbers through my calculator, and from being not exercising to working out hard 6-7 days a week, I'm getting 1876-2790 for you to lose weight. (Maintenace would be 500 above that.)

So it sounds like you could easily add 200-300 calories and maybe lose weight faster.

Lower calories isn't always the best way, it can be starvation mode.

For myself I'm 1500 if I don't exercise up to 2000 if I exercise 1 hour a day 6-7 days a week. I can't eat less or I won't lose weight.



CHR15A113N
Posts: 1,794
1/4/10 1:09 P

I'm 5'9" and I exercise mildly.



TRILLIANTOO
SparkPoints: (40,742)
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
Posts: 16,787
1/4/10 12:55 P

How tall are you and how much are you exercising? I want to run your numbers through the calculator I use and see what I get.

I would think you need more - back when I was your age I was easily eating twice that much, and I'm a girl.



CHR15A113N
Posts: 1,794
1/3/10 11:42 P

Thanks you're sweet!

I was following sparks suggestions for me but I lowered my intake on my own to see what would happen. I've forgotten now how many it told me I should have been eating.



RENA1965
Posts: 17,878
1/3/10 11:39 P

Chris have you set up your page correct? Get your aunty to help you if your having problems- I have read you exercise so know your trying real hard..
If your eating what sparks suggests try looking for products with lower values than your using now.. A little detective work in the supermarket can help..
Also be honest about when you have blowouts- we all do this now and again- seeing it on the nutrition page can jog our memory when we don't loss as fast as we think we should..
Document document and if you have problems purchase a small spiral calendar and write stuff up.. Being a guy you should loss more weight purely because you don't have the hormone system we women have.. Good luck and keep hanging in there..
I love your vlogs and your aunties!



Edited by: RENA1965 at: 1/3/2010 (23:40)


CHR15A113N
Posts: 1,794
1/3/10 11:35 P

I've been losing weight at an alright pace I guess. However, I find myself sometimes only losing .2 or a little more. When I look around the site I see women eating more calories then I do. I'm 22 years old and I normally eat about 1,600-1,700 calories a day.

I'm only asking because I don't want to hurt myself. I need to lose about 45 more pounds to be at my goal weight and I don't want to do anything to hinder that.

On certain sites it says I should eat a little over 2,000 calories. If anyone can help me out that would be awesome!

Chris



 
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