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5/2/13 1:52 P

SARAHD33 - Thank you for reinforcing the concept of strength training!! I am actually incorporating strength training on alternate days of running. (One of my posts near the beginning of this thread I stated that I work out 4-5 days per week (between 30-60 minutes each session) alternating days with strength training and I rest on Tuesdays and Sundays).

And I couldn't agree with you more!! On days when I simply lift weights (arms/legs/etc) and do some core work (I have a love/hate relationship with my stability ball), I *INSTANTLY* feel stronger, lighter, and more energetic for an extended period of time. Not only that, but the next day I run, I can go a little further at a quicker pace than the previous run. It's an AMAZING feeling...

But - now that I've got a new calorie input-to-output ratio set up (based on how many calories I burn on average per week), I'm excited to see how things progress. I think after another 3 months of this new balance, I'll see the results I initially expected to see thus far.

Thanks all!!

SARAHD33 SparkPoints: (44,696)
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5/1/13 4:56 P


While I agree that a diet based mostly in whole foods is healthier, the vast majority of the information you have posted here is not supported by either the SparkPeople website, or peer-reviewed scientific literature. I could detail lots and lots of examples. What are the sources of your information?

Edited by: SARAHD33 at: 5/1/2013 (16:57)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
5/1/13 4:16 P

"Egg whites
Chicken breast ( boiled or grilled )

Black beans
Pinto beans
Red beans

I eat: egg yolks, bread, rice, quinoa, some pasta, some fresh fruit, plenty of nuts, yogurt, (coffee), milk, sometimes dried fruit, black-eyed peas, cereal ... and my vegetables include things like potatoes that at a guess would not be actually be acceptable on this list. Rarely or in small quantities I eat things like pancakes, pizza, cake, and chocolate.

I don't eat chicken, fish or beef except very rarely; when I do eat meat it's as likely to be pork or some kind of seafood like shrimp that's also not on the list.

Why do you think such a drastic reduction in dietary variety is necessary to lose weight for everyone? It's just not true.

SARAHD33 SparkPoints: (44,696)
Fitness Minutes: (68,406)
Posts: 297
5/1/13 4:15 P

I would like to raise another point here, and that is the importance of aligning your goals with the type of exercise you want and like to do.
I do not see you make any mention of strength training or lifting as a part of your exercise regimen. If you have goals for improving your physique and losing body fat (as opposed to just losing weight), lifting is critical for preventing loss of lean body mass (muscle!). If you are serious about your running, strength training is also critical for injury prevention.

If fat loss is your primary goal, dialing in your nutrition for you, and being consistent, even on weekends, is critical. This means finding that place where you are adequately fueling your body for health. Don't eat too little or too much!

If fat loss is your primary goal, your first exercise priority should be strength training..

If, however, endurance running is your primary goal, you should know that endurance cardio is not the most efficient means of shedding body fat. Not that running a marathon or half marathon are not laudable goals; but those training programs simply are not as efficient or effective at promoting fat loss.

Here is a great essay by one of my favorite trainers, Rachel Cosgrove, on this very subject.

5/1/13 1:31 P

Congrats! Glad you've figured it out.

ERICADURR Posts: 243
5/1/13 1:20 P

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Additionally, Heathlover3, anyone is going to lose weight if they severely restrict all of their foods to about 1% of the foods they've normally been consuming. I did a diet much like you suggested, and yes, I lost weight. However, it's not sustainable for anyone who wants to LIVE life, and will lead to burnout in a short period of time. At this point, I try to stay away from most processed sugars and grains (although convenience limits me from doing this as much as I'd care to do), but to eliminate fruit because of their sugar would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This method is not something that someone can sustain for a lifetime, and even if they did, it would mean never eating a meal that hasn't been prepared by them for the rest of their lives.

ELENGIL Posts: 957
5/1/13 12:59 P

HEALTHLOVER3, I think your advice needs to be tempered quite a bit. ANY food can cause you to gain weight if you eat too much of it. You gain weight because you are eating more calories than you burn, so eating 3000 calories of chicken and lentils is not going to help you lose weight any more than eating 3000 calories of soda and donuts. Sure, the chicken and lentils have better nutrition, but eating too many calories is still eating too many calories, regardless of the source.

ELENGIL Posts: 957
5/1/13 12:18 P

Awesome! And keep the rest in mind as well, you will be losing weight very slowly at this point, and other measurements like waist, can be a better gauge of progress.


5/1/13 11:52 A

UPDATE: After reading all your comments/suggestions and also checking in with my running friends, I realized that I was essentially working in "starvation mode" and my body has probably been reserving "weight" for energy to sustain throughout the day/week. SO...I decided to adjust my nutrition & fitness goals. Here's how I stumbled onto how to do it (in case someone reading this thread also has difficulty finding it - 'cuz I did...)

I believe a few of you here suggested I figure out my average calories burned for the week. I went into "my Fitness" tracker and next to the date there are two buttons: "Fitness Set-Up" and "Fitness Reports". First, I clicked on "Fitness Reports" and selected "Calories Burned Report". I then configured the report to look at the most recent month (Apr 1 - May 1) and for the "time increments" I selected WEEKLY totals.

I held my mouse-pointer over each dot on the graph. This told me the total number of calories for that corresponding week. I added each of those numbers together and divided by the total number of weeks - in this case, 4. This gave me an average number of 2679 calories burned per week. (WAAAAY more than the 1200 per week I *thought* I was only burning. Whoa.)

Next, I went back to the "my Fitness" page again and clicked the OTHER button called "Fitness Set-up". I scrolled all the way to the bottom of that page where I found "If you know how many calories you burn each week, enter it here: _____" So I did. (I rounded down to 2600.) Then I clicked "Save Changes".

Then, because I thought I would need to also adjust my nutrition goals (my total calorie range for the day - which is what we have been talking about in this thread), I went to my Start page to find the "change my nutrition goals" option - and lo, and behold! The daily caloric range had already adjusted to 1490 - 1840! I believe this is accurate, because if I look at an average of my calories consumed on a daily basis, that's EXACTLY the range I fall into!!

SO - I wanted to thank you all for your contributions!!! I'm going to stick to this for a bit and see how things progress...

ELENGIL Posts: 957
4/30/13 12:27 A

Instead of filling in miles, try filling in estimated calories burned. If you've tracked your activities for a while, you should be getting a good picture of how much you burn in a week. You said it's set for 14 miles now, but you're getting the message that you're burning more than is being taken into account, so look at the calories per week you're logging and enter that into your fitness goals and see how that goes.

4/29/13 11:54 P

So, I tried to go in and adjust my nutrition goals (currently it's 1200 - 1550/day), and also my fitness goals (currently it's set at 14 miles per week) and I can't seem to find where the goal-setter will adjust my caloric intake based on my caloric output. I don't want to redo the whole thing (I feel like I'd lose all my records from before Jan. 1), but where do I find the advice where to change my daily calorie range to aim for???

ERICADURR Posts: 243
4/29/13 10:15 P

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But it's not a good average. I'm active every day, and my base isn't even close to 2100. That's the point--there is no average. It's highly dependent on each person.

ELENGIL Posts: 957
4/29/13 8:55 P

ERICADURR, That wasn't what I said at all. I said without doing any exercises, that was probably a good average, but would vary from person to person. I was pointing out that eating more to sustain her exercises would *not* cause her to somehow lose her "deficit".

Edited by: ELENGIL at: 4/29/2013 (20:57)
ERICADURR Posts: 243
4/29/13 7:30 P

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The "normal" basal metabolic rate is NOT (I REPEAT, NOT) 2100 calories for a person who exercises. There is no "normal" BMR. It depends on how active you are outside of the gym (as in, how much you move around normally), your gender, your height, your weight, and a variety of other factors.

4/29/13 7:28 P

Thanks all!! I think you have answered my questions that YES, I probably need to consume more good nutrition and that YES, I should probably recalibrate my fitness/nutrition goals so I'm not short-changing myself.

The body is such an awesome precision machine...!!

4/29/13 7:23 P

ANARIE: I'm 5'9", 38yo no kids, and after the 8 lbs lost, I'm at 160 lbs. I'm definitely not obese, but the fat I do have just SITS on my belly!!! *GRR!!!*

My past weight loss efforts have been completely accidental. I once lost 30 lbs (from 165 - 135) in about 4 - 5 months. (I spent a summer dancing and performing, so it LITERALLY just melted off... I didn't even realize it until had to hold up my jeans to walk around. It was the thinnest I've ever been... EVER.). But, I gradually gained that all back once I went back to a sedentary office job. (Boo.) Now, I think my metabolism has finally changed and slowed down... (and the added stress of the daily commute to work doesn't help much, either).

I've never tried a diet pill, or ever tried "starving" or any of that. If I lost weight for any reason it was because I suddenly added activity back into my routine (like another performance contract for a couple of months). Then, when that was over, I would go back to being sedentary (or at least not AS active) and the weight would gradually come back on.

My goal here (aside from the weight loss and increased fitness) is to be CONSISTENT with it. By the time I get down to my goal weight (and yes, I know it takes time), I hope that I will have developed enough of a healthy lifestyle to maintain my weight there.

Though, I think your suggestion for a medical-quality body fat test is a good one. I may just look into that with my doc at an annual check-up. THANKS! :)

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
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4/29/13 7:14 P

SJSTUCKEY, that's entering your exercise in the tracker, but you'll need to go into your fitness goals (you can access that on the start page, under the calories burned goal) to enter your estimated weekly goals. Just entering it in the tracker won't adjust your program at all; that's just for tracking purposes. If you're getting that message, you're significantly going over the program goals you set at the beginning. Add up the numbers over the week, and enter that as your goal (leaving room for wiggling, naturally)

Exercise isn't the key to losing weight; it makes the process much easier, but just doing that isn't enough to trigger weight loss. To do that, you have to look at your diet.:) If you're frequently going over your ranges on the weekend, that can undo your week's work.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 4/29/2013 (19:17)
4/29/13 7:11 P

And to DRAGONCHILE's post:

I do have a SparkPage, but I keep it private ;)

I exercise 4-5 days per week (I rest on Tuesdays and Sundays) and each workout is between 30-60 minutes.

I'm not certain the total average calorie BURN I'm doing, but I know that for whatever goal I initially set, I "zero-out" usually within the first few days of the week.

As for average daily caloric INTAKE, it has varied a lot. I'd say most days are around 1500 calories consumed, but weekends are the WORST (over 2000 often). And I'm also VERY good at measuring and weighing my foods, so I know how MUCH I'm putting into my body. I tend to stay away from sugars and alcohol (though I occasionally indulge), but I think my biggest challenge is CHEESE (too much) and VEGGIES (not enough).

OY. I guess it all comes down to "RECALIBRATION", eh?

ELENGIL Posts: 957
4/29/13 7:04 P

You shouldn't have any problem creating a deficit with your work-out schedule.

I think the average base metabolic rate for a generally in-shape person is around 2100 calories or so per day. That's without doing *anything*. Of course, it varies from person to person. Once you add in another 500 calories burnt in exercise, that's 2500 - 2600 per day that your body is burning just with your activities. If you're only eating 1550 at most, you are absolutely getting a deficit, the problem is it maybe *too much* of a deficit.

I'd follow what Spark is telling you to do and update your calorie range to reflect the amount of exercise you are doing. Spark is telling you to do that for a reason, because with that level of activity, you do need to eat more, and yes you will still very much have a deficit. The point of Spark is to help you, not sabotage you. So listen to what is being suggested and try it. If for no other reason than you think what you're doing now isn't working, so you might as well try what Spark is suggesting!

All the best!

ANARIE Posts: 13,184
4/29/13 7:02 P

You say you want to lose 30 pounds. Which 30 pounds are they? Are they the 30 pounds that will take you from being almost clinically obese to being at the top of the healthy range for your height, or are they the 30 pounds that will take you from being barely overweight to being at the bottom of the healthy range?

It really, really matters. If you're running 3-6 miles several times a week, I'm going to guess that you're not obese. If you're in or very close to the healthy range for your height, then an average weight loss of 1/2 pound per week is FAST, not slow. And if you're shooting for the bottom of the healthy BMI range, you might have to revise your goals. Not everyone can or should be in that lower range. If you're athletic enough to run 10Ks easily, you might have too much bone and muscle to be able to reach a low weight.

This might be a good time to get a serious, medical-quality body fat test to find out how much excess fat you have that you can lose. You say that you "usually drop weight quickly," which suggests that you've been on rapid weight-loss diets or exercise programs in the past. If that's true, and if you have insurance, then your doctor can probably justify a full-body bone scan as an osteoporosis screening and get your body fat percentage measurement as a side benefit. Ask about it, and if it's not possible, then look into other types of testing or see if a nearby university does the testing at reduced cost. (Many do, as part of the training program for their students.) Then you'll know exactly what you're dealing with. If you don't have a lot of excess fat, you can't lose a lot of weight, but you can hurt yourself trying.

4/29/13 6:50 P

Thank you for your kind and inspiring words. I definitely pat myself on the back for the 8 lbs I've managed to KEEP off... how cool is that!?

And I believe I have entered my exercise goals into Spark - but it has "told" me that I probably need to adjust my daily calorie goals to compensate for the amount of calories I'm burning (as in, I'm not eating enough???) But I don't think it's right... I mean - I still go over 1550 often enough... and I know I have to create a caloric deficit (with exercise) in order to see the weight loss happen. I don't think I'm creating that deficit. I work out, I eat... Maybe I need to figure out the math better? And yeah - you may be right about the muscle... It just seems weird because any exercise (usually dance) I've done in the past has warranted a QUICK drop in weight.

Meanwhile, I'm training to run a half-marathon in November. Ambitious, no?

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
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4/29/13 6:23 P

Actually, I'm going to say it's possible you need to eat MORE. 1200-1550 is the minimum range for most people, and may not be appropriate for people who are very active like you, especially when you stick to the lower end of the range. I'd say you ARE maintaining, and that's why you haven't been losing weight. If you're eating 2k in a day, and that's happening 3-4 days a week (depending on your running program, you don't say how often that is) that's enough to eliminate your calorie deficit for the week, and thus any chance of losing more weight.

What's your actual calorie intake each day, and are you weighing and measuring that amount, or eyeballing it?

At this point, you need to adjust your goal date out; at 22 lbs to go, you should be aiming for around .5-1 lb at the most per week. A good rule of thumb is about 3% of your remaining goal. For you, that's .66 lbs per week.

At 10 lbs to go, you're looking at more like .25-.5 lbs per week.

The fact that you're famished tells me that you're likely not eating enough, and your metabolism may be slowing in response to the lack of adequate nutrition to support your activity level.

It's tough to provide specific feedback, since you don't have a Sparkpage with shared nutrition tracker. If you'll consider sharing that, even temporarily, we may be able to make suggestions.

Here's what I'd suggest for now.

1) Go into your weight loss goals, and adjust your weight loss target per week to something more reasonable. 2 lbs is not doable for you at this point, and 1 is pushing it, but may be possible.

2) Once you've done that, go into your fitness goals, and update it with the average calorie burn you're doing per day. At 30-60 minutes a day, 3 times per week, I bet you're burning around 1500-2000? Thereabouts? Make sure you enter that number.

3) If you're not already weighing and measuring everything you eat, it's time to start. Humans are terrible at guessing how much they're eating. If you can, consider investing in a heart rate monitor, too, for a more accurate picture of how much you're burning, too.

See if SP adjusts your range to something a little higher.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 4/29/2013 (18:34)
TAMMY1122 SparkPoints: (7,519)
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Posts: 50
4/29/13 5:54 P

i was totally thinking the same thing today! i hop on the scale, it doesnt move... i even measred today and no change! i am feeling a bit down about it. i can see hat the thighs in my pants are alittle more loose and i can see my feet more then before, but nothing has changed! i feel bad and good at the same time. keep your chin up! that is all i can do for now!

ELENGIL Posts: 957
4/29/13 5:46 P

I understand your frustration, but try to look at it a different way: the number on the scale is only a number. It doesn't really tell you anything about your body composition. If you've been exercising and feeling stronger, you're putting *on* muscle, which could make you gain or maintain "weight" but has nothing to do with whether or not you're burning fat.

You know your waist is smaller, so you know you *are* burning fat.

Just accept that you are making positive changes, you already see and feel the benefits, you're healthier all over, and that number on the scale doesn't change or diminish or negate the positive.

It can be frustrating when you think that's the number that should be changing, but try to accept the other changes that have already happened and be patient for the scale to 'catch up'.


With that said, have you entered your exercise goals into Spark as well? For the amount you're doing, you may not be eating enough, and if you haven't entered it into Spark, Spark can't update your calorie requirements. You may need to be eating more than the lowest range. Especially if you're feeling famished after a work-out, you may just not be eating *enough*.

Edited by: ELENGIL at: 4/29/2013 (17:47)
4/29/13 5:43 P

Hi, All! I could use a little help.

THE PLAN: My initial goal was to lose 30 lbs by July 31, 2013. My caloric intake plan is to shoot for 1200-1550 calories consumed per day. I've been consistently (and HONESTLY!) entering my foods into the tracker. I've also been really consistent with my exercise. I alternate days of running with strength (or a rest day here and there) and I'm working out about 30-60 mins 4-5 days per week.

THE SUCCESSES (so far): My fitness level feels like I'm stronger and I can run between a 5K and 10K easily. I know I've lost an inch or two from my waist (let's just say I don't have to SUCK IT IN to zip up or sit down anymore). Also, I make better nutrition choices daily and have configured a meal plan that fits my financial budget as well as my caloric budget (for the most part).

THE PROBLEM: I've only lost 8 lbs since January (it's now almost May). I usually drop weight pretty quickly, so this is frustrating. Breakfasts and Lunches - even mid-morning and afternoon snacks - are on track, but at dinner, I veer off the grid. I have discovered two things: 1) On days when I run, I'm FAMISHED!! - and that's when I typically go over my daily calorie goal (usually less than 2K, but definitely over 1550); and 2) When I experience a particularly boring (or even restraining) day at work, I find food to be "entertaining". I like to go out to eat and - while still making smart nutritional choices - I savor all the gourmet flavors, the smells...and that's when I go over my caloric budget, too. Basically, I seem to be merely MAINTAINING my weight - but I still have about 22lbs I'd like to see gone forever...

THE QUESTION: How can I see more weight loss without *feeling* like I'm starving myself and still having enough energy to do the exercise I need to?? Should I adjust my caloric intake range?? Should I cut back on the exercise (I'd rather not...)? I thank you in advance for your feedback.

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