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balancing calories and carbs-- which matters more?



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SARAHD33
SparkPoints: (31,520)
Fitness Minutes: (42,500)
Posts: 296
8/11/12 4:27 P

Okay, so first of all, you have lost eight pounds in about 6 weeks, which is plenty fast!
Secondly, let go of the carb guilt. As Deb says, it works for some people, but if it is a struggle for you, that style of eating is not for you! It is not for me, either. I have met my weight goals, and I happily ate carbs the whole time. I feel best when I get about 50% of my calories from carbs. If I drop too low, I lack energy for exercise and daily life.

Secondly, let go of the idea (and associated guilt) that you need to do tons of cardio to lose weight! I would link my favorite article here about the hierarchy of fat loss, but I am technically challenged on my mobile device. Google "Alwyn Cosgrove hierarchy of fat loss." the article helps to prioritize your time to reach your goals. Alwyn Cosgrove is one of the coauthors of The New Rules of lifting series. That series has revolutionized the way I work out. Check out New Rules of lifting for Women. It will tell you more about why eating more calories and lifting more weights will help you to reach your goals.



UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
8/11/12 4:03 P

Yes, tha'ts "crazy"... :)

It's not insane to want to reduce carbs a little. But as others have said, carbs are not the enemy! Getting 50% of your calories from carbs is a healthy level - and at 100g of carbs you're getting 400 calories, which is nowhere near 50% of a 1300 calorie diet.

So you can see that you could actually add another 60g or so of carbs and still have a healthy balanced diet.

"Low carb" is a fad. It DOES work for some people. And if you're able to do that, and maintain a healthy total intake level, and it works for you, that's fine. But for YOU personally, that isn't working. You can't get enough food in.

And your exercise level is definitely high enough that you probably should not be doing low carb.

So eat more - eat carbs. Get into the ranges (including your carb range). Don't fear a "healthy" level just because some fads suggest that less is better. That works for some, but it's not for everyone, and 50% carbs is still fine and healthy!



SWEETYOUROCK
SparkPoints: (9,434)
Fitness Minutes: (8,580)
Posts: 25
8/11/12 12:52 P

Thanks for the replies, everyone!!

I know 1100 is way too low, and I'm trying to hit 1300 usually. But I find myself either being too afraid to add more calories (in fear of amping up carbs and fat too much) or struggling to eat when I'm already so full from my meals (I do eat when I'm hungry, though!). I eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, but I do get carbs from whole wheat grains and/or oatmeal daily. And I eat egg whites, low fat cheese/cottage cheese, and greek yogurt almost daily. I also take a multivitamin...

I'm really trying to do this the healthy way, but I'm struggling to find a balance. My goals are to lose weight, ultimately. But with that comes decreasing my body fat percentage and looking better, even though that's a bit vain.

Also, my stats are:

20-year-old female
5' 3''
Starting weight: 160, Current weight: 152, ultimate goal weight: 120-125 (I started June 28th, 2012)
I work out daily. Right now I'm doing Insanity, but sometimes I run instead or do some other cardio video (zumba, kickboxing, spark people workouts, etc.), and then I do wall sits and 8 lb weight arms/legs reps daily (nothing too strenuous though). I never feel like I do enough cardio, though.

I guess my desire to stay under 100 carbs is just this mental idea in my head that staying under 100 would get me the best results. Is that crazy? I am really just learning as I go... I'm only eating "good" carbs, and I know how valuable they are to health, but I get really stressed if I hit 140. Is that something I should just get over?



SARAHD33
SparkPoints: (31,520)
Fitness Minutes: (42,500)
Posts: 296
8/11/12 8:00 A

What are your goals? Weight loss, fat loss, appearance, performance, etc?
What are your current stats (height, weight, age, gender, activity level), and how quickly are you trying to lose weight? As Unident says, 1100 calories is not enough for most people, unless you are a very short woman!
Why are you trying to stay under 100 carbs? Unless you have very specific reasons for that, carbs are NOT the enemy and are an important source of fuel for people who exercise regularly.



CINEMAVEN
Posts: 338
8/10/12 11:36 P

How's your fibre?
I find that when my fibre is at 35-40 grams, my carbs are around 100-120 and I eat 1400 calories/day.

Under trackers, there's a link to reports. The calorie differential is one of the trackers I check each day. It lets you see how many calories you burned compared with calories eaten. You should also run your daily nutrition report which will tell you if you're hitting your targets. Balance is the key and the report tells you why you need to meet the targets.

Your daily calorie number is based on your weight and exercise and it's important to work within the goals to be healthy :)



SOCAL_LEE
SparkPoints: (32,920)
Fitness Minutes: (70,596)
Posts: 246
8/10/12 11:23 P

Do you eat meat, eggs or dairy? Chicken breast, albacore tuna packed in water, nonfat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and eggs (poached or hardboiled) are what I eat --not all at once!-- when I'm keeping my carbs and fats down.



UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
8/10/12 11:21 P

Sorry but no, eating 1100 is not normally a "fine" thing.

It's not about an energy equation, it's about nutrients. You just won't be getting enough vitamins and minerals at so low an intake, on average, unless you're EXCEEDINGLY careful about constructing your daily diet specifically to avoid that problem. Which it doesn't sound like you are.

A "healthy balanced diet" is great - but not enough if you're going to habitually eat below a recommended minimum.

Try including more plant-based proteins. They won't up your fat as much as animal-based ones will.

Make sure you are taking a daily multivitamin to help with the likely deficiencies you are likely creating with this eating plan.



MRSBAILEY921
Posts: 64
8/10/12 10:56 P

i think that you're doing just fine as you are. if you're eating 1100 calories, with most of it coming from fruits and veggies, so long as your nutrient intake is balanced and you're getting everything you need to remain healthy, you're fine.

if you were hungry all of the time, or otherwise depleted, i would say there's more issue for concern. also, if you find yourself losing weight too quickly or too slowly, i would say to revamp things. but it looks fine to me.

if youre losing more weight and feeling better focusing on keeping your carbs low versus your calorie range, why change that? i think people who focus on both carbs and calories often have your problem--every time i read a carbs vs. calories conversation, most people choose one or the other to focus in on.

i choose to control my carb intake and not pay my caloric intake as much attention. some days i eat about 2000-2300 in calories, and some days (like today) i only eat 1100 in calories. yet my weight drop is steady...about a pound per week, and i find that i feel "normal" this way, not at all on a diet. this is what i've been looking for, and i find that cutting carbs works while counting calories feels daunting. i find it much easier to just focus on one number than to wreck my brain trying to keep carbs low and calories low--that's not realistic for me and it's NOT something i'm going to do for the rest of my life, so why even start to stress it?



SWEETYOUROCK
SparkPoints: (9,434)
Fitness Minutes: (8,580)
Posts: 25
8/10/12 10:37 P

I'm struggling to stay low carb while also eating in my calorie range. My calories for the day usually tally in at 1100, and I know that's too low, but I don't know how to increase it without making my carb and fat count for the day get too high. Plus, I literally feel like I'm always full... I eat clean, and most my carbs come from fruits and vegetables.

Ideally, I want my carbs at under 100, but I'm fine with the 100-120 range, too. But then, that sends my fat grams to the 40s.

Basically, I just want to know if I'm looking at this the wrong way. Should I JUST focus on calories? Or should I spend more time trying to get my carbs lower and ignore my fat numbers? I don't want to send my body into starvation mode, but I also don't want to eat too many carbs.

Is this a normal issue to have?



 
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