you get a range because sparkpeople uses averages, so you might run a little high or a little low. also, you don't burn the exact same number of calories everyday. if you forget something upstairs and have to run back up, you just burned more calories than on a day you remembered everything. and your day is full of thousands of those little choices. a range also gives you room to work in the foods you love. and it doesn't matter where you aim for, just end up somewhere in the range. see how you feel at each level of calories. you might find the low end of your range leaves you really hungry. you might find you have a hard time getting to the top unless you exercise. you might find exercise makes you need more calories than your ranges to complete your workouts. your spark range is just a place to start. you adjust based on you once you see how it feels there.
If your exercise is already factored in, and you range is set, then your range isn't going to change. The reason for a range of 350 for most people, is that some days you eat less, and others more. You may be at 1650 for the day, and at 10 p.m. decide to have an oz. of macadamia nuts ( 204 ) calories, or 2 ozs of cheddar cheese ( 120 ), for a snack. This allows for some leeway. I would just aim for the middle.
Trying to hit an exact number leads to obsessing about what foods you eat. I set my own range at 2000-2500, which is even larger than SP gave me, but around the same calories. I put together 3 meals and a snack, and as long as it is in the range, then my work is done. If the range is smaller, I would have to sit there for 5 minutes, making food choices to fit into this range, eliminating some foods, and adding others.
At 350 calories, it would take 10 days to see 1 lb of difference, so this range is actually not that big. If you lost 2 lbs. in 10 days at 1600 calories, then you would lose 1 lb, if everything else stayed the same at 1950. Most of us don't actually eat at the top of our range daily, so we tend to average about the middle, which is what is intended. Don't worry if you eat 1700 one day, and 1900 the next. The average is 1800, and in your range. As long as you are seeing progress over time, I would just keep doing what you are doing.
I try to hit the bottom (minimum of my range) with all healthy choices. Then if I want a treat, I can use the rest of the calories in my range (up to the max number) on those little extras and splurges.
You get a range because it's not an exact science. Some days you're not as active and not as hungry. Other days, you do more, and you need to eat more. And sometimes because of TOM or whatever, you just want to eat a little extra chocolate or something.
How many calories you should be eating a day depends on a lot of physical things like height, weight, gender, etc. Some of these things like metabolism etc Sparkpeople cant measure so the range is there for that reason.
But just as importantly it also depends on your day to day. If you're sitting in an office all day and then vegging in front of the couch you don't need as many calories, while if you've done a lot of physical exercise then you'll want to eat more. That's why it's a range. You don't eat a particular number of calories (and honestly trying to eat to an exact number would just result in negative eating choices), you eat when you're hungry within a guideline range of what is generally healthy for the average person with your characteristics.
My range is 1,200 - 1,550 and I end up all over the place within that range. Sometimes I eat to the higher end of that range, sometimes I eat to the lower end. Sometimes I go over and sometimes I go under. What's important is that I stick to a healthy way of eating and get enough nutrients.
When I'm planning my meals and snacks throughout the day I don't pay much attention to the calorie range. That's not as important. What's important is that I get enough protein, fibre, and other nutrients. The useful aspect of the calorie range is if I end up over my range I can look over my foods and check for high calorie foods that aren't giving me a lot of nutrients in return and that helps me know what foods are better for me and which ones I can eat more moderately.
Fitness Minutes: (21,181)
563 12/3/13 10:02 P
I try to stay close to the middle of my range most days.
Some days I go a little higher. And sometimes I go a little lower.
Oh, and sometimes I eat a whole big bunch. ha!
Edited by: ERINTFG at: 12/3/2013 (22:03)
Fitness Minutes: (20,330)
216 12/3/13 8:48 P
Hi. It all depends on how much you exercise, how tall you are, what foods you eat, etc. That is a range, meaning that it could either be just right, and if not, it could be a little off. I have a 300 calorie range that was given for myself too. Personally, I just went ahead and am going by the highest amount in the range offered to me. For example, mine is 1900 - 2200 and I'm following the 2200.
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