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Ditto practically everything Leslie said.
What I found works best for me (and I just reached my goal today and surpassed it too YA) was just as Leslie said by taking the range SP gives you and for me, I add 300 to the low end and 500 to the high end. That gives me a large range - but for ME, thats what works best. Some days I'm on the higher end and other days on the lower end.
I also input my calories burned as well and let that be determined for my calorie range.
My personal range is 1750 - 2300 - every week (just out of curiousity) I add up my total 7 days divide by 7 to get my "average" And just as I'd guess, my "average" calories for the week is 1850-1900 range.
BTW, I lost 1-2 pounds weekly this way.
Homeschooling mom of 4
Dec 2008-Dec 2009 I faithfully maintained a 107-109... Unfortantely after Dec 2009, I let myself get back to a 115.6 - I'm back on track and am going to get back to my maintaining range again!
I found what works best is to take my Spark People determined calorie range and add 300 to 500 calories on top of that. Since you're little one is only 3 months old and is still nursing exclusively, in your case I would add 500.
Also, when you allow SP to determine your calorie range, be sure to enter the calories burned rather than the exercise minutes. I find that the exercise minutes is very misleading, because you could be doing different kinds of exercise with different burn rates (e.g. running v. walking). It's much more accurate to enter your estimated calories burned for the week.
What I did was monitor my calories burned for a week and then the next week I put that number into SP. You can determine your calories burned by entering your exercise into SP & letting it calculate your calories burned, or you can invest in a heart rate monitor. I just used SP at first, although I have since invested in the HRM and I love it. But maybe see how you go before spending any money.
Hope this helps!
~~ Leslie ~~
I have found that if I eat between 1900-2200 cals a day I feel good and can lose about 1.5 lbs per week. Pre-pregnancy I was eating around 1600 a day so for me it has been 300-500 more a day.
How many more calories do I need while breastfeeding?