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HEALTHYJ29 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 1,307
7/7/13 7:20 A

With activity 4 times a week 1200 is too low even.
Are you eating 3 meals and snacks a day? I understand you are on a budget so some thoughts that are cheap
Breakfast oats, eggs, cheaper fruit such as banana or apple
Lunch/dinner frozen chicken breasts, can tuna, frozen fish, brown rice, potatoes, frozen veggies, whole grain pasta
If you get some olive oil and seasoning you can make marinades or dressings or stir fry veggies in it
Snacks peanut butter, carrots, pretzels, yogurt

I would go for a physical if you have times of not being hungry yet times you feel off like you are stating. Sometimes even if you are not hungry but have not eaten enough you still should have something. You need nutrients and also don't want to slow your metabolism down

LOWWILL SparkPoints: (1,133)
Fitness Minutes: (115)
Posts: 7
7/6/13 9:04 P

Random, it sounds like you're just not eating enough in a day to sustain your body in a healthy way. But, having said that, you're saying 1 cup here and 1 cup there but, it's not saying what it is that you're eating (unless I've read this wrong and missed something somewhere....which is totally possible with my mind lately! LOL)

I think we can all go a short period of time with an ultra-low food/calorie range but, over time, it causes our bodies and metabolism to go a little haywire and even become weak and dizzy.

What does your "1 cup" consist of? If you're eating 1 cup of cake...that's quite different than 1 cup of salad. Even there though, it sounds as though you're simply not getting enough calories and especially, nutrients/vitamins.

Try tracking your foods and the calories for those foods to have a better understanding of what your nutrition really is. That way, as others have offered, those who are more well versed in proper eating/veterans of weigh loss and proper eating, can help you much better.

Sending you best wishes!

7/6/13 7:04 P

You've received a lot of good advice here. My husband and I have also lived on a really tight budget. Some things we did? Buy rice in bulk -- if you have an Asian or Middle Eastern (or just a world foods) market nearby, you can find rice in 10 lb containers for pretty cheap. We eat lots of vegetarian meals. If you have an Aldi nearby, they are a great resource for food on the cheap. We have found that Mexican meals can be particularly cheap -- buying things like corn tortillas, beans (we often buy the dry kind in bags and prepare them and freeze in can-sized containers, even cheaper than canned!), rice, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese can make all sorts of meals. Great soup in the crockpot? 1 can black beans, 1 can kidney beans, 10 ounce package of corn, 2 cans diced tomatoes (with or without chilies), 1 8 oz can tomato sauce, 1 onion, taco seasoning (we make our own -- you can find all sorts of recipes online). Aldi also has cheap veggies/fruits so that fresh produce is affordable. Other times, we buy frozen veggies to make sure we are getting good balance.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,551)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,282
7/6/13 5:49 P

There can be ways and means around medical/prescription costs. Below are some link that can help if that is a problem (and if is for Americans :-):

Something I missed mentioning before, I is a very important action, is to have a spreadsheet for expenditure. Various things go into various columns; like groceries; petrol; power; gas; clothing; accommodation; cafes; personal spends; etc. etc. I have done this for many years, and that is what has helped keep my head above water. You can see where you can cut expenses, and it really helps with budgeting.


ANARIE Posts: 13,204
7/6/13 10:21 A

The first step would be to start using the free nutrition tracker here to find out whether you're eating enough calories and what nutrients you're missing out on. You can also turn on the menu plans to look at them. You won't be able to use them on your budget because they're computerized and they'll do things like suggesting 15 different kinds of bread in one week instead of repeating the same one until you've used up the package. They're not always practical, but they'll give you a general idea of what kinds of foods you could eat in a week. You can pick out the one or two cheap meals from the week and use those on other days.

Second, go Ben Franklin on your own a**, as they say. "A penny saved is a penny earned." If you don't have an outside job, make saving money your job. You can't afford artisan whole-grain bread from an upscale bakery-- but you can make it for pennies. Google "no-knead artisan bread" and you can find instructions for bread from just flour, yeast, water, and salt. Look for yeast in one-pound foil bags in the food service or large-quantity section of the supermarket, or have someone with a Sam's or Costco membership get it for you. You can buy a pound for the price of two of the little paper strips. With that and a bag of whole-wheat flour, for $2 and half an hour's work, you can make dough for 4 loaves of bread that would cost $5 each at a bakery. That's like having a part-time job that pays $36 an hour.

Basically, don't pay anyone to cook for you. The best healthy diet advice I ever got was, "don't buy food; buy ingredients," and that's a good way to make your wallet healthy, not just your body. Hamburger Helper is absurdly much more expensive than pasta, onions, spices, and a can of tomatoes; you're paying the company at least $25 an hour for the time they save you by putting the ingredients in a box.

And there are some very healthy foods that are so cheap they're practically free. Someone already mentioned lentils. You can find them for $1.29 a pound routinely, and as little as 89 cents if you know where to look. With an onion and some spices and a few minutes spent Googling recipes, you've got a very healthy meal for at most 50 cents a serving. Oatmeal and eggs are two other very cheap foods, and there are tons of oatmeal-egg pancake and muffin recipes out there (or in here, on that are designed to be healthy, take two to five minutes to make, and cost less than 25 cents. If you've been using microwave popcorn, switch to buying plain popcorn and popping it on the stove. If you're doing that already, then you know that it's under 10 cents an ounce.

Besides feeding you now, living on a shoestring is going to teach you skills that will be useful all your life. Once you do get back to work, you'll be able to save a lot more of your salary than your parents did or than friends who haven't gone through tough times will.

One other tip: find a volunteer job and do it as regularly and seriously as you would a paying job. If you become some organization's best, steadiest volunteer, the people there WILL take care of you. At first it might just be sending you home with the leftover fruit from a breakfast meeting, but before long it will be job tips and letters of recommendations, or even a paying job with them or with one of the other volunteers' or donors' businesses. Virtually every volunteer job I've done eventually landed me job offers.

"If it sounds like it could be for you, then I would be inclined to make an appointment with your Dr and explain what has been going on, and get a medical."

Brief political aside: Kiwi, you forget that she's an American. For at least the next six months, no job or low-paying job or less-than-full-time job = no health insurance = no doctor visit.

Although do consider a visit to Planned Parenthood if there's one you can get to. They provide basic general health care, not just reproductive care. They can't really treat you, but they can rule out most serious illnesses and unofficially diagnose a lot of nutritional deficiencies. If you're anemic, for example-- which is likely-- that's something they test for all the time, and they'll be able to give you information on diet and maybe even tell you where you can get a free class in nutrition, or direct you to a food bank.

7/6/13 6:09 A

Don't overlook heat exhaustion and/or dehydration as part of the problem, your symptoms sure fit.

Edited by: INTOTHENEW at: 7/6/2013 (06:10)
CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
7/6/13 5:55 A

I agree with the points that SlimmerKiwi raised.
You have to be careful with under eating, as it can lead to a pile of problems.

The relationship change (moving in with bf) may be causing stress that you're not quite aware of it happening.

Best wishes on the job search, too

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,551)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,282
7/6/13 3:43 A

I definitely agree that it doesn't seem like you are eating anywhere near enough. If you aren't tracking with the SP Nutrition Tracker, I would start to do so.

You aren't feeling hungry, and that isn't uncommon with people who under-eat. I am wondering if you are feeling unduly stressed/depressed? . The reason for this is that a lot of people go off food when this sort of thing happens. You have had a major change in your life, and that is often enough to create these issues. If it sounds like it could be for you, then I would be inclined to make an appointment with your Dr and explain what has been going on, and get a medical. In the mean time, it certainly wouldn't hurt to mindlessly nibble on a few nuts during the day to help pick up your calories and also the protein and healthy fats.

I understand money is tight - I have lived off the smell of an oily rag for many years - there are ways of getting through. Just tonight I made an apricot chicken casserole - 3 skinless drum-sticks have made 5 good-sized meals. I extend them with cheap veges and plenty of Red Lentils. The lentils are far cheaper than meat, but provide protein and fibre. I do mince (ground beef) like that, too, using a can of tomatoes, onions, carrots celery and lentils. A tablespoon of meat isn't expensive, and the veges and lentils puff the meal out quite a bit making it very nutritious and cheap. Soups are another one, and even tho' it may be hot where you are, there are plenty that are delicious cold - tomato being just one!

Don't be afraid to seek out a food bank. I have been given grants many times by our Social Welfare Agency. False pride (if this causes you to not want to go down this route) doesn't have a place in my books!

Good luck,


DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
7/5/13 10:12 P

It's difficult to say, but you almost certainly need more than what you just told us you're having. From what you're saying, you're only eating two cups of food a day plus some popcorn. That is absolutely NOT enough and will not provide you with the balanced nutrition you need to function. At a very minimum, you need to be getting about 1200 calories a day MINIMUM (not maximum) to function at the base metabolic levels your body needs. The more you exercise the more you will need.

It's very difficult to guess what you're eating based on the information you've provided. Are you tracking with Sparkpeople? How many calories are you eating each day? What is your SP-generated calorie range. How much are you exercising, how much are you burning, how long, etc? We don't have enough information to really help you. Exercising 4 times a week could be a 30 minute walk, or it could be two hours of intense cardio. Details matter. :)

If you have a tracker here, consider creating a sparkpage and sharing it publicly. Doing so would help us immensely.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 7/5/2013 (22:14)
RANDOMLADY SparkPoints: (19)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 6
7/5/13 9:25 P

I make meals on a day-to-day basis. I just moved with my boyfriend, and I don't have a job yet, so money is tight. We live off Hamburger Helper meals, and then I make healthier, home-made versions sometimes; pasta, and mett/bratwurst. I bought a bag of frozen veggies and have 1 cup of them along with 1 cup of whatever I made for dinner.

I make breakfas/dinner while he's asleep, eat my 1 cup, then send the rest off with him for "lunch" (1-2AM lunchbreak for him). Later in the evening if I'm still hungry I have air popped popcorn or something. I'm finding since moving I'm not excessively hungry anymore. I also exercise 4 times a week.

Tonight I'm just feeling off. A little dizzy, tired, bit of nausea. I had my 1 cup of food and 1 cup of veggies, and a small portion of popcorn. Should I maybe have something else, and throw in an additional light workout later tonight?

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