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Wait...I've Been Doing This Wrong For 3 Months?!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I had a rather enlightening FB conversation this morning with my SparkBuddy, MARATHONDAD. This was the gist of it:

ME: Hungry for lunch at 9:30am. Bad sign.

MD: Remember - when you start running more, you need to add more calories to your diet or you will get tired. You dont want your body to go into starvation mode!!!

ME: I don't know how many to add and still maintain weight loss. I've been confused about that. I am meeting my daily SP calorie ranges. Shouldn't I just do that and whatever I burn running is for weight loss? I am a little confused.

MD: The best way I've found is to work out how many calories you are burning in a typical week. Then, enter that into your goals on workout page (in the settings). SP usually uses this information to adjust your daily calorie needs for you.

So, I went through my past two weeks of workouts and averaged how many calories I burned per week. Sure enough, there was an area under my Activity Goals in my fitness section where I could enter how many calories I burn in a week. When I went back to my Nutrition Tracker, my calorie totals had been adjusted.


I've been doing this wrong for 3 months!!!! NO WONDER those last 5 lbs have been so stubborn! Even though my calorie range has been too low (with my increased activity from running), I have been going OVER on calories without knowing it.

Let me explain...

Let's say my calorie range in SP is 1320-1690 per day.
And let's say I go for a run and burn 400 calories.

So, here I've been thinking that I can eat up to 1690 calories PLUS an extra 400 calories (because I burned that running) and maintain weight.

BUT NO....NO NO NO. OF COURSE SPARKPEOPLE is integrated across pages!!! I JUST realized that the 1320-1690 is already reflecting the number of calories I anticipate on burning every week!

It's already included in my calorie range!!

Wow...I don't know about you, but that just blew my mind. Even though I only go over about 200 or 300 calories per day...that adds up. That explains the stall in weight loss and why it's seemed so slow, even with all my extra activity.

Maybe it's just me...but I figured I'd better share that tidbit in case anyone else was thinking the same way I was!!!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • VIVID1106
    OMG thanks so much i was totally doing the same thing lol!!!
    2176 days ago
    You are doing great. I figured this tip out a few months ago when I was training for my half. I kept going in the red on my fitness page so I started adjusting my calories burned weekly on my fitness page based on my Saturday long runs. Good luck to you in your half training. I had a lot of fun and actually looked forward to my runs. I was amazed that I was able to run further each week.

    Good luck to you.
    2177 days ago
    Thanks for the info! Sometimes the obvious is staring us in the face and we don't know it! I need to snack to keep my blood sugar level. Also, current studies show that if you eat lightly before a workout you burn more calories post workout. If you eat after a workout, you burn less calories post workout. Go figure.

    Anyway, keep up the good work! :O)
    2178 days ago
  • JANIED10
    Good info for those of just starting on this site. Thanks.
    2180 days ago
    You are moving up to pro status!
    2180 days ago
  • AWOOD1973
    Awesome information! Glad you got that all straightened out! Now maybe your body will do what you want it to, and you will LOSE, LOSE, LOSE! :)
    2180 days ago
    I have done the same thing.
    2180 days ago
    Thanks for this explanation!
    2180 days ago
    So glad you've got it now. I thought it was a little confusing, too. -Marsha
    2181 days ago
  • PLYNSN316
    I'm usually hungry between breakfast and lunch, as well, so I have a hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit. Or some yogurt, and almonds. Or munch on baby carrots if I want something crunchy. Keep up the awesome work!
    2181 days ago
    just to say that like Emma, i need to include a snack in my planning or i won't make it to lunch either. one or two tangerines between 9:30 and 10:30, depending on when we get up, makes a big difference, and they are better mid morning than with breakfast. a few almonds sound like a good idea too. especially as tangerines are about to go out of season. of course apricots have come into season, and cherries.
    2181 days ago
    Glad to hear you got it sorted out. Even with that adjustment, some tinkering might still be needed to get the program to work for you. For example, we often over-estimate calories burned and under-estimate calories consumed.

    I try to think of my body as a laboratoryin which I conduct experiments, and I try to have the patience to run my experiments for at least 3 weeks at a time to see what works.

    With respect to your morning hunger, I know that something counter-intuitive that worked for me was to eat less for breakfast but add a mid-morning snack. I usually work out in the morning before work, and I found that no matter what I ate, or how much I ate, I was still still famished at 10 am. So I decided to eat a smaller breakfast (225 calories - 1 cup of high protein/high fiber cereal and a 1/4 cup of lowfat milk) around 7:30 am (after my workout) and save some calories to have a mid-morning snack around 10-11 am (usually a piece of fruit and a very small handful of almonds, about 100-150 calories in total). That two-meal approach then carries me through to lunch. I also usually have a mid-afternoon snack and sometimes even an early evening snack, because my husband and I often don't eat dinner until 9 pm.
    2181 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    Good advise! You're so lucky to have the support to turn to. While you may have been eating too many calories, at least you're feeling good and meeting your other goals. One step at a time!
    2181 days ago
    THANK YOU for explaining this! I always wondered! now I know!

    2181 days ago
    great information!
    2181 days ago
    glad I could help you buddy
    2181 days ago
    Better to go into unintended maintenance than starvation mode, I think! And at least you found out now instead of a year from now. No worries! You'll get rid of that 5 lbs in a flash now! :)
    2181 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. Lucky for me, I've been sticking with the SP range suggested despite burning extra calories. It's only after reading your blog that I now realize why my calorie range went up sometime back. It was because I had adjusted my workout so I could burn more calories per week and now it all makes sense. As they say, we learn something new everyday!
    2181 days ago
    Thanks for the tip!!
    2181 days ago
  • OPTIMIST1948
    Ive been working some enlightenment with my new heart rate monitor. Blog coming as soon as I gset it all sorted out for,myself . Enlighenment is frustrating when you brood on it. Just move forward.
    2181 days ago
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