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Day 819- New Plan for March- Calorie Cycling

Friday, February 28, 2014

After some research as well as some days of exhaustion, I've decided to try calorie cycling for the month of March.

One thing I love about SparkPeople is how much knowledge I've gained by reading articles and friends' blogs. I knew nothing about my Basal Metabolic Rate before joining, but now understand so much more about how my body works and how many calories are required for my body to function correctly.

Because of that knowledge and my year and a half long plateau in the 180s, I began to question if I was eating enough for my new work out routine. I've been working out for almost an hour 4 times a week. When I used a BMR calculator I found online (google it) it told me by BMR was close to 2500 calories a day. Meaning to maintain my weight, I should eat 2500 calories. Well this just shocked me, because I've been religiously eating between 1400-1800 and have been plateauing. But taking into consideration my workouts that sometimes burn 800 calories, I realized that it is possible that my body is going into starvation mode.

You see, while I'm eating 1800 calories, if I burn 800 in my workout, my body is trying to survive on 1000 calories a day, when it needs 2500 maintain. If this was actually working and I was at a 1500 calorie differential for even 5 days a week, I'd be losing over 2 pounds each week. But since I seem to be plateauing, I think my body may be holding on to all fat and nutrients because it thinks I'm starving or something.

So I decided to research Calorie Cycling. The concept behind this is your metabolism can never fall into a pattern because some days your eating at a higher calorie range and others you are eating at a much lower range.

So after using the Calorie Calculator : I've decided to Calorie Cycle for the month of March. If I see good results, then I'll probably keep doing it until I'm at goal. If I don't, hey what's one more month in a plateau right?

My current schedule will be as follows:

Saturday- 2047 cals
Sunday- 1861
Monday- 1861
Tuesday- 1489
Wednesday- 2233
Thursday- 1861
Friday 1675

Definitely doesn't seem too bad at all. I haven't eaten over 2000 calories without it being a binge in a long time, so eating nutritious and good food to get to that will be new to me.

All I know is Albert Einstein was right. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Maybe when I was 275 pounds, cutting calories and light exercise was my key to the first 90 pounds. But now that I'm an athlete, exercising 4x a week, I need to change my plan up to see if something else can work for me now.

Anyone want to join me in March Madness? Calorie Cycling for 31 days? Who's with me?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    910 days ago
    I'm doing a carb cycling diet--not heard of the calorie cycling. Only on the second week of carb cycling and it seems to be working so far. I think the ideas are the same with both of these and mixing it up to confuse your body usually works. You definitely need to do the same with exercise too. Good Luck and best wishes for success!
    1508 days ago
    1509 days ago
    Great post. Good luck. You are looking so good! Beautiful girl.

    Keep up the good work.

    1509 days ago
    tried it, didn't work for me
    1510 days ago
    very interesting!!! I did my calculations and if this is correct., I am never eating enough food! Possibly why I am not loosing at all and just keep bouncing back and forth between the same 5-6 pounds. I think I'm going to give this a try (or at least do some more reading!) thank you for sharing :)
    1510 days ago
    I want to try this! Did my calculations and everything so we'll see how it goes. Makes me feel better about the dreaded calorie counter, haha.
    1511 days ago
  • _CYNDY55_
    Wishing You the Very emoticon with the Calorie Cycling!!
    And Your many achievements!!
    No Calorie Cycling for me. I'm at My Goal weight and Maintaining!!
    1511 days ago
    It's not a good time for me to try something this detailed, but I will be watching your journey to see how it goes for you!
    1511 days ago
  • MKD4444
    I'll join you! What the heck. I've been trying to eat
    1600 calories a day anyway so if my lowest
    cycle day is 1600, what will it hurt? Let's do this!!!
    1512 days ago
    Joining you as my body "tells" me when I need a 2000 calorie day!


    And congrats on the pound lost(love the cute pic of you and JD!

    1512 days ago
    Good luck can't wait to see the results
    1512 days ago
    I do calorie-cycling and it does work! I also do exercise-cycling and mix it up with that, too. I was stuck on a plateau for 6 months and getting discouraged and then read an article on SP about this method. So I figured it can't hurt, right? And it works! Since I began this (in January) I have lost the 6 lbs. gained over T-Day/Christmas break. But you have to be careful. Someone here posted about fluid gains and that happens the first 7 days. Don't give up and think it's not working. Your body is fighting this new plan at first. then on the next 7 days, you will see a drop. My metabolism works slowly so I lose about .5-1 lb. each week and that is ok for me. Keep us in the loop about how this works for you!
    1512 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog!!! This is very interesting!!! Well Said. You Can Do It!!! Keep Pushing Forward!!! God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Spark On!!!
    1512 days ago
    Sounds interesting. Will definitely need to look into. I have been stuck for over a year and I think I might be too low on my calories. Besides working out my job is very physical. I walk 4-6 miles a day just at work, plus lift boxes ranging 35-45lbs throughout the day.
    1512 days ago
  • JAMER123
    My body needs about 2400 and I don't seem to get it there too often. When I first began SP, I was amazed they set my calories at 2500 and I wasn't eating nearly that. When I did, I began to lose. Now, I need to buckle down and start eating what I need to eat!! Right now, I am on a calorie deficit challenge and that is starting to work as well. Good luck in getting the weight to more again!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1512 days ago
  • ANNA4318
    It's great that you're not giving up, but trying new things! emoticon
    1512 days ago
    I'm interested to see if this works! I am new at losing weight, so I do have a question for you. When you started, how many calories did you eat, and how much did you exercise? Do you believe the food tracker on here works with how many calories you burn too? I have been following it, and burning about 800 calories 5x a week. They want me to eat around 1800 calories when I do that, but I'm not used to eating so many, when for so long I've heard you should eat 1200. Thoughts or any tips would be much appreciated!!
    1512 days ago
    Time to do some research of my own!!! Keep us posted on your progress!!!! emoticon emoticon
    1512 days ago
    Good luck. emoticon emoticon emoticon

    1512 days ago
    This is interesting! I'm going to do some research!
    1512 days ago
    Interesting. I'll have to read the articles and then perhaps join in! Thanks for posting all these resources.
    1512 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1513 days ago
    Ok. I'm in. Let's do this!
    1513 days ago
  • KARAW531
    I've been at a plateau, too, and have been wondering if I'm eating too few calories. Cycling might help things! I'll try to join in, too!
    1513 days ago
    This came into my consciousness, too, recently! I just set up my weekly calorie cycling count in an Excel sheet so I can track it, since even when I count in my workouts the SP nutrition tracker doesn't really let me account for this. I'm planning to be strict during the weekdays, when it is easier for me to minimize my calorie intake through planned meals (ranging from 1200's on M/Tu to 1400's W/Th), and allow for "social calories" over the weekends. So, I get 1900's on Fridays (eating low for breakfast/lunch, maybe going out for dinner), 2900's on Saturdays (potential to eat out/more for every meal, and some alcohol intake), and 2100's on Sundays (eating low again for dinners). Like you, I have never eaten over 2000's without it being a bad food binge, so the challenge for me will be filling the higher calorie ranges with healthy, clean foods. emoticon
    1513 days ago
    I've never tried this but on Weight Watchers a lot of member used to do a similar thing and had results. Good luck to you. Please blog your results. I have a hard time with the untested! emoticon
    1513 days ago
    Great idea! I tried it and it worked for me. I added protein shakes, fruits, healthy fats like almond butter, avocado, peanut butter...It was a good thing I was working out running, biking, strength training and I wasn't eating enough. Once I started eating more I lost the weight I'd been holding on to.

    Can't wait to hear how it goes for you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1513 days ago
    GOOD LUCK! Sounds like this will work for you.
    1513 days ago
    I think I'm already calorie cycling and I didn't even know it! I try to do a "cheat" meal once a week, intentionally going a little bit over my calorie limit. It helps me look forward to the special treat and it jump starts my metabolism again. I never knew this had a name to it! I'm interested to hear your results. I have not yet hit a plateau but I know it will likely happen one day!

    I think it's better to plateau and become more and more educated while you work through it, rather than reaching your goal right away and not taking the time to build foundation.
    1513 days ago
    I think this is a good plan. My version of calorie cycling is to shoot for an average of 1500-1600 calories per day and view it in the "weekly" mode of the reports section. Some days I have 1300, some days 1900 and my body doesn't get a chance to get comfortable at one set level.

    I hope this works for you and it will feel GREAT to have that 2000+ calorie day and be completely "on plan" at the same time :)
    1513 days ago
    I was watching the Winter Olympics and found myself wondering about their energy balance - what foods they ate, how many calories they consumed and how many they burned.

    I've been plateaued for months, so I'll check this out and I might join you...

    Thanks for the idea and the links!
    1513 days ago
    I would gently caution you to only try a re-feed if you're not going to freak out by a weight gain. I tried this & gained 5. But, a lot of it is water & quickly lost later. Just stick with the plan no matter what scale fluctuations occur.
    1513 days ago
    Good luck.
    1513 days ago
    You might be onto something. I've read articles before about athletes and the high amount of calories they're eating. Just remember to make those calories nutrient-dense foods, which I'm sure you already know that. Good luck with your experiment. I hope it goes well and it's the answer to your plateau problems. You're looking great, by they way. Loved your picture in your previous blog post. You are a very beautiful girl and your fiancé is a very lucky man.
    1513 days ago
    I hadn't heard of calorie cycling before so looked at the links you gave - very interesting.

    I'd LIKE to do this with you during March, but I'm not sure if I CAN. Do I really have the self-discipline to limit my calorie intake so carefully?

    Tell you what - I'm going to TRY and I'll let you know how I get on!

    Best wishes.

    1513 days ago
    I bet this is exactly what will get things moving again. It makes since. It's like all those hours your boyfriend put into practice and working out for football. He could eat a crazy amount of food. Good Luck and I'm looking forward to March and hearing about your journey! emoticon
    1513 days ago
    I love that: "now that I'm an athlete" !!!

    I don't need calorie cycling, but good luck -- sounds like a fun experiment!
    1513 days ago
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