Friday, June 6, 2014

Calorie Deficit

MFP initially told me I need 1200-ish net calories per day for a "sedentary" job and to lose 10 lb in 20 weeks. After lunch, I only had 300 calories left, despite eating only coffee+Kind bar for breakfast and salad/fruit for lunch. So I freaked out. Then I changed my settings to a "lightly active" job and a goal of losing 7 lb in 14 weeks (0.5 lb/week). That gave me 1400 net calories. By the end of the day, I was over by only 70 calories. I ate 1800 calories yesterday, I bet I used to eat 2000-2200. I didn't burn many calories, since I did strength training instead of cardio. Just my walking commute and dog walking.

I've decided that if I'm within 100 calories of my net calorie goal, than I'm doing OK. I was hungry at 2 times during the day---4-6 pm before dinner, and 10pm right before bed. I did have an afternoon snack of some fruit, but I think I need more fruit. In the winter I used to eat ginormous apples and oranges, and now I'm eating little berries and peaches, which are much less filling. I had a 9pm snack of cereal and milk which helped a lot. I could've eaten another bowl but didn't. 

The best thing about tracking calories is that I am mindful about snacking. I measured out my cereal and milk instead of heaping up a huge bowl (and then refilling). It also immediately changed my view of my nightly wine/beer from a necessity to a treat. I did have a glass of wine with dinner, but did NOT have another glass later in the evening. I was hungry and decided the cereal would be way more satisfying for the same amount of calories. Of course, in the past, I would've had both. I think drinking may be a contributor to a lot of 30-something women's mild weight gain. We think we are doing well by avoiding ice cream and candy bars, but a beer in the evening (any beer worth drinking anyways) or a couple of glasses of wine is setting us back at least 200 calories. 

Some of the comments here and on other blogs are making me consider my motivation for doing this. It really is NOT vanity. That ship sailed 2.5 years ago when my ab muscles separated irreparably and while it took me some time (2 years), I have gotten over the fact that my body will never look the way I want it to look again. I could lose 20 pounds (and be technically underweight) and I would still have the poochy, wrinkly stomach. I will never be a size 2 again, my hip bones are wider then they were pre-babies, as is my ribcage (also my feet, I've gained a full shoe size). 

My weight right now is technically healthy, but its 10 pounds up from where it was before. And I gain my weight exclusively in my abdomen, which is neither healthy nor attractive. If I gained it all over, I'd actually be ecstatic, I'd love to not have chicken arms and legs and to have plumper cheeks/cleavage/butt. I know I'll look and feel better at a slightly lower weight and I also know that eating better/less is good for my long-term health and my energy levels. 

So, yeah, these ten pounds may look like "vanity pounds" to some, but I don't want to wait until those ten turn to twenty or more and become "health risk pounds". 


  1. I will be following along on your weight loss journey and cheering you on! I've lost 35+ pounds starting in early December (you can see the progress on my blog) and at the time I did it used Jenny Craig to structure myself, which helped but probably wasn't really necessary. MFP was a major find for me - I tracked then, and continue to track now that I'm maintaining, and it really makes clear what I'm putting into my mouth. I did a 1200 calorie diet for about 4 months to lose my weight. It was tough the first week and a half or so and then I settled in. I found it most motivating for me to see the scale moving more quickly, even though it meant I had to be careful about intake. I really didn't do any dedicated exercise most of the time b/c couldn't swing it with my 18mo and academic medical schedule. Your comment that you'd gone through most of your calories by lunch prompted me to want to comment and pass along how I managed the 1200 calories without starving. Basically, I aimed for a less than 250 calorie breakfast entree (usually an omelette with one whole egg+ 2 or 3 egg whites, non-starchy veggies, and a bit of cheese, or a "diet" breakfast sandwich of some sort - starbucks even has one sandwich that's 230 cals), and 300 cals or less for lunch and dinner. That left room for tea with nf milk and splenda at breakfast, a big green salad at lunch with a low-cal dressing, and heaps of steamed veggies at dinner, with an occasional "dessert" thrown in the mix (sugar free chocolate nonfat jello pudding was one of my faves at 60 calories a container, but you could do greek light and fit for 80 cals too, and be healthier), and a snack during the day (piece of fruit, nonfat yogurt, or a 90-cal fiber one bar). It was honestly fine once it became routine, and I wouldn't say I was starving, altho it took some getting used to at the beginning. I'm now the weight I was in high school and plan to try my best to stay within 5 pounds of this (developed GD during my pregnancy and do not want to develop type 2 diabetes!). anyway, good luck! happy to help in any way I can, so feel free to reach out to me if you want!


  2. I agree re adding egg whites for protein which helps hold your blood sugars longer. Look at what happens too if you drop ALL wheat/grains. I know what the US food pyramid looks like but wheat really impacts your blood sugars and that impacts weight loss for many people. Adding low starch veggies instead of wheat/grain can help too. Weight only gets harder to deal with each year of life after 18. This fight is worth winning and is HARD.

  3. I tried so many times to comment on your last post, and my phone kept eating the comments! I started tracking calories via that same app earlier this week. It's hard for me to imagine this is a healthy amount to eat, when I am so hungry I feel at times lightheaded and nauseous, and my stomach has physical hunger pangs. I feel like all I can think about is food. And the scale is not moving! Like you and some others said, I'm struggling to think of what I can possibly eat that won't put me over. I feel like i'm eating healthy meals and not snacking too much, and still I'm running out of calories too early. Last night I ended up on the stair machine trying to earn back some calories. Sigh.

    Anyway, I'm willing to give it a little more time and see if I really do get used to it. We'll see.

  4. Stick to your plan and don't let set backs make you quit entirely. You can do it!

  5. You already have some really good comments on here. I definitely recommend focusing on proteins because those will keep you going longer. Fruit is healthy and doesn't have too many calories, but it's also mostly sugar and it won't keep you sated for long. I love a couple of walnuts or almonds--it's amazing how long those will keep me sated.

    I have also found that sometimes I feel quite hungry, and I'm sure I'm going to be hungry until I eat again, but if I wait for about thirty minutes, it goes away. I actually usually feel the most hungry right after I eat--I want seconds SO BAD. I used to indulge that desire a lot, but I'm waiting it out now and it goes away.

    It is hard though. 1200 calories isn't much to eat in a day. Like I said on my blog, I sync my FitBit to MFP and "earn" an extra 400 calories a day. That really helps because 1600 is much more doable than 1200.

    I've definitely seen the scale move too. I was at 158.6 just this morning! That is 12lbs I've lost in a little over a month. I also lose (and gain, sadly) weight pretty quickly, especially when I'm this much over my normal weight. Evidently I just moved down from the "overweight" BMI to the "normal" BMI. That is a lot more weight than I normally carry. I'm so thankful it's coming off though. I'm wearing my size 10 stretchy jeans today! And I can get my non-stretchy ones on if I use a hairband at that button (a la when I was pregnant). It's so nice to have two more pairs of pants to wear--it's like I've doubled my wardrobe!

    I hope you start seeing results soon. That definitely helps with the motivation. You can do this! You really can!

  6. i tried using myfitnesspal yesterday and man, i had a hard time a) quantifying and b) sticking to the goal allotted (and i added an additional 500 breastfeeding calories). it did make me more aware of things and my current total 'free-for-all' mindset that needs to change. even though i tend to be pretty healthy in my choices, quantity matters (i.e., a serving of almonds instead of . . .4).

    anyway even though my motivation IS vanity, i'm right there with you :)

    1. Isn't it crazy how horrifyingly easy it is to exceed 1500 or 2000 or whatever your goal is calories for the day? Ugh. If only it weren't. Truly sucks.

  7. HA! I did exactly this a few weeks ago. I was curious about my calorie intake. And it irritates me that my pants are too tight some weeks, and I worry about the creep getting creepier. So yeah, assuming lightly active, I'm still eating like 1300 before dinner, and probably another 500-1000 after. So right there with you!

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