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View Full Version : Some help... how do you know how many calories to eat?


KarenAylwood
04-22-2010, 07:14 AM
I've been "struggling" with my weight since I was younger. I lost about 20-25lbs after college doing the South Beach diet and exercising (which I had always done). Then I've been just trying to get in shape and have gone up and down about 10lbs in the last few years. I'd like to be down ~8-10lbs, so this is the last few and I know that's hard. I'm a normal weight for my height although slightly to the upper end of the range.

I eat healthy as I learned a ton of great habits from the SBD (and also just "how" to eat the right way and make the right choices). I slip on the weekends like a lot do, I still drink on the weekends and allow myself the occasional treat. I've recently started running and training for a 10K.

I'm afraid I just don't know how many calories I should be eating. I see some people who run a lot eating 2000 calories and they're so skinny. I have been eating around 1200 calories a day during the week, and on the weekends "eat whatever" but try to make good choices when going out- I'd say I maybe average 2000 on weekends?

My workout routine is 6 days a week, mix of running and strength. I've seen a nice difference in how my body looks since I started the strength training but see no drop on the scale (I know, muscle weighs more than fat). This is what it looks like now:

M- long run (4+ miles, should top out at 6 until I'm half marathon training in the winter)
T- 50 min mix of elliptical/bike, abs & stretching
W- Body Pump class (60 min of weight lifting, usually 100 reps on a dumbell per body part, low weight like 10-20lbs on the bar)
R- 3 mile run
F- Body Pump class
S- either 60 min body combat class or 3-4 mile run
S- rest

Am I not eating enough? I'm afraid to bump my calories and see a gain! :eek: How do you know how much you should be eating? Sparkpeople tells me 1600-1900 but that seems so high to me.

wenrob
04-22-2010, 08:22 AM
Are you eating/exercising exactly the same way every week? Your body could be adapting since it knows what to expect. Try shaking up your routine doing some different workouts and staggering your calories so that you are low one day and slightly high on another. I have heard stories of people upping their calorie intake for a week or so and then going back and dropping a bunch the following week. It could also be as simple as pulling back on the free for all on the weekends. I splurge for one meal a week but as painful as it is I log that meal and every calorie that goes with it. Otherwise that meal might turn into a whole day, then a whole weekend and then a weekend that includes friday night an so on. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking the weekend off but you may be taking in more then you think you are, kwim?

crewmatt
04-22-2010, 02:41 PM
Yes if your workouts have stagnated then your body will simply reach a steady state. Try to change it a little bit, add some speed work and hills. Or add a few extra miles to one run a week. Gotta keep applying stress to your body or it will stop adapting. For that level of activity 1600-1900 is certainly low enough to effect weight loss. You dont want to go too low or your body will just conserve energy other places.

lisah0711
04-22-2010, 03:59 PM
I think that the folks who suggested that your body has adapted have very good points.

You may want to check out www.sparkpeople.com to answer your question about how many calories to eat. It's free. You can put in information about how much you weigh, how much you want to lose, and when you would like to be at goal and it will calculate a calorie range for you. It will even give you suggested menus, which inevitably let you eat a lot more than you would think because they emphasize fruits and vegetables. Give it a try.

Now that I read your post again, I see you tried sparkpeople already. Maybe compare with livingstrong or pyramid.gov.

Good luck on your journey to good health! :flower3:

mrsklamc
04-23-2010, 08:13 AM
I don't know if this is right for everyone but the endocrinologist said we were multiplying the weight I want X 100. I weigh 140 and we are shooting for 120, so 1200 calories.