Training & Nutrition - Large calorie deficit?
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11-19-03, 06:23 PM
Over the last year I did the reduced food intake/ride my bike alot and lost some weight. For the last 3 months or so my weight has been consitant just under 200 pounds. I'd still like to lose more, but I'm not concered (I'm 6'1") I hope to do some bodyfat measurements over more weight loss. However I decided I should track the calories I'm eating/using.
I started using the website fitday.com, I saw it mentioned here a couple times. Well according to them my base caloric intake should be 2050 calories, plus 920 for my lifestyle (I chose seated work). Almost 3000 calories sounds really high to me. When I add my average cycling/jogging (they give calories burnt estimates) too I'm pushing 4000 to 4500! I'm willing to accpet a 10% fudge factor, but are numbers like these right?
The large deficit comes into play when I measures what I eat. On average I eat 1700-2000 calories. Now if a meal comes late I do certainly feel it, however on average I don't feel hungry. In fact I can't image eating 4500 calories; the only time I feel close to that hungry is right after I jog a 10k or bike a century. If the deficit was really that large I should be losing weight pretty fast, unless my metabolism really slowed down.
If my deficit is really this big I don't think that would be healthy. Hoever my weight has been pretty consistant. I was thinking I'd watch everything much closer, and start to push my calories up higher.
Any thoughts? Thanks.
Backpackers can burn 8K calories a day. If you have a big calorie deficit, you would be losing weight. If you're not, most likely there is a math errror somewhere. In my experience, it's usually in estimating portion size. Oh yes...that's a 3 oz portion.....THUD! Or my all time favorite, I was on a diet that allowed me one cookie. I spent months perfecting a low calorie choc chip cookie that tasted good. I would then make one cookie on a pizza pan. The WHOLE pizza pan. Good cookie :D
Sounds to me like your on the right track.You lost weight with a low calorie diet and eventually a slowing metabolism stalled progress as fat levels got lower.I suggest you reduce the deficit by making moderate but controlled increases in calorie increments and closely monitor the effects until you start losing weight again.It does sound like your very much on the lowside calorie wise and may have to approach in the ballpark of the fitday levels but use it as a guide and go what works for you.
There are several places where errors can crop up.
Obviously, if you have a 1000 calorie deficiet per day, you HAVE to lose at least 2 lbs per week. So something is wrong with your measurements.
Now it is possible to get a pretty accurate measurement of caloric consumption. Nearly all foods are accurately marked for caloric content. However, portions are a lot smaller then people think so you might have an error there. I understand that people who rely on strict calorie counting routinely measure and weight everything they eat. So have you done this? You might just have an error in the consumption side of the equation. The nice thing is, you can check your figures here by taking the proper measurements.
The other problem is in the calories burned section. You can get estimates on calories burned for various activities but those are only estimates. And if you look at different sources, there is a very wide range on the estimates. Estimates of the caloric burn rates of various forms of exercise can vary by about 5 fold and they can vary that much in actuality depending on the person involved and the intensity of the activity. And there is no covenient way to get a direct measure on calories burned. You could measure your oxygen consumption and co2 production through the day, but I don't think anyone has ever done this. It is really, really inconvenient. I think it has only been done in a lab setting for limited time intervals. So your estimate on your calories burned could be off and I don't see how you can find a way to come up with the correct figure to confirm or correct your current figures.
Oh, there is another problem. The human body has a response against starvation (weight loss) and that is to scale down the metabolic rate. Your body just might have done this for you. So what worked early on, just won't work now. For many people, exercise will couteract this. Exercise tends to increase metabolic rate.
The old addage of calories in versus calories out is horribly simplistic and fairly dated.
If I ate two sample diets of the same calories, would my body composition be the same? Example:
Diet 1: 2500 calories in one meal right before bed consisting only of fructose and trans-fat.
Diet 2: 2500 calories spread over the entire day consisting of low insulin index carbs, good quality protein and some EFA's.
Now way in hell! The type of food, the timing of the meals, the way it is prepared etc. all make a huge difference.
Those calculators are fantastic and it's great you are keeping an eye on your intake, but don't simplify.
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