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now THIS is a typical food day...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

As most of you reading this probably know, I have had a lot of Spark Friends challenge and encourage me to track all my food. I agreed to do it for one week, because I didn't think I was eating enough. Well, if anyone is looking at my food log they will think I am a big fat liar cuz my friday thru monday are over on calories every single day... but my weekends are always crazy. And on mondays a friend comes over and we generally have some kind of treat. Last night it was Trader Joe's Shu Mai and Coconut Curry Chicken Stix (little spring rolls) with TJ's Peanut Satay Sauce... oh... my... goodness. It was all so good... and well over 600 calories. I try to plan ahead for it but yesterday I ate too much homemade pizza for dinner and so i went over on calories with the TJ's treats anyway. I'm getting off track...

My point in saying all that is - my friday thru monday is usually crazy (though most monday's are not quite that extravagant) food-wise and then tuesday thru friday afternoon I struggle just to eat a normal amount of food, let alone extra because I am burning a lot of calories per day. Take today as a perfect example - I usually don't eat too much for breakfast because I eat right before I go workout. Sometimes I have some protein after my workout, sometimes I get too distracted and forget. So here is my typical weekday - I have tracked all food I ate today so far and I also tracked my dinner ahead of time. I am at 1.096 calories INCLUDING dinner but my tracker says, according to my level of activity, I should be somewhere between 1.460 and 1,810. Therein lies the problem. After dinner I probably won't be hungry, but I still have another 350 calories to eat - at least! It's totally feast and famine with me. Is this kind of like calorie cycling? Feast on weekends and famine on weekdays? Will my body recognize the total amount of calories from the week or do I need to stay on a constant amount through the weekdays too?

I am not sure what to do. I mean, I could eat a couple of candy bars tonight, cuz goodness knows I'd have to eat a whole watermelon to get that many calories in fruit. Uhhhhh!!!! Suggestions anyone? How do you deal with days that are too low and you're just not hungry?
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    It probably is like calorie cycling. The question is are you content with how your weight loss is progressing? If you are comfortable with this pattern, and the pattern is giving you results, then keep with it. You might want to look at adding 50-75 calories to meals throughout the day so you are a little closer on low days, and shaving a little on the weekends, but we are all different and what works for you may not work for me.

    Just remember you have to live with your approach. If it gives you what you need, keep with it.

    4245 days ago
    I have not read any other comments, but try averaging your calories for the week. When you have tracked a whole seven days, take the amount for each day, add and average by 7 days and see if it falls in range. I personally think that is a good way to go at least for now and then you can see what needs work and then slowly work on one problem area at a time until you get it looking the way you want and what's wrong with eating a whole watermelon? Hmmmm?
    4245 days ago
    First, I would say that day to day isn’t as important as an average over time. I’m sure that over the course of the week you do average your daily calories, but to be so low most of the week there’s a good chance you’re not eating enough calories and sabotaging your weight loss goals.

    I also want to point out that you are never supposed to go under 1200 calories a day because that’s when your body starts using starvation tactics. It will preserve your fat and burn protein from your muscles. Be careful of that.

    Looking at your tracker, there are some simple suggestions to bring you up to at least the 1200 point. Put peanut butter or some kind of spread on breakfast. Add a side to lunch. Or, avocado is good with tuna. A quarter of one would increase your calories some and add creamyness to the sandwich. Make your snack a little more calorie dense. You’ve been craving chocolate, have you considered nutella on those crackers? Might kill two birds with one stone. Chocolate and more calories for the win!

    A lot of diets recommend one or two “high calorie” days a week. Just not in a row if you can help it. Instead of trying to get the whole weekend under control maybe try for just one day? And even Jillian says she has a 2000 calorie day on occasion as a “cheat day”. (Okay I’m paraphrasing badly, but you get the idea.)

    I’ll keep checking in and commenting to see if I can come up with any more helpful suggestions.
    4245 days ago
    I don't stress about the day to day calorie totals. Some days we have more demands on our body and need more fuel...some days we are coasting. We may be busy but have not "worked up and appetite" so to speak. For me, it is the weekly average. I take my total for the week...divide by 7 and see where the numbers fall. I also look for correlation between my high and low days now to see why the numbers ran high or low.

    High calories on a physically demanding day .. ok .
    High calories because I ate for emotional or stress reasons ...No good.

    Low calories if I was not active...ok (never less then 1200 NET...after exercise deducted)
    Low calories because I am playing the stupid game and back to my starve it to lose it mentality...No good.

    We don't use the same amount of calories day to day...so if I am really NOT hungry, then why eat? Instead , I go for that walk to "work up" an appetite. :)

    NO NO NO on the candy bars! Don't eat them just to bring your calories up for the day. It is the WRONG kind of calories anyway for someone who battles insulin resistance! I KNOW what that would do for me...trigger me for more sweets and bad carbs.

    If you really want to improve your calorie range today...make yourself a smoothie with yogurt and fruit. Or make a green smoothie with veggies.

    STEP AWAY FROM THE CANDY! Seriously, I know you would not do this but ....I wanted an excuse to come to your place and grab them and run. emoticon There's no doubt in my mind though that you could catch me.

    I would try and bring your week day totals up to the minimal of 1200 calories net. By eating so little during the week..you could be sitting yourself up for that binge weekend.
    4245 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/9/2009 7:56:50 PM
    Your body is getting to the weekend and then going FEED ME FEED ME and because your weekends are easier to get food on and aren't requiring the planning your week is, you're going nuts with the food on the weekends. THIS is how I as an outsider can see it. You need to strive to get more nutrient and calorically dense foods AND plan for snacks throughout the day. You will need to make sure you are making the effort to fuel yourself. As your body becomes accustomed to eating that frequently/much, you will feel like eating. Trust me! I agree with the comment to work on not eating "light" "fat free" "low cal", work on making sure you're getting enough fats and look for sources that are high in monounsaturated fats, low in sat and trans fat free!!! I know you commented on my blog about getting a lot of new groceries - YAY!!! :D Looking at your tracker your dinner looks good, snack look ok -- but you could definitely get in more with your breakfast and lunch. I understand not wanting to eat much prior to workout, but maybe you could consider a protein shake or smoothie or something post workout? Or even a little container of raisins/dried fruit and nuts if you need something easier and non perishable? That'll give you some good refuel after your workout and help add in some calories without feeling stuffed. Also you could think about drinking some calories. Most dieters stay away from that because liquid calories = less actual FOOD you get to eat! :D hehehe But for you it could be good -- milk, fruit juice, the smoothes/shakes I already mentioned... I bet if you do this it will help you eat more reasonably on the weekend. That's my guess anyway. :)
    4245 days ago
    Since you had some days that you were over - it probably isn't a big deal. Although you never want to go under 1200 calories. This may take more than a week to really get a handle on it.
    4245 days ago
    Even calorie cycling is above 1200 calories and what that usually means is you eat at the lower end of your range one week and the upper end the next...you aren't even hitting your lowest range.

    Putting your body through a constant roller coaster of calories can't be good for your metabolism. Your body doesn't know whether it needs to store (because it isn't getting enough) or if it needs to burn. You don't have to be dead on with your calories every day but a little consistancy will go miles for you I'd think.

    As for what to do when you're just not hungry, I'd start by just trying to get a consistantcy of eating between weekends and weekdays. After you hit a better point look at what you're eating. Are you buying too many "light" "fat free" "low calorie" items? You might be able to eat higher calorie items to get your calories in for the day.

    Happy eating!
    4245 days ago
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