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  1. #1
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    Not eating enough?

    Background on me, I was and am still overweight. I've been riding most of my life, but I didn't ride for about 6 years. Started again last year. I currently ride my plus bike 3-6 times a week. My wife and I are training for a multi-day, 300 mile bikepacking trip this fall. We ride fire roads, double track, single track, bike paths, road, and a mix of it all. I push myself to maintain 14+ mph averages on the bike paths (10-25 miles), 10+ on the hillier road rides, and the mountain/mixed rides are a crap shoot for average speed.

    6 weeks or so I started the 30 day gallon of water a day thing and I really kick started a health kick for me.

    I almost immediately started eating about half of what I was eating before I started (I just pretty much ate whatever, whenever before this).

    I got into a pretty consistent eating schedule. Eating 5 times a day, starting with breakfast when I get up, around 8 or 9 depending on the day, small lunch at noon, snack around 3, dinner 6-7, and something light around 9pm. Bed time is usually 12-1am.

    A few weeks ago I started counting the calories that I was eating (with no changes to my diet) and they were in the 1100-1600 range, daily.

    Last week I started shooting for an actual goal, of maintaining a minimum of 1200 calories, and a maximum of 1300 on my off days, and a max of 1400-1500 on workout days (though I do exceed this occasionally, if my workouts require it).

    Some days it seems hard to eat enough. The only carbs (ignoring carbs found in fruits and veggies) I have are for breakfast, cereal (whole grains only) or a slice of whole wheat toast with eggs.

    Yesterday, for example, I only ate 1070 calories. 1 cup cereal with skim milk for breakfast, 1/2 banana around noon, 2 eggs with salsa and plain yogurt around 2, 350 calorie salad for dinner (chicken breast, romaine, cucumber, some other veggies, and a light dressing). I had a banana around 9 just to get calories up a bit. I also went for a run with my son yesterday, 40 minutes of jogging or so.

    I wasn't hungry, I wasn't tired, I felt great. I woke up this morning and had a bowl of cereal at 8, my wife and I did 10 miles in the woods and I have never felt stronger. Every time I am out on my bike I feel a little bit stronger than the last time.

    I am loosing about 2.7 pounds a week, 18lbs in 6 weeks, but this past week I lost a full 3 pounds.

    Do I need to increase what I am eating? Are my losses higher because I am just starting dieting?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    How much do you weigh? 1,200 calories is a rather severe limitation, especially for someone that is fairly active.

  3. #3
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    Currently 210lbs.

  4. #4
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    And how tall? 210# of Weight doesn't tell the story if you're 6'3" like I am. Any less than 195# and people worry about my health because I'm too thin. Haha.

    To your question, I think 1200 calories is pretty low for someone as active as you are. It may be enough to keep you from feeling hungry, but your body needs more to recover and grow properly. IMO you'd see better muscle growth and fitness gains if you were eating more to support your activity. As active as you are more carbs aren't a bad thing if they're good clean carbs. Mix in a little while grain pasta. I'd consider more protein too.

    Also, Id concentrate more on body fat % than weight. As you get fitter muscle gain starts to offset fat loss. Since muscle weighs more than fat, you'll reach a point where you actually stop losing weight and probably even start gaining weight.
    In serving the wicked, expect no reward, and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains.

  5. #5
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    You still need to consume enough to fuel your activity.

    As you lose weight due to calorie restriction, your body adapts to the fuel shortage and becomes more efficient. You begin to lose less and less for the same number of calories consumed.

    Can you continue that level of eating after you eventually reach your target weight? Probably not. You will add the weight back on as soon as you resume a normal eating pattern, and then some.

    Instead -- determine your resting metabolic rate. Add to that your non-exercise activity like your job and household chores. Add your exercise activity. That will give you an estimate of your total calorie expenditure per day. A healthy weight loss diet is 10% less than that. You will have a slower, but steady, weight loss that is sustainable once you reach your target weight. You will have to recalculate your resting BMR as you lose weight and gain fitness, so the daily calorie intake is a moving target.

    Other tips: Up your protein to about 1.5 gms/kg/day. Don't go over 2.5 -- too high a protein intake actually inhibits muscle recovery and tissue synthesis, and may displace other components of a healthy diet. Up your fiber to 40-50 gms per day. Both fiber and protein have higher satiety, so you are less hungry during the day and thus less likely to snack or overeat. Protein also has a higher thermic value than carbs, thus increasing your BMR slightly. Caveat -- increase fiber slowly. Too big a jump at one time will cause gastric and bowel distress. Also, a downside of high fiber is more frequent bowel movements, several per day. Not really a bad thing, just inconvenient at times.

    Use a tracker app or website to record your daily diet and activity. I use the USDA Supertracker website, many others work as well. Use whichever is more convenient to you.
    So many trails... so little time...

  6. #6
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    I am 5' 10". 36" waist (currently). 31" inseam.

    Protein wise, in the area of 100gm/day, I will try to up it to 150 to get to the 1.5/kg.

    Fiber, probably 20-25 gms, haven't really been counting.

    I will start adding some whole grains to lunch, and add a few hundred calories a day to the routine.

  7. #7
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    How is your sleeping? Most people that are overweight have a slower metabolism. (trust me I know) if you have plenty of energy, and are not overly sore form you workouts, and are progressing. You're eating enough. But if you go low it's a good idea to eat at least 2200-2500 calories one day a week to help keep your metabolism going.

  8. #8
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    Sleep like a rock, 6-8 hours (my fault on short nights, never up before alarm clock).

    Today I had my typical breakfast, 300 cal
    - 9 mile bike ride with the kids (slower than my usual pace, kids are 5 and 8)
    Granola bar mid ride, 100 cal
    Added a wheat wrap to some chicken breast around 12:30pm, 450 cal
    Hard boiled eggs with some honey mustard as egg salad around 4pm, 285 cal
    - 30 min workout with kettlebell and punching bag, followed by 1 mile run
    Romaine, bell pepper, cucumber, chicken breast salad around 9pm, 280 cal

    Total for the day 1415 cal

    I really don't know that I can physically eat much more than this. I could eat the same amount of crappier food, and have a higher calorie count, but I am pretty full all day, right until its time to eat again.

  9. #9
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    Don't worry with "not eating enough". If you feel ok, and considering your weight and height, you are fine with this what you eat. If I calculated right, your BMI is in range of obesity not even over weight, so you have still a whole lot of reserve. I agree BMI is so damn averaged average that it's basically useless, but at least it gives you some pointer. So no worries, you are doing fine. And your fast paced weight loss will stop once you come to more normal weight. It's easy to lose weight fast once you are seriously overweight then later on, when your weight closes more to your optimal weight.
    So for now, if you feel ok and you feel sort of powerful, keep going this way, and don't worry about it.
    Primoz

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post
    Sleep like a rock, 6-8 hours (my fault on short nights, never up before alarm clock).

    Today I had my typical breakfast, 300 cal
    - 9 mile bike ride with the kids (slower than my usual pace, kids are 5 and 8)
    Granola bar mid ride, 100 cal
    Added a wheat wrap to some chicken breast around 12:30pm, 450 cal
    Hard boiled eggs with some honey mustard as egg salad around 4pm, 285 cal
    - 30 min workout with kettlebell and punching bag, followed by 1 mile run
    Romaine, bell pepper, cucumber, chicken breast salad around 9pm, 280 cal

    Total for the day 1415 cal

    I really don't know that I can physically eat much more than this. I could eat the same amount of crappier food, and have a higher calorie count, but I am pretty full all day, right until its time to eat again.
    Then you are fine. Like the guy said above. If you were not eating enough to heal you wouldn't be sleeping well.

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys. I'll keep at it. I would like to get back down to 180 by the end of the year, should be possible.

  12. #12
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    Well, its been 2 more weeks or so. I am still loosing 2.5-3lbs a week, still eating 1200-1300 calories a day.

    I finished out July with a total of 200.1 miles ridden, most of it in the woods, some of it on pavement on my plus bike.

    I should hit my first goal of being under 200lbs in the next week or two.

    The big question is what do I do next? Is it time to step up the calories to 14-1500? If it is, is it better to eat bigger portions or try to add in another "meal"?

    I am to the point now where I am just starting to feel hungry right before the next planned meal.

    Current schedule:

    7:30am - alarm clock
    8:00am - cereal with almond milk
    10:30am - usually on ride, granola bar
    12:30pm - usually home from ride, salad or chicken breast and veggies formed into a meal
    3:00pm - the opposite of the the 1230 meal
    6:00pm - usually something with tuna or eggs, sometimes chicken again
    9:00pm - salad
    11:00pm - something in the 60-100 calorie range to finish off the day and eat enough
    12:30 to 1:00am - bed

    One other thing to point out, I am not sure if its the better eating, or more exercise but I am sleeping more. Ever since high school I slept 5 hrs a night max. Now its rare that I get less than 6.5 or 7 hrs.

  13. #13
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    Figured I would bring this back to the top.

    It's been another 2 months. Diet is still going well. I am eating 13-1400 calories on my low activity days, which is more often than not right now. Around 1600 on ride days.

    I am still loosing 3lbs a week, like clock work, and have lost 5.5" off my waist.

    This morning I weighed in a 182lbs, a total of 48lbs lost. Every 5lbs or so I increase the calories that I am eating a day a little bit.

    My goal is to end up around 160-170lbs, and end up eating 1800-2000 calories a day around the same time.

    The weight number is less important to me than how I feel, but ideally I would like my waist measurement to be 2" or so smaller than my hip measurement, but only time will tell if that will happen.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Squirrel View Post
    Figured I would bring this back to the top.

    It's been another 2 months. Diet is still going well. I am eating 13-1400 calories on my low activity days, which is more often than not right now. Around 1600 on ride days.

    I am still loosing 3lbs a week, like clock work, and have lost 5.5" off my waist.

    This morning I weighed in a 182lbs, a total of 48lbs lost. Every 5lbs or so I increase the calories that I am eating a day a little bit.

    My goal is to end up around 160-170lbs, and end up eating 1800-2000 calories a day around the same time.

    The weight number is less important to me than how I feel, but ideally I would like my waist measurement to be 2" or so smaller than my hip measurement, but only time will tell if that will happen.



    Congrats, your method is similar to what I do, recalculate calories at every 5 pounds lost, average around 1300 per day, sometimes as low as 900, as high as 2,000. Approx. 70 pounds lost sin Jan. !. I do exercise fairly regualry and have been ramping up the miles running.
    Nothing that's worth anything is ever easy - M. Hall

  15. #15
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    That's some great progress, good job!

    The change in calories should go the other way, you need less calories as you lose weight. Although it seems that you are trying to increase calories slowly until you reach equilibrium. Eating too few calories can be bad because it messes with your metabolism. The typical way of choosing your caloric intake is to calculate your maintenance calories then minus 500 calories, and maintain that 500 calorie deficit (while adjusting for losing weight, so maintenance calories decreases) until your desired lean weight. Then add calories back in to either maintain weight, or gain muscle.

    At your height/weight, I would think you should start eating 2000 calories now, which should still be well low enough to lose weight. I'm 5'10" as well, and am 168 right now. I've been eating about 2000 calories per day, and 2300 on bike days, and that's good for about 1.5 lb of loss per week.

  16. #16
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    Thanks!

    You must use a lot more calories than I do daily.

    My plan is to ramp up, over the next 22 weeks.

    4 weeks of losing 2lbs/wk
    3 weeks losing 1.5lbs/wk
    5 weeks losing 1lb/wk
    10 weeks of losing .5lbs/wk
    and hopefully ending up at a healthy 160lbs eating around 2000 cal a day.

    I have been using a plan like this since I started dieting, and I am only using it for a guide. Every month or so I see where I am at and adjust the plan accordingly.

  17. #17
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    I'm 6'0", 178 lbs and you eat way less than me. If I ate 1700 calories a day I could lose a pound a week (which is healthy levels of weight loss). On an average day I eat 2200-2300 calories. Riding days I probably eat 3000 or 3500. I'm just doing maintenance and not weight loss though.

  18. #18
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    Yeah, I am eating around 1400 a day now, works been crazy so I haven't been riding much.

    If all goes well some time over the winter I will just need to worry about maintaining.

  19. #19
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    Fat loss is very simple. You need to be in a healthy calorific deficit to loose fat. If you have a deficit of 500 calories a day vs what you body burns you will lose 1lb of fat per week.

    This is a sensible amount.

    I think the op calorie deficit is way to much. You could eat a lot more and still lose body fat.

    You also need to track your macros, aim for 50% carbs, 25% fat 25% protein to start.

  20. #20
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    Well, I appreciate the advice.

    That being said, since my original post in July, I have met with a nutritionist, and we have been pretty much sticking the the goals and methods that I originally laid out.

    I am currently eating 1400-1500 calories a day (more on ride days), and have been slowly ramping up as things progress, aiming for 1800-2000 calories a day as I reach the weight goal (waist size, actually) that I am going for.

    I have been loosing 2-3 pounds a week, with 100% consistency for almost 5 months now. This will of course slow down the more I ramp up what I am eating, and the last 10 pounds to go should take 3 months to lose.

    As of right now I have lost 55 pounds, my pant size dropped from a 40 to a 34.

    In all honesty, I have never felt better in my life. I am lighter than I was in high school and feel like I have the energy I had back then.

  21. #21
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    Congrats! It's hard to keep at it for so long. I dropped from 85kg to 70kg in a period of about 4 months last winter and felt much better for it. Kind of a similar story to yours, although, I just ate lots of fruit and veggies and drank less beer + riding lots.

    When you reach your weight/waist goal, check out Matt Fitzgerald's Endurance Diet. It's a great way to think about eating as fueling without overthinking the details.

  22. #22
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    Figure I might as well toss in another update on this.

    I am down to 164lbs, total of 66lbs lost and my 34's are getting loose.

    I figure I have about 1.5" to go, and hoping to do that in the next 15lbs.

    I'm eating 1500-1600 calories a day now, and losing about 1.5lbs a week.

    I am too the point now where I don't even miss "bad" foods anymore. I have really gotten into a groove with my eating, and the hardest part is now on the days that I need to eat more.

    I start every morning with dark chocolate kodiak pancakes (high protein, whole grains), and end every day with home made frozen yogurt (fat free greek yog, peanut butter and fruit) and those 2 things completely cover any cravings for junk food that I may have.

    In between I have mostly vegetables, 2 other fruits, and 2 servings of lean meats (anything from 96/4 beef, chicken breast, tuna if I'm pressed for time).

    I pretty much eat every 2 hours if not more, and maintain a feeling of content, not hungry and not full from 7am until 11pm.

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