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reducing caloric intake, keeping energy

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,762
0
Vestal, NY
I'm trying to lose weight/burn fat, so I've cleaned up and reduced my caloric intake a bit (~1800 per day). The problem is that I don't feel like I have the same kind of energy I used to have, I feel like I run out of energy on rides MUCH faster than I used to.

I'm trying to do about 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% fat (mostly good fats), some days are better than others, but that's what I shoot for.

Any tips on how I can keep my energy up while still burning fat/losing weight?

Here is how I'm generally eating...

7am - Breakfast. Options include:
  • Grapenuts with skim milk, fat free yogurt
  • Kashi Go Lean blueberry waffle with peanut butter, glass of skim milk
  • 2 eggs (1 egg, 1 egg beater), 1 piece whole wheat toast w/ peanut butter, glass of skim milk

10am - Snack. Options include
  • Granola bar
  • fat free yogurt
  • Trail Mix (cashews, almonds, macadamias, raisins, peanut M&Ms)
  • Protein Shake (generally only if I worked out that morning)

12:30pm - Lunch. Options include
  • turkey sandwich on whole wheat
  • chili
  • small salmon filet
  • cheese burger on whole wheat roll

3:00pm - Snack. Options include
  • Granola bar
  • fat free yogurt
  • Trail Mix (cashews, almonds, macadamias, raisins, peanut M&Ms)
  • Slim Fast shake

6:00pm - Dinner. Options include
  • whole wheat pasta with homemade meat sauce
  • chicken nuggets and baked beans
  • cheese burger on whole wheat roll with baked beans
  • tacos
  • pizza (whole wheat crust)
  • grilled chicken
  • homemade meatballs, fat free mozzarella, whole wheat rolls
  • chilli

Occasionally I'll have a protein shake before bed, say 8:30ish if I'm hungry or if I work out in the evening.

I also take a multi-vitamin (One-A-Day Men's Active Lifestyle) every morning.

Anything jumping out at you?
 
It's hard to see per day when you list them all like that. Are you actually adding up the calories? Looks like a lot of fat.

chicken nuggets? LOL :bonk:
tacos?
pizza?

what are all of the above made with? are you making them yourself (ie: do you really know what's in them?)

where are the fruit and veggies?
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,762
0
Vestal, NY
The tacos I do make myself, and the salsa I use is really my only source of veggies (I can't stomach veggies...), and fruits I don't eat much of either.

Chicken nuggets are a lot better than you think if you look for the better ones. The ones I get are a lot like peanut butter - high in fat but it's almost all poly/mono saturated fats. The pizza is only decent, and is my cheat meal for the week, though I don't eat it every week.

I try to mix and match the options to balance out the fat/carbs/protein over the course of the day.
 

bluebug32

Asshat
Jan 14, 2005
6,143
0
Floating down the Hudson
I agree with MBC. Can you do any fruit or veggies? Disguise them in smoothies, sneak them in burritos or stir fry?

Fat and protein are good, but won't give you fast energy. They take a long time to digest.

Try plugging your diet into fitday.com which will show where you're lacking/how many calories you're actually eating.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,762
0
Vestal, NY
Veggies I just can't do - I throw them up every time I try. It's been that way since I was a kid.

I can do some fruits, apples, bananas, some berries, but just have no interest in them (at least not until Macs come into season later this month).

I've been using fitday off and on, that's the only way I know how I'm doing in the fat/protein/carb ratio.
 

BadDNA

hophead
Mar 31, 2006
4,223
193
Winning.
Jump on the fruits and vegetables bandwagon. I'm participating in a dietary study at UMass Med. School and they've got me on a low saturated fat diet. I can keep the calories up ~1800-2000 daily but need to keep the Sat. Fat down below 13.5g/day. I'm actually eating more food, but healthier than I was before and so far I'm down ~10lbs in 3 weeks.

If you need some guidelines or menu planning help check out www.sparkpeople.com. The site is full of useful info and has some nice tools for calorie counting.

BTW: cheese is a killer, absolutely loaded with sat. fat.
 
Chicken nuggets are a lot better than you think if you look for the better ones. The ones I get are a lot like peanut butter - high in fat but it's almost all poly/mono saturated fats. The pizza is only decent, and is my cheat meal for the week, though I don't eat it every week.
well fat is still fat - "good" or bad and you have to watch it and that includes nuts.

water?
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
Want to lose weight? Here's how...

burning fat isn't just about caloric intake, it's very much about your level of metabolism.

So, first thing is to get your metabolism as high as reasonably possible. Carbohydrate and alcohol calories lower your metabolism. Protein and fat boost it, as well as exercise.

Vitamins and herbs do it as well. Green tea as a drink or a supplement is great and cheap. Emergen-C (and the like) with all those wonderful B vitamins is a cheap and quality way to boost your metabolism. Look for supplements with ginseng, gingko, catechins (green tea extract), quercetin.

I suggest taking just a little more than the label recommends so you can see first hand how they wake you the fvck up. Then after you believe in them, take a little less than recommended. If I take them after 2pm, I'm up past mid-night.

Try to get your carbs lower than 20% except for before, during and the hour after any ride where you might have seriously depleted the glycogen in your muscles... say, serious effort for an hour, moderate effort for 1.5 hrs.

That's a big first step and where most of your fat loss will come from.

Now, metabolism it the amount your body can process, so while diet cola has no calories, the dyes in the drink need to be processed. While you're not gaining weight from it, you are reducing the maximum efficiency of your metabolism since it has to use some of it to break dyes, synthetic garbage (eg. nutrasweet) and other processed foods that claim to be calorie free.

If you eat strictly fresh, healthy, non-processed foods; reduce carbs to a minimal amount (except for exercise periods), eliminate alcohol, eat healthy fats... you can seriously lose 5 pounds per week.

Yeah, yeah, people claim that's dangerous. It's not. I did that for a few weeks and felt great. Then I got bored and added in little sodas, beer, and stuff.

Eating healthy, low carbs, good supplements (not gimic stuff), a little alcohol, and some riding and without really thinking about it or any real effort, you can shed 2 pounds a week easy.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
You'd be surprised. I've been substituting soy products for a lot of dairy and a good portion of meat that I used to eat, including cheese. They're pretty good, hardly distinguishable from the real thing and usually fat free.
I LOVE soy products, but my stomach doesn't :(

Yep - a fair amount throughout the day. Probably not as much as I should, but aside from milk, it's all I drink.
Don't forget your electrolytes! Morton Lite salt is a good way to keep potassium levels up. I put it in my drinks during rides as well.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
I forgot to mention that I also take a multi-vitamin (One-A-Day Men's Active Lifestyle) every morning.
Right, I forgot, you can just take one of those and ignore what I wrote about metabolism. Those 1-a-days are like little miracles in a bottle.
 

Jr_Bullit

I'm sooo teenie weenie!!!
Sep 8, 2001
2,028
0
North of Oz
How much water/liquid are taking-in daily?
I'm constantly curbing my calories...and fighting the energy drain, but MBC's initial point is very accurate - you need those fruit and veggies to keep your energy up! Do you know specifically which ones upset your stomach, or are you an all-arounder hater of such 'rabbit-foods'?

Have you considered making yourself a soup mid-week? Like a lentil stew (with tasty veggies) or a minestrone? Something that has the veggies, and the meats, and the beans, and the carbs you want, but is relatively low in calories and is something you make yourself so you know what's in it?

The pizza, nuggets, etc - do you know what 'other' ingredients are in there? Too much complex sugars (read - corn syrup, or unpronouncable and very unnatural chemicals) can lead to feeling 'down', drained of energy, just when you need it most.

Finally - liquid - getting enough water during your day is going to make a huge difference on how you feel energy wise. When watching calories and trying to control hunger pangs, I skip on a morning or afternoon snack and will instead drink a glass of hot water (weird, yes, but curbs the snackages) or a glass of green tea, plus keeping a bottle of cold filtered water around at all times.

Oh - and re the One-A-Day thing - my doctor pressed me for over a year before I finally caved to taking a multi-vitamin (rather than individually supplementing just those vitamins I know I lack naturally) - the One-A-Day's tended to a) drain my energy and b) give me a horrible upset/nauseous stomach. I finally quit them entirely after puking all over our basement on the way out for a day of hiking/climbing.
 

DRB

unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
15,243
0
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
How long have you been doing this? I found that it took awhile for my body to adjust to the reduction in calories and that after awhile my energy levels started to pick back up as my body adapted.

As for the vitamins, just a quick glance at the food options you might be low. So a supplement is a good idea, One day are okay but you might want to look around for something else. I'm not sure those vitamins really address the needs of a cyclist or someone that is taking part in exercise that is beyond the "norm". First Endurance makes a multi vitamin that is more tailored to intense exercise folks. I think EAS does as well.

Water intake is important.

Also are you weighing yourself regularly? I mean like everyday. If you are cutting more than a pound a week you might be over doing it with the weight loss. Figuring out what foods, at what amounts, equals what weight loss is very important and very personalized to the individual. 1800 calories might be too low for your activity level. This is also helpful as it gives you guidelines for maintaining your weight once you hit your target. I think this is the thing that fails most folks in weight loss. They simply don't know the activity and diet that keeps their weight consistent. So at least a weekly weight in is very helpful BUT I'd really recommend daily. That way you begin to get an idea of what it takes to lose and maintain your weight. Plus you know if you are losing weight too fast or its starting to sneak back on. Losing a couple of pounds is way easier than losing 15.

And lastly, eat before you ride. Any energy bar that you find palitable about an hour before your ride is going to help immensely. Luna bars work for me but again whatever works.

Lots of good stuff in this thread.
 

urbaindk

The Real Dr. Science
Jul 12, 2004
4,821
0
Sleepy Hollar
I've been trying to reduce my daily calories as well, mostly be cutting out the majority of my in-between meals snacking and random nibbling, i.e. using some discipline, and by improving the quality of my snacks. Now I have breakfast at 7:30, lunch between 12 and 1, midafternoon banana around 3, lowfat snack, like fatfree yogurt and honey, after work at 5 or 6, dinner between 8 and 9 and a small desert around 10.

I know a lot of people say "don't eat after 6 or 7pm." because your metabolism slows down at night. I just don't see how that is possible for people who work 9-5, then want to do some sort of outdoor daylight-dependent activity after work. Any suggestions or thoughts here?

I've plug everything in to Fitday a couple of times a week and get anywhere between 1900 and 2100 calories average intake. I'm not exactly sure what it was before I started watching my snacks, but I was eating lots of nuts and chocolate so I'd estimate around additional 250-500 calories/day.

I have not really had any serious hunger pains and haven't felt drained energy wise. Like DRB suggests, I will usually grab a Cliffbar or another banana or other fruit before going on a ride or hike.

A couple of things I have noticed. I feel hungrier at dinner so I tend to eat all my dinner and enjoy it more. I think before I was filling up on snacks and I wasn't really that hungry for dinner. I would usually eat it all anyway and end up feeling really full. Occasionally I wouldn't eat it all. Typically dinner is pretty healthy so I'm sure I'm eating better overall.

I'm fairly active and don't have a whole lot of time to add more exercise. I already commute to work via bike, ride a couple of times a week for 1 or 2 hours, swim 30 minutes 1 or 2 times a week during lunch, and hike 1 to 2 hours with a 20 lb sack of 7 month old baby strapped to my back maybe 3 times a week.

We'll see how it goes. I think I'm going on week 3 or so. I decided not to go by weight but rather by girth, mostly because I have tape measure but not a scale. When I started my gut measured 43.5 inches and my waist size is about 36". I'd like to get that down to maybe 38-40" for the gut and 34" for the waist over the next, say six months.

Does this sound like a reasonable strategy to achieve these goals?
 

urbaindk

The Real Dr. Science
Jul 12, 2004
4,821
0
Sleepy Hollar
Are you thinking "low-fat" = weight loss/low-fat on your body?

Fat boosts metabolism, carbs slows it. Read my post above about metabolism.
I don't buy this whole low carbs thing you are pitching. If I don't have carbs, I feel like absolute ass, period. I get dizzy, feel lethargic, heavy and bloated, and want to kill random people. And how the hell do you reduce your carb intake to only 20%? That just doesn't seem reasonable or feasible. (I'm not saying you can't do it. I'd be interested to see what you come up with). I just don't think that would work for me. I know lots of people who have tried a low carb diet. Yes, they loose a lot of weight initially. Most feel pretty crappy, then end up going off the diet and gain the weight right back.

I was looking at low-fat options in addition to eating a little less to reduce my overall caloric intake. I tried a few months of eating healthy 'fats' like nuts, etc. instead of carb loaded stuff and I gained weight. I thought I would try cutting calories for a while and see how that goes. The lowfat yogurt + honey snack gives you a good bit of protein and some natural unprocessed sugars.

I do agree with what you said about eating less processed stuff and taking multivitamins. I take a multi every morning and lately I've been mixing dilute Emergen-C in with my water and it really does seem to make a difference.
 
L

luelling

Guest
I'll say, and some others did, you are taking in too much fat, and IMO too much protein. I didn't know all that much about eating until I started working with a nutritionist. It was interesting, I was eating more and losing weight. My intake was around 1700 cals, I can post me eating schedule if you're interested. Its a good balance and gives me the energy I need.

On the split side, during the summer I ride so much I can eat what I want and still drop weight (I'm a bit of a health freak though, so its all non-fat and lots of veggies).

Sometimes little things kill you, like cheese. I have yet to see a block of cheese that I would eat (especially when cutting weight). I SOMETIMES have cheese, but its rare......even the "good" cheese has a ton of calories and fat.

<edit> Make sure you eat right when you get up, this helps pick up the metabolism. Some of the times I have lost the most weight was doing daily doubles, working out in the morning in the gym, riding in the afternoon. I may be wrong, but it just felt like it was elevating my metabolism more and helping burn more calories overal.
 

urbaindk

The Real Dr. Science
Jul 12, 2004
4,821
0
Sleepy Hollar
I redid my middle measurement this weekend. I'm down from 43.5" three weeks ago to about 41.5" around the love handle area. I guess my little diet is working. That probably translates to a few pounds.
 

Polandspring88

Superman
Mar 31, 2004
3,075
0
Broomfield, CO
<edit> Make sure you eat right when you get up, this helps pick up the metabolism. Some of the times I have lost the most weight was doing daily doubles, working out in the morning in the gym, riding in the afternoon. I may be wrong, but it just felt like it was elevating my metabolism more and helping burn more calories overal.
I read that you are better off working out in the morning BEFORE you eat a meal. The lack of energy allows your body to start burning fat as a source of energy.

Same article also couldn't say enough about the importance of protein intake and water consumption, both things that most people don't get enough of. I would have to agree, I find that by drinking more water throughout the day, as well as consuming something high in protein I have more energy and tend to recover quicker than when I do not.
 

Jr_Bullit

I'm sooo teenie weenie!!!
Sep 8, 2001
2,028
0
North of Oz
I had a thought on this thread yesterday evening (my mind is fairly constantly buzzing with foodie stuffs) -
The sweetie and are working on 'leaning' up before we take a backpacking/climbing trip to europe in a month. When I get into a 'lean' phase (by lean, I mean dropping from my regular 112lbs down to about 108, boosting my energy and cutting out the carbs - takes me down to between 15 & 18 % bf - not bad for a girl; the sweetie goes from about 160lbs down to the low 150s - he judges leanness by the "thickness" of his skin).
When we do lean phases I tend to cut out any carb baking (breakfasts this week are made up of a pie that consists of blueberries and nuts, instead of a more traditional wheat-based coffeecake); and we up the liquid intake, meats, etc.
I tend to forget to eat meat/protein during the day and rely mostly on "fast" foods which are fresh rice, teas, juice (real juice, no added sugars), fruit and cheese - my lean phase this time around has a bowl of black beans in the fridge and some high fiber tortilla shells ready to go to make fast little bean and salsa burritos.

We both focus on going to bed slightly hungry, and stopping 'eating' at dinner time as soon as we're full. Leftovers always get eaten, so we don't worry about not cleaning our plates.

Typically I struggle with energy levels during our lean periods as a result of a) being somewhat 'addicted' to complex carbs, which give you a simulated energetic feeling - and I seek those out during non-lean periods to get me through a day; b) naturally low-iron and VB stores - I consistently come up very low when tested for either by my doc and can slip into anaemia if not careful; and c) not enough sleep (I'm lucky if I get 6 hours in per night during the work week).

All of the above 'tiredness' low energy symptoms go away when I get plenty of sleep (and keep my iron and vB's on track).
So - my thought for someone not recovering quickly enough, in addition to water intake and plenty of vitamins, is - how much sleep are you getting? A full 8 hours? Or are you more like me, lucky to get 6? Have you tried catching a 30 minute siesta at lunchtime? It's amazing how refreshing that can be....

Anywho - enough rambling..
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,988
542
Warsaw :/
How much you weight jackson? as 1800kcal is damn little. On fat reduction you shouldn't go less than 300kcal below your normal intake(healthy intake not intake at burger king ;) ). I weight 63kg/138lbs and my training day intake is 2500kcal so reduction shouldn't go below 2200kcal. As I don't believe you are much lighter than me you are way below so you don't have enough energy on riding days.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,762
0
Vestal, NY
I weight 162 now, would like to get down to 150.

As a side note, after about a week or so of trying different things, I think the whole energy thing has to do with what I eat when, not how much I eat in a day.
 

DRB

unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
15,243
0
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
I weight 162 now, would like to get down to 150.

As a side note, after about a week or so of trying different things, I think the whole energy thing has to do with what I eat when, not how much I eat in a day.
Some of this is probably a repeat of what I already said but.....

So 12 pounds. A pound is approximately equal to 3000 calories. So running at a 300 to 500 calorie deficit daily nets you about a pound a week. The trick is figuring out what your normal daily calorie use is. It took me awhile to figure out what mine is (about 2300). Then it was just a matter of keeping a rough estimate of what I was eating and the amount of exercise I was doing.

You might look around to see if there is someone that does metabolism testing in your area at a reasonable price. The local Y does it here for about $60. It gives you the amount of calories you burn doing nothing. Or you can just start with the average for your age and weight (google netted a number of "calculators" to help figure that out). http://www.csgnetwork.com/caloriesmalecalc.html was one of them.

Either way just tailor it has you go looking for that pound or so a week. The great thing about doing it this way is that when you reach your goal you'll have a pretty good idea of how to maintain the new weight.

The only hiccup might be that you actually see an increase in weight because you are burning off fat but building new muscle. That stabilizes after awhile.

Anybody can crash diet 12 pounds but it's pretty much a sure thing that weight is coming back sooner than later.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,762
0
Vestal, NY
Anybody can crash diet 12 pounds but it's pretty much a sure thing that weight is coming back sooner than later.
Yea, I dropped about 30lbs in just under a year, then slacked off a bit and put about 8lbs back on.

The actual number on my scale isn't all that important to me, I just want to drop the last of my "excess" fat and and just a bit of muscle.

Based on some rough estimates, I burn about 2200 calories per day doing nothing. So my thinking is to aim for 1800 calories per day (which means I'll generally end up between 2000-2100 per day), and add in some weight workouts 2-3 days a week.
 

DRB

unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
15,243
0
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
Yea, I dropped about 30lbs in just under a year, then slacked off a bit and put about 8lbs back on.

The actual number on my scale isn't all that important to me, I just want to drop the last of my "excess" fat and and just a bit of muscle.

Based on some rough estimates, I burn about 2200 calories per day doing nothing. So my thinking is to aim for 1800 calories per day (which means I'll generally end up between 2000-2100 per day), and add in some weight workouts 2-3 days a week.
Sounds like you got a plan.

The main thing I use the scale for is that it helps catch that sneaky 8 pounds before it comes 16 pounds.
 

bobushka king

Irontaint
Jun 26, 2007
224
0
What worked for me as far as eating goes is:

Breakfast:
between 600-800 calories (two bowls of cereal, or two whole wheat bagels with jelly and a glass of OJ or other 100% fruit juice)
lots o carbs, but from whole wheat or whole grain breads and cereals. I look for a lot of dietary fiber in my breakfast food to keep things flowing.

Lunch:
try and keep it around 600 calories (tuna sandwich on wheat/leftover chicken/brown rice)
depending on the workout I plan for after work depends on what I eat. If its a cardo day I'll go with more on the carb side, if it's a lifting day I'll stick with more proteins

Dinner:
Usally under 500 calories (chicken of some sort/ a salad/ etc.)
just something small to hold me over.


As far as drinks go, I stick with water and/or unsweetened iced tea.

I try and keep my calorie count between 1600-1800 daily when I'm looking to cut weight. I also workout at the gym 3-5 times a week, doing a mix of straight cardio (running and biking) and cardio speed weight training (lighter weight, lots of reps quickly). At my peak I went from 162 to 145, but I've upped my calorie intake slightly to gain some muscle so I'm up to 150 now. The main thing is don't worry about weight as much as what you look like in a mirror and your body fat %.
 

LordOpie

MOTHER HEN
Oct 17, 2002
21,027
3
Denver
So none of you have done any googling on "metabolism".

I'm always amazed when people talk about dieting and don't consider it.