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TOPIC: Calories vs. Exercise

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May 31, 2012 9:23 AM
Good Morning All,

I need some advice here....

When I first started MFP, I had my calorie intake set to 1200. I sit at a desk all day for work, so not very active, and I was not working out at the time. Each day I was staying under 1200, but coming close to it and I dropped 4 lbs. very quickly.

Now, I have started working out consistantly again. So I have increased my calorie intake to 1310 since I am now working out at least 3 days a week thus burning additional calories. On the days I am NOT working out, I am making sure that I am still at least hitting 1200 with my calorie intake, as that is what the goal was when I wasn't being active.

Question is -

1. Am I even doing this right??

2. I'm not dropping weight now after adding in the exercise and increase in calories, why?

3. Side note, what do all of you do for EXTREME muscle soreness besides Epson salt, icy hot, etc? (I've been walking around for a week looking like a 70 year old lady. It looks even worse when I try to sit down!)


Any advice/suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
Catrina
  23317563
May 31, 2012 10:22 AM
There's no way to know whether or not your calorie budget is reasonable unless you open your diary. In general, though, someone as close to their goal weight as you are should set their weight loss goal to one half pound or less per week. That's to minimize the muscle loss you'd see on a more aggressive calorie deficit. Obese people can get by with high deficits because they have so much more fat to lose, relative to their muscle mass.

The muscle soreness answers your second question: your muscles are inflamed and retaining water as a normal part of the post-exercise recovery process. It's common for water retention to temporarily halt or slow down weight loss for a while after a new exercise program is started. This isn't the sort of plateau you need to worry about, though, as it's self limiting and will balance itself out in the end.

I don't know what to do about the soreness other that what you've done, other than take an OTC pain killer.
May 31, 2012 10:43 AM
1. Sounds like you had something that worked and broke it. I would go back to it.

2. Exercise doesn't do a massive amount for weight loss in general, 50 years ago you would have been laughed at if you even suggested it. The creation of large calorie deficits by adding exercise on top of food intake reductions often appears to cause people problems. There are also measuring issues where you might overestimate your exercise and eat more with a resulting loss of calorie deficit.

3. A sore muscle is a swollen muscle, you'll be carrying water around in those sore places which will appear on the scale.
  18022302
May 31, 2012 1:13 PM
LLKILGORE - Diary settting have been set to Public - I have no shame!! LOL...

I think I have my per week weight loss goal set to 1lb - and that extended my time for weight loss into the first of July. Think that seems right?

YARWELL - you think the "starvation mode" is a myth? What would you consider an acceptable caloric intake per day?


Appreciate you both for the input!!
  23317563
May 31, 2012 1:15 PM
Everyone is different...you will just have to play around and see how you lose the best.
  2639362
May 31, 2012 1:17 PM
Several times a week I do 45 minute of yoga after my cardio. I am significantly less sore when I get this portion of my workout in!
  6214796
May 31, 2012 1:18 PM
What are you nutrient macros set at? Your calorie intake seems very low to me.
May 31, 2012 1:19 PM
For the muscle soreness, eat more potassium. I eat a couple tomatoes a day just for this and it really helps :)
  17422854
May 31, 2012 1:19 PM
Might need to eat more when exercising. I am assuming since your muscles are sore, you are burning quiet a bit.
So you might want to track how many calories you are burning and try to eat most of them back.
May 31, 2012 1:20 PM
I only walk, although I do it for an hour, 3 days a week. Maybe 4. For me, the biggest factor in weight loss is calories. But I have a lot more to lose than you perhaps if you only have 9 to go. I have lost 21 and have another 20 to go. I think everyone is different and if something worked for you, maybe go back to it. I will say that I have gone 2 weeks with no loss, to suddenly drop 2-3 lbs. Weight loss is not linear and not the same each week. It looks like this is your first month so you might need to give it time.
  16047646
May 31, 2012 1:20 PM
The first week of eating health you usually drop double or triple what you will the rest of the weeks. Are you on your first or second week of exercising? Once you get into it it doesnt hurt as much anymore. I was told to up my magnesium to help with the soreness.
  7678507
May 31, 2012 1:23 PM
I exercise more so I can eat more. For me the only time I gain weight is when I don't get my exercise in. I don't change my eating at all, I just exercise more and I usually lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week which is fine with me. I'm not in a race to lose weight, I'm changing my way of life. I like food too much to starve myself to lose weight so I eat the foods I want in correct portion sizes and I just get more activity in my day when I eat more calories than suggested which is usually every day ;)
  10358132
May 31, 2012 1:23 PM
Your calorie intake could be too low in the first place (I don't know your height/weight/activity level though so I couldn't say for sure). I would recommend using some other calculators to figure out your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and try not to eat below that (I eat my TDEE -15% (total daily energy expenditure- you can calculate all that at http://scoobysworkshop.com/calorie-calculator/) and I'm doing pretty well on it. Often when people are eating too little they will lose weigh quickly at first and then start hitting a speed bump. I had this happen and I did some research and it turns out MFP had me way too low on calories (which it does for a lot of people). I upped my calories and started losing again. Basically I wasn't fueling my body properly and it didn't like it lol.
May 31, 2012 1:24 PM
I don't think you are doing anything wrong, in particular.

Unless the rest of your daily activities have changed, I would recommend setting your calorie goal to 1200 as long as your daily routine is the same, and then just consider the exercise as creating more of a calorie deficit. I don't trust any of the calorie counters as being totally accurate, so I don't generally take this into consideration, as I believe they are over-estimated.

I agree with the others, your muscles are probably inflamed resulting in some water retention. And, the soreness will go away in time. If you became THAT sore to cause this amount of pain, I would seriously consider backing off on the intensity and slowly working up to it.
  534154
May 31, 2012 1:25 PM
Your calorie intake could be too low in the first place (I don't know your height/weight/activity level though so I couldn't say for sure). I would recommend using some other calculators to figure out your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and try not to eat below that (I eat my TDEE -15% (total daily energy expenditure- you can calculate all that at http://scoobysworkshop.com/calorie-calculator/) and I'm doing pretty well on it. Often when people are eating too little they will lose weigh quickly at first and then start hitting a speed bump. I had this happen and I did some research and it turns out MFP had me way too low on calories (which it does for a lot of people). I upped my calories and started losing again. Basically I wasn't fueling my body properly and it didn't like it lol.

ETA: The Eat More to Weigh Less group has a lot of great info on this
Edited by zaithyr On May 31, 2012 1:25 PM
May 31, 2012 1:33 PM
How long have you been working out 3-4 days a week? Your body needs some time to adjust, I would just be patient and keep working hard.
May 31, 2012 1:33 PM
JAMIE2007 - "nutrient macros?"
  23317563
May 31, 2012 1:34 PM
It is impossible to know what's wrong without knowing how many calories you are burning during your workouts. If you are burning a lot more than 300 calories per week (which is all you've added to counter your exercise), it is possible you are hitting starvation mode. Here are some steps you may want to take:

1) Get a heart rate monitor for your workouts and calculate how many calories you are burning. You just need a monitor that will tell you your average heart rate over the course of your exercise time, though there are some cool ones that have a bunch of neat functions for different kinds of training if you are interested in that stuff. I use this site to calculate calories burned and have had great success with it: http://www.braydenwm.com/calburn.htm

2) On your workout days (or at least during that same week) eat back all of the exercise calories that you burn. This may seem contradictory, but it is what will help your body avoid setting itself into starvation mode. If you've followed MFP's guided wizard to set your calories per day, your weight loss deficit is already calculated in, so any further calories burned from exercise should be eaten back.

Let me know if you have any questions.
May 31, 2012 1:34 PM
I work with a personal trainer 2 days a week and some weeks are killer! It's usually not the day after that I'm really sore, but the second day after. If you're not used to exercising and you are working it really hard, you may need to slow it down a bit. Personally, after a really hard workout, I like to soak in an epson salt bath that night, don't really know how much it helps, but an hour in a hot bath sure feels good smile Anti-inflammatory of choice-naproxen (aleeve), seems to work best for me. Also, it's good to give yourself a day off between workouts to allow your muscles to recover (or at least work a different group of muscles the next day). As far as ice, the only thing I ever really ice are my joints. Hope some of this helps.
  21916988
May 31, 2012 1:35 PM
extreme soreness - make sure you are hydrated and not consuming alcohol. white willow bark is a decent pain killer.
  23816035
May 31, 2012 1:39 PM
STACIGAYLE - ditto ditto ditto!!
  23317563
May 31, 2012 1:39 PM
QUOTE:

2. Exercise doesn't do a massive amount for weight loss in general, 50 years ago you would have been laughed at if you even suggested it.


Great point that isn't talked about a lot.
May 31, 2012 1:41 PM
You need to eat more for a while and boost up your metabolism again. You are at a plateau because your body is used to the amount of calories your are eating. Actually yo yoing your calories and exercise is good. Eat 1200 one day, 1600 the next and make sure you have a cheat day each week and eat more to boost up that metabolism. After a cheat day, drop your calories for a couple of day and you will loose.
  1145659
May 31, 2012 1:42 PM
I would say it depends on what you are doing for working out. Are you doing exercises that burn fat such as aerobics or are you lifting weights?

If your building muscle via weights (Even if it's just to tone up) then it's gonna slow the weight loss as the body changes and the density of the tissue (Fat vs muscle) gets added on. (Muscle weighs more than fat.)

My guess is your not seeing the same dramatic drop in weight as your adding muscle and that process is slowing the weight loss.
May 31, 2012 1:42 PM
"Starvation Mode" is not a myth, if you don't eat enough, you're body needs to restrain how much energy is used. Maybe you've hit a "wall"?

Personally, I would leave the calorie intake at 1200 and continue to exercise. See how it works out for a week, you might be surprised.
  5614476

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