the virtues of calorie restriction vs. exercising to lose weight - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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from what i've read, calorie restriction can help you live longer.

 

i also find it economical vs. "exercise"... because i simply eat less food. i don't overconsume food, and then have to "burn it off" via exercise. i don't spend extra time working out, running, going to the gym, etc. i don't obsess over counting calories or measuring my heart rate while exercising.

 

one of my cardinal rules is that i simply don't eat after 5 pm. it works to lose weight, and i also think it's more natural... b/ in all previous generations, before advent of electricity, people simply went to sleep when it got dark. i think our bodies are geared for NOT eating at night. so for overweight people in our modern world, this is an awesome time to burn calories and drop pounds -- fasting in the evening hours.

 

assuming that one lives a normal active life, including caring for young children, cleaning one's own house, going for walks, etc. --

 

what are the virtues of losing weight via exercise, instead of calorie restriction? am i missing something?

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#2 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 01:36 AM
 
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For me the virtue of losing weight through calorie restriction is that it actually works, whereas for me exercise just doesn't.  If i exercise more my appetite increases.  Plus exercising to lose weight takes so much more time for me.  I could burn about 100cals running 1 mile, but i'm so slow, 10mins/mile, it takes me nearly an hour (not to mention weeks of training to get fit and conditioned enough to be able to run for that long) to burn 500cals, and my body would fall apart if i tried to do that day in day out.  Walking i can and do do every day, but it takes even longer, about 1hr15 to burn 500cals!

 

Also i doubt you could say i really "restrict" calories - i did weight watchers online to lose 45lbs recently, but now they are gone i'm maintaining a healthy BMI at 167lbs (i'm 5'11").  I've stopped pointing but i do still weigh my portions and keep an eye on my choices.  From what i've read the longevity-related calorie restriction means being MUCH thinner and eating a lot less.

 

Exercise is very important for overall health, whatever size i am, but for me that's seperate to the weight i am.  I really need to eat less to be slim.

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#3 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 09:39 AM
 
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I have never lost weight via exercise. Calorie restriction (or some sort of restrictive diet-, like carb restriction) is the only thing that works for me to lose.  I exercise on a regular basis (about 6 times a week) and have w/o fail for the last 14 years, only taking off maybe 2 weeks after having each  baby, so maybe that is why exercise doesn't work for me (even if I ramp up the intensity).   I do think that exercise will work initially for a period of time if someone goes from very sedentary to very active (like what happens on the Biggest Loser show), but after awhile a person's body gets used to the new activity level and metabolism adjusts and exercise no longer results in weight loss.   That said, I firmly believe that exercise is still super important for health, and I also believe that regular exercise can help prevent weight gain, so it is still very important to do.


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#4 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 11:26 AM
 
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I think you're right.  I just lost a lot of weight actually after primal/low carb eating changed my appetite patterns.  I was a little more active but since I never do workouts at all it wasn't a big factor.  I just started eating smaller meals and waiting to feel truly hungry before I would eat.  I just asked myself whether I was physically hungry and didn't eat until I was.  Then I would eat very dense high protein and high fat foods in small quantities.  I really shifted my idea of what is an adequate meal as far as portion size.  Without the carbs setting me up for cravings, this was really effective.

 

I didn't set out to lose weight, though, since I wasn't overweight.  I really just changed my perspective on what was healthy and the use of food in my life.  I was influenced by some of the things I was reading.  I basically concluded that no matter what the composition of our diet, overeating is a bigger deal than anything else.  I used to eat large portions and seconds of things like pasta all the time and that seemed normal to me. 

 

Now I eat a low grain diet and find that grains and sugars are not very healthy for me.  I don't eliminate them completely though.  The many harmful effects of grains, it seems, largely disappear when we consume fewer calories overall.  So I figure if I am keeping my meals small and not overeating, it's not detrimental to include grains.

 

I was also a little more active because I started biking for transportation, but I do not believe in doing strenuous exercise for its own sake.  The most I would do just for exercise is walk or do something playful.  I do contra dance for recreation, but it's not even weekly.  Otherwise it's all functional work keeping me physical.

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#5 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 05:02 PM
 
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notes.gif Interesting question. I just started Weight Watchers and it's working for me. thumb.gif I haven't yet added strenuous exercise.

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#6 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 05:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

from what i've read, calorie restriction can help you live longer.


Do you visit the CR Society site?  They advocate calorie restriction for longevity and good health, and you have to exercise as part of that, since exercise by itself has health benefits, but it's moderate exercise, not the kind that would necessitate a high caloric intake. I know some of the people who turn to it used to be endurance athletes, but that's not really compatible with the CR lifestyle in most cases, at least not the extreme stuff. I think they also advocate the weight loss as having to be gradual, and a function of getting your daily caloric intake down to a certain level, which is a permanent lifestyle, so it doesn't seem like weight loss is the main function, it's CRON (calorie restriction with optimal nutrition) for its own sake.  

 

My nieces are really into losing weight right now, and working out a lot is big part of that. I think for them it just really feels like something active they can do, whereas not eating can feel sort of passive, like you're waiting for something to happen and you can get this feeling of, "OK, I'm not eating now...OK, I'm not eating now...again, not eating."  Or maybe that's just how it feels for me.  LOL.  I think starting out with a lot of exercise can feel positive, but getting into a more doable pattern is good.  I know that when I workout a lot, my appetite goes up.  The optimal nutrition part of CRON can involve research, like any diet change, and that might feel more active, like you are doing something instead of just not eating.  I used to be on a CR mailing list, but wow, the volume of mail!!!

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#7 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I used to be on a CR mailing list, but wow, the volume of mail!!!


so they restrict calories, but its no holds barred on emails (LOL).

thanks for the web site suggestion.

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#8 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 07:42 PM
 
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Interesting thread, as I'm (finally) trying to lose the excess "baby weight" that I've been carrying around for almost two years now.

 

I have a hard time simply restricting calories, especially while still nursing. I've also had a tendency to restrict too harshly in the past, so it's a tricky balance for me. I've been going the exercise route, with pretty intense aerobic exercise 4-5 times per week plus some mild strength training. My body has always responded pretty quickly to exercise, and I don't weigh myself often, but I can tell the difference just by the way I look and feel.

 

I also find that exercising makes me much less likely to overeat, while not having to consciously restrict.


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#9 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 07:53 PM
 
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For me, exercise makes a huge difference. Maybe because I've never successfully managed to restrict my calorie intake! But I lost 30+ pounds of pregnancy weight when I started riding my bike as my main way of getting around. And now that I'm dancing more again, I'm losing weight again. Not a lot, but some.

 

But honestly, I do not know how to restrict calories without being crazy. And I decided a long time ago that no diet was worth being crazy for.


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#10 of 32 Old 02-26-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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I really think a combo works best.  Calorie restriction is more "efficient" as you said OP in that you don't have to burn off what you don't eat.  But exercising helps boost metabolism so you burn more calories while doing nothing.  I think a lot of women make the mistake of thinking of exercise in terms of cardio, but it is building muscle mass through weight lifting that will really help ramp up the metabolism.  That and it is how you do your cardio that makes the difference as well.  You need to do at LEAST 30 mins at one time to burn fat.  That being said, I find that I've had to also restrict calories in the past to get true results and also expect it to take a LONG time for any weight to come off.  It took restricting calories AND doing cardio and weights a minimum of 4 times a week for 6 mos for me to lose 15lbs.  I wasn't super, super restrictive with the diet part (because I wouldn't have been able to maintain that long run, but I was pretty good about it) but I was hard core with the exercise, often going to the gym 2x per day.  Best shape I've ever been in in my life.

 

Now I know that this isn't everyone's experience but for me the only thing that has let me lose weight effortlessly is BFing.  Without restricting my diet and without going to the gym, I weight 15lbs less than when I got pregnant, which is 30lbs less than my highest non-pregnant weight and somewhere between 45 and 55lbs (I stopped looking at my weight after I gained 30lbs) less than my pregnant weight.  Also, I think it helps that with DS running around it seems like I never sit down!

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#11 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 06:29 AM
 
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I also think the reason for the weight gain is something to consider. When I was younger, any extra pounds that I gained were usually due to a period of overeating. I could manage it with returning to a healthier diet. Most of my pregnancy weight dropped with normal activity post-partum. I wasn't "dieting" because I was breastfeeding, although I was careful to eat a healthy diet. 

 

As I get older and creep closer to 50, I find its easier to add an extra pound or two without changing my diet or exercise patterns. It's a metabolism issue. I seem to gain an extra few pounds and it's hard to get rid of them. I'm finding that I need to do both to be effective - avoid foods with a lot of empty calories AND increase my daily exercise. 

 

 

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#12 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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For the purpose of just losing weight I find calorie restriction the best tool for me to use, but I'm very careful about it, in the sense that I calculate how many calories I need in a day at the current weight and then restrict from there, adjusting intake every 10 pounds lost.  Exercise, however, helps control my appetite and does help me lose weight a little more quickly.  I also like the feeling of being in shape, and being at a healthy weight does not make a person "in shape".  I am most comfortable slightly above (10-20 pounds) an ideal or medically recommended weight but in the midst of maintaining a really killer fitness routine, which for me includes some elliptical (sometimes with intervals), some weights and calisthenics, some pilates and bar method and tons of walking and various forms of physical yoga.  Right now I am trying to get rid of just over 30 pounds of house hunting and baby weight, and I'm one of the lucky women that struggle to reduce while breastfeeding.  I'm restricting by no more than 500 calories a day, usually more like 250, and exercising as much as possible.  I'm losing about 1/2 pound a week, with no reduction in supply.  When I restricted to lose a pound a week I dried up. 


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#13 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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Ya know, there is a weight management sub forum on here that would probably be a far better place to house this discussion. 


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#14 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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That's a good point, Cristeen.  

 

Am I the only one who finds exercising makes me eat more?  When I first exercise, no, my appetite is decreased, but an hour or two later, no.  I actually lost weight when I hurt my back and couldn't exercise--I didn't have much of an appetite after a couple days.  Now the only exercise I do is dog walking, and that doesn't increase my appetite.  

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#15 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 01:35 PM
 
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I find that exercise is sustainable for me while calorie restriction is not. I can exercises for the rest of my life quite happily. I can't happily restrict what I eat for the rest of my life.

 

Exercise makes me feel good, it helps me with stress, and makes me feel strong and healthy.

Calorie restriction makes me crabby, even when I don't go overboard.

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#16 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 04:03 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by aphel View Post

 

I have a hard time simply restricting calories, especially while still nursing. I've also had a tendency to restrict too harshly in the past, so it's a tricky balance for me. I've been going the exercise route, with pretty intense aerobic exercise 4-5 times per week plus some mild strength training. My body has always responded pretty quickly to exercise, and I don't weigh myself often, but I can tell the difference just by the way I look and feel.

 

I also find that exercising makes me much less likely to overeat, while not having to consciously restrict.



I wouldn't restrict if you are nursing or esp. if PG.  I also would not deny hunger feelings in general.  Hunger is an important message that you need to eat...

 

I think the key is when you realize you can stop with a small quantity and really listen to your body.  Grains and sugars mess that up for me, because I can't tell hunger from craving and I get out of touch with my body and am impulsive instead.  I do eat whenever I am hungry. 

 

Exercise just makes me feel good in general and makes me feel toned.  I can't imagine eating more calories just to work hard to burn them off, though.  Why not just eat the number of calories I need to use doing the work/play I need to do?  It's surely cheaper too LOL.


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#17 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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I'm fine with exercising to earn extra calories. I'm not satisfied with the 1400 or so I'd need to eat to lose weight if I weren't exercising, so I'm okay with doing some exercise so that I can bump my intake up to 1600-1700 and still lose weight. I like knowing that if DH feels like having frozen yogurt in the evening, I have some wiggle room in there because I worked out that day. Plus exercise destresses me, and is a fun time to either spend with friends or be alone and listen to podcasts or whatever. So for myself, I'm in the exercise camp, but everyone's different. 

 

OP, I noticed that you mentioned having a normal active lifestyle along with the calorie restriction, so this probably wouldn't apply to you, but I've heard stuff in the past couple of years about "skinny fat" folks, who maintain a normal weight but are still susceptible to the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. 


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#18 of 32 Old 02-27-2012, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I also would not deny hunger feelings in general.  Hunger is an important message that you need to eat...

 


i would not not eat all day. but hunger at night? when one is actively trying to lose weight? i do think it's a good thing. 

 

and -- i will add that after much thought about the subject -- i think eating after dark is UNNATURAL. when you think about it, it's only been the past several generations that had electricity at night; our bodies are expecting to enter a period of rest / fasting overnight. i am just about convinced that eating at night / evening contributes to becoming overweight.

 

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#19 of 32 Old 02-28-2012, 01:42 AM
 
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That makes sense but I see no contradiction:  If you eat a moderate filling meal before dark, and then you wind down toward rest quite soon, you are not going to feel any true physical hunger at night.  It seems to me that matching your activities to the light and entering your rest period early would be an important component of honoring this excellent idea :)  Being physically active after dark is as unnatural as eating after dark; we can honor both together to our benefit.

 

If your activity level isn't matched to light patterns, it might not be so good to require your meals do so.

 

The hunger feelings of a truly emptied stomach were actually a quite new feeling to me.  That's the kind of hunger feeling I learned to wait for.  Now there are other kind of hunger, like the way you feel when your stomach is partly empty and it's been a few hours, or that restless hunger that is a bit emotional in nature, or the desire for pleasure in eating that resembles hunger but isn't physical at all.  Those feelings of "hunger" can be denied.  I was just talking about the unmistakable physical hunger of a fully emptied stomach.  I wouldn't deny that.  And I don't think you'd be feeling that during your quiet evening so long as your tummy got filled before the evening.  You'd feel it in the morning.


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#20 of 32 Old 02-28-2012, 08:13 AM
 
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I wouldn't restrict if you are nursing or esp. if PG.  I also would not deny hunger feelings in general.  Hunger is an important message that you need to eat...

 

I think the key is when you realize you can stop with a small quantity and really listen to your body.  Grains and sugars mess that up for me, because I can't tell hunger from craving and I get out of touch with my body and am impulsive instead.  I do eat whenever I am hungry. 

 

Exercise just makes me feel good in general and makes me feel toned.  I can't imagine eating more calories just to work hard to burn them off, though.  Why not just eat the number of calories I need to use doing the work/play I need to do?  It's surely cheaper too LOL.


To clarify, I would never harshly restrict while nursing. By restrict, I think I mean eating enough to satisfy nutritional needs of both me and the baby without overdoing it. Kind of like skipping dessert or an unneeded snack, but never restricting meals. And of course, I am nursing a toddler, not an infant, which is a much different thing.

 

I also think it's a great idea to reduce/eliminate intake after a certain time in the evening, and have found that to be helpful when losing or maintaining my weight. Unfortunately, there are two days a week where I'm not home until after dark, so it's been hard to achieve that.

 


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#21 of 32 Old 02-28-2012, 08:52 AM
 
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I get insomnia if I'm hungry at night. I can fall asleep, but I wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 am and just lay there until I eat something. If I don't eat something, I can lay there for hours, no matter how exhausted I am. It's very frustrating. So I usually eat a bedtime snack, and that keeps me asleep for the night. This never happened to me until I became pregnant and night nursed an infant/toddler for 2.5 years. So maybe my body just became used to having a calorie output at night & therefore needing a calorie input as well? But I weaned DD 9 months ago, yet I still have this issue, so I don't know what that's all about.

 

Other than restricting eating at certain times of day, are there any tricks that people use to limit overall calories? As I stated before, I've never been successful at this. My body just gets hungry, and my hunger can't be denied. But I do often think that eating just a bit less would be beneficial to me. I just have no idea HOW to do it for more than 2-3 days.

 

 


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#22 of 32 Old 02-28-2012, 09:51 AM
 
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I count my calories while restricting, and I recommend spending a week or three just counting what you eat, and eating normally.  You might start to see some "extra" calories that you could, once you see how many calories it really was, cut.  Counting calories is what led me to start taking my whiskey neat, for example.  Personally I aim to eat about 300 calories for breakfast, which is a big fat bowl of oatmeal made with fat free milk; 400 calories for lunch, which just a moment ago was a whole wheat muffin with boiled egg, avocado and swiss cheese; 500 calories for dinner, which, I admit, is where I feel the pinch, but if you skip starch at dinner it's very, very attainable;  and a few snacks or a snack and a moderate dessert.  I don't feel deprived, except, as I said, sometimes at dinner I am a little sad about my bowl of fish and vegetables when husband is face first in leftover gnocchi.  Snacks for me are hummus and crackers or hummus and veggies, or yogurt, or a granola bar, or a little bowl of cereal.  I eat full-fat ice cream for dessert some nights...  just not a lot of it.  I really, really do advise you just count for a while, and see if anything pops out as "not worth that many calories" to you.  By the by, I'm like you and if I'm hungry at bedtime, no one sleeps until Mama has had a wee snack.  I dunno about their ancestors, but I'm betting my ancestors were skulking about in the moonlight, furtively shoveling leftovers in their pie-holes.  biggrinbounce.gif


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#23 of 32 Old 02-28-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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I count my calories while restricting, and I recommend spending a week or three just counting what you eat, and eating normally.  You might start to see some "extra" calories that you could, once you see how many calories it really was, cut.  Counting calories is what led me to start taking my whiskey neat, for example.  Personally I aim to eat about 300 calories for breakfast, which is a big fat bowl of oatmeal made with fat free milk; 400 calories for lunch, which just a moment ago was a whole wheat muffin with boiled egg, avocado and swiss cheese; 500 calories for dinner, which, I admit, is where I feel the pinch, but if you skip starch at dinner it's very, very attainable;  and a few snacks or a snack and a moderate dessert.  I don't feel deprived, except, as I said, sometimes at dinner I am a little sad about my bowl of fish and vegetables when husband is face first in leftover gnocchi.  Snacks for me are hummus and crackers or hummus and veggies, or yogurt, or a granola bar, or a little bowl of cereal.  I eat full-fat ice cream for dessert some nights...  just not a lot of it.  I really, really do advise you just count for a while, and see if anything pops out as "not worth that many calories" to you.  By the by, I'm like you and if I'm hungry at bedtime, no one sleeps until Mama has had a wee snack.  I dunno about their ancestors, but I'm betting my ancestors were skulking about in the moonlight, furtively shoveling leftovers in their pie-holesbiggrinbounce.gif




It's funny that you mention that, because back in my hardcore dieting days, DH used to find me half asleep, elbow deep in a box of dry cereal (of all things?) at 3am. Ha ha!


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#24 of 32 Old 02-28-2012, 11:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

 

Other than restricting eating at certain times of day, are there any tricks that people use to limit overall calories? As I stated before, I've never been successful at this. My body just gets hungry, and my hunger can't be denied. But I do often think that eating just a bit less would be beneficial to me. I just have no idea HOW to do it for more than 2-3 days.

 

 


CI Mama:  a few years back when I actually begin to calorie restrict in a mindful and what I think "healthy" way, I had to totally reevaluate what I was eating.  I'm primarily a vegan but I didn't start having any success until I went mostly raw.  Eating mostly raw takes a lot of readjustment, but it really helped me to focus on what I was eating.  I tend to snack all day (never really eat "meals").  Most of these things are raw vegetables and lightly cooked legumes, dried fruit, and nuts for treats.  I wouldn't call myself a raw foodist (that gets into territory that I'm not presently interested in), but I do feel better and more satisfied than I probably ever have.  In essence, I don't really consider my diet restrictive (been doing this for about three years) because I'm not denying my body food, I'm just eating (in large quantities) things that have low calorie counts. 

 

Disclaimer:  I don't think this lifestyle will mesh with everyone, but I really needed to do it for myself as I'm closing in on 50 and my body is starting to go through changes and I needed to take the bull by the horns, so to speak. 
 

 


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#25 of 32 Old 02-29-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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aphel, when I decide to get all born again hard about dieting and really restrict down to my BMR ( I personally don't go below my BMR) and get into plyometrics and intervals every day, I am frequently found with a bowl of cereal at 11pm.  I've taken this as a sign that I don't need to and am not meant to ever, ever look like, say, Jillian Michaels.  No ma'am.  What is it about cereal that is so attractive to the calorie-deprived?


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#26 of 32 Old 02-29-2012, 07:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

Other than restricting eating at certain times of day, are there any tricks that people use to limit overall calories? As I stated before, I've never been successful at this. My body just gets hungry, and my hunger can't be denied. But I do often think that eating just a bit less would be beneficial to me. I just have no idea HOW to do it for more than 2-3 days.


When I have sucessfully calorie restricted before I did it by reinforcing good foods instead of banning bad ones.

 

- So I started by making sure I was drinking enough water. Just that helps restrict calories as the body sometimes confusing hunger with thirst.

- Once I'm doing that well I work on making sure I get at least 5 fruits and veggies. If I haven't had my 5 and I'm hungry I probably should eat a fruit or veggie. I shot for 2 fruits and  3 veggies at least.

- Then I started tracking. Not calories but nutrients. I wanted to make sure I got enough fiber and calcium. These are harder than you might think. If protein might be an issue for you I'd then track how much of that you are getting.

 

Once I am drinking enough water, eating enough fruits and veggies, and getting enough calcium and fiber I find I'm usually not that hungry for high calorie, nutrient inferior foods and my overall calorie consumption goes down significantly.

 

I feel too deprived cutting things. But I can make sure that I'm getting enough of the good things.

 


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#27 of 32 Old 02-29-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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(Bear in mind that I used to be anorexic & still struggle with disordered eating so my experience here may be less valid & my efforts less than healthy...)

I find exercising works way better at maintaining or losing weight for me. It also gives me more energy & has so many health benefits. But it's hard to fit in the day & once I stop for a week, it's harder to get myself going again...

Restricting (and I'm not talking about anorexic restricting, but more the kind you guys are talking about) hasn't helped my health at all. For the last ~8 years I was vegan and I kept around 1000-1200 calories a day. I worked hard to keep my diet well-balanced & nutrient-rich. My health was worse than ever and I was at my all-time highest weight, yet I was always starving. Recently I've switched to a different diet (I guess sort of paleo-ish, but I'm not strict about always avoiding grains & I am still easing into eating meat after 17 years veg*n) and more calories overall + more calorie-dense food. I started losing weight almost immediately & my body is feeling more normal and I have way more energy. I think my metabolism is speeding up or something.

I'm good at starving, I like the feeling of going to be hungry, I'm good at keeping my calories low, but even when I do it in the healthiest way possible, it just doesn't seem to translate into good health for me.

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#28 of 32 Old 02-29-2012, 10:09 AM
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Moving this to Fitness and Weight Management where it's more at home. :)


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#29 of 32 Old 03-02-2012, 06:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

(Bear in mind that I used to be anorexic & still struggle with disordered eating so my experience here may be less valid & my efforts less than healthy...)
I find exercising works way better at maintaining or losing weight for me. It also gives me more energy & has so many health benefits. But it's hard to fit in the day & once I stop for a week, it's harder to get myself going again...
Restricting (and I'm not talking about anorexic restricting, but more the kind you guys are talking about) hasn't helped my health at all. For the last ~8 years I was vegan and I kept around 1000-1200 calories a day. I worked hard to keep my diet well-balanced & nutrient-rich. My health was worse than ever and I was at my all-time highest weight, yet I was always starving. Recently I've switched to a different diet (I guess sort of paleo-ish, but I'm not strict about always avoiding grains & I am still easing into eating meat after 17 years veg*n) and more calories overall + more calorie-dense food. I started losing weight almost immediately & my body is feeling more normal and I have way more energy. I think my metabolism is speeding up or something.
I'm good at starving, I like the feeling of going to be hungry, I'm good at keeping my calories low, but even when I do it in the healthiest way possible, it just doesn't seem to translate into good health for me.

 

It's funny my old gym instructor had also conquered anorexia and she said it took her 15 years of eating non-restricted calories (for her 2300/cals/day - she was way smaller than me but very active) for her metabolism to begin to rise back to normal levels.  Starvation really did a number on her (she ended up with quite serious heart damage before she began to win her recovery so i guess she must have been very close to death) and it took a long time to recover.

 

And also i wanted to say, i just lost weight through weight watchers online.  Their current plan gives you x-points a day + y-points a week for treats, extras or extra hungry times.  I found if i ate only x points i lost nothing.  If i ate x + 0.5y i lost about 1lb/week.  If i ate x+y i lost 2lbs/week and the occasional overeat made for ridiculous losses (i once overate by 22 points - all of x, all of y and 22 more and lost 5lbs in one week, NOT near AF and 20 weeks after starting the plan, so not a first-week loss).  I think eating *almost* enough most of the time and slightly more than enough occasionally is what makes for the best weightloss for me.
 

 

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#30 of 32 Old 03-02-2012, 06:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post

It's funny my old gym instructor had also conquered anorexia and she said it took her 15 years of eating non-restricted calories (for her 2300/cals/day - she was way smaller than me but very active) for her metabolism to begin to rise back to normal levels.  Starvation really did a number on her (she ended up with quite serious heart damage before she began to win her recovery so i guess she must have been very close to death) and it took a long time to recover.

Hmm maybe that's it... I can't say I have ever in my adult life eaten 2000+ calories, (maybe came close while pregnant & newborn-nursing?) I am pretty amazed at how much better my body looks & feels after just a month or so of eating more calorie-dense foods. All my clothes fit better already. Hoping the trend continues. I was wondering too whether starving had any long-term effects on my health, I know I have heart issues (though not severe) and hypoglycemia, chronic pain, severe fatigue, fertility issues, nerve problems... I'm not sure if these are part of an unrelated chronic illness or are permanent effects of starving... or both...

Another point is that restricting calories too much can lead to actual brain changes -- like you are less likely to WANT to eat, and you can develop depression, body dysmorphia, food obsession, food rituals, basically many of the symptoms of eating disorders. These symptoms even remained in some subjects 6+ months after weight was restored & a normal-calorie diet was resumed. I wish I could find the study I read on this... I don't remember how many calories it was, maybe 900?? Which I believe is close to the amount recommended for longevity-based low-calorie diets... I could be off on the numbers though. But this not only explains why anorexics are so hard to cure (and why they need to gain weight & increase calories before treatment can be successful), but is also relevant to the general population. Eating too few calories can cause serotonin levels to drop, which can lead to all sorts of psychological problems. I'm not sure how this translates to a well-balanced low-calorie diet, I know the subjects studied were NOT eating-disordered in any way at the study outset, but I'm not sure if their supervised low-calorie diet was perfectly balanced. I do know it is HARD to get a fully balanced diet with so few calories, this would take extensive planning & should probably be supervised by a nutritionist...

ETA: Here is the study:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Starvation_Experiment
http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1430817
Seems like the calorie amounts were actually in the 1600 range, which is higher than I thought (though the subjects were all men, so higher calorie need). And it doesn't look like they ate a balanced diet at all, so that may have skewed the results, and it does seem their weight loss was excessive -- so I'm not sure how this would translate to a person who eats a completely balanced low-calorie diet and aims to lose only a healthy amount of weight. I'm fascinated by this study though.

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