FitDay's Best of Series: # of Calories for WOMEN?
The following is a collection of the best tips that FitDay members have to offer, taken from many threads over a long period of time. Thank you to all of the contributors!
This thread can be used as a "one stop shopping place" for reference.
If you have any suggestions for other posts to be included, you may always PM one of the Forum Moderators.
Over 40, what used to work to trim down no longer works
Well, I'm sorta the same, except in my late 40's. And what used to work to trim down no longer works. I found it to be a matter of calories in - calories out. There was a time when I could easily lose weight on 1500 a day with just walking for an hour a day. Now it takes an hour to an hour and a half of pretty substantial workouts at least 5 days a week, up to 7 miles walking also on weekends, and 1200 calories a day to get the scale to budge downward.
Sedentary job is a lot of it for me - last three years, for the first time in my life, I have a job that keeps me seated all day. I'm actually looking for another job and not just because the job itself is boring as all get out, but because I know all this sitting is not good for my health or weight, and I honestly love to be active and move around more. Money's good, but it if destroys your health...
So it's not just you. Age will get us all. :)
Over 40 and trying to lose weight
I am also in my late 40s and I have to work hard to drop weight, where before it was pretty darned easy!! After a month I have managed to lose 7 crappy pounds!! And most of that came off the first week!! My calorie intake is averaging 1200 calories. I am sure it is hormone related. I suspect we need to seriously cut carbs and sugar in order to lose weight, but I personally will only cut carbs so far. I don't believe in eliminating grain products from my diet, as they are what feeds my brain, but I eat no white carbs..no white flour, white rice, white breads, potatoes, etc.
I recently started exercising, so we will see if that makes all the difference, I am sure hoping so.
"Recipe" for ladies over 40
I'm 41 and have recently found a really good recipe that works for me, I've lost 63 pounds since October, 57 of that since Christmas. Here is the basic recipe:
1 hour of hard cardio, or 1 1/2 hours of a lower burning workout (my target is 800 cal/workout)
2 servings of whole grain, low-cal, low-fat carbs (usually 150-250 calories total)
3 servings of fresh or fresh frozen fruit
4 servings of low-fat, low cal protein (at least one of them dairy)
5-8 servings of vegetables, either fresh or prepared from fresh
9 glasses of water minimum
10,000 steps on my pedometer
I try and keep my calorie pie chart at 45-35-20 (carbs, proteins, fats), but it varies. If my carbs are too high I eat either tuna, fat free Greek yogurt or a low fat protein shake to balance it out. I used to keep my calories around 1200-1400, but decided that might be low enough to put me in conservation mode, so I've upped it to 1400-1600 which seems to have helped. I also try and get 15-20 minutes/day in strengthening exercises. I've noticed that I always drop weight when my proteins are in line for more than a couple of days, but if the carbs get out of hand, I stall for days on end.
Back in the old days...
Ya know, I think the originators of the 1000 calorie statement were just smaller than we are today. So I am betting that for them, the 1000 calorie program was both do-able and appropriate. Not the case for most of us modern women
I remember hearing a similar thing about 1000 cals from my mom, so I suspect she got it from her mom. My mom was fairly small at 5'3". Her mom, and my dad's mom were both tiny, just about 5' and fairly small boned. If you look at the stats for many of the hollywood idols from the 30s 40s and 50s they too were small. Not the tall skinny things we see in fashion and much of TV today, but less than 5'4" with small, fine bone structure. Katharine Hepburn was considered very tall in her day - she was 5' 7.5"
Funny how these things move through the generations. :)
Understanding "Calories Burned"
The calorie burn thing is confusing, both in theory and the way FitDay applies it. Here's what works for most people. When you set up your profile pick a level of activity that does not include your exercise routines. For me, most of my day is either at my desk or stand/walking in the laboratory. So "seated with some activity" is appropriate for me.
The "calories burned" in the table now reflects the amount of calories you use just to do the things you need to do in your every day life.
Now, when you exercise you will add those activities independently. For example, my daily calorie need is about 1900, or about 80 calories per hour on average. Then I add a 2 hour run at 10 min miles. FitDay will calculate the calories burned for those 2 hours and replace 2 hours at 80 calories with 2 hours at about 500 calories burned per hour. So my calories burned for that day will be around 2740.
That is the value that will be used to calculate my daily calorie deficit. So if I eat 1700 calories and burn 2700 calories, I will have a deficit of 1000 calories - which is really good, almost a third of a pound of fat at 3500 calories per pound of fat.
What can get confusing is that the calorie burned calculations are only a rough estimate. There are many, many factors that go into exactly how many calories an individual burns. And a program like FitDay just can't account for all of those factors.
Many of us believe that our profiles over estimate the number of calories we require for our day-to-day activities. That is why some people add "sleep" or other activities to lower the number. Lots of folks also find that the calories burned doing an activity doesn't match other data they have available like the calculators on elliptical machines or GPS equipment. Therefore you will probably read recommendations on how to adjust those numbers in FitDay by changing the time spent doing and activity or the intensity of that activity.
The calorie deficit calculations can be really helpful for planning meals and exercise. But not everyone likes them or can use them, so the bottom line is: Whatever works for you... stick with it.
Trick your body by zigzagging calories
@ Jennygoodman: tracking calories is confusing...I am with you on that and I have spend many hours online reading (which made is worse), right when you think you understand you read something else that makes it more confusing. I've taken multiple nutrition and exercise phys courses for my major and there are people on here that get it more than i do :~) it's a complete guessing game...but one that you can grasp a closer guess to with a few things...
I like RunbikeSki's response...as I too was very confused with the calculators that ask you how much you exercise and include into your daily calorie needs...because A) how does this calculator know how many minutes your exercise and/or what the intensity of your exercise is? Here's what I find to be helpful...
1. For starters, I've read that of the few BMR equations out there the Mifflin is closest to the real deal...so on FD when I calculate my base lifestyle calorie needs, I select Mifflin and then whatever my lifestyle is...i.e. seated all day
2. Use a calculator that will calculate your lifestyle activities and then when you "ADD" intentional exercise it will not only add the est. calories it think you burned for each activity but will also subtract the time you spent doing those activities (like FitDay)...some calculators only add the calories burned to the baseline lifestyle calorie need...
3. If you use calculators on other sites that ask you how many days a week you exercise, keep in mind the things mentioned above...it doesn't know how long you're working out for and how much you're burning but it does include your intentional exercises.
4. Last...not the least, this is what I found most recently to be helpful...since we're unsure the exact amount of calories to eat to lose the weight or reach our goal, we can cycle the calories we take in...depending on your preference, this may sound like a good idea or too complex/time consuming. Here's how it goes...and how I've been doing it:
This creates a reasonably low average without you feeling hungry while shedding those pounds....this is simply an example so you would have to custom it to your stats.
Check out this link: Permanent weight loss plan to keep weight off forever - Lose weight permanently
When you put in your stats it will give you a range of calories to eat to lose...you can use the lowest of that for your low days and the highest of that for your high days. So basically you're doing 3 low days, 1 high, 2 low days. and 1 high and then you start over again. This is suppose to aid in fat loss/weight loss without putting your body in starvation mode, as it's tricking your body to get as much food as it's suppose to.
This is of course just based on my readings and personal experience...hope it helps you as well.
What is your perception of overeating?
Hi Sweetcheeks (love your user name)
Have you tried entering your height and weight into this handy calculator?
Calorie Calculator - Daily Caloric Needs
Check it out. If you are still getting a daily calorie count that you feel is high, perhaps you have been under-eating for a very long time? It's hard to answer your question without any stats like your height and current weight.
But to answer the question, would you lose weight by overeating then no of course not but if you consider 1500-1700 calories per day overeating then it's a question of perception. Eating enough is important to keep your metabolism going and to make sure your body doesn't resort to consuming its own muscle to survive. If you eat too little, you go into starvation mode and your metabolism adjusts to keep as much fat in its reserves as possible. I'm simplifying the scientific process here but the bottom line is your metabolism needs energy to burn fat and energy comes from calories.
It's also important to get enough protein in your diet. What is your carbs/fat/protein ratio? I try to aim for 30-40% protein because I run 3 times a week and do other workouts too.
Use the FitDay reports and makeup for a "botched day" over the course of the week
It works much better for me if I try to make up for it over the course of the week as opposed to that day or all the next day. So, if I blow it by 400 or 500 calories or so, it's a lot easier for me to just subtract 100 for the next few days. FitDay has a report that lets you see your nutrition info weekly just as it pops up daily in the food log; that's helpful.
Thyroid problem and weight loss
I have had thyroid problems (no thyroid production) and have been on thyrexin since the birth of my second child, 12 years ago. I also had problem losing weight, but 5 months ago i discovered FitDay and things changed for me. I registered my food intake and found out:
1) I was not having enough calories a day ( was keeping it at 800-900 in my effort to lose weight)
2) Almost all my calories were from simple carbs
3) Was not drinking enough water
I changed all this, I have about 1100-1200 calories/day, have been trying to keep my carb/protein/fat ratio at or close to 40/40/20 and drink more water, about 64 ounces/day.
I also have tried to exercise on a regular basis. To be honest, I didn't know any of these components of the weight loss on my own, but thanks to the wonderful, knowledgeable people and their support on this Forums I have lost 30 lbs and reached my goal in 5 months. Good luck!
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