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First off, I'm new to the community and seeking the advice of fellow Fitness nerds! My base stats are...

Age 18, 130 lbs, female, 5'1, generally a couch potato (computer, tv, video games, reading, studying.) My legs are all muscle except for a little chub on my inner thighs. 

 

I have been actively going to the gym a minimum of 4 days a week for at least an hour a day for over six months now (cardio and strength training). I have gained a bit of muscle and slimmed down some, but I hope to drop a bit more fat.

Originally I tried to maintain a 1200 calorie a day goal, however that left me feeling ravished every day. I bumped it up to 1300 calories a day and still felt weak and tired all the time. I've come to the conclusion I am most likely not meeting my dietary goals and am under-eating as a result of faulty BMR and TDEE calculations regarding my height and weight because I have quite a bit of muscle that is not really accounted for. My question is whether I should even count my calories being so young or if a strict raw/clean diet will help me blast through these last 10 or so pounds? 

 

Any help is appreciated, fellow Rebels!

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Losing body fat is all about calories in vs calories out (Assuming a standard human, no medical conditions).

 

So, question one: Are you losing weight? If so, you're at a caloric deficit. If not, then you're not. So at 1200 cals you lost weight? Did you lose weight at 1300 cals? 

 

Question 2: What do you want to do? Lose body fat or get stronger? Caloric deficits suck, doesn't matter where you are. Especially if you've been on them for very long. 

 

Also, you do not gain muscle while on a caloric deficit. What you're noticing is fat loss and better definition of current muscles (IE "toning"). You're also getting better at cardio/strength training, thus the perception of gaining muscle. You only gain muscle at a caloric surplus. 

 

Personally, if you want to up the calories to 1400, try it. If you still lose weight than you're doing good. It's all about experimenting with your body, because those calculators are generic. They offer a good place to start, but they're not perfect for each of us individually.

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I would ask you what your Macros are too.  General rule of thumb is to eat  80% of your lean body mass (your weight with out the fat) in grams of protein (at 130, I would guess your LBM is around 95-105lbs.)  You then want to eat no less than 20% of your total calories in fats, so if you eat 1200 cals, you want 27 grams from fats.  Then lastly, fill out the rest of your diet with carbs or more protein or more fats.

 

This advice is if for appearance goals and not performance goals.

 

If you are still hungry, you may be eating higher cal / not filling foods as opposed to lower cal / very filling foods.  Also, MFP sets you up as a base of 1200 for cals with the intention of you "eating back" your exercise calories.  Make sure that when you work out, you add the extra cals to your daily intake.  

 

This topic has been explored by a lot smarter people than me in these forums.  Please search them out to get the level of detail you want.  

May Br0din bless you with mighty gains, and may your shaker bottle always be full.

Wheymen

 

...and, if you die...  Walk it off - Captain America

 

Level 13: 1/4 Giant Warrior

STR - 50 | DEX - 19 | STA - 19 | CON - 14 | WIS - 28 | CHA - 24

My food logging is here*: MFP: tyrsnbdr

 

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Generally, when people are eating 1300 calories and not losing decent amounts of weight, it's because they're not counting accurately.

 

That may sound harsh, but unless you're a sedentary 95lb septuagenarian 1300 calories is not maintenance.

 

Do you weigh your food accurately (with a digital scale in grammes, not ounces)? Do you track every mouthful?

 

I have a colleague. She's about 115lb. She's 18. She says she eats 800 calories a day and she exercises 4 days a week, but whilst the latter is true she eats at least 1200 calories whilst we're in the office together between 9 and 5. If I hadn't seen that, I'd be begging her to eat more (as her maintenance calories will be closer to 2000 calories a day, if not more).

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Losing body fat is all about calories in vs calories out (Assuming a standard human, no medical conditions).

 

So, question one: Are you losing weight? If so, you're at a caloric deficit. If not, then you're not. So at 1200 cals you lost weight? Did you lose weight at 1300 cals? 

 

Question 2: What do you want to do? Lose body fat or get stronger? Caloric deficits suck, doesn't matter where you are. Especially if you've been on them for very long. 

 

Also, you do not gain muscle while on a caloric deficit. What you're noticing is fat loss and better definition of current muscles (IE "toning"). You're also getting better at cardio/strength training, thus the perception of gaining muscle. You only gain muscle at a caloric surplus. 

 

Personally, if you want to up the calories to 1400, try it. If you still lose weight than you're doing good. It's all about experimenting with your body, because those calculators are generic. They offer a good place to start, but they're not perfect for each of us individually.

 

Q1) No, I am not losing weight. That is the issue. I have tried doing a base intake of 1200 calories without accounting for calories burned from exercise. No noticeable change in weight, general malaise and hunger followed. Upped calories to 1300 to see if I was under-eating. Still no real change in weight and I was still tired often and decently hungry. 

 

Q2) I want to lose fat and get stronger. I understand it's a matter of cals in vs. cals out, but I've spent the past 2 1/2 years struggling with diets and fitness to get to my ideal size and fitness level.

 

 

Generally, when people are eating 1300 calories and not losing decent amounts of weight, it's because they're not counting accurately.

 

That may sound harsh, but unless you're a sedentary 95lb septuagenarian 1300 calories is not maintenance.

 

Do you weigh your food accurately (with a digital scale in grammes, not ounces)? Do you track every mouthful?

 

I have a colleague. She's about 115lb. She's 18. She says she eats 800 calories a day and she exercises 4 days a week, but whilst the latter is true she eats at least 1200 calories whilst we're in the office together between 9 and 5. If I hadn't seen that, I'd be begging her to eat more (as her maintenance calories will be closer to 2000 calories a day, if not more).

Unfortunately I didn't/don't accurately weigh my food. I found that a bit ridiculous considering I am not extremely overweight. I would just scan the barcode on MFP and if I wasn't sure on exact values I'd just log it as more calories.

 

You mentioned how 1300 calories isn't maintenance, do you mean I am not eating enough (ergo starvation mode=no weight loss)? I apologize for my naivety.

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Unfortunately I didn't/don't accurately weigh my food. I found that a bit ridiculous considering I am not extremely overweight. I would just scan the barcode on MFP and if I wasn't sure on exact values I'd just log it as more calories.

You mentioned how 1300 calories isn't maintenance, do you mean I am not eating enough (ergo starvation mode=no weight loss)? I apologize for my naivety.

If anything it's more important to weigh everything when you're not hugely overweight (and trying to lose weight) as there's less of a margin of error.

No, I mean that if you weren't losing weight whilst eating "1300 calories" that you were probably tracking inaccurately. Starvation mode is largely a myth. You may lose more weight eating a bit more because you'll have more energy for activities but really the first thing you need to do is learn to be honest and accurate with what you're eating.

There's nothing wrong with "eating clean" but handfuls of almonds and drizzles of oil really add up very quickly and you could easily end up underestimating your intake again.

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It's a tough question and everyone's gonna give you different advice and different things work for each type of person.

In general, the quality of what you're eating makes the biggest difference. Calories in vs. calories out is over simplified. Just like "fat makes you fat" is misguided too.
For example, if you are eating a lot of sugar or you drink alcohol your body will burn that energy first instead of burning fat cells. The calories could be the same, but the kind thing you're consume is more important than the calories.

I lost over 40kg without writing down or over-stressing about calories. Tracking stuff definitely doesn't work for me. My diet is mainly vegetables and protein from meat, fish, tofu, natto and so on. I occasionally eat rice and bread and I avoid sugar most days.

You should be able to get to the weight you want, while exercising and not feeling hungry or deprived. So, I'd say to focus on the quality of what you're eating. If you're cooking lots of vegetable based dishes, eating more protein and fat and avoiding sugar/alcohol/sweets on most days then you should see progress.

If you're already doing that then it could be that the calories you're eating are too low. Sometimes eating more (especially protein, veggies and fat) can speed up weight loss.

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In general, the quality of what you're eating makes the biggest difference. Calories in vs. calories out is over simplified. Just like "fat makes you fat" is misguided too.

For example, if you are eating a lot of sugar or you drink alcohol your body will burn that energy first instead of burning fat cells. The calories could be the same, but the kind thing you're consume is more important than the calories.

 

 

29683-emma-stone-no-no-no-gif-xks5.gif

 

I'm sorry, but that's such bullshit.

 

Eating healthily is wonderful but you can get fat eating a beautifully balanced diet and get thin eating absolute shit. 

 

Whatever you do, you lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you expend and gain weight if you consume more calories than you expend. 

 

That isn't to say that you shouldn't aim for a healthy diet, but that it isn't an automatic route to weight loss.

 

ETA: And you lost weight because you found a way to eat fewer calories than you expend without counting. I'm not saying that you have to count but it does come down to calories in vs calories out no matter how you get there.

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I'm with SpecialSundae.

 

First thing I would do is measure your food and calculate actual calories for the week. That's every little thing you eat. No guessing.

 

Without having accurate data, you're just guessing, and guessing is a terrible way to diagnose a problem. 

 

As for "starvation mode", well there's a lot of misinformation. Essentially your body down-regulates metabolism, and you'll feel more tired and sluggish, but nothing trumps calories in vs calories out. You'll still lose weight in this "mode". 

 

As for quality of foods/calories, a whole foods diet of vegetables, fruits, and meats will sustain you better and make you feel better than eating fast food all day, but 3000 calories is still 3000 calories. 

Pinterest: Alex's Paleo Wins - Recipes on Pinterest              Instagram: alexcold23             MFP: dalex916

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(ergo starvation mode=no weight loss)

Starvation mode, as it is commonly understood, it utter bullshit.

There is a kernel of truth to it, but it is an extreme state that few ever reach, it takes a totally broken survival-willpower relationship (think severe ED sufferer). To use a metaphor from American Pie, its like an orgasm in the sense that it is so obvious, that if there is even a hint of question, it is not what is occurring. Severe metabolic throttling isn't something that you think *might* be occuring, your body has to turn off lots of systems and fight hard to burn as little as possible, it is obvious when it occurs.

An easy BS test - If your reproductive systems work (female has periods, males can get hard, either has desire), then you aren't in starvation mode, reproducing is calorie expensive, its one of the easiest and first systems for the body to shut down when in severe metabolic throttling mode.

The stoichiometry works perfect. If it isn't, you are miscounting calories in or out, period.

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currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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In general, the quality of what you're eating makes the biggest difference.

Nope. When it comes to changing the amount of body fat you are carrying, quality does not matter in the least bit.

Body fat is stored energy, increasing it or decreasing it is a matter of energy balance. With correct input and output values, the stoichomtry works perfect, you can gain or lose precise quantities of body fat.

currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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Just my two cents but I think two things are being discussed here...

 

1. "Eating less = fat loss", which is true. Eat less and you'll lose weight, eat more and you'll gain weight. It's not oversimplified, it's fact.

 

2. "The quality of what you eat matters." This is largely false as plenty of people (Waldo as prime example here) have lost lots of weight and built awesome bodies eating things like cold cuts and diet cokes. That being said... if I knew that my lunch needed to be 500 calories and I have my choice between a smoothie and something like some chicken and broccoli, I'd pick the chicken and the broccoli because it's more food. This is like putting a whole lot of food on a smaller plate (or conversely putting a small amount of food on a large plate). The fat kid in me just wants to eat a whole plate of something, and that's satisfying, mentally.

 

If you look at something like this: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-200-calories-look-like.htm some of those plates are heaping with food like fruits and veggies, but you only get half a burger from a fast food place. This is why quality matters, and it's really not about how your body responds but about how your mind responds.

Amazon Warrior

29, F, 5'11 ft, 159lbs

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5

 

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2. "The quality of what you eat matters." This is largely false as plenty of people (Waldo as prime example here) have lost lots of weight and built awesome bodies eating things like cold cuts and diet cokes. That being said... if I knew that my lunch needed to be 500 calories and I have my choice between a smoothie and something like some chicken and broccoli, I'd pick the chicken and the broccoli because it's more food. This is like putting a whole lot of food on a smaller plate (or conversely putting a small amount of food on a large plate). The fat kid in me just wants to eat a whole plate of something, and that's satisfying, mentally.

Incidentally, the lunch I'm currently eating...

2 slices lowered carb bread

2 slices 2% milk american cheese

1/3rd pound sliced honey ham

1 cup light greek yogurt

1 can Diet Dr. Pepper

457 calories

And a lot of food (1/3rd lb of shaved ham is quite a pile of meat)

currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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Just for the record. I don't eat nothing but rubbish, I just know that when it comes down to it that it's how many calories I eat rather than whether or not some of those calories come from a caramel latte before working out rather than a sweet potato with cinnamon.

 

Just because I eat this:

11280524_834879976588698_331091435_n.jpg

 

Doesn't mean that most of my meals don't look more like this:

 

11123773_1586333851638058_972909481_n.jp

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So if the "quality" (however vaguely defined) of the calories that go in don't matter at all, what influences how (as in what types of tissues) excess energy is stored - or from what tissues excess energy expenditure is pulled from?  The cause for which calories go out?

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So if the "quality" (however vaguely defined) of the calories that go in don't matter at all, what influences how (as in what types of tissues) excess energy is stored - or from what tissues excess energy expenditure is pulled from?  The cause for which calories go out?

 

No one said they didn't matter at all, but whether you are gaining or losing weight comes down to energy balance.

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Quality affects other things, not fat loss. 

 

Carbs get burnt up first, as they get quickly turned into glucose and glycogen for temporary storage. Once you're out of glycogen your body turns to fat. 

 

Eat a 500 calorie deficit for a week and you lose a pound. That's the science. Your variances come from whatever state you're in. Extra water, extra food in your bowels, etc.

Pinterest: Alex's Paleo Wins - Recipes on Pinterest              Instagram: alexcold23             MFP: dalex916

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So if the "quality" (however vaguely defined) of the calories that go in don't matter at all, what influences how (as in what types of tissues) excess energy is stored - or from what tissues excess energy expenditure is pulled from?  The cause for which calories go out?

Genetics and training state mostly, with some influence from protein intake (especially when you are lean).

Training state is the important one. Strength training will shift the ratio when losing weight toward fat and when gaining weight toward muscle. Plus the size of your carb reservour and how well your body will preserve it is also highly dependent on your training, some types of training maximize the amount of glycogen stored in the muscles (think bodybuilding type workouts), some will preserve it (building aerobic work capacity will increase the efficiency that your body burns fat and preserves glycogen in lower intensity exercise).

Protein intake is pretty overexaggerated in effect. The big place its important is if you're leaner than my avi, when cutting a higher intake will help to prevent some muscle loss.

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currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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Carbs get burnt up first, as they get quickly turned into glucose and glycogen for temporary storage. Once you're out of glycogen your body turns to fat.

Not necessarily. If you regularly do intense exercise, the body acts as if it "knows" and "expects" this; it'll shift toward burning fat at a higher rate quicker than a sedentary individual would; fat loss will occur quicker during a deficit and a higher proportion of fat will be burned during low intensity exercise.

At it isn't an all or nothing thing. Both fat burning and glycogen burning are occurring at all times (a few special cases excluded). Glycogen reserves are a tiny fraction of the size of fat reserves, as glycogen stores decline, the ratio of glycogen:fat burn will shift toward fat (excluding anaerobic exercise, which is almost purely fueled by glycogen).

currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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To go all the way back to the original question: tracking provides information. Some people can meet some of their goals without all that information guiding them, me included (so far). When i reach a plateau with my training or weight loss, I'm going to have to change my habits, and the more information i have, the better I'll feel. The harder your goals, the harder it is to achieve them without lots of information and feedback.

Tracking and measuring can be boring difficult, and time consuming. You can give "clean" eating, different diet philosophies, etc, a try without tracking, and if it's not working, you might have to reevaluate.

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 Azotus

Human Assasin

My Assasin 6WC

"Ask not for lighter burdens, but for stronger shoulders"

 

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As azotus said just before me, without tracking, you can't bust a plateau. Without tracking at least for a while you'll never be able to accurately estimate the total of carbs in a plate of veggies, or the amount of protein in a steak. 

Can I ask a question though? Do you have any hormonal imbalance? Are your cycles regular? Do you actually have your periods? I'm asking because you're still young and exercising a lot + low-calorie for a while might make a mess in your cycles. If you notice that there are troubles in that area, I would advise you to start tracking, see how much you actually eat (be it calories or macros), just to know if you're not too much into a deficit. It might explain the stalling of the fat loss too, if your body feels the need to stop allocating energy to your reproductive system, it means the metabolism slowed down a little and got adapted to the restriction in calorie intake.

 

 

 

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So if the "quality" (however vaguely defined) of the calories that go in don't matter at all, what influences how (as in what types of tissues) excess energy is stored - or from what tissues excess energy expenditure is pulled from?  The cause for which calories go out?

I recommend giving this a read.

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How about a glass of purgatory with a splash of heaven?

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Generally, when people are eating 1300 calories and not losing decent amounts of weight, it's because they're not counting accurately.

 

 

This. So much this. I had the same line of thought as OP about a year ago. 5'3" 136 lbs I was in the 'healthy' range but had a high bodyfat percent. I lost the first 10 lbs fairly easily, did spin 4 times a week and started strength training 2 times a week. After a while scale didn't budge, I got stronger but really no big changes in body. 3 or 4 months ago since I was eating healthy and couldn't figure out what my issue was I started measuring my food (kitchen scale and using measuring cups in nuts, scooping out things like peanut butter with an actual tablespoon measurement instead of spoons I had in the kitchen. 

 

A week into measuring I discovered that I WASN'T eating super low at 900 cals...I was closer to 1700-1800 cals (maintenance for an active 5'2 female at 125) I was eating an extra 300 cals of olive oil I wasn't accounting for and the peanut butter fiasco.....I was recording 2 'tablespoons' (2 HEAPING spoons of peanut butter) at 190. I measured my original 'spoons'- 1/2 cup peanut butter. 750 calories. Over 500 calories than what I was recording. 

 

After two weeks of re-calibrating what a 'portion' was I lost another 10 lbs. I wanted to drop more bodyfat at the start of the challenge that ended today so I got a little stricter with measurements and dropped another 8 or so pretty easily. 

 

If you want to lose weight/gain definition for females it's harder than males as we have a naturally higher bodyfat percentage. To get results you really have to work hard towards them and hone in on diet to make sure you know whats going into your body. 

 

Any advice from Waldo and Sundae is gold, in the last year I've dropped a good chunk of weight + bodyfat with their advice and thoughts through my threads and questions. They def. know their stuff. 

  • Like 4

Spaz Ranger

BATTLE LOG

You can have results or excuses. Not both

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