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Just how much should I eat?


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Hi! Ok, so I'm 5'0", weight about 120 lbs, hover between 20-25% body fat (according to my scale, anyway), am about a size 3 or 5 jeans depending on the day. 

I currently do an hour of Buti yoga (power yoga with tribal dance) two or three times a week, and have recently added in weightlifting. I've decided to lift twice a week, completing a full body routine each session. 

 

I eat eat mostly Paleo. I avoid all dairy except for butter, eat almost no grains (and when I do, I try and keep it at least gluten free), and am really working at cutting out sweets. I've had a lot of binge issues in the past and I've gotten it down to maybe once every 2 weeks, and my binges have decreased DRASTICALLY in size.

 

ANYWAY

 

With these weight lifting sessions, (I do things like deadlifts, lunges, squats, bench press, push-ups, etc) how much should I be eating to ensure I'm building muscle? I am not good with calorie counting and tracking, I've had a lot of restrictive issues in the past. My post-baby mom bod has crummy genetics that like to gain fat as quickly as possible, so I just fear that I will eat WAY too much and put on more fat than muscle.

 

My average day is something like this: 

Breakfast: 4 eggs, half of an avocado, 1/2 bag of frozen broccoli that I roasted

Lunch: usually leftovers from dinner, so we'll say 1/2 bag of roasted broccoli, serving or chicken or steak or whatever meat, maybe a small sweet potato

Snacks: 1/2 protein shake (or a full one if I worked out that day), or some berries and almond butter, or a larabar, or sweet potato chips with avocado and salsa 

Dinner: some meat, more roasted veggies, small serving of sweet potato

 

now I know, you'd think with this diet I shouldn't have too much fat to lose. I swear it's gotta be the bingeing that's keeping the fat there. But I digress...

is this possibly enough? Intermittent fasting does not work for me, causes me to binge. 

Should I stick with this type of diet for a month and if I don't get stronger, increase food intake? 

 

Thanks for reading this riveting novella of a forum post.... :applause:

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Hi, we are practically twins. We are about the same size and age (though my baby is 25 years old:))

I'm not sure from your post what your goals are. Are you trying to lose fat, or gain muscle? SInce you are a beginner, you might gain some muscle, but as a general rule, you can't do both at the same time.

If you are trying to lose weight , how much? If you are trying to build muscle, then you need to eat more food. I hear you on the fear of gaining fat. That fear is real. I just finished a bulk cycle. I got down to 20% fat-114 pounds and then gained .5 to 1 pound a week. Most of that was muscle(I think) but you probably will gain a bit of fat.This is the second time I've done the bulk- cut cycle  though, and it really is fairly easy to lose. And the inch I gained around my belly, well I'm really the only one who can tell.:)

 

I did track calories, so I'm not sure how to tell you exactly how to measure it. But if you are trying to gain muscle, you should be full on the end of the day. Not stuffed , but really full, as in I couldn't eat another bite. Instead of having small servings of sweet potato , eat the whole sweet potato.

 

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Wisdom- 13.5 Dexterity- 10 Charisma- 11 Strength- 12 Constitution-10 

Elastigirl Just Living Life - January 3 to February 6 New Year Challenge! - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"The chief goal of living is not to merely stay alive" Mike Rowe

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Respectfully, I will disagree with a recommendation to try bulk/cut phases. For one, they are a form of yo-yo dieting, and can sometimes (when executed poorly) cause the typical weight loss issues (adaptive thermogenesis, etc.). The second reason I don't like bulk/cut strategies is because they can lead to, or exacerbate, disordered eating for some people. 

 

The other challenge is that people can often radically overestimate what they need to build muscle, and underestimate what they're already eating. For example: most women can only build an average of 0.12-0.25 of muscle a week (and this is assuming workouts are dialled in for progressive overload). A pound of muscle requires roughly 2,500kcal to build, so that translates to approximately 300-625kcal extra a week - which is less than an extra 100kcal a day. But let's make the math easy, and assume you'll burn some extra calories with the new workouts, so let's say you'll probably need 100-125kcal extra a day - eg a protein shake. ;)

 

IMO, I would focus on tracking consistent intake, eating a bit more on workout days (similar to what you're already doing), and aiming for a minimum of 1g protein for every lb of body weight (easy/cheater method for protein estimates for lifters; you're probably good with 0.7-0.9g/lb, but math is hard). An excess of protein is also super handy as a mechanism to help preserve lean mass if you're trying to lose fat. 

 

Keep a food journal for a week: weigh your food or take pictures of anything that goes into your mouth every day, and write it all down for 5-7 days. Then do the work to get rough calorie estimates, which will give you a good idea of what you're already eating. If your meals are usually pretty consistent, you don't need to calorie count; you can just eyeball stuff, once you know approximately how much you need - daily fluctuations are A-OK. 

 

Grab an online TDEE calculator to guestimate your caloric needs, and away you go! If you're eating more than what you need, you'll gain fat (and maybe a bit of muscle) - if you're eating less than what you need, you'll lose weight (ideally mostly fat). If you're not eating enough protein, you'll need to look at where you can add some by taking away some fat or carb calories. And that's really it.

 

Eg. Using a rough average of 1,800kcal a day, you'll want around: 120g protein, 100-125g carbs, 100g of fat - which, frankly, sounds pretty darn close to where you are. You may need just a touch more protein, if it were me I'd probably just have the full protein shake every day, and a handful more potato on hard workout days. 

 

But I'm not a dietitian, health professional, or trainer: I just read too much. You'll need to do some of your own research and experimentation to figure out what systems work best for YOU. :) Be safe, have fun! 

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On ‎2‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 6:06 PM, Elastigirl said:

 

Hi, we are practically twins. We are about the same size and age (though my baby is 25 years old:))

I'm not sure from your post what your goals are. Are you trying to lose fat, or gain muscle? SInce you are a beginner, you might gain some muscle, but as a general rule, you can't do both at the same time.

If you are trying to lose weight , how much? If you are trying to build muscle, then you need to eat more food. I hear you on the fear of gaining fat. That fear is real. I just finished a bulk cycle. I got down to 20% fat-114 pounds and then gained .5 to 1 pound a week. Most of that was muscle(I think) but you probably will gain a bit of fat.This is the second time I've done the bulk- cut cycle  though, and it really is fairly easy to lose. And the inch I gained around my belly, well I'm really the only one who can tell.:)

 

I did track calories, so I'm not sure how to tell you exactly how to measure it. But if you are trying to gain muscle, you should be full on the end of the day. Not stuffed , but really full, as in I couldn't eat another bite. Instead of having small servings of sweet potato , eat the whole sweet potato.

 

Hi!!! Ahhh it's nice to hear someone who's just about in the same boat :) 

End goal: both. I do know (generally speaking) both can't be done at the same time. Mostly though I'm looking to build muscle!

 

On ‎2‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 10:21 AM, Defining said:

Respectfully, I will disagree with a recommendation to try bulk/cut phases. For one, they are a form of yo-yo dieting, and can sometimes (when executed poorly) cause the typical weight loss issues (adaptive thermogenesis, etc.). The second reason I don't like bulk/cut strategies is because they can lead to, or exacerbate, disordered eating for some people. 

 

The other challenge is that people can often radically overestimate what they need to build muscle, and underestimate what they're already eating. For example: most women can only build an average of 0.12-0.25 of muscle a week (and this is assuming workouts are dialled in for progressive overload). A pound of muscle requires roughly 2,500kcal to build, so that translates to approximately 300-625kcal extra a week - which is less than an extra 100kcal a day. But let's make the math easy, and assume you'll burn some extra calories with the new workouts, so let's say you'll probably need 100-125kcal extra a day - eg a protein shake. ;)

 

IMO, I would focus on tracking consistent intake, eating a bit more on workout days (similar to what you're already doing), and aiming for a minimum of 1g protein for every lb of body weight (easy/cheater method for protein estimates for lifters; you're probably good with 0.7-0.9g/lb, but math is hard). An excess of protein is also super handy as a mechanism to help preserve lean mass if you're trying to lose fat. 

 

Keep a food journal for a week: weigh your food or take pictures of anything that goes into your mouth every day, and write it all down for 5-7 days. Then do the work to get rough calorie estimates, which will give you a good idea of what you're already eating. If your meals are usually pretty consistent, you don't need to calorie count; you can just eyeball stuff, once you know approximately how much you need - daily fluctuations are A-OK. 

 

Grab an online TDEE calculator to guestimate your caloric needs, and away you go! If you're eating more than what you need, you'll gain fat (and maybe a bit of muscle) - if you're eating less than what you need, you'll lose weight (ideally mostly fat). If you're not eating enough protein, you'll need to look at where you can add some by taking away some fat or carb calories. And that's really it.

 

Eg. Using a rough average of 1,800kcal a day, you'll want around: 120g protein, 100-125g carbs, 100g of fat - which, frankly, sounds pretty darn close to where you are. You may need just a touch more protein, if it were me I'd probably just have the full protein shake every day, and a handful more potato on hard workout days. 

 

But I'm not a dietitian, health professional, or trainer: I just read too much. You'll need to do some of your own research and experimentation to figure out what systems work best for YOU. :) Be safe, have fun! 

omg THANK YOU for the advice!!!! I feel like since I've had such a disordered eating past, bulk/cut cycle isn't gonna fly with me. I've already got a food scale and I've been fiddling around with myfitnesspal. I had about 100g of carbs the other day, omg and all I wanted was a big old hunk of bread. I think I'm gonna keep it closer to 120 g for a little while, and then after a month maybe cut back if I haven't noticed any fat loss.

This was pretty much exactly what I needed to hear, thank you so much!

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Glad you found something that will work. Still a bit confused on whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle. You might be able to  do both, since your'e a beginner, but it is hard. If you are looking for advice, I'd recommend you pick a goal and measure it. You could do scale, or clothes, or lose inches.  The problem with just saying I'm going to lose the fat I see, as that as women generally we will always see a bit of fat. There will never be a time for most of us that just by looking we think we have no extra fat.  Then when you reach that goal, you don't need to worry about losing fat, but can really focus on gaining muscle. You're pretty lean right now, you may reach that goal just by keeping things the same and continuing your workout.

 

 

Wisdom- 13.5 Dexterity- 10 Charisma- 11 Strength- 12 Constitution-10 

Elastigirl Just Living Life - January 3 to February 6 New Year Challenge! - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"The chief goal of living is not to merely stay alive" Mike Rowe

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If building muscle is your aim, I'd focus on keeping your protein high and letting the workouts shape hat gains where. I'm trying to build muscle, but equally don't want to gain too much in size on top of my fat hat my clothes won't fit; so I know the desire to lose fat and gain muscle together! I've found that essentially switching out sugary items for protein ones has helped - I've lost 10lb across 8 months, yet my arm muscles are DEFINITELY firmer and more defined. 
Equally, our bodies are different, so definitely try something for a bit and then evaluate/review: is it working for you? if not, change something :)

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Nina-Rose
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 ...if Ezio Auditore did metta...

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On ‎2‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 3:26 PM, Nina-Rose said:

If building muscle is your aim, I'd focus on keeping your protein high and letting the workouts shape hat gains where. I'm trying to build muscle, but equally don't want to gain too much in size on top of my fat hat my clothes won't fit; so I know the desire to lose fat and gain muscle together! I've found that essentially switching out sugary items for protein ones has helped - I've lost 10lb across 8 months, yet my arm muscles are DEFINITELY firmer and more defined. 
Equally, our bodies are different, so definitely try something for a bit and then evaluate/review: is it working for you? if not, change something :)

Uggghhh sugar is my weakness (isn't it like everybodys?!). I feel like if I just cut back on the junk and stick to my workouts, it really should show some results.

 

Buuuuttt that's easier said than done, eh? :)

 

I think I'm gonna do this next challenge!

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19 hours ago, mmead0105 said:

Uggghhh sugar is my weakness (isn't it like everybodys?!). I feel like if I just cut back on the junk and stick to my workouts, it really should show some results.

 

Buuuuttt that's easier said than done, eh? :)

 

I think I'm gonna do this next challenge!

Oh I hear you.

As I said, this is my 8/9h month and I still eat chocolate bars daily with my lunch and 'binge' on biscuits when I get home from work. But every now and again, I make flapjacks from natural ingredients and for that week (2 days really, om nom nom) I feel healthier because I replace those storebought ones for my own flapjacks :)

It IS possible :D Take it slow, and make small changes which you can keep up for life :)

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Nina-Rose
Druid | Assassin | Monk

 ...if Ezio Auditore did metta...

https://www.nerdfitness.com/character/102562

Four week challenges: 1-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

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7 hours ago, Halo said:

Try a few days a week to replace that chocolate with fruit. Fresh berries, kiwi, oranges etc. The sugar in the fruit is wrapped in fiber and digests much differently, yet it will still satisfy that sweet tooth. If you can switch to dark chocolate on the days you must eat chocolate, try to just eat a segment or two with a glass of water. This weened me off of checkout isle chocolate bars years ago. 

 

I'll post my protein pancake recipie in another thread. 

This doesn't work for me, but I know it does for others. I hate dark chocolate and still have caramel filled DC and mint filled DC and cherry filled DC in the fridge I bought in summer because I can't stand it. I already eat a banana, an apple, grapes and a pear every single day and it does nothing to satisfy a sweet tooth for me. Same for sweetcorn and peas, sweet potato and carrots in meals, I have them daily and they're totally separate from my sweet tooth. 

Nina-Rose
Druid | Assassin | Monk

 ...if Ezio Auditore did metta...

https://www.nerdfitness.com/character/102562

Four week challenges: 1-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

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7 hours ago, Nina-Rose said:

This doesn't work for me, but I know it does for others. I hate dark chocolate and still have caramel filled DC and mint filled DC and cherry filled DC in the fridge I bought in summer because I can't stand it. I already eat a banana, an apple, grapes and a pear every single day and it does nothing to satisfy a sweet tooth for me. Same for sweetcorn and peas, sweet potato and carrots in meals, I have them daily and they're totally separate from my sweet tooth. 

Hey Nina, I know it seems a bit contradictory, but try a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder in a cup of hot water next time you get a craving. I dunno what it is, but this has done the most to help me with sweet cravings and boredom hunger. If you find any other great tricks or tips, let me know! :) #ExPastryChef #SugarFiend

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4 hours ago, Defining said:

Hey Nina, I know it seems a bit contradictory, but try a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder in a cup of hot water next time you get a craving. I dunno what it is, but this has done the most to help me with sweet cravings and boredom hunger. If you find any other great tricks or tips, let me know! :) #ExPastryChef #SugarFiend

Cool, I'll give that a go. I bought two types of vanilla protein powder, knowing that vanilla milkshake would likely fix most of my cravings.... But vanilla protein powder tastes like watery custard >_> So that failed, but I'm using it up. 

I'm making small changes, so my coffee shop drink [we have work meetings in coffee shops fortnightly] used to be choc mint milkshake with cream and chocolate sauce and chocolate sprinkles, and I've moved it down to a latte with marshmallows :P So I'm getting there, but it will be that step from something sweet to fruit that will 'undo' my progress. So taking very gentle steps. 

Nina-Rose
Druid | Assassin | Monk

 ...if Ezio Auditore did metta...

https://www.nerdfitness.com/character/102562

Four week challenges: 1-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

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8 minutes ago, Halo said:

 

This is awesome!  The way to change your life is by 1000 small choices over a year. Next cut the amount of marshmallows and so on. Giving up a giant milkshake a week over a lifetime amounts to a huge positive!  Great job. 

 

I'm just curious, do you read food label ingredients?

I do to some extent. I've switched from general crisps to Weight Watchers ready salted which literally has this ingredient list: 

Ingredients

Potato, Sunflower Oil, Salt

I'm not worried about the salt content, because when I used to track I was having less than 2000mg of sodium a WEEK (max daily rec is 2300) so I'm likely one of the few people in Western world who SHOULD be adding salt to things :P 
(And I'm actually going to try microwaving potato slices today myself...)

However, I have a lot of sensory issues with food, and a history of disordered eating so I try to be really careful. I tracked my food on MyFitnessPal to aim for 80g protein a day; but found I stopped eating entirely so I try to be vaguely aware, and make the 'healthier' choice of two options, yet not go overboard. 

Nina-Rose
Druid | Assassin | Monk

 ...if Ezio Auditore did metta...

https://www.nerdfitness.com/character/102562

Four week challenges: 1-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

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