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noelngyawa

Low Calorie Diet

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Okay, so I've been on a low calorie diet for about 4 weeks now. I've been trying to lose some body fat. 

 

I'm wondering why I'm not losing any, or at least I don't think I do. I've been eating about 150g protein. I'm using the IF protocol btw. Someone said that it's because my calorie intake was too low. About 1k-1.5k cals give or take. 

 

Question is this- If you are on a low calorie diet, like mine, which i guess is super low would you:

1.) Have low energy levels?

2.) Decline in performance?

3.) Not lose any bodyfat?

4.) Feel sluggish?

 

Among the 4, I'm only experiencing #3. I've been lifting heavy 2 days a week. What seems to be the problem? If I was on low cals, shouldn't I have a drop in bodyweight for a period of time?

 

Thanks

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Probably your frequency is influencing your lack of fat loss?

Try experimenting with your diet. Play around with it.

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I workout 4x a week. And do basketball off days. 

 

Can anyone tell me the short and long term effects of super low calorie intake? 

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What do you eat normally in a day?

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Maybe it's not low enough calories.

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M- I thought it was that. You should lose weight, like it or not, when your super low calorie right?

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Well in the absence of the other three symptoms listed, my guess is your not eating low enough, if you were eating "super low calorie" for yojr body's metabolic demands you would feel tired and weak. Try going to 1,500-2000 calories and if weight starts coming off then you weren't eating enough.

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How do you know how many calories you're consuming? Most people not losing weight/fat on a "super low calorie diet" are counting incorrectly.

 

The only other issue is water retention, but given it's taken 4 weeks on this diet to see no results, that's unlikely. 

 

What are the macro's and which foods are you using to get to these macros?

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@M: I'm not really sure about that tho.

 

@Neil: Rough estimate. I just do it Protein = X times 4 = cals. I eat 1 chicken breast, approx 300g, 4 eggs, 1 can tuna 30g protein, 15g fat, 250ml milk, 1 scoop whey, about 150-200g more meat. I use fitday for reference.

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150g protein and a true 1000-1500cal diet for an entire month should have resulted in weight loss, unless you are secretly a bed-bound, 4' tall woman.  1000 cal is not a lot of food.

 

Water retention can become an issue, but that doesn't usually kick in for a while, as Neil said.

 

Have you been taking measurements?  By not losing fat, do you mean "not losing fat at all" or "not losing as much as I would have predicted"?

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No, not really Janelle. I wasn't really planning on "losing" fat, but I was determined to eat clean. Before I have eaten junk for at least 6 days a week. Now, I only eat once a week.

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Off the top of my head the example you gave neil is between 1500-2000 calories, not knowing how fatty the chicken or meat is.

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I would go down the checklist:

  • How are you measuring body fat?  Tape measures can tell you more than you eyes can sometimes.
  • How big are you going with the once a week junk food?  You might be halting your progress, or at least retarding it.
  • Are you eating enough?  Too little food, and high demands on it can either cause your body to hold on to the fat hard, or lose muscle.
  • Are you keeping the conditioning up?  I find when I skip conditioning work, the weight stays the same, or possibly goes up.

I think the second point might be your undoing.  A double bacon cheeseburger and fries can be upwards of 1800 Calories alone--drink not included.

 

If you are going to go for severe Calorie restrictions, and you have a decent amount to lose (you are >25% body fat) then I would go for a ketogenic diet.  Yeah your energy will suck for the first few days.  Most people snap out of it.  That will be the most efficient fat burning strategy.  Just lean protein, veggies, and supplements to make sure everything is working right.  I would be strict--no cheats--for six weeks.  For lifting, stick with maintenance levels.  A few singles up to 70-85% of your every day gym max on any given major lift.  Fill in the rest with body weight work like lunges, push ups, pull ups.  I'd also have a couple days with active recovery only: 20 minutes brisk walking (you should still be able to hold a conversation).

 

That would be the most aggressive way to lose fat and have it come off.  A ketogenic diet simply does not provide quick energy (i.e. carbs), which forces the body to use both stored fat and free protein to fuel itself.  If you consume 1g/lb lean mass minimum protein, you should be able to provide enough protein to satisfy the energy needs as well as enough to recover from your lifting.

 

If you are at or below 25% body fat, I would question why you want to eat so little.  You just need to eat less than maintenance, and that is probably higher than you might think.

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I would go down the checklist:

  • How are you measuring body fat?  Tape measures can tell you more than you eyes can sometimes.
  • How big are you going with the once a week junk food?  You might be halting your progress, or at least retarding it.
  • Are you eating enough?  Too little food, and high demands on it can either cause your body to hold on to the fat hard, or lose muscle.
  • Are you keeping the conditioning up?  I find when I skip conditioning work, the weight stays the same, or possibly goes up.

I think the second point might be your undoing.  A double bacon cheeseburger and fries can be upwards of 1800 Calories alone--drink not included.

 

If you are going to go for severe Calorie restrictions, and you have a decent amount to lose (you are >25% body fat) then I would go for a ketogenic diet.  Yeah your energy will suck for the first few days.  Most people snap out of it.  That will be the most efficient fat burning strategy.  Just lean protein, veggies, and supplements to make sure everything is working right.  I would be strict--no cheats--for six weeks.  For lifting, stick with maintenance levels.  A few singles up to 70-85% of your every day gym max on any given major lift.  Fill in the rest with body weight work like lunges, push ups, pull ups.  I'd also have a couple days with active recovery only: 20 minutes brisk walking (you should still be able to hold a conversation).

 

That would be the most aggressive way to lose fat and have it come off.  A ketogenic diet simply does not provide quick energy (i.e. carbs), which forces the body to use both stored fat and free protein to fuel itself.  If you consume 1g/lb lean mass minimum protein, you should be able to provide enough protein to satisfy the energy needs as well as enough to recover from your lifting.

 

If you are at or below 25% body fat, I would question why you want to eat so little.  You just need to eat less than maintenance, and that is probably higher than you might think.

I want to be clear that I'm not planning on losing fat FAST. I don't want to compromise my strength. But cutting junk, I would have thought that I'd have lost a reasonable amount of weight. 

 

1.) I'm not measuring anything. I take progress pics every 2 weeks.

 

2.) The once a week junk is just maybe a milkshake (<500 cals), or maybe a 1/2lb patty, bacon and cheese.

 

3.) That's my problem. How do you know if you're eating "enough". Signs, symptoms? Should you lose energy, feel weak, etc?

 

4.) I play basketball on my off days for about 30-45 mins. That's medium intensity, sometimes I get serious on games and I do a lot of HIIT just by playing.

 

I guess I am <25%, I'm not tracking calories. I was wondering why the weight was just the same despite the "clean-most-of-the-week" eating. Haha

 

On the gym, I just PR'd on press, and almost back @ my highest w/ the squats and deads. I've been doing a lot more hypertrophy work tho, will that have any effect?

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3.) isn't your problem, trust me - I've lost a lot of fat with very strict (<1000 calorie) diets. Almost everyone that claims this is an issue isn't successfully measuring their calorie intake - which I believe to be the bigger problem.

 

1.) Religiously count the calories in the food items you're eating. You don't need to do this forever, but do it for a few weeks to get a good "by eye" understanding of the common things you eat. A 300g chicken breast is not just the sum of the protein content x4 - it may have chicken skin (tasty, but full of fat), and will have other tag along calories too). If you get it from a deli there's a good chance it's also got sugar/carbs in there somewhere. Either check the nutrition label or check it on an online calorie tracker.

 

The method by which you cook these items can also be an issue - I would typically grill my chicken breasts, on a BBQ. This adds 0g of fat, whereas frying can introduce a lot of additional calories.

 

Eggs - how big are the eggs? What method do you use to cook them? Boiled or poached is best, as there's 0 additional cooking calories. Frying them in butter could make a huge difference. Again - don't just count the protein content, there's probably 120 calories in a large egg.

 

150-200g more meat..... what type of meat? What cooking method? Is it lean meat or pork belly? There's a lot of parameters to think of.

 

In my own experience a good method to get to a "base level" of calories is to restrict your diet to lean meat (grilled or dry fried) and fibrous vegetables (boiled or stir fried in limited oil [wipe the pan with a kitchen towel to smear the oil around the surface]). Limit flavourings to lemon/lime juice and herbs/spices/salt/pepper. Add in protein powder (carb and fat free where possible) to make up the macros of protein. This will be the most minimal number of calories you can consume whilst also hitting your protein macro's. Just about anyone will lose weight doing this (you physically struggle to eat the food).

 

Once you understand the number of calories you get from this, you can work out how much additional food you want to eat to increase the flavour - e.g. by frying foods (dangerous as oil is calorie dense) or adding in sauces/more exciting veg. Again, track these items religiously so you know what's being added.

 

You should also try and monitor your progress with more accurate measurements - body weight is the easiest one, but it will fluctuate depending on water retention/carb levels/time of day etc. Provided the general trend is down you'll be good - but do this over a period of weeks not days. The easiest measure of body fat (on a man) is to use a tape measure around your belly - use your belly button as a standard line to measure. If the tape measure is showing a decrease in inches, you're losing fat.

 

There is no way for your body to hold onto fat if you're on a hypocaloric diet. If you're not losing fat/weight you're either eating too much or moving too little.

 

For the latter - I still train 6+ times per week on a cut, with weights (I hate cardio). It's harder, progress is a challenge and you feel like shit, but it can be done. I've added 15kgs to my OHP whilst cutting recently. Become best friends with a shit ton of caffeine - as you might need it to get moving in the mornings when calories are really low.

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Very informative, Neil! Thanks. Will do.

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also watch your add ons

when I did my big cut I read labels on everything, and was appalled at how many calories a tablespoon of salad dressing has  (110-130 depending on type)

Other stuff like ketchup and mayo is pretty high cal too

My energy was never that low on my cut, and I was under 700 cal a day strict with no cheats (do NOT do that, I was trying to reverse diabetes, not just cut, it was extreme)

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also watch your add ons

when I did my big cut I read labels on everything, and was appalled at how many calories a tablespoon of salad dressing has  (110-130 depending on type)

Other stuff like ketchup and mayo is pretty high cal too

My energy was never that low on my cut, and I was under 700 cal a day strict with no cheats (do NOT do that, I was trying to reverse diabetes, not just cut, it was extreme)

This man knows where it's at. Months of low cal - and as you rightly say Art, there's loads of hidden calories in all sorts of things. That's why it's best to avoid processed foods where possible - they seem to hide more in those things than anywhere else.

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Thank you guys!

 

I don't think I can be TOO strict on my diet. I just don't have the discipline. There's always that one day in a week where I unload on lots of calories.

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Thank you guys!

 

I don't think I can be TOO strict on my diet. I just don't have the discipline. There's always that one day in a week where I unload on lots of calories.

You don't have to be, and it's psychologically easier for some people to have 'cheat meals' or 're-feeds'. Just be sure to create enough of a deficit on the strict days to ensure the cheat meal doesn't end up with a calorie surplus over the course of a week.

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You don't have to be, and it's psychologically easier for some people to have 'cheat meals' or 're-feeds'. Just be sure to create enough of a deficit on the strict days to ensure the cheat meal doesn't end up with a calorie surplus over the course of a week.

 QFE

 

Emphasis added.

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How do I check for the calories when I eat out? 

 

Like for example: Today I had a big surplus, I think- Flame It Bacon and Mushroom burger 1/2 lb, 1 cup rice + another 1/2 lb sizzling burger, brownie and ice cream, about 150g chicken with lots of sauces ( just bought it) + 1 cup rice, and nuts.

 

How do I go bout this? How much do you guys think it is?

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Off the cuff, I'd say in excess of 3000 Calories.

 

Check out Livestrong, while I don't particularly like their calorie tracker, it has nutrition info for lots of foods.  They may even have your "Flame It" bacon and mushroom burger 1/2pound (I estimate in the neighborhood of 1200-1500 Calories for that alone).  Ground beef is usually 70% lean at most fast food establishments, which means it comes with a butt load of fat.

 

2 cups rice is 330 Calories.

 

Brownie is about 230 Calories

 

Vanilla Ice Cream is about 140 Calories per 1/2 cup

 

Chicken breast was about 250 Calories

 

I haven't gotten to the nuts yet.  The linked nutrition info adds up to 950 Calories alone (rice, brownie, ice cream, chicken), and more if what you had was different than the stuff I selected.  Nuts are high in fat, but how much so depends on the type of nut.

 

A Wendy's double baconator is 960 Calories without the fries (another 350-550 depending on size).  That's just one sandwich (and 1/2 pound of fround beef).  Use that as a reference point.  It's loaded with fat.

 

Don't read what I'm saying and think fat is the ultimate evil.  All I'm saying is that we eat a lot more of it than we think, and fat packs 9 Calories per gram consumed.  Compared to protein and carbs which pack about 4 Calories per gram.  If you are trying to cut Calories, you need to pay particular attention to that.

 

Ground beef, sausages, and most pork products are very high in fat.  To get the protein content you need, you'll be blowing your calorie limit.

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I like a website called nutritiondata.self.com It has not only the calorie content of foods, it also has vitamin and minerals and all that. The way you track calories when eating out is you get familiar with the content of food by tracking what you eat for a while. Soon enough you'll learn enough and be able to estimate accurately enough. You still can't know for sure, especially with fast food places which often sneak in an illogical amount of calories via fat and their cooking methods. Normal restaurants are closer to what you would expect from the food. Off the top of my head my estimate is:

 

2 cups rice = 400 calories

 

1 lb. of ground beef (depends on fattiness) = 1000 - 1200 (could be more or less but that's what I would expect.

 

Buns from those burgers are at least 200 each so that = at least 400 calories

 

Let's say 100 calories from the bacon

 

I'll assume they are hamburgers since you didn't specify cheese

 

"Nuts" is irrelevant without portions so I can't say, could easily be a few hundred calories.

 

Brownie 200 to 300, but without having seen it I can't say for sure. It could be a massive brownie for all I know.

 

Ice cream is about 130 per 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup isn't a lot. But again, could be one scoop on the brownie which might be 200 calories or it could be a bowl of ice cream with a brownie in it, and thus 800 calories.

 

Chicken, I'll assume the weight is after cooking so about 250 calories if it's just breast meat. Too many unknowns though. Does it have skin, how was it cooked? Fried, grilled, broiled, etc? Also, not knowing what kind of sauce it is makes estimating it impossible. It could be something like ranch or hollendaise which is calorie dense. Or it could be ketchup or salad dressing which is not that calorie dense.

 

Thus my estimate, having not seen the portions is something like 3000 calories.

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Another resource is MyFitnessPal.com and/or their smartphone app.  The nutrition database is immense and also contains many restaurant entrees.  It is preloaded with a ton of basics (potato, egg, etc.) but is supplemented by user entries.  No measurement is 100% perfect, but I lost 55 pounds using it over the past year.  I'd still like to drop another 15 pounds, but the weight loss has really slowed down since I'm getting close to goal.  They key to weight loss is determining your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and then subtract 10%-30% from that number to use as your calorie goal for the day.  Again, it isn't exact, but a guide.  Right now I am cycling 30% below TDEE on my rest days and close to my TDEE on workout days.

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