Help Me With My Diet!

Ok people, I know you have opinions. And you have knowledge. You've tried stuff and read stuff and now I'm calling on you to share it with me!

So you know I've been on this "eating healthier" plan along with running like crazy and still working out at the gym. I have been religiously tracking my food and aiming for a daily caloric target of about 1200. I started off a little lower than that but I'm petrified of my metabolism slowing down too much, and since I'm burning about 300 calories a day with exercise it seems like 1200 should be the minimum.

Keep in mind those calories aren't my only guideline, I'm trying to keep them as low fat and high fiber calories. I've moderately increased my veggies, dramatically increased my fruits, and reduced and changed my carbs. The only refined carbs I eat are the occasional handful of goldfish crackers or baked tortilla chips.

My means are generally like this: breakfast is a bowl of cereal (honey nut cheerios) or oatmeal or a high fiber english muffin. Plenty of coffee too. Lunch is a big fat apple, some almonds, or possibly a turkey sandwich on wheat thins. Maybe a healthy choice or lean cuisine on occasion. Dinner is usually chicken, veggies and a salad. Maybe a small portion of potatoes. I also usually have one skinny latte a day. I figure the skim milk is good protein and calcium without a lot of calories or fat. That's often right after a hard workout.

A lot of days I end up with way less than 1200 calories and usually end up with some kinda carb to make up the difference before bed.

So I have heard lots of theories about cutting out dairy, cutting carbs entirely, even cutting fruit. I'm just not sure how to get more meat, bean and veggies in. Convenience is king in my house.

Anyway the scale isn't moving as fast as I'd like it to. Maybe I'm just impatient, but maybe there's something different I should be doing. So I'm wide open to your suggestions.

I REALLY want your opinions. Lay it on me.


Sarah Hubbell said...

I just love you. And if you're burning 300-ish calories a day, 1200 calories may not be enough food for you. My advice - see a certified nutritionist. Talk about your goals and get a plan.

I sought one out a few years ago, with the requirement that 2 glasses of wine per day be included in my plan. And what she outlined for me, with my goals, was damn near perfect. In fact, there was often more food than I was actually hungry for.

I still have trouble getting enough legumes into my diet, but the basic structure has been easy to maintain for the past eight years. (also, how has it been that long already?)


Sarah Hubbell said...

I agree--I think 900 net calories is too few. The app I use (MyFitnessPal) warns me of that if I drop too far below the 1300 it allows me every day. I've been using it since the end of July, and have probably dropped about 15 pounds. My goal is slow and steady, though--I'm in no rush.

Sarah Hubbell said...

See there's where I'm unclear on the calorie targets. Everything I read says don't drop below 1200 calories, but it doesn't say whether that is through food intake or net including exercise. I'm using the LoseIt app and it shows everything as net calories and I have trouble meeting the goal every day. I wouldn't have trouble if I were eating fatty or sugary foods! In theory I know weight loss should be slow and steady in order to avoid gaining it back but I've had enough and feel like I should be seeing more progress. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

Yeah I was talking to a nutritionist last night and have been thinking about that, but this girl's job is to sell me on a 21 food challenge that involves 5 small meals a day...that you buy. I'm not really into that idea. Not sure where to find a good nutritionist who will lay out a great plan for me that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. 

Getting legumes in is definitely tough. Even getting enough meat in is tough for me...not a huge meat fan. Except for bacon :)

One of the indicators I've been watching as far as too few calories is my energy level. Everything I've read says if my body gets too few calories and shifts into starvation mode I should be exhausted. I'm far from it, since I started running I feel like I have superhuman energy most of the time. 

Oh and I love you too :)

Sarah Hubbell said...

My cousin who is 16 and pre-diabetic was told to eat any carb (bread, pasta, rice, potato...not veggies processed carbs) before 12. I would sub a greek yogurt (I prefer the vanilla, its the lowest sugar highest protien) for the honey nut cereal. (Or eggs...what you want is to look for things that are high protien to low calories. I eat eggs for almost any meal.) Most cereals are jam packed with hidden sugar. Sugar is addictive so the "food industry" is adding it to almost every thing. Google "words for sugar". If a sugar word is in the 1st 3 ingredients or if its a condiment that has a sugar word in the 1st 3 AND its over 20 calories/ serving...AVOID IT!! Don't cut carbs 100%, (if possible) but cut processed carbs 100%...pototoes, bread, pasta etc. Sub lettuce wraps for sandwiches... make small modifications. Also I understand from friends that are body builders that anytime you start working out you will gain water weight...JUST KEEP GOING it will go away in 4-6 weeks. Why water weight? As you use the muscles they tear (thats a good thing) which causes soreness and inflamation. THE inflimation is just like a sprained ankle it creates swelling (or water weight). JUST KEEP GOING...also you may be building muscles as the same pace you are shedding fat. The scales will show a balance, or no loss, but lean muscle LOOKS MUCH BETTER than the same weight of fat :)

Sarah Hubbell said...

You might be interested in The Primal Blueprint (marksdailyapple.com). With this, Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, a book called Wheat Belly (i don't know the name of the author off hand). 

We have seen really great results. Ryan was having some gluten sensitivities, and when we went paleo, things really changed dramatically in every way.

Sarah Hubbell said...

Right, and this isn't about cutting out anything per se. I mean, it's a lifestyle choice, not really a diet. I mean, yes it is grain free (not carb free), and in some formations dairy free (depends upon your formation and sensitivities; my only dairy is butter), and we find it pretty simple overall. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

I've been looking into the whole30 diet and I watched "fat sick and nearly dead" on Netflix. It's a great documentary.

Sarah Hubbell said...

Whole30 is paleolithic based. It's supposed to kick-start the paleo as a lifestyle, so it's not just a diet. Unless I'm getting them confused. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

Yeah I have several friends that just did Whole30...that's just way too restrictive for me. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

Except for the fact that I struggle to read the few books I do read, those sound very interesting. But seriously it would take me a year to get to them and through them. 

I keep hearing people say going gluten free has a huge impact on allergies. I'm tempted to try it for that reason alone. 

When I say "diet" I don't necessarily mean major restrictions, I mean a lifestyle choice too. The problem is that generally speaking the whole family has to be on board, which would not happen if we were talking paleo. 

I've had a few friends advice cutting dairy entirely. The only dairy I get now is a tiny bit of butter and in my one latte a day. I am not aware of any dairy sensitivities I have but I guess the only way to know for sure would be to eliminate it and see. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

So gaining water weight from working out? That seems backwords to me. In my experience the first few pounds lost when I kick start a diet and exercise plan are water. And I would think that intense exercise would help flush bad stuff AND water from your body...all that sweat. 

I do think it's possible I'm gaining some muscle mass which is why the scale isn't showing a loss, but I'm not doing much weight training so it's tough to say for sure. 

There's no question I look better and my clothes fit better. I just want the scale to reflect that :)

Sarah Hubbell said...

google daniel plan by saddleback church :)

Sarah Hubbell said...

yeah, i think that sounds reasonable (that amount of dairy) and probably isn't causing any problems. 

most people find that they discover food allergies after going paleo because major things are removed. when i went vegan, i discovered my lactose sensitivity (not direct intolerance, but still, upset stomach is not fun) and so it isn't a big loss for me not to have it. But ryan and hawk do yogurt and hawk also does cheese. 

I think there's a quick-guide on the web site -- outlining the basics. It's essentially fruits and veggies and meats (and organs and such), plus some dairy for some if that works for you, and then also some wiggle room for the occasional cake or dark chocolate a couple of times a week. 

I'm not big on calorie restriction. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

My husband tracks his calories on an app and just being aware of it has helped him immensely. I'm terrible with diets. I'd suggest LOTS and LOTS of water. Oh, and not being so concerned about the scale-you might be building muscle, which weighs more.

Sarah Hubbell said...

I've heard of that but have no idea what it entails. 

Sarah Hubbell said...

I was thinking that about the building muscle. I really do need MORE water. I drink a ton right after a workout but that's about it. 

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