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Old 12-12-2010, 11:03 AM   #1
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Just how low is low?

I realize its probably subjective to the individual (age, size, sex, etc), but how do you calculate caloric or caborhydate intake for a low-calorie or low-carb diet? I've totally changed my eating habits and have all but completely cut out sugars (except for fruit), snacks, pops. I have completely elmininated bread, butter, oil, etc.

I do eat out with my mom about once a week because she likes to spend time with me and I have one pop every day or so, but before changing my habits my caloric intake was excessive to say the least.

Now I eat sirloin steak, turkey, pork, chicken, fresh fruit (with the exception of canned peaches in pear juice) and fresh veggies. I usually grill some kind of meat or pork along with some vegetables a couple of times a day and will blend up a large can of peaches with a couple trays of ice and some fresh fruit like raspberries, cranberries or strawberries, then squeeze in a half grapefruit's worth of juice and drink a quart or quart-and-half of that of a day. I haven't been doing much exercise because its finals next week and have been studying like a dog and dealing with some family problems.

Things is, after a month I haven't lost any weight. I would be happy to see at least a pound or so, but there's nothing. Thanks!

 
Old 12-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #2
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Re: Just how low is low?

If you want to do the genuine low-carb thing, you're going to have to cut way back on the the canned peaches. Just one cup of canned peaches in syrup has about 50 grams of sugar!

However, the genuine low carb thing causes kidney damage and is impossible to sustain long term, so I really recommend you do this:

1) Track what you eat and drink for a few days. Include portion sizes.

2) Add up the total calories for each day, to see what your typical daily intake is. There are many online sources for the calorie counts of different foods.

3) Subtract 500.

4) Cut steak and pork or replace meat with vegetables (especially green vegetables) until your diet is down to that smaller number.

If your activity remains constant and you cut calories by 500 per day, you should lose a pound a week. Or, you can cut calories by less than 500 and increase activity.

Also, if you are under a lot of stress right now, stress can all by itself make it harder to burn calories. You might be eating and not even really aware of it. Stress produces cortisol, which is a hormone that decreases your metabolism and increases appetite. Perhaps after finals are over, you'll be able to lose a little.

 
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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Re: Just how low is low?

So, basically you're saying to cut my daily intake by 500 calories to equal the 3500 calories (or 1 lb) in a week? What's got me confused is that I've dropped my intake considerably already. We have a friend that works at the convenience store so we get free fountain pops: 5-6 32 oz a day would not be uncommon. That's bad; very bad. Then there was Subway every night, and we're not talking the skimpy 5 grams of fat, but the big, delicious sandwiches with tons of fixings. I must have been taking in close to 6000 calories a day (I gained 10 pounds in one month). For about two years I've yo-yoed in a range of about 35 pounds.

I've tried to do it healthy this time and have cut down to about 2500 calories per day, and I take portions into consideration. I'm not teribly active, but plan on joining a gym next pay day and will frequent it. I just hope I can stick with it this time.

 
Old 12-12-2010, 05:25 PM   #4
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Re: Just how low is low?

Well, if you aren't gaining any more, that's something. It's possible that if you've been on crash diets in the past, your metabolism has dropped, making it harder for you to lose.

2500 calories a day is kind of a lot for someone trying to lose, but for a young man, (I'm assuming you're fairly large, maybe tall) that may in fact be below your daily needs. Definitely exercise, maybe weight lifting.

The "right way" to lose takes a long time, but you'll be glad you did it in the end.

 
Old 12-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #5
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Re: Just how low is low?

Yeah, I'm just a hair over 6'3'' without my shoes on and weigh just at 400 pounds. Big, big boy. I think it was you that made the suggestion to find something you like to do and use it at an exercise? I replied and you said you were gonna think on it then get back to me. Did you ever get a chance? Exercising is always the hard part.

I go to the gym and get up on the treadmill or on the bench and can't do enough to even feel like I'm making any difference and there's these guys just blowing me out of the water. I mean I'll be out of breath after five minutes on the treadmill when the guy next to me has been going for 75 minutes. Man, talk about feeling like your efforts are in vain!

 
Old 12-12-2010, 06:44 PM   #6
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Re: Just how low is low?

At that size, eating only 2500 calories per day, you should be losing weight pretty rapidly. Are you sure you are counting correctly? Are you actually measuring your portions in some way? Is it possible you have a metabolic disorder?

It doesn't actually take much activity for you to burn calories, especially if you're currently pretty sedentary. I mean, I weigh about a third of what you do. If both of us walk down the street, your legs have done a lot more work than mine.

If you get your pulse rate elevated for as little as 10 minutes at a time, that's exercise. Find something you like reasonably well, see how much you can do, then step it up, by about 10% each week. If you walk for 10 minutes today, try 10 again on Tuesday and Thursday, then 11 next week.

It'll be slow at first, but that's okay. Assuming your ideal weight is a little more than 200 pounds, it might take a whole year to get there. But long before that year is up, you should notice an increase in energy, the ability to exercise much longer and harder, possibly the ability to sleep and breathe better, and a decrease in size. In fact, you should notice slight changes within 2 weeks and visible changes within 6.

If exercise starts making you feel really ill or causing pain other than muscle soreness, you might want to get a physical exam before you do anything more aggressive. Also, 2-3 sessions with a nutritionist and/or personal trainer could be really helpful. They typically run about $60 per hour, and they can set you up with a reasonable plan.

 
Old 12-12-2010, 08:54 PM   #7
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Re: Just how low is low?

Yeah, there's always soreness. I mean, sitting at my computer for longer than 30 minutes puts my back to aching like heck. A lot of jointand nerve pain, but that's part of the deal when you're this big. No chance of a metabolic disorder, I just need to intake less and burn more: I'm just trying to get a decent knowledge of how much of each I need and how much of each I'm at right now.

There's always a possibility I could be counting wrong. I'm not perfect. But, for example, today I had about a big plate of chicken (grilled on the George Foreman with garlic powder, onion powder and pepper), about a quart of that blended fruit drink I make up, a piece of four or five ounce steak, about 3/4 pound of fresh asparagus, then I went to a theatre tonight and did have a 32 oz. Mtn. Dew and a very small popcorn. That's everything I took in today. I didn't do much physical, however.

I'm going to try and re-assess on the intake accounting. I'll start writing it down and will document everything I buy. One year? One year? I can do that! One year is nothing! I've lived 25 of them and will live several more. I can do one year! Thanks for your help.

Last edited by Administrator; 12-16-2010 at 06:19 AM.

 
Old 12-12-2010, 10:17 PM   #8
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Re: Just how low is low?

One Gala Apple; a handful-and-half of cranberries; a handful of strawberries; half cup of Gatorade Zero; two trays of ice; no canned peaches. That's right.

 
Old 12-12-2010, 10:18 PM   #9
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Re: Just how low is low?

A quick search finds that AMC brand small popcorn without butter is 400 calories and the soda is 440. (movie theatre popcorn is oil popped, even if you don't add butter.) 4.5 ounces of steak is about 260, depending on the cut. The asparagus is maybe 80 calories assuming you added no fat in cooking or serving them. Your fruit drink is, hmm, call it 400 calories for the peaches and 40 for the additional fruit. That's 1620 so far.

Chicken is about 46 calories per ounce. Add to that any "butter" on the popcorn or calorie-containing condiments on any of those dishes. Delicious spices like pepper and garlic have approximately zero calories.

One problem you have is that an awful lot of your calories are coming from fat or sugar, and you aren't eating too much fiber. Fiber adds bulk and keeps your stomach full without adding calories. And almost all your carbs are sugar. (Soda and fruit syrup.) More complex carbohydrates are going to serve you much better.

Try an online meal diary that measures the TYPES of calories (ideally one that can break out saturated fat vs unsaturated and sugar vs complex carbs), and you'll see what I mean.

Replacing some meat with low-starch vegetables would be a good change. Also, you may as well ditch the soda and replace it with some nice filling whole grain bread. When you said "one soda a day," I thought you meant one 8 or 12 ounce can, which would probably be fine. 32 ounces of soda per day, that's almost 20% of your daily calorie allotment going to something that doesn't fill hunger at all and doesn't provide any nutrients other that water and sugar, which is not really a good plan.

Yeah, sore joints are annoying. Make sure that your exercise is something that doesn't involve too much impact, at your size, jogging or jumping jacks might be hard on the feet. Swimming and walking are less damaging. And make sure that you have very good, supportive athletic shoes. If you don't, go to a quality running shoe or sporting goods store and find a knowledgeable employee to fit you.

 
Old 12-12-2010, 10:56 PM   #10
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Re: Just how low is low?

Remember also that if you begin or significantly increase exercise, you may gain muscle, which will mask fat loss if you look at the scale. If your waistline (measured at navel level) is getting smaller, that is a sign of progress, even if your weight stays the same.

But yes, watch out for hidden calories like canned fruit with added sugar, movie popcorn dripping with greasy artificial butter, sweet drinks like sodas, etc.. Fruit juices can greatly increase calorie intake compared to eating the whole fruit.

 
Old 12-13-2010, 06:46 AM   #11
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Re: Just how low is low?

When I said one pop a day I meant a 20oz. The 32oz last night was a not common of the last several weeks. Also, I wear New Balance 608s; they're getting hard to find now, so I have to call and track them down. I think I'll go buy a fiber supplement.

How do you know where to find "complex" carbohydrates? I never understood how you could have different kinds of carbohydrates and calories (empty calories, aren't they called?).

Thanks for your guys' help. This I'm saving a fortune in consulting expenses! Maybe I should cut ya'll a check?

 
Old 12-13-2010, 09:20 AM   #12
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Re: Just how low is low?

20oz of pop per day is over 200 calories of straight sugars with no other nutritional value.

As far as "good" vs. "bad" carbohydrates are concerned, good carbohydrates are generally those from higher fiber sources like vegetables, whole fruits (not juices), whole beans, and whole grains. Bad carbohydrates are generally those from sugars and refined grains with little or no fiber.

 
Old 12-13-2010, 03:56 PM   #13
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Re: Just how low is low?

The reasons that the carbs in something like a carrot or a slice of whole wheat bread are better than sugar:

1) They release slower into your bloodstream, so the meal gives you energy for more time.

2) They take longer to digest, so you stay full longer.

3) Fiber doesn't have any calories your body can use, but it fills your stomach, and it helps keep your digestion healthy.

4) Your body needs the vitamins and minerals. Bread is packed with B vitamins and iron, carrot has vitamin A, etc. Some people claim that if you don't get enough nutrients, you'll stay hungry even after you've eaten enough calories.

 
Old 12-16-2010, 07:36 AM   #14
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Re: Just how low is low?

Hi Stoneface,

I admire that you want to take care of yourself better. I wanted to share some things that help me as I apply them. I admit I don't always follow my own advice, but I can always go back to it and I do.

I can relate to you, since I am sedate due to physical impairment that prevents much activity. Because of this I need to severely limit my simple carb intake. But I can eat all of the fresh food I want and maintain my weight. The thing is that the fiber in fresh food is satisfying and I want way less than if I ate canned peaches (which I do LOVE). If I eat a fresh apple or even a fresh peach, it is satisfying. The canned sweetened (pear juice is still sugar) fruit is too high in simple sugar for a basically sedate person. If you eat a portion of a can of peaches with cottage cheese, that would slow down how fast the sugars are processed in the body. But never eat processed fruit without protein. It just raises the blood sugar too high and sugar you don't use immediately from activity is stored as fat. This is how the body works. So we need to reduce the simple sugars to match our activity level. I know...that doesn't feel good.

I found that sugar and simple carbs like soda and popped corn besides getting stored as fat because they are too many calories at once, only keep me feeling excessively hungry because the body is actually starving for the nutrients in real food. So even if i have a large soda and pop corn, I can go home starved and eat a full meal...this kind of eating is what keeps the fat on.

The no carb diet was never meant to be strictly followed for more than 2 weeks, which does not damage the kidneys. But of course, if you have or suspect kidney disease, get doctor approval first. Simple sugar is addictive, in that the body can be trained (by our choices) to accept the quick drug like fix of excessive sugar and be unwilling to wait for good food to digest and process. That is the benefit of stopping all simple sugars for two weeks, just to get past the withdrawal stage.

After two weeks of omitting processed food that has sugar added, complex carbs are to be added a little at a time. Complex carbs are the whole grain foods, cut or rolled oats (not quick oats), etc. The foods highly rich in nutritional value are dark colored fresh fruit/vegetables that are eaten fresh or lightly steamed or grilled. The more fruit or vegetables are cooked the more the fiber is broken down and the faster they turn to sugar in the gut, and the less cooked the more the fiber retains the ability to slow the rate that the food raises the blood sugar level. What determines a simple carb from a complex carb is how fast it breaks down to sugar in the body. So eating anything with added sugar is going to be too much sugar for someone with a low metabolism who doesn't move around very much.

I like reading about the no carb diet for learning about what foods are simple sugars (which basically no one needs to eat), and what foods have complex sugars so i can choose those rather than to feed my addiction to the quick fix of sugar that leaves me craving more. I learned that fresh or frozen fruit like berries or peaches are really great blended with a peeled fresh orange, and ice. And NO sugar rush and No cravings! For breakfast I like to add some whey protein powder, for protein. It makes a delicious smoothy and my energy level is good clear to lunch. I eat a few raw nuts or two dice sized cubes of cheese as a snack between meals and I always feel satisfied and don't have cravings. But if I eat junk rather than take the time to eat real food, I eat the junk PLUS the real food...then UGH! I feel awful. It's too much for my digestive system.

The more simple carbs we eat the more we crave them, simply because the body is starving for nutrients. You can do a search for a complex carb chart. They are easy to find.

I learned from the no carb diet plan that a serving of meat or poultry is the size of a deck of cards...wow, what a revelation to me to see how many servings I used to eat at one meal. A serving of cheese is the size of two dice! wow, how much more cheese I had been eating! This knowledge helped me cut way back on the high calorie dense foods, and stuff myself if I want with foods like asparagus grilled with a bit of spray olive oil or cold pressed olive oil and garlic powder and a little salt...YUM! and I can all I want of the grilled fresh veggies. Choose nutrient rich dark colored veggies to grill and eat all you want of those with your smaller portions of meats. It is so satisfying, and it will quickly get rid of your sugar cravings, and your waist size will shrink! Don't weigh so much as check your waist and hip measurements, since as someone pointed out, as you build muscle the muscle weighs more.

One thing I appreciate about the no carb diet is it shows what size a 'portion' is. It is very helpful to me to learn that a portion of sugar or sweetened canned fruit is very small compared to a portion of whole fresh fruit. The whole fresh food has the needed fiber that slows how fast the fruit is digested, and whether it gets stored as fat or is usable for energy.

As far as working out, I think it's not good to compare ourselves with others who have the muscle and stamina already which we may be lacking. NO it's not in vain for you to persevere. Set your own goals, a step at a time. Don't torture yourself about someone else's goals. That has nothing to do with who you are. You may feel better walking than going to a gym. Go walk around a mall like you are going somewhere, or walk to the end of the block or around a park...have small goals, and after awhile your stamina will increase then you can increase your goals. You can do this.

 
Old 12-16-2010, 09:25 PM   #15
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Re: Just how low is low?

Thanks for the help! I do appreciate it. I went to the head doctor last night and they weighed me; still over the 400 lbs. mark! Even if I'm eating as much as I did, what I'm eating is fruit, vegetables, meat. That's it. Why am I not losing weight? I don't plan to drop like crazy. It took me years to get here, I don't plan on losing hundreds of pounds overnight, but I would imagine a pound a week would be conceivable.

I'm starting at the gym on Saturday. I'm worried I won't stick with it, but I think instead of a schedule I'll just go when I have some time and make my way around the weights with whatever I have a notion to do. No pressure to do more or less this way. Last time I worked out I used weights, but did it like a cardio workout. I'd do, say, 95 pounds on the bench as fast as I could, as long as I could, then I'd reduce the weight a couple of pounds and repeat it for a few sets. I found this much less dreadful than spending monotinous time on the treadmill, or killing myself to get out four to six reps. I'm still a little worried, though. It sucks to have such an undisciplined body!

Thanks again for all the help.

 
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