I can't figure out food balancing

CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
edited March 2015 in Health and Weight Loss
Please help me out with this. I know everyone's body is different.

If I eat a big (400-500 cal) breakfast, I am starving by lunch.

Conversely, if I try to cut calories at bfast and/or lunch, I am STARVING by 4 PM.

If I try to eat the same number of calories at each meal, I go to bed feeling grumpy and hungry.

If I exercise but try to eat only a 200-250 cal breakfast, I am starving AND grumpy all day.

If I exercise and then eat a big bfast, I feel hungry all day and have to deploy every drop of willpower. (Read: likely to fail!) :'(

I just can't yet figure out what's right for my body. I'm 5'9" and I'd like to lose 25-30 lbs. Yesterday!

It can't be this difficult to determine what is the right balance. Any tips?


  • ForeverSunshine09
    ForeverSunshine09 Posts: 966 Member
    I have found for me personally that certain foods trigger hunger or cravings. Sadly I cant eat Salad for lunch or I want to eat all salty, buttery, chocolatey things available. So I just load up on protein instead and sometimes a sandwich.
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    Oh, wow! It's oatmeal in the morning that seems to make me hungry all day; and you're right - salads at lunch make me want to weep for chocolate or carbs at 4 PM. THANK YOU! Great idea!
  • blankiefinder
    blankiefinder Posts: 3,599 Member
    Cutting and pasting my reply to someone else:

    I find I need to make smart food choices. A pound of strawberries vs 12 peanut m&m's, which one will fill you more?

    Eat more of:
    lean proteins
    steamed, boiled or raw veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, peas, brussels sprouts (roasted, yum!) asparagus...
    greek yogurt, cottage cheese (125g for 100 calories is a bargain!)

    Eat less of (notice I don't say not to eat, just in moderation):
    pasta, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn (you'll know what to avoid based on the calories per grams)
    High fat proteins
    Candy, sweets, ice cream.

    Once you find the right balance, you can eat anything, if you can make it fit your macros. Use a food scale. Weigh everything, log everything. Succeed.

    And adding in:

    It's also a matter of balancing out your calories through the day to where you need them. I like to snack at night, so I save a lot of calories for dinner and late night snacks.

    Today I had a 300 calorie breakfast, 250 calorie lunch, 550 calorie supper (high for me!) and the rest went to snacks (typically a greek yogurt, berries with milk and sugar, a small tin of flavoured tuna, etc)
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    @BlankieFinder, that's great advice! So are you doing 1400 calories or something per day? I like your strategy! What's your exercise of choice.
  • blankiefinder
    blankiefinder Posts: 3,599 Member
    I was doing 1400 while I was losing, but I transitioned to maintenance almost a month ago.

    I am trying to do a recomposition right now (lose fat, gain muscle, stay at the same weight = lose size and belly fat) so I am doing a lifting program, New Rules of Lifting for Women, as well as a crazy bag of cardio. I completely mix it up depending on what I feel like. I do Zumba once a week. Sometimes I'll walk for an hour, sometimes I will do sprints for 6 minutes and combine that with elliptical or exercise bike.
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    Splendid! Brava! That's awesome. They have me on about 1400 now, too. I'm fairly athletic, so they give me 400 or so more every day. Some people here advise that one never eat the "exercise bonus" which makes sense. That's my plan!
  • blankiefinder
    blankiefinder Posts: 3,599 Member
    Thanks. I ate back as much of my exercise calories as I needed, usually only 25%, though I had my loss set only at .5 pounds per week so I had extra room to play with for deficits before my calories would be too low.
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    I tried 1.5 lbs and felt TOO cranky and hungry. Now I'm at 1 lb and it may not be ideal. Thanks for the tip. You're very kind to be so helpful!
  • blankiefinder
    blankiefinder Posts: 3,599 Member
    No problem! It looks like you have a bit less to lose than I had, and it took me about 6 months. (And I am not a naturally athletic person o:) ) You can do this. Good luck!!
  • 999tigger
    999tigger Posts: 5,235 Member
    I tried 1.5 lbs and felt TOO cranky and hungry. Now I'm at 1 lb and it may not be ideal.

    You need to lose at a rate that you can sustain. If you cannot sustain 1lb a week then you should cut your deficit down to.5lb.

    The more likely options would be to look at what you are eating or let other people look at your diary. You are on the right track by allocating calories to a different part of the day as needed. You should also be considering what you eat, fruit and veg, complex carbs and lean proteins. Many people favour eating higher protein as that increases their satiety, If you open your diary then people cna have a look.

    Your final get out is to exercise to earn calories which you can eat. The first point is that you need to make sure the burns are accurate. MFP has a tendencu to overstate burns and people overstate their effort, which means burns can be inflated. You do not wnat to be eating back calories you havent in fact burned.

    My rule is that I dont eat back exercise calories if im not hungry or the burns are very low.
    If I burn over a certain amount then I will eat back a % c50%. If im hungry I will eat back the calories I need up to what I believe is an accurate burn limit. Im not a big fan of hunger, its dull.

    My other points are drink plenty of water as thurst is often mistaken for hunger. Wait 15 minutes after drinking and see if that makes a difference.

    Finally your body will feel a bit of hunger as you adjust, but you do adjust. Just use some common sense and good luck.
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    Thank you all so much! It's crazy to put this much attention on eating, but I note that the lack of attention is what caused the drama in the first place!
  • neaneacc
    neaneacc Posts: 224 Member
    Keep a food journal/ diary so that you can spot foods that don't work for you. I found that bananas just don't work for me, and if I eat one I can feel the blood sugar crash as if I ate a candy bar. I don't mean to dis the banana, but some foods won't work for some people and the trick is finding out what is making you crash. I also found that combining things to make sure I get carbs, proteins and fats makes me much happier. So if I "need" something like a bagel or an english muffin I make sure to spread some peanut butter on it. It sounds simple, but it took me a while to figure out that I was making dieting much worse by loading too much similar foods together at once.
    Also, I can't stress enough the importance of water. Drink at least 9 glasses a day as it will help you to lose weight. People often don't know that the body sends the exact same signal for hunger as thirst. Most times people eat, and then keep eating because they don't realize their body actually wants/craves water.
  • Liftng4Lis
    Liftng4Lis Posts: 15,150 Member
    I find that the earlier in the day I eat, the hungrier I am. I generally awake at 3, gym at 5 and eat my first meal between 9:30-10:30 (usually yogurt with nuts and fruit). This in addition to pre logging has helped me tremendously.
  • Aemely
    Aemely Posts: 694 Member
    edited March 2015
    I've found that going to bed a little hungry is not a bad thing. When I'm asleep, I don't notice I'm hungry!! :disagree:

    That being said, I make sure to eat a good breakfast (about 15% of my daily calories; something I did poorly before starting MFP), protein for lunch (about 20%), and then I have about 55% of my calories after 5pm (dinner and snack). I go to bed late.

    I have to be sharp and functional at work, but not as sharp after 5pm. :smiley: I've found this balance works for me as long as I eat protein (tuna, chicken) at lunch. Before sticking to a protein-rich lunch, there was a lot of hangry going on in the afternoon!

  • Aemely
    Aemely Posts: 694 Member
    neaneacc wrote: »
    Keep a food journal/ diary so that you can spot foods that don't work for you. ...

    I use MyFitnessPal for that purpose. :smiley:
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    These are great ideas!!! Wow!
  • runnrchic
    runnrchic Posts: 130 Member
    My breakfast and lunches are very long lists of mainly fruits, veggies, grains and legumes that keep me full all day. I eat most cals for breakfast and lunch.
  • I save more then half of my calories for dinner and after, because that's when I eat the most. I have a protein shake for breakfast, a healthy high protein lunch under 500 cals. But my worst time of the day for eating is dinner and after, so I make sure I have room to be flexible here.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
    Oh, wow! It's oatmeal in the morning that seems to make me hungry all day; and you're right - salads at lunch make me want to weep for chocolate or carbs at 4 PM. THANK YOU! Great idea!

    Try this: In the morning eat more protein and oil. Add nuts or peanut butter to the oatmeal.
    Also, Steel Cut Oatmeal is less refined and has a little bit more fiber.
  • CaliforniaRower
    CaliforniaRower Posts: 187 Member
    I guess it's a matter of paying closer attention to what works for my body. This AM I ate a chicken sausage and a fried egg for bfast, nothing else. I held out until 12:30, despite a heavy workout on the water this morning. I also resolved to eat "nothing baked" all day today, which maybe will show up on the scale tomorrow.

    If it works, Goodbye Forever to Ezekiel bread, pitas, cinnamon raisin English muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, more cookies, pretzel bread, lavosh, matzoh, focaccia, waffles, crepes, buttermilk pancakes, more cookies, eclairs, carrot cake....