New - Am I doing this right?

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Hello,

I've just started using MFP, this is my third day now. This is also the first time I've decided to really try and get fit, so I'm pretty much new to everything in general. After putting my information in, I was given 1200 calories per day. However, after I have eaten and exercised (walks/stepping machine/jogging) I come up with a net of around 700 calories. I'm aware that this probably isn't good, however, there are no points where I feel hungry and I'm not avoiding food, I went for a meal out yesterday. Obviously, the calorie counters on the machines may not be accurate so it could be that my net is higher. I've weighed myself every morning since I started (before drinking anything or eating anything, literally once I wake up) and the first day was 115.7, this morning was 114.2. I'm 5 ft 4. Is that about a normal amount? Should I be eating more food even if I'm not hungry? Or should I do less exercise? Or as I'm feeling fine would that mean it is okay, and then if I did start getting hungry I could just eat more. Overall, I'm aiming to lose some weight and tone up, especially my legs. Thanks very much in advance :)

Replies

  • michaelread
    michaelread Posts: 7 Member
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    First of all, where are you getting your exercised calories from? In terms of MFP and gym cardio machines, usually they will overestimate your calories (unfortunately). If you're worried about getting your BURNED calories exactly right, invest in a heart rate monitor. You can find good Suuntos between $100-$200 and while it may seem unnecessary as you're just starting, you will eventually want one when you get more serious about counting your calories.

    Secondly, if you're not hungry, thats a good thing. Your body isnt aching for more food, so I would assume that you are eating the right amount and your exercise calories recorded are probably wrong. You're probably more likely on about 1000 net.

    In saying that, if everything is good and accurate, then 700 cal is not enough. Not because starvation mode is a thing (its a myth, your body wont appreciate so little food and wont function correctly, yes, but you dont hold onto stored fat if you eat too little calories) but because you dont want to be depriving yourself of the things you need.

    The way I see it you have 2 ways to go about this:

    1. stay as it is, if you can continue your exercise performance and the weight is coming off, then you're fine and have no need to worry

    2. eat 300 calories more, weigh yourself in a week, and if you havent dropped then taper down 100 cals in your allowance for the next week, see if you lost, repeat until you're losing.

    MFP is great, but it can only run off numbers, not off feel, go with what works for you.

    And your weight loss may be water weight, or fat lost, who knows. Only weigh yourself weekly and not in between, it gives a greater reflection of your efforts and eliminates water weight guess work.
  • StaciMarie1974
    StaciMarie1974 Posts: 4,138 Member
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    One note about weight loss: its not always predictable. Consider these 2 scenarios:

    1. You use a debit card/atm card for your bank account and every transaction you make affects your available balance right away. (Weight loss is NOT like this.)

    2. Its 20 years ago and my mother could write a check at a friend's store, they'd cash it for her and she knew it would be 3-4 business days before the check cleared the bank. She did this from time to time as my dad worked a state job and only got paid once per month. Sometimes the cash flow didn't work perfectly. (Weight loss is more like this - results are not always instant and predictable.)

    So while its ok to weigh regularly, the benefit is to learn your body's trends. You may gain a few pounds before/during/after your time of the month. (Everyone is different.) You'll likely show a gain a day or two after you consume a high amount of sodium. You may gain after starting a more intense workout program, after a major bout of stress or a poor night's sleep. These are temporary water weight gains, nothing to worry about. Just know that if you're consistently eating less than burning, over time you WILL lose weight. Make it a point to get enough nutrition, and listen to your body's cues in terms of how you feel regarding energy, etc.

    Good luck. :)
  • MyRide
    MyRide Posts: 5
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    As of right now, I am just getting calorie burned readings off MFP and the machine itself, I'd heard that they tended to overestimate. I am hoping to get a heart rate monitor in the future, though want to prove I can keep it up before spending the money. I'm glad to know that if I'm not hungry I'm probably not under-eating so thank you for that :) I'll probably keep on going and see what happens, and just continue to eat if I feel I need to.

    Thanks for the weighing advice :)
  • chrs86
    chrs86 Posts: 151 Member
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    If you're eating lean protein and exercising I wouldn't worry about hitting your goal if you're not hungry. Once you get to your maintenance weight you def want to hit your calorie goal so you can build lean muscle. Just stick with good protein and veggies and you should lose and be good. I really think the fitnesspal goals are better for people who are trying to maintain or build muscle and not for dieting. Just my opinion.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,395 MFP Moderator
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    1. Do you use a food scale?
    2. As an active 18 year old, even 1700 calories per day will probably be too low
    3. You are 5 lbs away from being underweight, so i question why you are trying to lose. If it's definition you lack, it's because you lack adequate body composition... aka you don't have enough muscle and weight loss probably isn't the right answer
    4. What are your goals?
  • JaneyB311
    JaneyB311 Posts: 80 Member
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    Hello, welcome along and well dont for trying to improve things for yourself :).

    This is the exact type of question that divides people on MFP unfortunately. There are 2 schoold of thought - those who happily eat 1200 or under and those who believe 1200 calories is too low for most people especially when exercising.

    I can only share my own personal experience here as I am not an expert or an authority but I have lost 56lbs over the last 8 months in what I beleive to be a healthy way.

    I am in the 1200 is too low camp I'm afraid. I've been there and done that; MFP also gave me 1200 cals in the beginning however exercising 4-5 times a week left me feeling exhausted and cranky and netting under 900 some days as I didnt want to eat back what i'd just burnt off. Not only that, but after an initial success, we weight stood still in the third month and I was so frustrated. I was advised to up my calories and use the TDEE method (whereby your activity is factored in and you don't therefore 'eat back' exercise calories, but you have a higher base line to begin with).

    Anyhoo, after 1 week of upping my calories I dropped 8lb! And I've continued to lose a steady 1-2lb per week ever since. I now eat 1650 cals per day which feels much better in terms of energy levels and I've noticed a great improvement in my hair, skin & nails due to eating nutritionally well. If you interested I also set my maro's to 45% carbs (which I get from fruit, veg, wholegrain rice & sweet potatoes mostly), 30% protein and 25% fat. (Please don't be afraid of good fats, I spent years of extremely low fat diets and its miserable - finding I could eat lots of salmon and peanut butter has been a revelation!)

    I use this site to help me calculate what I should have: http://www.thefitgirls.com/weight-loss-calculator.aspx

    If you have any more questions please feel free to message me, or make me your friend. The great thing about MFP is the support.

    Good luck with everything and I hope this is useful :)

    PS - The reason you're not hungry despite having such a low net intake is that eating very low calories puts your metablism on it's *kitten*.
  • MyRide
    MyRide Posts: 5
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    1. Do you use a food scale?
    2. As an active 18 year old, even 1700 calories per day will probably be too low
    3. You are 5 lbs away from being underweight, so i question why you are trying to lose. If it's definition you lack, it's because you lack adequate body composition... aka you don't have enough muscle and weight loss probably isn't the right answer
    4. What are your goals?

    I do use a food scale yes, especially for breakfast cereals and things like that.

    I'm basically aiming to get fitter, improve recovery time (I enjoy cycling and want to be able to get up the hills more easily) and generally tone. I'm not necessarily trying to lose weight, it's just with the exercising I've now added in and the amount I eat which hasn't really changed much, except for its healthier food, I seem to be losing weight too. How would I therefore increase muscle and get fitter without losing weight? Or without putting on weight?
  • MyRide
    MyRide Posts: 5
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    Thank you Janey for the welcome :) That's very impressive! I'll definitely check out that website too. I think I need to work on my protein levels, I've been a vegetarian now for about a year and a half and I think I'm going to have to pay more attention to that. I'll also have a look at the TDEE method.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,395 MFP Moderator
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    1. Do you use a food scale?
    2. As an active 18 year old, even 1700 calories per day will probably be too low
    3. You are 5 lbs away from being underweight, so i question why you are trying to lose. If it's definition you lack, it's because you lack adequate body composition... aka you don't have enough muscle and weight loss probably isn't the right answer
    4. What are your goals?

    I do use a food scale yes, especially for breakfast cereals and things like that.

    I'm basically aiming to get fitter, improve recovery time (I enjoy cycling and want to be able to get up the hills more easily) and generally tone. I'm not necessarily trying to lose weight, it's just with the exercising I've now added in and the amount I eat which hasn't really changed much, except for its healthier food, I seem to be losing weight too. How would I therefore increase muscle and get fitter without losing weight? Or without putting on weight?


    Tone is driven by body fat and lean body mass. If you don't have low body fat or enough lean body mass (everything not fat), then you will struggle to get tone. If your goal is to get strong to improve performance, I would suggest having a very small deficit or eating at maintenance to optimize the amount of nutrition you will receive and maximize the amount of available macornutrients to help with strength. Weight training, especially compound lifts, will provide you the platform.

    Second, at some point, if your gains plateau, you will probably need to gain mass to make progress. That means gaining weight and eating a surplus in order to gain mass. Essentially, you can't gain muscle if you aren't gaining weight in your situation. This is why people follow bulk/cut cycles. This will maximize potential muscle growth and minimize fat growth. Many will choose to do a slow bulk followed by a cut, and repeat until they achieve the body they want or enough mass to support their goals. Keep in mind, that adding muscle doesn't mean getting all hulk like. Muscle is more dense than fat, so in many cases, you will become more lean. See the below link for a woman who is a power lifter and gained 20 lbs of mass.




    http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/07/21/meet-staci-your-new-powerlifting-super-hero/
  • Tiff1124
    Tiff1124 Posts: 261 Member
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    I'm curious as to why you want to lose weight when you are only 114 pounds? :huh:
  • MyRide
    MyRide Posts: 5
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    Thank you very much - that link was very interesting. How is one meant to judge good gains (as in muscle) and then just gaining fat? Obviously if you're trying to lose weight seeing the numbers go down suggest you are achieving this, I think that's why I was going for lower. How are you meant to know if you're progressing? By what you can lift?

    Edited to add: Sorry if these are stupid questions