ZigZagging Calories

Hey guys, I'm fairly new to calorie counting, so I wanted to see what you guys thought of this. When I first started, probably about 2 months ago, I dropped my cals down to 1200 (after eating probably close to 3000 a day). I lost for a week or two, and then plateaued, so I upped my cals to 1400. Again, I lost, then plateaued. I upped my cals one last time to about 1600 and lost again, but have been at a plateau for the last couple weeks.
I decided to try lowering my cals, and thought maybe zigzagging them would be good as well.

I came up with this plan for the zigzagging:

MON - (right on) 1410
TUES - (right on) 1410
WED - (low) 1210
THURS - (low) 1210
FRI (weigh in day) - (high) 1710
SAT - (high) 1710
SUN - (low) 1210

Does anyone know if this is enough variation. I'm terrified that I'll do something to mess up my metabolism, but I figure as long as I stay above 1200 net cals, I should be okay.

Replies

  • jenttifer
    jenttifer Posts: 90 Member
    I've had the same thing happen. I started at 1200 and lost for a few weeks, then stopped. Then I upped calories to 1400 and again lost, but stopped. Just yesterday I got my calories to 1200 for the day and thought, too, that if I go up a few days, then down a few days it may help. Plus, I figure my body won't go into starvation mode since I do eat higher every few days. I'm really interested to see others' responses to your question. I feel like we're in the same boat!
  • alygoo615
    alygoo615 Posts: 35 Member
    BUMP- I am thinking the same as you... as I am only losing 0.5/week right now and not too happy. From what I read by doing a search, it seems to work for people and doesn't hurt your metabolism but instead jumpstarts it. I wonder if you're supposed to zig-zag for a few weeks, then eat normally for a while or just zig-zag your way to your goal weight?
  • Just1forMe
    Just1forMe Posts: 624 Member
    My regular calorie goal is 1440 daily and this is my zigzag:
    Mon-1200
    Tues-1200
    Wed-1940
    Thurs-1200
    Fri-1400
    Sat-1200
    Sun-1940

    You want to take the daily cal goal MFP gives you x7 and then redivide the total up with at least 2 high days preceded by at least 2 low days (while staying at least at 1200). These numbers are all NET calories by the way...

    I am doing it now as well. Good luck!
  • jram70
    jram70 Posts: 91 Member
    I don't know how much variation you need, but I do know it works. I tend to have a larger variation on the weekends, which I make up for the following week :). I personally do not zigzag everyday rather have one or two large spikes then less to equal it out. Seems to work for me.
  • toxicat
    toxicat Posts: 79
    It depends on your BMI, height/weight, and how active you are every day. If you're more active on the days where you eat less calories, and don't burn off the calories on the days where you eat more, then you'll continue to plateau. Always burn more calories than you consume, and then some, and you should see more results.
  • NancySDA
    NancySDA Posts: 73 Member
    I don't know but I have been STUCK at the same place for over a month. I have just recently started to eat more calories. I will see in a week if it works. I think every body is different and this just might be a game changer for some of us that get stuck in one spot after losing for a while doing the same thing. You guys might be on to something...all you can do is try it and see if it works for you!
  • Nomomush
    Nomomush Posts: 582 Member
    That's what Ido but it's only a result of what I eat on those days...

    Day 1: 2 serving of complex carbs--calories results= 1500
    Day 2: 1 serving of complex carbs--calories results= 1400
    Day 3: 0 serving complex carbscalories results= 1200
    Day 4: restart

    This pyramid keeps my metabolism burning and keeps my body from thinking it's starving.
  • hpsnickers1
    hpsnickers1 Posts: 2,804 Member
    BUMP- I am thinking the same as you... as I am only losing 0.5/week right now and not too happy. From what I read by doing a search, it seems to work for people and doesn't hurt your metabolism but instead jumpstarts it. I wonder if you're supposed to zig-zag for a few weeks, then eat normally for a while or just zig-zag your way to your goal weight?

    Losing weight this way is the healthiest for your body in the long term. My only option was .5lb per week. I had about 10lbs I was trying to lose. It wasn't steady but at the end of 5 months I was right on target.

    And as you drop weight you have to re-calculate your goals. You may start out with 2lbs per week but eventually you will have to drop it down to 1.5lb per week. Then to 1lb. As you get closer to your healthy weight the body will start to protect your fat reserves and eat into your lean muscle mass. You drop the weight loss and increase the calories and let your body know it's okay to continue burning fat because you are getting the fuel it needs.

    You can zig zag from here on out if you wanted to. If we weren't calorie counting that is kind of what we would be doing anyway.
  • bugnbeansmom
    bugnbeansmom Posts: 292 Member
    bump
  • droppin_lbs
    droppin_lbs Posts: 107 Member
    Bump...
  • Sueboo31
    Sueboo31 Posts: 128
    bump...I was curious about this too.
  • jacquerd
    jacquerd Posts: 121 Member
    These are all GREAT suggestions! The bottom line is really calories in/calories out. 3500 claories equals one pound, so when you do the math, that is a 500 calorie deficit per day average if you are trying for a pound a week, whether eating less or exercising. The 1200 calories automatically creates a deficits, so you definitely don't want to go below that (INCLUDING YOUR EXERCISE). You must NET 1200 calories. Additionally, the quality of your calories DOES matter. You must have a good quality protein source to maintain your muscle. If you don't have enought protein and you are reducing your calories, your body will go into starvation mode. It still needs energy to survive, so it will look for it and basically eat your muscles away. So, what this means is that you will have less muscle mass, your metabolism will be reduced (muscle = metablolism, since muscles burn more calories to be maintained than fat) and your body will actually require LESS calories per day to continue to lose. You can read more about the science behind this at www.mylittlegreenleaf.me GOOD LUCK!!!
  • melkeps
    melkeps Posts: 17 Member
    This sounds like a very good idea. I have been on the same weight for more then a month now. i loose a couple of ounce but gain them back the next week and so on.
    Im going to try this for sure!
    monday 1200
    tuesday 1700
    wednesday 1400
    tuesday 1200
    friday 1400
    saterday 1700
    sunday 1400

    we can at least try
  • jacquejl
    jacquejl Posts: 193 Member
    I wonder if this will work for me. I used to eat this way naturally. Throughout my childhood and into adulthood, I'd have days where I just couldn't get enough food, followed by a couple of days where it's a struggle to eat. For example, Monday i was starving all day. Felt like I was about to pass out, but I kept within my calories all day and didn't feel better until I had a large supper. I ended up going over by a couple hundred calories. Now today I can hardly eat. I made myself drink a protein shake after working out and later forced myself to eat a yogurt. So, I've had about 210 calories and I feel like I could vomit! YUK! It will be a struggle to eat lunch. Essentially, I over eat on my hungry days and force myself to eat on those days when I want nothing to do with it. Should I zig zag natually and just count calories on a weekly basis?

    Thanks for the topic!!
  • dieseljay74
    dieseljay74 Posts: 376
    Plan looks good....zig-zagging is what has helped me to lose the last little bit ti uncover my abs finally. By far the best plateau breaker.....
  • Mickie17
    Mickie17 Posts: 559 Member
    Here's a great article by Jillian Michaels in this exact subject: http://www.everydayhealth.com/have-a-weight-loss-plateau-let-me-help.aspx

    Have a Weight Loss Plateau? Let Me Help
    By Jillian Michaels

    There is nothing more discouraging than stepping on the scale after a week of diligent dieting and grueling workouts and not seeing any drop in the number. The plateau is a common problem among dieters and can typically be waited out, but there are measures you can take to keep your metabolism fired up even as you reduce your caloric intake.

    The best way to break a plateau is to keep your salt intake below 2,000 milligrams a day and drink lots of water. Make sure you're not eating any processed carbs, period. That's right — no chips, sugar, white flour, and so on. And hit the gym hard! The boost in exercise will make your body swell and hold fluids for a few days, but after a week you should see the benefits on the scale.

    You can also try playing around with your caloric intake a bit, varying it from day to day throughout the week while keeping the same weekly total. The body can't slow its metabolism to adjust to a reduced caloric intake if the intake isn't fixed from one day to the next. For instance, to bust my plateau, I might have 1,200 calories on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then eat 1,500 calories on Tuesday, 1,600 on Thursday, 1,400 on Saturday, and 1,700 on Sunday. Get it?

    The plateau effect can sometimes simply be a matter of flagging resolve. If mixing up your caloric intake just isn't working, make sure you're not slipping up on your diet or slacking off in your workouts. I'm serious; it happens.

    As with any program, there will be highs and lows, but stay with it. Your body is trying to adjust to the weight loss. Don't get scared or discouraged. Just be patient and know that you are worth it!
  • alygoo615
    alygoo615 Posts: 35 Member
    BUMP- I am thinking the same as you... as I am only losing 0.5/week right now and not too happy. From what I read by doing a search, it seems to work for people and doesn't hurt your metabolism but instead jumpstarts it. I wonder if you're supposed to zig-zag for a few weeks, then eat normally for a while or just zig-zag your way to your goal weight?

    Losing weight this way is the healthiest for your body in the long term. My only option was .5lb per week. I had about 10lbs I was trying to lose. It wasn't steady but at the end of 5 months I was right on target.

    And as you drop weight you have to re-calculate your goals. You may start out with 2lbs per week but eventually you will have to drop it down to 1.5lb per week. Then to 1lb. As you get closer to your healthy weight the body will start to protect your fat reserves and eat into your lean muscle mass. You drop the weight loss and increase the calories and let your body know it's okay to continue burning fat because you are getting the fuel it needs.

    You can zig zag from here on out if you wanted to. If we weren't calorie counting that is kind of what we would be doing anyway.

    I hear you on that. I started at 2 lbs, then after a couple weeks moved it to 1.5, now I'm at 1lb but I'm only losing an average of 0.5 week. I will see what happens at the next two weigh-ins and then start zig-zagging if it isn't working. My initial goal was only 10 or 11lbs from where I am now, but I'm thinking about going 10 lbs lower... if that's the case, I still have 20 or 21 lbs to lose and at a rate of only 0.5/week I'm not going to see the motivation I need to get me there... We will see though- haven't lost all hope yet. Just wish bathing suit season was a little further away :)