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Maintenance Seems Too Low?

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  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,674 Member Member Posts: 39,674 Member
    What were your inputs for activity level...if you put sedentary then that would probably be about right...most people need to move more if they want to eat more...sedentary people can't eat much...they're too sedentary and don't require much fuel.

    My wife is 5'2" and maintains on around 2200 - 2300 calories per day...she trains regularly.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 19,288 Member Member Posts: 19,288 Member
    Also be aware that 1560 goal is for an actual sedentary day. And from MFP sedentary is really sedentary, like no kids, pets, not much reason for moving.

    Dollars to donuts your Fitbit is informing MFP that you are no where near sedentary - and your actual eating allowance is much higher if you have accounts synced.

    That takes care of the eating enough - as to how to do it in budget - you got some good suggestions I'll let continue.
  • shannonkkshannonkk Member Posts: 192 Member Member Posts: 192 Member
    I put my bread in the freezer because I like the kind that goes bad quick, freeze your bread and toast it or warm it in the oven, yumm. Do you make noodles or pretzels, they just need a little salt and no condiments.
  • flaminicaflaminica Member Posts: 304 Member Member Posts: 304 Member
    MyFitnessPal has calculated my maintenance calories at 1560 a day.

    Old saying: The proof is in the pudding.

    Your actual maintenance calories may be higher than MFP claims. Continue to closely monitor your calories and your weight. If pounds continue to drift off, increase calories until you find your balanced point. This may take several months. MFP told me back in May that my maintenance calorie count was only 1420, but I've lost six pounds since then eating around 1700. The TDEE formula they use is clearly a bit aggressive for some people.
  • deannasawyerdeannasawyer Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
    Some days, my Fitbit gives me 500-600 extra calories. Normally it only gives me about 200 more by the end of the day. If I go over my calorie allowance, I usually spend a couple hours before bed on the exercise bike while I do computer work.

    Great tip about the bread in the freezer! I do indeed make noodles & pretzels as well, just not as often as they tend to take up a large amount of time to make.
  • Spliner1969Spliner1969 Member Posts: 3,233 Member Member Posts: 3,233 Member
    Question for the OP: Are you hoping to subsist at maintenance without any form of regular exercise? If so, you may need to adjust some of the things you eat. I do a lot of things differently, like buy lower calorie breads (Healthy Life, and Sara Lee make 35 and 45 calorie per slice bread that is pretty tasty). They also make hamburger and hotdog buns that come in at 80 calories. Peanut butter is difficult, because of the oils it's really high calorie. You choose to eat it or not, I prefer PB2 it's about 1/3 the calories and, for me at least, the chocolate version is pretty tasty. PB2 and other peanut butter powders are expensive though, so I don't always buy them and sometimes just deal with the calories from regular peanut butter that the family eats. Anything with lots of fat is going to be lots of calories, so try to increase protein a bit and lower fat, but don't cut all fat, you need a good amount for good health. IIFYM.com's calculator helped me quite a bit, as you can add in your regular exercise in their calc and come up with a daily calorie level and macros to stick with for maintenance. I eat a lot of low fat items for calorie reduction, but some of it just isn't as tasty as the full fat version, but lower fat, or light versions sometimes are.

    Do check out some other calculators around the net. You'll find some are different, and most will be higher than MFP's estimation if you add in your regular exercise. Just remember, if you use something like IIFYM to calculate a calorie goal for maintenance based on added exercise, you must turn off additional calories added from exercise at MFP or you'll go over and not realize it.
  • jesheckahjesheckah Member Posts: 33 Member Member Posts: 33 Member
    For frozen veggies, you could also check your local dollar store! They sometimes have bags that are pretty decently sized, same for fruits. i got a bag of mixed berries there that I use to flavor waters and it has lasted me a few months.

    If you can buy beans in bulk, you can make REALLY yummy simple beans for cheap.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/10314949?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227008506416&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40890148232&wl4=pla-57787710346&wl5=9023446&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=10314949&wl13=&veh=sem

    This 8 pounds will make at least 3X that in volume. Just soak them overnight in 2 cup increments, rinse them, and then put them in a pot with 3X as much water. Sprinkle a small amount of salt, and put 1/4th an onion in with them. if you have a rice cooker or pressure cooker they will be done in about 3 hours, otherwise it can take 4-6. Keep them covered.

    You could also look into getting some quaker oats and doing cold oats for breakfast.

    http://hurrythefoodup.com/how-to-make-overnight-oats-in-a-jar/

    The possibilities for what you can add are endless, but you get more fiber that way, and you can use up small scraps.
  • DoreenaV1975DoreenaV1975 Member Posts: 567 Member Member Posts: 567 Member
    Oh wow! I average about 1300-1380 a day when (I'm eating at full maintenance mode) and I eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day.
    Even when I'm "deficiting" at 1,000-1200 calories I feel like I eat more than you do, or at least more often.
    I see a lot of wasted calories in your meals.
    For the record I eat cookies and peanut butter and coffee... etc... almost on the daily (well, coffee definitely on the daily) and I still fit it all in my calories, just in smaller portions - for example PB is 1 TBSP not 2.
    I think the problem is your limited access to food or you just don't realize how easily cutting a few of your portions down will benefit you in the long run. My coffee, before MFP used to be in the 100 calorie range. I now average about 50-60 calories per every 2 cups! I made adjustments because I wanted to be able to eat more/more often! Looks like you may want to figure that out.
  • deannasawyerdeannasawyer Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
    My regular exercise comes from work around the farm, so some days are more active than others. I'd like to be able to maintain at sedentary level, so that I can adjust according to my activity that day instead of overshooting my calorie intake and then trying to make it up at the end of the day.

    Thank you all for your suggestions. <3 I took some notes, and here is my takeaway from this discussion (in no particular order):
    -Cut out or minimize peanut butter entirely
    -Put the bread in the freezer so I do not feel pressured to eat it as quickly
    -(when eggs are available) Use eggs to help feel fuller in lieu of more bread
    -Buy frozen fruits/veggies for the freezer when I have a little extra money, and use these to bulk up meals (not just dinner)
    -Transition to black coffee
    -BEANS & TATERS (thanks guys!)
    -Introduce more fiber

    Was there anything else super important that I missed?

    Also: I completely get what you mean, Doreena. When I made a batch of meringue cookies with some extra egg whites I had, for example, I was shocked at how often I could treat myself with a cookie, since the calories per cookie were something like only 30 apiece.

    EDIT: Oh, duh! The dehydrator! I could totally dehydrate some of the apple drops to eat later, and dehydrate other fruits/veggies when they are on sale to use as snacks! (doh!)
    edited September 2016
  • Spliner1969Spliner1969 Member Posts: 3,233 Member Member Posts: 3,233 Member
    -Cut out or minimize peanut butter entirely
    -Put the bread in the freezer so I do not feel pressured to eat it as quickly
    -(when eggs are available) Use eggs to help feel fuller in lieu of more bread
    -Buy frozen fruits/veggies for the freezer when I have a little extra money, and use these to bulk up meals (not just dinner)
    -Transition to black coffee
    -BEANS & TATERS
    -Introduce more fiber

    Was there anything else super important that I missed?

    I would miss peanut butter, do try PB2 sometime though. Peanut Butter would be great on a day when you've burned extra calories. PB2 on other days when you have a craving (there are other brands of peanut powder, Jiff, etc.).

    I also tried to transition to black coffee with no luck. I just don't like it, it's bitter and sucks. So now I drink it black (no creamer most of the time, or maybe 1 tsp dry non-dairy @ 10 cals, plus I use Stevia Packets. They cost me carbs but are 0 calorie. I do drink it less than I used to, but it's still good with Stevia and lighter creamer options. Hell if you can skip the creamer and just use the Stevia, it's 0 calories.

    Taters are good. Try other veggies too, I like cauliflower. Always hated it as a kid, and still dislike it raw, but take about 300g of it, toss it with salt pepper and about a tbsp of olive oil, then bake it at 375 for about 30-45 minutes until it gets a little brown around the edges. It makes a very filling 2 serving dish @ about 100 calories each and has a good amount of fiber. Add that recipe to MFP's recipe calculator and you'll see what I mean.

    For breakfast I learned to like Bran Cereal. So now I generally eat .5 cups of original Fiber One Bran with half a banana chopped up in it with .5 cup of vanilla almond milk, then I drink a protein shake after it. What I do is take bananas, let them ripen, then chop them up into slices and freeze them in the freezer, store them in zip lock bags, and simply chop up about 63g of them to add to my cereal in the morning. It's not bad at all with the vanilla almond milk.

    .5 cup Fiber One Original Bran Cereal = 60 cal, 25 carbs (complex carbs!), 14g fiber!!, 2g protein
    .5 cup Silk Light Vanilla Almond Milk = 30 cal, 6 carbs, 1g protein
    63g Dole banana (half a medium) = 55 cal, 15 carbs, 2g fiber, 1g protein

    Total for the cereal is 145 cal, 46 carbs, 16g fiber!, 4g protein

    I then drink a 2 scoop Body Fortress Vanilla or Chocolate When Isolate shake = 280 cal, 60g protein, 6 carbs, 2g fiber mixed with nothing but water

    It's a pretty filling breakfast at about 425 calories, 64g protein, 18g fiber, and 52 carbs. It may sound like it tastes bad but it doesn't, I enjoy it and it's simple and quick. On weekends I work out more and eat a bigger breakfast but that's my go-to M-F breakfast.

    Just ideas, you can mix in any fruit you want into the cereal, and it'll help you get your fiber up quickly.

  • mom23mangosmom23mangos Member Posts: 3,069 Member Member Posts: 3,069 Member
    It also sounds like you don't get much protein if you are limiting meat to once a week or so and chickens aren't producing eggs. Again, if you can fish or hunt for you meat, it will really help stretch your budget. I grew up in Louisiana where they eat anything that moves, so really your options are limitless if you live rurally. Some may be grossed out, but my dad even cooks squirrel.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,674 Member Member Posts: 39,674 Member
    My regular exercise comes from work around the farm, so some days are more active than others. I'd like to be able to maintain at sedentary level, so that I can adjust according to my activity that day instead of overshooting my calorie intake and then trying to make it up at the end of the day.

    Thank you all for your suggestions. <3 I took some notes, and here is my takeaway from this discussion (in no particular order):
    -Cut out or minimize peanut butter entirely
    -Put the bread in the freezer so I do not feel pressured to eat it as quickly
    -(when eggs are available) Use eggs to help feel fuller in lieu of more bread
    -Buy frozen fruits/veggies for the freezer when I have a little extra money, and use these to bulk up meals (not just dinner)
    -Transition to black coffee
    -BEANS & TATERS (thanks guys!)
    -Introduce more fiber

    Was there anything else super important that I missed?

    Also: I completely get what you mean, Doreena. When I made a batch of meringue cookies with some extra egg whites I had, for example, I was shocked at how often I could treat myself with a cookie, since the calories per cookie were something like only 30 apiece.

    EDIT: Oh, duh! The dehydrator! I could totally dehydrate some of the apple drops to eat later, and dehydrate other fruits/veggies when they are on sale to use as snacks! (doh!)

    So in reality, 1560 isn't maintenance...that's just what MFP is giving you if you truly are sitting around doing nothing. If you're working around the farm you are not remotely sedentary.

    If it were me personally, I'd start tracking the data from my fitbit over the course of the next several weeks and just kind of figure out how many calories on average I'm eating on a weekly basis and then just go from there and dump the screens and machines.
  • CaraRahlCaraRahl Member Posts: 72 Member Member Posts: 72 Member
    I want to echo the idea to purchase frozen veggies and bulk foods like dried beans when the grocery money allows for it. I know what it's like to be on a tight budget, without a lot of wiggle room for food, and those things are a lifesaver for me. The dried beans/peas/lentils are much cheaper per pound than canned ones, and there doesn't have to be a whole lot of effort involved in preparing them (plus leftovers freeze really well). I also agree with the fiber comments: getting a bigger amount of fiber in your diet is going to help you feel full longer, not to mention help keep your digestive system happy. Just pick up what you can when you can, dried goods will be safe in your pantry for a while, and get creative with what seasonings you have on hand to use to keep meals interesting.
  • khhregisterkhhregister Member Posts: 229 Member Member Posts: 229 Member
    So many good ideas here.

    My big AHA! moment came when I realized I was eating ALL calorie-dense foods. I think you are as well. These are great if you are camping, or chopping wood all day and only have 10 minutes to wolf down enough food to fuel you for the rest of the day. But for the rest of us, we really need fewer calories and larger volume, and food that takes us a while to eat. I can eat a PB&J sandwich in like 3 minutes and easily eat a second one. But I can't afford those calories.

    For me, the solution is a giant salad every day. I use a whole head of romaine lettuce and some protein: 300-400 calories.

    Some people like soup (I'm not a huge fan, but I have it sometimes). With frozen veggies and homemade stock and some dried beans, you can make a giant pot of soup very inexpensively. Have a cup of homemade soup to start every meal, and you won't be as hungry for the calorie dense and expensive food, like meats and processed foods.

    Do you have a slow cooker? I save all my vegetable scraps and make stock with chicken bones overnight in mine. It's made a big difference in my cooking.
  • Sued0nimSued0nim Member Posts: 17,456 Member Member Posts: 17,456 Member
    I am not sure that a farmer could be sedentary could they?

  • sevenofnine01sevenofnine01 Member Posts: 54 Member Member Posts: 54 Member
    Okay so first off - your life sounds interesting and fascinating and I really love that you live off the land so much! I bet you're getting all kinds of health benefits of homegrown foods and not eating chemical-laden pre-packaged stuff that can't be accurately documented by MFP!

    I'm going to echo what others have said - buy bulk frozen Veggies and given beans and rice a try. It's honestly so filling, full of fibre and inexpensive. That might help. Do you have any friends who live in the city and have a Costco membership? Bulk bags of Kirkland mixed veggies are about $10, and will literally last you and your family weeks (they're really huge bags). The quality of the veggies is very high.

    How do you feel about soup? Are there other farmers near by that you could trade with? Maybe a couple hours of labor for some fresh veggies? Squash and beets make amazing soups that would be low calorie and keep you feeling like you ate a full meal. Keep your animal bones (Roast bones or chicken carcass) to make broth to make your soups even cheaper.

    Good luck!
  • deannasawyerdeannasawyer Member Posts: 25 Member Member Posts: 25 Member
    Thank you for your further suggestions. I am definitely going to put it to good use (especially the fiber and veggies part!). With all of you echoing each other about the fiber, I can see that it is definitely important, and dried beans are a good staple food. Maybe it will also help to alleviate my consistently inconsistent digestive issues. I wouldn't need to buy frozen veggies, but what with the major drought this year, even watering on a nearly-daily basis my garden suffered. The nightshades did swimmingly, but everything else was quite sad. Dairy will hopefully be introduced next year when the two goats are bred, but right now it's pretty tight overall. I truly, honestly appreciate everyone's level of understanding. You guys are the best community ever.

    Hunting is not in the cards for me at this time, as I don't know how to shoot yet, though I really need to learn if I'm going to protect this flock of chickens better than the last ones. We have a serious number of mink around here.

    I do like the idea of soup, and I've always heard making your own stock from bones and veggie scraps is pretty easy and very tasty. I can make a simple cracker to go with it using whole grains and dried herbs.
    edited September 2016
  • JeyradanJeyradan Member Posts: 164 Member Member Posts: 164 Member
    Based on the example meals you gave:

    - Can you slice your bread thinner? If it'll go off, put it in the freezer. Alternatively, mix it more and let it rise more so that you get more air in it and each slice is fewer calories.
    - How big is a serving size of peanut butter? The "everyday value" (cheapest) version at my local shop is 94 calories for a serving, which is one tablespoon.
    - Can you drink your coffee black, or with either sugar or creamer instead of both? If not, can you substitute sugar with sweetener (there are some really inexpensive versions out there, but you can also just snag a few packets for free anytime you're near a coffee shop or fast food place) or creamer with skimmed milk (especially if you can milk your own goats or sheep and skim the milk yourself)?
    - Can you divide the roast into 8 servings instead of 6? If you need the larger serving size to feed your family, can you divide 2/3 of it into 4 regular-sized servings, and the remaining third into 3 or 4 smaller ones?
    - Can you trim the fat from your meats to reduce calories?

    In a more general sense, people in this thread have given you more good advice than I possibly could about ways to add volume, fullness and nutrients without breaking the bank. I'd just like to add a couple more resources:

    The Reddit "Eat Cheap and Healthy" forum:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/EatCheapAndHealthy/

    The "Good and Cheap Cookbook" (designed for food-stamp budgets):
    https://cookbooks.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf
    edited September 2016
  • Francl27Francl27 Member Posts: 26,373 Member Member Posts: 26,373 Member
    Well, you're very light. So yes of course your maintenance calories are going to be low.

    But yeah, people gave you options. I mean, heck, my maintenance is 2200 (counting activity) and I still end up hungry most days if I have too much bread, so... You're going to have to be more active if you want to stick to your current diet.
  • elisa123galelisa123gal Member Posts: 4,064 Member Member Posts: 4,064 Member
    Bag the pbj sandwich.. eat an egg white omelet with a 100 calorie thomas bagel. Or buy 35 calorie bread and have two slices. You could also fry one egg add an egg white and eat the low calorie bread.. cut those morning calories.
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