Starving After Weight Lifting

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I started the 5x5 StrongLifts program just under a month ago to add some bulk and muscle definition to my frame. I'm seeing results, which I love. My biggest struggle with this program is not how heavy the weight is, but how utterly STARVING I am the days after I lift. I've used several TDEE calculators to determine that my TDEE is ~2400 calories. I've been eating at least that for several weeks (months?) now and I've seen weight maintenance. I'm still eating this much now that I started lifting, and my weight hasn't changed outside of normal fluctuations, so I feel like I am eating enough. But maybe some of you who are heavy lifters can take a look at my stats/diary and try to help me out? I'm just afraid to start eating more because I don't want to gain weight. I'm just wondering now because the last couple of days I've been so insatiably hungry that I'm even to the point where I'm feeling ill - kind of light-headed, like I've had too much caffeine (which could also be the case...)

About me:
5'8"
138-140 lbs
Female
Vegan
Desk job, squeezing in a 30 minute walk when I can if the weather allows
Teach yoga 4x/week
Practice yoga 4-5x/week
Spin 1x/week (Les Mills RPM)
5x5 StrongLifts program 3x/week

My diary is open! Thanks in advance for any insight, you guys rock!

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Replies

  • GothyFaery
    GothyFaery Posts: 762 Member
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    I had this problem too. What worked for me was upping my protein to around 100g a day. Some days I would only come in around 90 and others I would come in way over that but I did notice that any time I was under 90, I felt horrible. I wish I could tell you the science and stuff behind it but I just don't know it. All I know is that it worked for me. Good luck!
  • TR0berts
    TR0berts Posts: 7,739 Member
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    I'm somewhat confused. You opened up by stating that you want(ed) to add bulk. You later say you don't want to add weight. Those two things are contradictory.

    If you're really that hungry, and are a little lightheaded, eat at least a little more. With all that yoga, plus lifting, plus a spin class, I'd think you could easily handle it.
  • racho9
    racho9 Posts: 1 Member
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    It is very difficult to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, especially if you are lean to begin with (which I believe you are). If your goal is to gain muscle, you will by default need to gain weight-- "*kitten* moves Mass".
    If you are on Facebook, there is a page called "Eat to Perform" that has some really good articles explaining this!
  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
    edited February 2017
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    lorrpb wrote: »
    It might make sense to up your calories a little. If you see unwanted weight gain over 4-6 weeks, just cut back a little. It doesn't mean you have to gain unlimited amounts of weight forever. One of the skills of maintenance, which I'm still learning, is how to MANAGE the ups and downs of weight so we stay where we want to stay.
    Perhaps you need to adjust WHEN you eat, pre and post workout?

    ETA: Just looked at your diary. On the days I looked at, you were under your calorie goal 200-400 cals and getting about half the protein you need. Those would be two good reasons you feel hungry.

    Thanks for looking! Yes - I'm almost always under the protein suggestions. It had never affected me before, but now that I'm lifting I guess it couldn't hurt to up my protein shake to two scoops. I always drink a protein shake right after lifting and the morning after as well, in hopes that that will help to curb cravings. I'll have to try to find some creative ways to do this - I love tofu/tempeh/seitan, but only eat these things rarely as I try not to go too crazy with the processed foods. I have started pretty regularly adding chia and hemp seeds to my diet, however, so that could certainly help!

    ETA - there are some days where I don't have time to go back in and add things at the end of the day that I did eat. Most days I find that I tend to be within 100 calories or so, but I guess even that small deficit can certainly add up to feeling hungry and depleted after a while.
  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
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    TR0berts wrote: »
    I'm somewhat confused. You opened up by stating that you want(ed) to add bulk. You later say you don't want to add weight. Those two things are contradictory.

    If you're really that hungry, and are a little lightheaded, eat at least a little more. With all that yoga, plus lifting, plus a spin class, I'd think you could easily handle it.

    I was hoping someone would say this. I was thinking that, too, but wanted to hear it from someone else :)
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,985 Member
    edited February 2017
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    kzooyogi wrote: »
    lorrpb wrote: »
    It might make sense to up your calories a little. If you see unwanted weight gain over 4-6 weeks, just cut back a little. It doesn't mean you have to gain unlimited amounts of weight forever. One of the skills of maintenance, which I'm still learning, is how to MANAGE the ups and downs of weight so we stay where we want to stay.
    Perhaps you need to adjust WHEN you eat, pre and post workout?

    ETA: Just looked at your diary. On the days I looked at, you were under your calorie goal 200-400 cals and getting about half the protein you need. Those would be two good reasons you feel hungry.

    Thanks for looking! Yes - I'm almost always under the protein suggestions. It had never affected me before, but now that I'm lifting I guess it couldn't hurt to up my protein shake to two scoops. I always drink a protein shake right after lifting and the morning after as well, in hopes that that will help to curb cravings. I'll have to try to find some creative ways to do this - I love tofu/tempeh/seitan, but only eat these things rarely as I try not to go too crazy with the processed foods. I have started pretty regularly adding chia and hemp seeds to my diet, however, so that could certainly help!

    ETA - there are some days where I don't have time to go back in and add things at the end of the day that I did eat. Most days I find that I tend to be within 100 calories or so, but I guess even that small deficit can certainly add up to feeling hungry and depleted after a while.

    You might want to think about eating more protein rather than drinking it--may be more satisfying. And, I don't pretend to know anything about vegan, but if you can eat them, whole grains like Ezikiel muffins are very filling.
  • jaimeolive
    jaimeolive Posts: 12 Member
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    Your protein goal looks low to begin with, you could try to aim to at least make sure you are hitting that and not under to start. Your sodium intake is also very high, if you are feeling light headed and sick after training I would be more worried about that - have you checked your blood pressure?
  • lilolilo920
    lilolilo920 Posts: 184 Member
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    TR0berts wrote: »
    I'm somewhat confused. You opened up by stating that you want(ed) to add bulk. You later say you don't want to add weight. Those two things are contradictory.

    If you're really that hungry, and are a little lightheaded, eat at least a little more. With all that yoga, plus lifting, plus a spin class, I'd think you could easily handle it.

    This. With your stats and activity level, I would think that you could maintain easily on 2600!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
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    Maintenance is a long term thing - as such your activity/exercise/lifestyle routines and your TDEE won't remain a constant forever.

    Never be afraid to experiment, nothing is going to happen that you can't sort out later.

    If you are feeling hungry/tired then there's a good chance it's negatively affecting your NEAT and possibly exercise performance. In effect your eating level is suppressing your TDEE.

    Suggest you bump your calories up for a month and see what happens. You may get a pleasant surprise that your TDEE increases (and therefore no weight gain) along with feeling less hungry/tired.
  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
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    jaimeolive wrote: »
    Your protein goal looks low to begin with, you could try to aim to at least make sure you are hitting that and not under to start. Your sodium intake is also very high, if you are feeling light headed and sick after training I would be more worried about that - have you checked your blood pressure?

    What would you suggest increasing it to? Since I'm having a hard time hitting it now, I'm not sure increasing it would help, but I can certainly try. I've just never been too concerned about it (until now). My best friend is registered dietitian and assures me that the RDA for protein set by the USDA is actually much higher than most people need.

    Also - yes, I know my sodium is high. It has been my whole life. And high blood pressure runs in my family, but last time I got it checked the nurse said it was excellent.

    Thanks for your input!

  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
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    nowine4me wrote: »
    kzooyogi wrote: »
    lorrpb wrote: »
    It might make sense to up your calories a little. If you see unwanted weight gain over 4-6 weeks, just cut back a little. It doesn't mean you have to gain unlimited amounts of weight forever. One of the skills of maintenance, which I'm still learning, is how to MANAGE the ups and downs of weight so we stay where we want to stay.
    Perhaps you need to adjust WHEN you eat, pre and post workout?

    ETA: Just looked at your diary. On the days I looked at, you were under your calorie goal 200-400 cals and getting about half the protein you need. Those would be two good reasons you feel hungry.

    Thanks for looking! Yes - I'm almost always under the protein suggestions. It had never affected me before, but now that I'm lifting I guess it couldn't hurt to up my protein shake to two scoops. I always drink a protein shake right after lifting and the morning after as well, in hopes that that will help to curb cravings. I'll have to try to find some creative ways to do this - I love tofu/tempeh/seitan, but only eat these things rarely as I try not to go too crazy with the processed foods. I have started pretty regularly adding chia and hemp seeds to my diet, however, so that could certainly help!

    ETA - there are some days where I don't have time to go back in and add things at the end of the day that I did eat. Most days I find that I tend to be within 100 calories or so, but I guess even that small deficit can certainly add up to feeling hungry and depleted after a while.

    You might want to think about eating more protein rather than drinking it--may be more satisfying. And, I don't pretend to know anything about vegan, but if you can eat them, whole grains like Ezikiel muffins are very filling.

    Thanks. I'll have to consider that. I do eat lots of whole/sprouted grain toast. Not sure if Ezekiel muffins are vegan friendly - I'll look into it!
  • codename_steve
    codename_steve Posts: 255 Member
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    Other thoughts for vegan friendly protein sources are grains like quinoa (11g per 1/2 cup) and amaranth (7g per 1/2 cup), and legumes like black beans and edamame (both are 8g per 1/2 cup).
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
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    I get the same hunger issues after lifting. This is where I turn to a low cal protein shake. I find this very filling and it holds me until the next meal.

  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
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    Other thoughts for vegan friendly protein sources are grains like quinoa (11g per 1/2 cup) and amaranth (7g per 1/2 cup), and legumes like black beans and edamame (both are 8g per 1/2 cup).

    Quinoa and black beans are my go-to! I don't do edamame very often, but do enjoy tossing it in with an Asian-themed salad every now and then! What sucks for me is that I also have a fairly sensitive stomach, so sometimes I need to cool it on the legumes, even though I love them. Ever eaten more than one Fiber One bar? That's me after eating legumes or cruciferous veggies... YIKES. TMI? Oh well. What's done is done.
  • ritzvin
    ritzvin Posts: 2,860 Member
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    If I'm running low on protein at the end of the day, I'll grab a handful of extra chicken to add to my bowl of soup.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,055 Member
    edited February 2017
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    kzooyogi wrote: »
    jaimeolive wrote: »
    Your protein goal looks low to begin with, you could try to aim to at least make sure you are hitting that and not under to start. Your sodium intake is also very high, if you are feeling light headed and sick after training I would be more worried about that - have you checked your blood pressure?

    What would you suggest increasing it to? Since I'm having a hard time hitting it now, I'm not sure increasing it would help, but I can certainly try. I've just never been too concerned about it (until now). My best friend is registered dietitian and assures me that the RDA for protein set by the USDA is actually much higher than most people need.

    Also - yes, I know my sodium is high. It has been my whole life. And high blood pressure runs in my family, but last time I got it checked the nurse said it was excellent.

    Thanks for your input!
    As a 43-years vegetarian (age 61) who's very active, I shoot for 100g protein minimum daily now that I'm in maintenance (5'5", weight 120s). IMO a reasonable goal is approximately 0.6-0.8g per pound of a healthy body weight (yes, I mean pound not kg), and more won't hurt a healthy person.

    Is your dietician also vegan? It may be cynical of me, but (some) vegans are about the only folks I've seen say the USDA/WHO protein recommendations are higher than necessary. (I'm not dissing vegans; like I said, I've been vegetarian for 43 years, respect vegans, and consider it a valid and ethical choice. But there sure are a lot of vegan blogs, etc., that cherry-pick research results to justify low protein consumption, even though higher protein is entirely achievable on a vegan diet, without any great exertion.)

    IMO, recent research suggests the USDA/WHO values may be too low for active/athletic people, for people in calorie deficit (I know you're maintaining), for people who are aging, etc. So I eat more to be conservative.

    ETA: I see that time has passed since you first posted - sorry. Looks like you're doing fine on the protein front, most of the time, now. Are you feeling better, I hope?
  • STEVE142142
    STEVE142142 Posts: 867 Member
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    56 year old male. If you're going to lift you're going to have to increase your calorie limit because your body is tearing itself down and it needs the extra nutrition especially the protein. If you look at the body recomposition pictures a lot of people do they actually gained weight but they look skinnier. Don't get hooked on and number cuz you could be what they call skinny fat which means that you're skinny but you have no muscle tone.

    You have to decide what you want as far as do I would just want to be skinny at a certain number or do I want to have a certain physical appearance. The number isn't as important as the way you perceive yourself in the mirror. You can be skinny and not happy with your body and yet put on 10 pounds and be extremely happy with what you see. Good luck
  • HappyGrape
    HappyGrape Posts: 436 Member
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    How are you getting on, did you figure out how to reduce the hunger?
  • kzooyogi
    kzooyogi Posts: 121 Member
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    Thanks for checking back in, guys. It's been a while since I've been back here. I seem to be getting on better now that time has passed. I didn't end up doing a whole lot to change my protein intake - I think that just having let time pass let the issue mostly resolve itself as my body got used to the change in routine. I still have some forever hungry days, however they've mostly gone away. I also intend to start focusing on a bulk/cut program, so time to ditch the fears of seeing the scale go up! Xoxo

    And yes, ANNPT77 - my dietitian friend is also a vegan. Totally understand where you're coming from. I think for her, she has a tendency to bulk very easily, so maybe her advice was slightly biased based on her own personal experiences. In any case... veggie power :)