How do i reconcile desire to lose fat with increased hunger from exercise?

I started at a gym in March this year after two years of weight loss with diet only. I was weak and flabby even though I was happy with the number on the scale. I've since dropped 13 lbs and a little over 6% bf (not accurately measured, so give or take)

I've been pleased with my results I'm stronger and the change in how my body looks is noticeable. However I still want to drop body fat and things seem to not be moving. I'm not super concerned with the scale but want inches and bf to keep decreasing.

My problem is that I try to keep my calories around what my maintenance would be but with exercise my hunger has increased. I don't want to starve my body to lose lbs but I don't want to eat too much to where I gain. I've been maintaining the scale number for a couple months now, how do I get the inches and bf to change? Eat less, just keep lifting? Will it eventually happen and I'm just being impatient? I don't want to waste weeks or months not doing it right and miss out on results.

Replies

  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,574 Member
    Can you tell us about what lifting you are doing?
  • managematics
    managematics Posts: 27 Member
    How you exercise can have a big impact on hunger. In particular, I 'd read up on some of the research on cardio exercise and ghrelin. From what I've read, it suggests that longer cardio sessions (over an hour) can lead to ghrelin production which can help suppress appetite for several hours. And doing so regularly can lead to more general appetite reduction over time.
  • auntstephie321
    auntstephie321 Posts: 3,586 Member
    I do a trx class three times a week for 45 minutes. Then 1-2 days a week we lift, sorry I'm new to the lifting part only a couple months so far with that, I'll just list the stuff we do. Deadlifts, squats, bench press, pull ups, dips, lunges, skull crushers, bicep curls, push ups, etc. I work with a trainer so I just do what he tells me to do. We also usually run a 5k each month. However the last three weeks we had a 5k, then the tough mudder, then another 5k. So that was a little more than usual but we cut out some of the other weekly exercises those weeks.
  • Maxxitt
    Maxxitt Posts: 1,282 Member
    I started at a gym in March this year after two years of weight loss with diet only. I was weak and flabby even though I was happy with the number on the scale. I've since dropped 13 lbs and a little over 6% bf (not accurately measured, so give or take)

    I've been pleased with my results I'm stronger and the change in how my body looks is noticeable. However I still want to drop body fat and things seem to not be moving. I'm not super concerned with the scale but want inches and bf to keep decreasing.

    My problem is that I try to keep my calories around what my maintenance would be but with exercise my hunger has increased. I don't want to starve my body to lose lbs but I don't want to eat too much to where I gain. I've been maintaining the scale number for a couple months now, how do I get the inches and bf to change? Eat less, just keep lifting? Will it eventually happen and I'm just being impatient? I don't want to waste weeks or months not doing it right and miss out on results.

    You'll find some great information on the body recomposition thread: http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10177803/recomposition-maintaining-weight-while-losing-fat/p1
  • solovino1
    solovino1 Posts: 29 Member
    edited August 2017
    Your calorie deficit may be too high. Take a look at it and you may need to eat a bit more or do a bit less. You will plateau and stay there if you are out of balance on either. I would also look at body composition via a tight pair of pants weigh yourself less. Check yourself in the mirror more often and monitor the muffin top.
  • auntstephie321
    auntstephie321 Posts: 3,586 Member
    @Maxxitt thanks for that link, I had read thru that one years ago but I want ready for it. From skimming through again (it actually makes sense to me now) but sadly I think what's missing in my equation is gonna be patience :/ the posts all state it's a slow process. Thankfully I have done photos and measurements so I'll have to just keep going and eventually I should get there.
  • auntstephie321
    auntstephie321 Posts: 3,586 Member
    solovino1 wrote: »
    Your calorie deficit may be too high. Take a look at it and you may need to eat a bit more or do a bit less.

    Thanks, I will look at some calculators and see start they say, mfp is set for maintenance and since I've maintained weight for about two months I think I'm right on. Some days I'm hungrier than others but they seem to level out to just about right over the course of the week
  • VeronicaA76
    VeronicaA76 Posts: 1,116 Member
    Are you eating back your exercize calories? If not, do that. You'll still be in a calorie deficit but less hungry.
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,986 Member
    If you are eating at maintenance and still hungry, you might want to take a hard look at WHAT you're eating. I find it really helpful to bulk up meals with lots of veggies or have a very large salad ( lettuce, cucumber, tomato, little to no dressing) to fill up along with dinner. High water fruits like melons, raspberries, and apples have lots of fiber and are filling. You can eat a giant bowl of broccoli or a head of cauliflower for the same calories as a tiny serving of rice.
  • DamieBird
    DamieBird Posts: 651 Member
    I may have missed something, so forgive me if I'm getting this wrong, but are you sure that you're in maintenance? If you've dropped 13 pounds since going to the gym ~5 months ago, you're still in a deficit (although a small one). My rough estimations have it at about .5/wk. If you actually ate at maintenance, that should get you about 250 extra cals/day.
  • auntstephie321
    auntstephie321 Posts: 3,586 Member
    DamieBird wrote: »
    I may have missed something, so forgive me if I'm getting this wrong, but are you sure that you're in maintenance? If you've dropped 13 pounds since going to the gym ~5 months ago, you're still in a deficit (although a small one). My rough estimations have it at about .5/wk. If you actually ate at maintenance, that should get you about 250 extra cals/day.

    No I lost 13 lbs since starting. I haven't lost anything more in the last two months. Which is when I increased my calories to maintenance.
  • managematics
    managematics Posts: 27 Member
    I do a trx class three times a week for 45 minutes. Then 1-2 days a week we lift, sorry I'm new to the lifting part only a couple months so far with that, I'll just list the stuff we do. Deadlifts, squats, bench press, pull ups, dips, lunges, skull crushers, bicep curls, push ups, etc. I work with a trainer so I just do what he tells me to do. We also usually run a 5k each month. However the last three weeks we had a 5k, then the tough mudder, then another 5k. So that was a little more than usual but we cut out some of the other weekly exercises those weeks.

    In order to increase ghrelin levels and get an appetite suppression effect from exercise, you need to be above 75% of VO2 max. You're unlikely to get there from weight work, even if doing circuit training. It may only last for a few hours post-workout, but longer exercises at that intensity have been shown to extend the appetite suppression. A cardio session at that intensity for an hour or more can give you several more hours of appetite suppression.

    While that won't yield a long-term impact on appetite, changes in body composition will. So certainly don't ditch the weight work, but perhaps alternate weights with intense cardio. You don't have to be in exact calorie balance every day, just on average over time. So you can take advantage of the appetite suppression of the cardio and eat less on those days and eat more on the days where you do strength work. You'll also likely expend more energy with the cardio so it will give you an overall boost to the amount you can consume while still maintaining so you can eat more total.

    Taken together, you can probably feel much more satiated with what you can consume.
  • francobollo
    francobollo Posts: 2 Member
    Hello: you should have your body composition measured--may be that your body fat is excellent level and you don't have to change anything
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    You're probably going to need to do a little detective work. Try more satisfying foods & more filling foods. Vegetables like carrots, cucumbers can be filling. Potatoes are also pretty high on the satiety list. Protein is too. And although it doesn't necessarily matter for weight loss, you might want to play around with meal timing to see if it curbs your hunger. Some find that skipping breakfast actually makes them less hungry. Eating your carbs near your workouts (especially afterwards) may also help with hunger. Lastly, sometimes when wanting to drop fat/weight, you are going to be hungry. Granted we all want to minimize that and not be ravenous 24/7, but a little bit of hunger is almost unavoidable
  • laurabadams
    laurabadams Posts: 201 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    Some find that skipping breakfast actually makes them less hungry.

    Seems counterintuitive but this is absolutely true for me. I've had some of my best workouts in the morning in a fasted state & never felt ravenous.
  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,483 MFP Moderator
    I started at a gym in March this year after two years of weight loss with diet only. I was weak and flabby even though I was happy with the number on the scale. I've since dropped 13 lbs and a little over 6% bf (not accurately measured, so give or take)

    I've been pleased with my results I'm stronger and the change in how my body looks is noticeable. However I still want to drop body fat and things seem to not be moving. I'm not super concerned with the scale but want inches and bf to keep decreasing.

    My problem is that I try to keep my calories around what my maintenance would be but with exercise my hunger has increased. I don't want to starve my body to lose lbs but I don't want to eat too much to where I gain. I've been maintaining the scale number for a couple months now, how do I get the inches and bf to change? Eat less, just keep lifting? Will it eventually happen and I'm just being impatient? I don't want to waste weeks or months not doing it right and miss out on results.
    No I lost 13 lbs since starting. I haven't lost anything more in the last two months. Which is when I increased my calories to maintenance.

    Sounds like you found maintenance, which at least gives you somewhere to start. So I would suggest cutting your calorie goal a little bit from where it is currently and not changing anything else yet (since you already struggle with hunger I wouldn't go above a 0.5 lb loss/ week , so 250 calorie deficit per day) and see if you start seeing progress.

    Within your calorie goal play around with meal timing. Does eating a snack before or after a workout seem to help? Also, consider treating your calorie goal as a weekly target instead of a daily target. I find when I am doing distance running that eating a bit more the day before my long run days seems to help keep me from getting crazy hungry after them. Try to think about when you struggle the most with hunger, how it related to your routine, and adjust accordingly.

    It can be a tough game to play, so good luck!



  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,483 MFP Moderator
    rybo wrote: »
    Some find that skipping breakfast actually makes them less hungry.

    I second this, been one of the most helpful discoveries along my own journey :)
  • tcunbeliever
    tcunbeliever Posts: 8,270 Member
    I've had good success with Leangains - it's essentially calorie and carb cycling, so you get more food on strength training days (3x/week) and less food on other days. It has been great for keeping me in a deficit and yet not making me feel deprived.

    My average calories per day is 1983, so I take about 400 calories off for a non-training day and put those on a training day, for a total difference of 800 calories, which is a lot more food for training days. ex. 1583 calorie goal on non-strength days, and 2380 goal on strength training days.

    It might help you because you are feeding your body when you need it. I used to always be super hungry the day after a workout, but being able to eat more on those days seems to keep me from having that crazy hunger level on the recovery days.

    In MFP I just set everything to the higher training values and then have an "offset meal" that I key in on non-training days to push those numbers down and then I can key food as usual. My diary is open if you want to take a look.

    It still takes patience, but this shouldn't be a miserable process.