Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just so you know

I would never, ever say any of the things that run through my head to a friend or to my beautiful daughter!

I agree with Roxie and I would never choose who I love based on their weight.  Not even a tiny bit.  I have friends of all shapes and sizes - friends who probably think I need to lose a few pounds and those who wish they could be my size.  I know some of my food and body image issues come from having to clean my plate before I could have dessert; being put on a diet at the age of 12 (because I was starting to get that teeny bit of pre-pubescent chubbiness and my father was - and is to this day - OBSESSED with weight, especially the weight of the women around him); and miscellaneous other types of abuse - yes I'm calling it abuse - at the hands of others in my life.  I so wanted my child to have a life free of that, I probably made her a teeny bit conceited becuase I constantly told her how gorgeous she was, inside and out.  From the time she was born and I nursed her, to the time she left to be on her own, I let her eat when hungry and stop when full and I let her eat what she wanted, though I did introduce all sorts of food to her.  Somehow, I managed to raise a woman who has never had a weight issue and has an international palate.  She's also a really good cook.

I'm proud of that, even when I can't be proud of myself.

Several times I had people say to me that because I exercise "so much" maybe I should increase my calories.  I did try that one time, under the guidance of a personal trainer and gained 10 lbs.  I honestly didn't care if it was muscle weight - which I don't think it was because I went up a size i clothing -  I was a very unhappy camper.

After a comment with that statement was made on yesterday's blog, I've been thinking about it a lot and I also went and redid BMR calculations.  Supposedly if you figure out your BMR then use the Harris Benedict Equation you should be able to figure out how many calories you need a day to sustain your current weight.  Because this is supposed to be a simple math equation of calories in/calories out, right?

Easy to use calculators can be found here:

So for me my BMR is 1508.85 which is how many calories I need to simply exist and lay in bed all day.  If I use the sedenary mutliplier of 1.2 that comes to 1810.62.  To lose one pound a week, I should be able to reduce my calories by 500 per day to 1310. 

The thing is I'm not sedentary.  So then I got to the multiplier of  1.55 which is for moderate exerise 3-5 days a week.  That brings me to 2338.71.  If I ate the 1310 I should lose 2 lbs. a week because thats 1000 calories less per day.  If I ate 1838 per day I should lose 1 lb. per week.

Trust me when I tell you if I eat 1838 calories per day I will either gain or maintain. I promise.

None of this stuff seems to work for me.  I generally eat between 1300-1500 calories a day.  I should be losing 1/2 to 3/4 lb. per week, but I'm not.  AARGH!

Then I got to thinking about the contestants on Biggest Loser.  They restrict the women to 1500 calories and the men to 1800 calories a day PLUS they make them exercise 6-8 hours every single day.  Those people don't stop losing weight, they lose weight like crazy!

Suffice it to say it's all frustrating to me but I do keep on trying to figure out what to do.

Tell me what side do you fall on?  More calories?  Less calories?  More exercise? 


  1. what works...
    I do what works.
    a formula is a formula...period.
    Your metabolism is slower.
    That is the way it is.
    Fair, no.
    But look at it this way, you have fewer free radicals floating around cause you eat less...
    By all calculations...less free radicals= longer life span.
    I got a comment that I am somehow idolizing an anorexic..(Jillian michaels) She isn't anorexic, not in real life and not according to bmi scales...but that is someone's opinion.
    Opinion and fact do not always agree.
    Have a great day helen, do it your way.

  2. 1,200-1,300 calories a day. Period. If I am a single calorie above 1,300, I'm lucky if I maintain. 1,400 plus-definitely I put weight on. But what that means to me is, my metabolism is screwed up. Still in starvation mode. So I'm slowly trying to work myself back up to a 1,300-1,400 a day, and still being able to lose 1-2 lb. a week. Not there yet, though. It's a juggle, for sure.

  3. The exasperation of not fitting the mold! I can relate.

    I bet you raised one wonderful daughter. I did too, and she's never had weight issues, though she's been in my self pummeling space far too often when i've raled about my size. She has her head pretty together about it all, and reminds me on occasion that I'm "obsessed". UGH. She's right. I'm glad the apple fell FAR from the tree in this regard!

  4. Helen, with all that number crunching, I now have a headache!
    I have used a BMR calculater and look at the BMI charts. (the BMI charts are very new to me. anyway, I don't remember hearing about them 10 years or so ago)
    I know what works for me. And I'm willing to bet you know what works for you too.
    My SIL is a professional athelete. Last year he and his wife(my DD) got life insurance. They measured everything and compared everything to all the "charts". His BMI was "obese". The man is not obese, he is an athlete. They have to pay a higher premium because of that. He will probably outlive everyone.
    Those "charts" are nuts!


  5. I'm not sure if I was the only one who suggested higher calories, but my suggestion was not to permanently change your calories, but to shake it up. Give your body a couple hundred more calories for a week and then go back down to your norm. And a couple weeks later, try to get in an extra workout or a very different workout than you're used to. Sometimes, shaking up a routine can get your body out of a plateau.

  6. Helen, I know you would never say those things to anyone in your life...I hope you know I wasn't implying that you would.

    As for the BMI/BMR calculator, I know they don't take into account that muscle weighs more than fat. When I hit my "goal" weight of 138, I will still be overweight according to their stats. Phooey on them!

    I go between 1200 and 1500 calories a day - the higher end when I am hungrier, the lower when I'm not. I'm hoping that this will keep my body confused enough to keep losing, but it's been darn slow. So obviously I am no help, lol!

  7. For the amount of exercise you do, I advocate the higher end of the calorie spectrum.

    When you don't even eat enough to maintain laying in bed all day, your body hangs on to all the extra fat for fear of not getting enough food to do even the basic stuff.

    Throw in exercise and it puts your body in panic mode.

    Okay, I am not an RD, I still have 30 pounds to lose, but I am sticking with that! :D

  8. GRRRR. I don't like it when things don't work the way they should.

    For me, it's not about calories. I don't count them. I am trying to train myself to be healthy like your daughter. THat is healthiest for me.

    The thing I hate is the BMI scale. It is TOTALLY biased toward the average height. I have a smaller okay range, and also a 'skinnier' range. What classifies as unhealthy as a tall woman, would not be quite over weight in an average height woman.

    Like I said. GRRRRR.

  9. Please! I am eating a tiny fraction of what I ate pre-healthy life style and the weight is barely falling off. How can I maintain at twice the intake and barely lose now? It's messed up. (I'm messed up)

  10. Helen have you thought about cycling your calories - higher one day, lower the next? Our bodies are very good at adapting and when you do the same thing day in and day out - it adapts to it. It needs challenges to make it wake up and start losing again. (My 2 cents anyway).
    You probably run the same way every day - try changing that up - run intervals every other day or something like that. Mix things - confuse your muscles and your metabolism.

  11. The sad thing is that the formulas are only guesses. Without an expensive medical test it is impossible to know what your real BMR is. A couple of thoughts: perhaps you should meticulously count all calories and food types for a period of time, documenting how you feel, weight lost or gained, and the level of hunger,and the level of exercise, then evaluate the data when you get done. Perhaps your body is better suited to certain foods, which might allow you to eat more of those foods. Second, and building off of that, have you tried to change up your food makeup. I lose weight best on a very low carb diet, but I also don't have the willpower for that right now, so I follow the South Beach Diet plan loosely. If I eat low fat, I am hungry all the time. Others, however, do better on the low fat diets. It might be worth the experiment. Last, while it is controversial, you might consider looking into intermittent fasting - perhaps only skipping a meal every other day, or some other interval. I have done some extensive research on this and it is a viable option for some people. Again, you have to know your body and what you can do.

    I wish I knew the answers for you. Good luck figuring it out.