Not eating enough? (warning: possible ED trigger) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-21-2013, 12:21 PM
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Hi guys, so I'm trying to lose weight. I've got about 50 pounds to lose. And I'm well aware that not eating enough can be a big problem. I've been tracking my food intake, and I'm never even hitting 1700. Most days, I'm getting about 1300 calories. The thing is, I eat a LOT. My husband has confirmed that I'm not undereating, at least in amounts. I feel like even though your body would hold on to extra weight if you were noticeably undereating, wouldn't it also let some go? Not that I think this is a good way of losing weight - I'm just confused as to how I can be so overweight when eating so little. I'm wondering if upping my calorie intake would help.

What I'm curious about, though, is do you think I'm underreporting? I can't figure it out. I'm always tired, yes, but it's sleepy-tired, not body-is-giving-out tired. I can't tell if I'm underreporting or just seriously undereating somehow.

As an example, today I had a roll for breakfast (shorter than your forearm, but not a little round roll) with a tablespoon-ish of barbecue sauce and a few chickpeas (less than a 1/4 cup). I realize that's a weird breakfast but our stove was out of gas so no oatmeal, and I was running late. Then I had a cup and a half-ish of roasted veggies for lunch because that was all I could find near my doctor's office. When I got home, I had some stewed tomatoes with bread, and about a tablespoon of peanut butter. My husband then decided it was a good time for a soda (about 1/3 of a liter) and a half of a candy bar (about 150 calories there). The total came to about 1,100 calories! Way too few. But I'm FULL. And I don't consider myself an undereater. Some people eat very little and have trouble keeping weight on. I eat pretty good quantities, and I always have.

What on earth am I doing wrong?? If I really am undereating by that much, the only foods I can add in at this point are high-fat foods because I'm already eating a pretty big volume... I've got to be miscalculating somehow, but I don't see where. I've gone over what I ate today three times. I realize it wasn't the healthiest day, but today was abnormal in the foods I chose. I'm pretty good about nutrition, so that's not my concern here.
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#2 Old 10-21-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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Perhaps your metabolism is slow. Have you tried metabolism boosting foods? How much water do you drink a day? Do you exercise regularly, and is it enough for you be at a caloric deficit?

 

If you are at a caloric deficit and eating healthy foods, plus exercising, you may considering getting a panel done by a doctor and have yourself generally checked out.

 

-North


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#3 Old 10-21-2013, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarita Osita View Post

. I've gone over what I ate today three times. I realize it wasn't the healthiest day, but today was abnormal in the foods I chose. I'm pretty good about nutrition, so that's not my concern here.
Your food choices on this day were really bad, not adequate on a number of levels, so why don't you give an example of a normal day?

But your body is dynamic, it will respond to reduced calorie intake by conserving energy. Overt caloric restriction like this may work to lose some weight in the short-term, but its not a good strategy to lose weight in the long-term.
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#4 Old 10-22-2013, 03:06 AM
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If you get a hold of some regular rolled oats, no cooking is necessary. Just pour milk or water and you're good. Some whole grains will add some nice healthy calories to help you meet your goal, save the spoonfuls of peanut butter for the evening when you realize you've fallen short. You can do it!
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#5 Old 10-22-2013, 08:05 AM
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I know the food was a bad example, but the calories were a pretty typical day for me.

So do you guys think I really AM undereating by that much, and not just underreporting? I know how to healthfully add calories, but I'm more trying to figure out if it's possible that I'm really undereating by that much, or if I'm just really counting the calories incorrectly.

I definitely am at a caloric deficit (but because I'm not sure if I'm nutzo or not, I'm not sure if it's TOO MUCH of a deficit), and I usually eat healthfully and exercise.

That's my question: does it seem possible that I'm underrating by that much on a regular basis and still functioning? Or is it more likely I'm just really counting the calories incorrectly? My metabolism could be slow, I don't know. But I'll look into metabolism-boosting foods, if there is such a thing. Always assumed that was hooey, but hey.
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#6 Old 10-22-2013, 11:20 AM
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I am no expert, but from what I've studied regarding nutrition, I'd agree with logic that we'd need a more accurate picture of what you usually eat in order to give a reasonable response. While you may be consuming some macronutrients (those are fat, carbohydrate, etc) from what you've described you're probably deficient in (at least) protein and you're possibly consuming too much simple sugar. I'd be equally, if not more considered about your micronutrient density (that is the concentration of vitamins and antioxidants). From the meal you described, you can't be getting the micronutrients your body needs to thrive. So while you may not feel hungry, your body may be showing you signs that it requires certain micronutrients that you aren't providing it. There's a difference between food volume and micronutrient density. You may be getting enough to feel full, but still be malnourished. 

 

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#7 Old 10-22-2013, 02:52 PM
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Clarita - to find out if you are underreporting, weigh your food. Do you use a website to help you track - something like Livestrong? They literally have thousands and thousands of foods listed by brand name and item size, so you can be pretty darn accurate.

Also - what about activity? Do you exercise regularly? Do you do any sort of weight training?

Are you on hormones of any kind?

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#8 Old 10-22-2013, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarita Osita View Post

So do you guys think I really AM undereating by that much, and not just underreporting? I know how to healthfully add calories, but I'm more trying to figure out if it's possible that I'm really undereating by that much, or if I'm just really counting the calories incorrectly.
Without seeing what you're actually eating, I don't think anybody can answer this question.

In any case, I think you're putting your health are greater risk by calorie restricting this way than you are by having some extra weight. Successful long-term weight-loss happens slowly by adjusting your diet and lifestyle.
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#9 Old 10-23-2013, 08:12 AM
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Yeah, I KNOW major calorie restriction is a problem. I'm just trying to figure out if it's possible I'm really restricting (accidentally) that much, or if there's no way I'd be functioning and therefore must be making a mistake in my reporting. That is exactly my question: am I really restricting that much or am I just terrible at figuring out what I ate?

I don't have access to a food scale (maybe in a couple months when I'm back in the US), but I'm using an iphone app called Lose It to track. I like it because I can use it when I'm out of the house even if I don't have internet access (my phone doesn't have a data package, so any app that requires wifi I can only use when that's available).

I do exercise regularly, though that's recent because I was sidelined for two months with a fractured foot.

I take birth control, so yes to the hormones. And I recently went off an anti-depressant so that might be screwing with my hormones as well


I'm going to post a few days' worth of food in a separate post so it's not quite so long.
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#10 Old 10-23-2013, 08:18 AM
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Ok here are better examples of food days. Please keep in mind we have no access to whole wheat foods or brown rice, very limited access to greens, and no 24-hour supermarkets so if we run out of fruit, for example, that's it until we can get to a store during the erratic opening hours. So when you don't see those things, it's not because we forgot about them; it's because that was what was available. And stores are closed on Fridays, too, fun. It's a 20-minute walk to the nearest produce stand which is fine but their hours are erratic, and it's a 45-minute walk each way to the next closest ones (again not terrible, but not something we'll do if we can wait until my husband is closer to it the next day).

*Oatmeal with 2tbs syrup, vegetable soup with white rice and a piece of white bread, more vegetable soup with bread, snacks: a piece of bread with some hazelnut spread, and a cookie (forced on me by a neighbor who doesn't take no for an answer). Total: 1207 cal.

*Oatmeal with 2tbs syrup, white rice with vegetables, spaghetti with tomato sauce and lots of veggies, snacks: 2 cookies (neighbor again), a nescafe packet. Total: 1455.

*3 small bananas, white rice with 1/3 cup tofu and mixed veggies, 2 more small bananas with a little under a tbs of peanut butter, veggie soup with bread, and a baby falafel sandwich. Total: 1422.

*Yesterday, after a concerted attempt to eat more: oatmeal with 1tbs syrup and 2/3 cup banana slices (planned on more but couldn't finish it), a large baked potato with 1c beets, 1/3c corn, a tomato some tofu, and about 3/4 tbs oil in total, for dinner 1/2c corn, 1 tomato, 1/4 veggie-pasta sauce, 1c pasta. Snacks: soy milk with chocolate milk packet, white bread with barbeque sauce, 1/4c chickpeas, a piece of chocolate, and a granola bar. I added my exercise (Insanity) in, and after that my net total came to 2010. Macronutrient ratio: 65% carb, 21% fats, 14% protein.

*Today so far (PRE DINNER): white bread, barbeque sauce, beets, and tofu (sandwich), white bread, stewed tomatoes, beets, soy milk and choco milk packet (lunch), piece of candy (neighbor), and another sandwich (white bread, bbq sauce, beets, corn). Total SO FAR, pre-exercise: 979. Macronutrient ratio so far: 60% carb, 21% fat, 19% protein.



I realize my food choices right now are far from ideal, for a number of reasons. A big part of it is availability. I live in small-town Jordan, and the diet here is based on white rice, white bread, tomatoes, chicken, lamb, and yogurt. So getting other things can be a chore. I've got broccoli, avocados, coconuts, beets, and tofu because I had to go into the capital the other day. Fruit can be quite expensive (we are volunteers, so very little income), and is usually limited to bananas and the worst grapes every (they're about 75% seeds).

I'm also trying to get closer to 80/10/10 with my macronutrients to see how I feel with that. Nowhere near it now, but it will be a lot easier when we're back in the US and have access to lots of different kinds of produce, as well as a working blender (ours keeps pooping out, been in the shop for over 2 months now!).

Considering what I have available, do you guys think it's possible that my body is, in fact, used to this amount of food? Or should I be forcing myself to eat more (remember I'm really not a small-eater, I eat a lot of quantity!) regardless of the fact that I'm eating as much as I feel like I can? I've had my thyroid checked, fyi, and they say it's normal. I guess this is all a ridiculous amount of info that I can't figure out what to do with! I'm really not trying to undereat - this was a surprise to me! Everyone tells me I eat too much! I'm so confused. Any thoughts would be appreciated, and anyone who actually finished reading this deserves a medal!



PS I'm not tracking vitamins and minerals at the moment, but they were fine in my most recent blood test (a few months ago). I'm going to look into doing that as well, it just requires double-tracking (or only tracking when I'm at home with internet and relying on memory).
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#11 Old 10-23-2013, 08:41 AM
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I read your whole post!

I'm no food or diet expert, but my suggestion, for what it's worth, is to relax for now and wait until you get back to the US to really try to diet. You have a lot of possible frustrations (variety, no scale, pesky neighbors), so maybe you should just try to be as healthy as possible for now. Exercise, eat as many veggies, beans and legumes as you can, and try to limit the white rice and white bread. The birth control and anti-depressant affects on your hormones could really be playing a factor. I know that I gained very easily on one particular birth control pill years ago.

Oh - and drink a lot of water!

I wish you luck!

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#12 Old 10-23-2013, 09:35 AM
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Thanks. smiley.gif I know the birth control and the anti-depressants played a factor - I started them at almost the same time, and within a year of that I had gained 45 pounds. So I switched the birth control and finished tapering off the anti-depressants at the same time, and have lost 7lbs since then.

You're probably right, that I shouldn't worry too much about it until I get home. I'm just afraid that I've been accidentally sabotaging myself by underrating (which, given the volume I eat, I figured was impossible!). But if you're eating nothing but white rice, white bread, and veggies, I guess it's kinda hard to eat tons of calories (I rarely cook with oil, either). I've been super busy lately which means my husband is doing most of the cooking - while I appreciate that, it tends to be a lot of pasta and veggies.

I guess I probably am undereating, though. I'll try to increase my calories. I know how to do that, I just didn't think I was undereating by that much.

Thank you! <3
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