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A couple of calorie requirement questions

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:32 am
by Helena115
Hi! I just realized this fantastic site also has a forum. Don't know how I missed it before :eek:

Anyhow. I'm trying to get in shape, mainly cause I've gained 10-15 lbs that I don't want anymore. According to the calorie requirements calculator on this site (Harris Benedict Equation) I need 1461+609 kcal on a day where I just sleep, go to work, come home and sleep again.

I have then made an Excel-sheet where I enter all the calories I eat in a day, and take away any calories I've excercised away plus my BMR. Now, I know my BMR is 2070 kcal/day, but I've only entered 1600 in my spreadsheet since I'm well aware that it's more likely that my intake is higher than lower than what I think it is. On average I eat 1200-1400 kcal/day and excercise 200-300 kcal/day. This gives an average negative 550kcal/day. But that's counting only 1600 as my BMR, instead of the 2070 that Harris Benedict Equation indicates.

My question (finally!) is if you think I'm eating the right amount?

The second question is what percentages protein/carbs/fat should I aim at? Right now I seem to end up with a third of each.

I'm female, 34, 5'9'', 150lbs. My excercise consists of jogging (4-5mph, 35 min, 2 or 3 times /week) and toning up at home with small weights (and push-ups, lunges, crunches, etc.) a couple of times a week.

Any thoughts on how to eat? I don't have any dietary restrictions.

Thanks! :)

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:43 am
by Jungledoc
Eat often, eat well. That's every 3 hours or so. Usually bigger meals earlier in the day.

If you want to lose weight and are losing a pound every week or two, you are eating the right amount. if you want to lose weight, and you are not losing weight, you are eating too much. Unless you are superhuman, a spread sheet will only make you crazy, and will not make you lose weight.

A third of each of carb, protein and fat isn't bad. Being more precise than that will also make you crazy. Try to restrict carbs to low-GI foods, get them mostly from fruit and vegetables, and spread them evenly through the day, except for more pre- and post- workout. At other times, combine them with fats when possible.

Do you really jog 35 minutes? Exactly?

Jogging is a waste of time. Sorry, but that's what I really believe. High intensity interval training is much more efficient, even for a few minutes a few times per week.

Usually when people say "toning up" they mean low-intensity resistance exercise, which also isn't a good use of your time. You shouldn't use small weights unless you are very weak. There is nothing wrong with push-ups and lunges, but just using body weight won't get you very far. There are great body-weight exercises, but it's usually easier to use weights. Losing weight is easier if you do some serious resistance exercise, usually with some interval work. Check the sticky on "A Small Collection of Basic Routines" in the General forum and Google "HIIT".

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:57 am
by KPj
I agree with everything, apart from...
Jungledoc wrote:Unless you are superhuman, a spread sheet will only make you crazy


I use Excel for everything. To most people, on the face of it, it either looks too simple or too complicated. But it's actually very powerful. I find it a much more convenient way of creating food logs and training programs, though. But I use them every day so knocking up a program is done in the blink of an eye....



Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:15 am
by stuward
Excel is a great tool if you use it right. Of course if you're not accurate with your calculations or your program, it's not much use. You should use some of the online resources available. My favorites are:

You should also read the latest from the fat loss experts. In no particular order, the following are the ones I recommend.
Alwyn Cosgrove
Alan Aragon
Lyle MacDonald
Leigh Peele
Chad Waterbury
Christian Thibedeau
Tom Venuto
John Berardi

Jogging is fairly useless except as a method to get used to training. You do need to step up the intensity. 4-5 MPH is not much more than a walk. You would be better to either slow down to a walk and do it longer, or do it intensely. If fat loss is your goal, exercise every day. A 1 hour walk on non training days and a weight traiing with HIIT day would be ideal.

You need to add intensity to your training as well. Light weights do nothing to build muscle and ultimately that is your goal. Toning = fat loss + muscle gain. You need muscle for health and fat loss reasons. Make your weight training meaningful and challenging.

By the way, 150 lbs at 5'9" is healthy. You don't need to lose weight. You may have to lose some fat and gain some muscle but you should be realistic in your goals. Check the calculator section on this site and there are tools there that can help you understand where you are. Look at BMI, Waist/hip ratio, VO2 Max, Strength levels, etc.


Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:07 am
by Helena115
Thanks for the replies! I really appreciate the input.

About the weights, when I say small I mean small enough where I can do at least 10-15 reps. So I should go heavier and fewer reps then?

I hear what you're saying about the jogging, and I have actually tried the interval thing (after reading about it on this site) 4-5 times the past couple of weeks. The 4-5mph is what I averaged it to be, which I see now was misleading in my post. Sorry about that :)

When I do intervals I run at maybe 75-80% (I think it's hard to estimate that though) for 30 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds. I then finish with a jog back, which brings me to a total of 35 minutes.

I do walk home from work on non-excercise days, it's an hour at a brisk pace.

As far as weight/height I know I'm in the normal range but my waist/hip ratio is not good at all. People in my family tend to put weight on their waists mainly... :roll:

Oh, and I am losing weight eating the way I do now. I've been doing this routine for about 3 weeks now and lost an inch off of my hips. Don't know about weight as I don't have any scales! :lol: But then again I don't really care about the weight, I just don't want this roll around my waist... The 10 lbs I want to lose is fat weight, I don't mind if I gain 10 lbs of muscle elsewhere.

I actually found the site earlier today, it looks great so far.

Thanks again for all the helpful advice and links!

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:36 pm
by TimD
I think that the brisk walking home combined with the intervals as you decribed them should be very benificial in terms of upping the metabolism/heart health/fat loss. Sounds like you have a good thing going on in that dept. That combined with some basic strengh/resistance training should get you where you want to be.

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:57 pm
by brook011
Thibideau has tons of great articles on

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:02 pm
by TimD
As to the weight and rep range, 10-15 is fine as long as it's heavy enough that 15 is doable but difficult. Then up the weight so that 8 to 10 reps are doable but difficult and work up to 15. That should be fine. After a while you may want to try heavier weights, but for your goals, where you are should work.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:52 am
by Helena115
Again, thanks for quick feedback! This site really has some helpful people :)
Hopefully I will be able to contribute as well.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:52 am
by Jungledoc
KPj wrote:I agree with everything, apart from...
Jungledoc wrote:Unless you are superhuman, a spread sheet will only make you crazy


I use Excel for everything. To most people, on the face of it, it either looks too simple or too complicated. But it's actually very powerful. I find it a much more convenient way of creating food logs and training programs, though. But I use them every day so knocking up a program is done in the blink of an eye....


I didn't mean that there is anything wrong with Excel. I use it a lot, too. The lifting weights on my log sheets are all calculated for me by Excel. I just mean that spread-sheeting every item you eat is way too compulsive, time-consuming and is unnecessary.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:50 am
by KPj
Good point. Although, if your quite unimaginative in the k-word like myself and make generally the same things most of the time, then typing is minimal - just enter the first letter and it finishes it and/or copy from the previous day...

I do think writing down everything you eat down CAN be a step too far. But you do a get alot of people who just can't figure out why they aren't getting anywhere. From people who eat far too much but think they are cutting back, to skinny people who don't eat enough but think they are eating loads - some of them will never know what they eat till they write 'everything' down... I remember I used to think I ate like a monster. When I took down a food log I was eating less than 2500 calories - barely the recommended daily amount. One of the best wake up calls i've had.

Being a little more experienced now, I do feel it's a waiste of time, for me. Although, if I was cutting down to single digit body fat I would deffinitly do it again...


Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:06 am
by stuward
I think the key is that if what you're doing now doesn't work you need to do something different. Eventually everyone hits a roadbock and you need to be a little more precise. That's when recording your diet can help.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:20 am
by Helena115
Just to clarify what I'm doing - I had no idea about how many calories I ate every day, so I decided it would be a good idea to check it out. I don't write down every bit of food I eat, I estimate the number of calories I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and extras. I try to be as exact as possible without actually weighing the food. So I'm not being obsessive at all, just trying to get a clue :) Which I think I have now, somewhat. I must be doing something right since I'm missing an inch of hips :green:

I've been reading up on the posts here and I'd really like to hear what you all are actually eating. Not just this many % proteins etc. but actual meal descriptions. I like to cook but my imagination is pretty lousy and I need some ideas :)

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:33 am
by stuward
One thing I started doing a few years ago was I stopped taking sandwiches for lunch. I started taking leftovers instead. I try to minimize grains other than at breakfast.

Most evening meals center around a piece of meat or fish and then it's veggies and salad. Chile is a favorite of mine for lunch.

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:44 am
by Helena115
Right now I seem to be stuck on low-fat cottage cheese and blueberries for lunch. I'm starting to get sick of it. I'm finding it really difficult to cut back on carbs and eating more protein without getting too much fat.