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  1. #1
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    rebounding weight, have a question about calorie management

    So I had a bout of throat cancer early in the summer, thankfully it's gone after 7 weeks of radiation treatment. During that treatment I was unable to swallow pretty much anything. I lost a heap of weight, from nearly 210 pounds down to 185ish. Cool I thought, roll on 3 months after getting my throat and appetite back and I have almost rebounded back to the same. I feel a bit sick about it as I was feeling great, no colds, no shoulder impingement and some great PBs on strava. So now I have eaten a ton of sh!t food, and my allergies are back, I have had some colds with irritation on my throat and generally feeling stink.
    So now as I try and get back to a reasonable weight, I'm 5'10 and 49, I should be somewhere nearer to 170 pounds. I need to lose over thirty pounds. I checked online calorie calculators and they say I need a minimum of 1900 calories to lose weight healthily, i.e. no starvation response (losing muscle mass not fat reserves). Now if I exercise by biking or jogging do I still need to up the minimum calories I take in to prevent starvation response or is any exercise a bonus? At the moment I am burning about 600 calories a day by exercising, not too much as I feel fat, and am busy.
    Thoughts anyone and thanks.
    SP.

  2. #2
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    Calculators are, at best, estimates based on some model, and don't take into account the individual. A better approach would be to track your current intake for stable weight over a couple of weeks, then adjust your diet to reduce your intake by ~500 kcal per day. You might find a smart phone app helpful in tracking your intake; MyFitnessPal seems to be a favorite of many.

    A quick and dirty estimate suggests if you gained 20 lbs over 3 months (90 days) your intake was ~775 kcal per day more than needed for weight maintenance.
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
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  3. #3
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    list the details of your diet, ie., list the food you eat

    I have a feeling this ain't gonna be pretty.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    list the details of your diet, ie., list the food you eat

    I have a feeling this ain't gonna be pretty.
    And please include all sweetened beverages and fruit juices in that list (what and how much).
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
    -Elizabeth Howard West

    “Never use your face as a brake pad
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  5. #5
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    Thanks guys and it wasn't pretty. A lot of fried crunchy stuff, worst culprit after me was potato chips, love the salt oil and crispy combination. It is genetically engineered into us to like those three things as well as sweet tasting food which was ripe and safe. In the old days there was never a surplus of oil, salt and sugar so overeating was never a problem (crispy sensations meant fresh). Salt was an essential element. But enough excuses.

    So I have gone about a week and mostly have stayed away from the chips. Sunday I had a small bag, about 300 calories. I don't drink carbonated drinks, milk or juice except beer and recently again only a small can on Sindays. One small can of beer gives me a buzz, and it's not that pleasant. I don't miss not having a beer anymore.
    I have been jogging and thus far have lost 2 pounds in a week. I don't feel especially tired and haven't been starving myself. The Myfitnesspal app(Thanks for that suggestion) is really cool and it syncs to my Garmin and tells me my caloric limit each day. I set a goal of 2 pounds a week which is about 1800 calories per day, it seems to be working. I also bought a jar of organic multivitamins as I was not sure of getting enough essential balance, yeah I know, my pee just got a lot more expensive, but be it placebo or not, I feel better. So now if I get a little more sleep I think I will be good. Still curious at what amount of calorie deficit does the body go into starvation prevention mode.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sookpuppet View Post
    Still curious at what amount of calorie deficit does the body go into starvation prevention mode.
    This differs by person, but for men you typically need at least 1400 calories per day, 1200 for women to prevent your body from "starvation mode". There are a few good books that you can check out to help with this. I like Racing Weight, and 4 Hour Body. They have pretty good explanations of metabolism and caloric intake ideas.

    The author of 4 Hour Body has a few TED talks. He actually when on an Oreo diet where he ate 1700 calories of Oreos a day and then a Mayonnaise diet doing the same thing to prove that weight loss is more about calories in/calories out than components of a diet. Obviously, your body functioning requires certain minerals to function at it's best, but for pure weight loss it is as simple as calories in/calories out.

    One other thing to consider is many sports computers over estimate calories burned (i.e. Garmin devices and myfitnesspal). However, as long as your losing weight keep it up. Congratulations on beating the cancer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctormike View Post
    This differs by person, but for men you typically need at least 1400 calories per day, 1200 for women to prevent your body from "starvation mode". There are a few good books that you can check out to help with this. I like Racing Weight, and 4 Hour Body. They have pretty good explanations of metabolism and caloric intake ideas.
    That makes sense, when my throat was swollen, I was drinking about 1000 calories a day and was really tired. I thought it was radiation making me tired but now I realize it was starvation mode.

    thanks for the reading advice. will check it out.

  8. #8
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    The fatigue probably wouldn't be caused by radiation. Chemotherapy has a lot of side effects but radiation generally effects cells ability to divide or connect with other cells. Pain, stress, lack of sleep, family, ect can cause fatigue and of course the lack of calories.

    I am glad you are past that point of your treatment though. Diet, exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction will all be helpful moving forward.

  9. #9
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    Oh, yeah - salty snacks can be an issue. They are formulated for taste appeal. One of the problems is they don't trigger satiation very well. So you end up taking in a bunch of calories that don't lead to appetite suppression. Sweet ones can be even worse.

    Losing weight is about intake vs. utilization. That's calories. But one of the persistent challenges for most are hunger signals and urges to eat, which derails many who set out with good intentions to limit their intake.

    If you can turn your focus on food from satiety to nutrition, focusing on just the macronutrients (carbs/fat/protein), you can maintain a calorie deficit and not feel hungry. Two keys to keeping the hunger signals at bay, which will help you stay the course, are to keep free sugars as low as possible (think sweeteners, sweetened foods and beverages, and fruit juices), and getting adequate amounts of protein at regular intervals, something on the order of 30-35 g of protein / at each of three regular meals. Include those considerations along with calorie management and you'll have no problem losing the weight, and then keeping it off if you stick with the nutritional view. If you understand the nutrition essentials, and know your way around a kitchen, you can have both great taste, and satiety while running a substantial calorie deficit.

    Good luck with the adjustments. With your focus and approach, I'm sure you'll do well.

    If you search through these forums you will find a lot of good general tips and guidance on eating better (for health), and eating to lose weight.
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
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    “Never use your face as a brake pad
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  10. #10
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    well there's a major part of ya problem right there, eating junk food.

    Potochips. First of all, the oil is fried, and that means the oil will be somewhat broken down and the broken down oil part will wreck havoc in your arteries. Secondly, the potato in the chips is also deprived of most of its nutrients. Yet, the calories from the oil and chips still count against you. You are eating empty calories. And you know it.

    So we've identified part of the problem, it's up to you to change. Start cutting off ALL junk food and beverages. Starting eating more fresh stuff like boiled potatoes (plurals, there are lots of potato to try), and I don't mean mashed potato in chicken gravey either. Eat tomato, different kinds of squash and pumkins, steam them.

    Cut the red meat (eg, beef, pork, goat). Replace them with chicken, turkey, fish, and even here consider reducing the amount too, and replace it with veggies and fruits. I know fruits get a bad rap from the uninformed sometimes because they thinking is that fruits is high in fructose, but fruits also is high in fiber and vitamins in bio-usable form. So don't be afraid to eat all kind of fruits.

    go buy a vegetairan cooking book, and start to diverse your cooking. Hell the book alone may be your best investment in getting your health back. Just look at the many vegetarian guys, not many of them have weight issues, and it's not because they exercise more than you or I, nor it's their genetics. It's their diet.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    well there's a major part of ya problem right there, eating junk food.

    You are eating empty calories. And you know it.

    So we've identified part of the problem, it's up to you to change. Start cutting off ALL junk food and beverages.

    Cut the red meat (eg, beef, pork, goat). Replace them with chicken, turkey, fish, and even here consider reducing the amount too, and replace it with veggies and fruits. I
    go buy a vegetairan cooking book, and start to diverse your cooking. Hell the book alone may be your best investment in getting your health back. Just look at the many vegetarian guys, not many of them have weight issues, and it's not because they exercise more than you or I, nor it's their genetics. It's their diet.
    All great advice and very welcome. I eat really healthy during the day but nights I eat (a) too much or (b) not the healthiest. Looking at a strategy to avoid this and it might be going to bed earlier and not so satiated. Will see how it goes.

  12. #12
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    The best way is to eliminate all processed foods from your diet.... sodas, chips, anything in a wrapper. It is all bad. It all has flavor enhancers that trash your taste buds. It takes about a month to be able to taste the true flavor of a carrot.
    Best thing is not buy any, none in the house, none to eat... eat an apple.
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