The amount of calories I should eat in order to lose weight has always eluded me.
The only time I have ever lost significant weight while monitoring calories was when I exhibited eating disorder-like behavior - eating 1,000 calories a day or less. Freaking out about counting everything, was hungry/woozy 24/7 and would have insane cereal binges when no one was watching. I dropped about 25 pounds, putting me at 140lbs, while I'm a 5'9 broad shouldered/wide hipped female...I looked very skinny despite my weight not being drastically low.
Anyway! Once my eating habits normalized, I gained about 40 pounds back..then stabilized at about 170, where it has more or less stayed ever since (this is over the course of 3 years).
Now I am eating a primal diet on a leangains IF protocol (been primal for half a year without any noticeable weight loss, just started the 16/8 IF on Monday). The leangains method calls for counting calories..which I am fine with. I'm just not sure how to properly determine an acceptable caloric goal for me on workout days or rest days!
I'm also borderline hypothyroid, which I take 200 mcg of selenium for daily and it appears to help..I also take dessicated thyroid some days. I assume this influences how many calories I'll need to eat to lose fat, and every website tells me something different.
What recommendations do you guys have? Anything? Does 1600 on rest days, 1800-1900 on workout days sound about right? Too much? Some calculators tell me a lot more, some a bit less, so this is my attempt at splitting the difference.
On a rest day right now..ate a little under 1600 calories in the 8 hour feeding window and feel SUPER hungry an hour out of it. Sticking it out with carbonated water.
Its mostly due to the fact that you are hypometabolic, probably because of another one of those low carb diets, which only exacerbate hypothyroidism. Do yourself a favor, start to take thyroid meds, like dessicated in the am, then nibble on a little T3 (10mcg) throughout the day do jump start you. The thyroid functions on proper cellular respiration and glucose oxidation, not free fatty acids, which tend to lower its function, unless they are short or medium chains, like that of coconut oil. Avoid poly unsaturated fat like the plague, as it causes hypothyroidism by causing FFA accumulation and inhibition of glucose metabolism; hence, your cells function more on free fatty acids, and less on glucose, which is more inefficient. Tons of pretty shitty things happen when you are on a low carb diet and/or eating tons of PUFA. Low testosterone, low progesterone:estrogen ratio. Inflammatory cytokines increase drastically and you become more susceptible to heart disease IF you are eating lots of PUFA. If you are eating lots of sat fat, then heart disease almost never is apparent. Hypothyroidism can be cured through diet, contrary to what someone said above. The main thing is that you want your body to start working with glucose again instead of against it. Glucose is your friend, and so is fructose, in context. Everybody likes to be very dualistic when it comes to dieting. Some say low carb, some purport low fat, but the truth is, things work in different ways in context, and you can't blame certain macronutrients for all your problems. A ketogenic diet will get you very lean, but 9 times out of 10 it will make hypothyroidism worse, which has a tendency to up regulate estrogen, cortisol, catacholamines, other stress hormones, inflammation, the list goes on and on. In lay man's terms, you basically are dying a little every day on a ketogenic diet. The body even tries to adapt to use fat for sugar, but it is highly costly and extremely inefficient. It's kind of like paying off a loan with interest. The amount of energy it takes for fat to make glucose, outweighs the amount of energy you take in, so without sufficient calories, your body basically eats itself. Lean muscle mass decreases, and then your metabolism falls even further from less muscle tissue. I was on a paleo diet for 2 years and it fucked my thyroid over. Lab tests were horrible. I was able to regain full function and improve my labs by increasing sugar consumption from lots of fruit and orange juice. In the long run, a healthy metabolism will do you wonders for fat loss, while not sacrificing your health in the process like low carb diets do. You can find more info on.
If you're really hungry on what you think is a reasonable caloric intake, try eating whenever you're hungry instead of following IF. IF works better for some than others. Tens of thousands of people have lost weight effectively without it.
Here is some info you might find useful:
I don't think you're eating enough. Just stop counting calories. You seem to have a good idea of what your body needs. I used to be just like you with a border-line eating disorder and freakish caloric accountability and it just left me stressed. You say you're tracking calories but it's more important where they are coming from. If you are eating plenty clean fats (grass-fed meat and butter, coconut oil, ect) and building your meals around a good dose of protein with plenty leafy greens the rest will take care of its self.
Find out your lean body mass.
Start with 15 calories / pound of this. If you aren't losing, try 14, then 12, then 10...
10 calories per pound is usually worth 1% body fat loss per week unless you are over 15 to 20% body fat or so.
Leangains and IF is ideal for folks who have only a few percentages of bodyfat to lose. Do you know your percentage of bodyfat? If you are 30% or above, your best bet is to eat very, very clean paleo, until you trim down. This means cutting out all dairy and sugar. To reach a target weight of 145 lbs ( I don't know your target, but this is healthy for 5'9 female), eat at least 95 grams of protein per day. At your height, you should eat at least 2,000 calories per day. Try to eat eggs. fried or scrambled in animal fat, for breakfast, or an egg over a small amount(4 oz.) of beef, for brekkie. Maybe a pice of fritatta with nitrate-free sausage? Kippers or oysters with eggs?
A salad for lunch, topped with chicken, olive and vinegar dressing.
Round out your dinners with plenty of veg and the remaining grams of meat as a mix-in or main dish.
Skip the fruit, nuts, and "paleo-approved" flours and starches. If you eat your fill of meat and veg for a week, you will lean out. Then, to change it up, add a night of a sweet potato side. I like homemade sweet-potato fries.
You need a combo of low-carb/slightly low-cal/higher carb surprise, to shake things up.
Compensating for an "extra" meal on IF 4 Answers
Getting the hang of it... 4 Answers
Leangains vs. leptin 2 Answers