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Just not hungry...


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Hey everyone, so I've only been doing this low calorie thing for about two weeks and I've alreadly lost some weight (woo hoo!), but i'm a little concerned about my hunger. Stats: 220 pounds, 5'5", 23 year-old female. I've been consuming between 1200-1400 calories a day, sedentary lifestyle (although I'm going to encorporate walking soon) and recently I've just not been very hungry.  When I first started, this was what I wanted (because I was hungry ALL the time), but now I'm finding that some days its almost a struggle to make myself get the recommended 1200 calories into me. I just don't feel hungry often anymore, and honestly, I'm having trouble remembering what it was like to consume 2200 calories like I used to. Anyone else facing this? Any advice? I know it's not healthy...

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I find that eating so many fruits and vegetables fills me up, so I've started adding some healthy "accessories" to my food.  In the morning, I sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed over my cereal (nutty flavour, and very good for you!).  At lunch, I add a vegetarian "cheese" slice to my sandwich (good protein boost).  For dinner I'll have a glass of elderberry juice (lots of vitamin C, and I pretend it's a nice merlot!)

Hope that helps a little.

Those are great ideas! I never thought of getting those extra calories and nutients through "accessories" like you suggested. I'm all excited now...lol

I read somewhere on this site that no appetite can mean you aren't getting enough calories or nutrition.  Try adding healthy fats into your diet.  They help to increase (in a healthy way) appetite.

I heard that when you eat substantially less calories than your body is used to, your stomach actually shrinks.

Now, I don't know if that's true or not, but it's kind of an interesting thought.

I know what you mean about not even remembering how you used to be able to eat so much! I used to NEVER watch what I ate, but I loved cheese, so sometimes I would have a couple slices of cheese a day. That amounts to about 500 extra calories a day! How in the world...... Lol. I don't even think I want to know how many calories I used to eat a day.

Some things to consider about your eating habits:

- Are you eating alot of fiber? Because fiber fills you up really well, and keeps you full for a while after you eat it. So when you eat more fiber, you feel fuller longer, and end up not feeling very hungry.

- If you really just can't make yourself eat more food to reach those 1,200 calories a day, then don't. Just eat more calorically dense (yet nutritious) foods like bananas, peanut butter, and nuts. You can eat less of them, but since they're higher in calories, you're still getting all of the energy you need.

This time of year, alot of germs are going around, so who knows- you might just have a little bug or something that is affecting your appetite. But if your appetite isn't back within a week or so, you might want to see a doctor.

Unless you're actually eating a smaller volume of food, your stomach doesn't shrink.

However, eating less calories, over a period of time, will slow down your metabolism, which is probably what you're experiencing. I wouldn't worry about this, because you will still lose weight, and metabolism absolutely has to decrease no matter how much you lower your caloric intake--check out the studies online if you don't believe me.

Also, if you have changed the TYPE of foods you eat from sugary and refined foods to fiber-and-protein-filled whole foods, a change in hunger levels is only natural!

If it's a struggle to get the recommended calories, unsweetened juices, condiments, and higher-calorie foods (like whole grain bagels) always work! ;)   

Actually, you may have a few things to be worried about. It's easy to assume when you are clinically overweight that calorie restriction makes absolute sense. Eat less, lose weight, get healthy. It's the mantra we've all been taught.

However, we forget that anorexics don't start out thin. Many start at a normal weight and many more are overweight. They either believe they are overweight or they really are clinically overweight. In response, they eat less. They restrict calories. They diet. Then what?

Well, one in three dieters has these 'sleeping' genes that get triggered awake just by restricting calories. Once these genes are active, they shift some neurotransmitters in the brain and neuropeptides throughout the body and suddenly the anorexic starts to feel noticeably different things than a dieter who does not have those genes at all.

A regular dieter will say she feels irritable, fatigued and really hungry if she restricts her calories too steeply. An eating disorder dieter will say she feels energized and that she's stopped feeling hungry. Although it is contentious whether she actually does not feel the hunger, she definitely feels that suppressing the hunger makes her less moody. She feels calm and she feels what professional call emotionally blunted.

An eating disorder patient is feeling such different things when she diets because her body and brain are working differently from that point on. Feeling calm, energized and dissociated from pain is all being generated by those shifted neurotransmitters in the brain.

Now you could just be experiencing metabolic suppression because you are starving. That means you are not feeling energized, calm and dissociated from pain, you just feel a lack of appetite due to the metabolism dumping down in response to the low calorie intake. If that's the case, it's is still bad news, but at least it's not the beginnings of an eating disorder.

It's bad news because it means the body has shifted over to taking the too-large energy deficit you've created not just from your fat stores, but from bones and muscles too. This is all setting you up for clinical anxiety, depression, excess weight around the mid-section (increased risk of heart disease), anemia...not the way to go.

You actually burn 2390 calories every day. Although I know it's confusing how they define "sedentary" in the activity level of the burn meter, only bed-ridden people can use the "sedentary" setting. Light activity applies to the rest of us with no regular exercise program but the usual office job, cleaning the home occasionally, running errands -- the usual.

So you are creating over a 1000 calorie deficit each day. Bad news. That suppresses the metabolism which will make it harder to lose weight as you go along, not easier. That you haven't added exercise in yet will only worsen the situation.

First thing to do is up the calorie intake so that the deficit between what you burn (2390) and what you take in is around 500 calories each day. So about 1800 calories a day. Spread the food throughout the day and ignore that there is no hunger there to remind you to eat -- have a plan and a routine and eat.

Second thing is to shift the focus to exercise. It will help the metabolism stay up at a normal rate which will keep steady weight loss for your right to your final goal weight. Don't forget to add each workout to your base burn rate and you have to eat more on those days so that the deficit still stays at 500.

Also, if there is a history of eating disorders in your family or if you suspect that you are experiencing the early phases of an eating disorder yourself, then go speak to a psychologist and your doctor about your concerns.

Thanks, Hedgren for acknowledging that she was eating too little. I was going to comment but then I saw your name and said : Oh, nope, she's got this. Lol

I was having the same problems when I first started CC. Trying to make it to 2100 from a very low barely 1000 seemed impossible. Nonetheless, I increased it and I started to feel  real hunger a lot more. My exercising got easier because I wasn't lacking energy and getting lightheaded all the time. And the number of headaches I got decreased as well.

Sooo happy I found CC..

Have a good weekend all!

Wow. So you guys think I'm not eating enough? I mean, I admit its very difficult to eat between 1200-1400 calories, but my evaluation said I should keep my intake around 1350. Can someone explain more about the whole sedentary vs. light activity thing? I thought I was sedentary based on the website's descriptions, but you guys seem to be saying that it's not accurate. I re-did my evaluation with "light activity" and it gave me an extra 300 calories, so I was thinking of changing my intake to between 1350-1650 calories a day. Do you think that's closer to being right? I'm so confused now, and I'm worried that if I take in more calories I'll undo all I've done these last few weeks. Sorry, but can I beg for some more advice?

I have that problem sometimes too. However, I've noticed that if I make sure to eat a large-ish breakfast, I find that I'm hungrier for the rest of the day. I also agree very much with the "food accessory" suggestion.

I would also appreciate it if someone could explain "sedentary" vs. "lightly active". I know that sedentary=bedridden on the website I use (the one that everyone on here recommends for under-21s like myself), but it seems like on CC's calculator and the online phord calculator it doesn't-- on CC's, it specifically says that a desk job is sedentary. I'm trying to figure out how much my mom burns in a day because she's also trying to lose weight but hasn't been successful in any of the methods she's tried so far (which doesn't surprise me much).

If Sedentary means bedridden then I think CC really needs to rewrite their descriptions...

stick some healthy snacks in between meals like almonds, walnuts, nut butters with fresh fruit...

be creative with your meals and see what "little things" you can add to beef up the calories.  For example, I love oatmeal so I learned you can cook the oats with a banana (yummm).  Gives you extra calories and yummy sweetness!  I also like to add ground flaxseed to my oats. :P

I don't know if this helps but I can agree that you might be eating too little. As much as we think we don't need carbs or fat in our way of eating, we do. But the difference is we don't need an excessive amount of each. There has to be an equal amount of everything so that your body doesn't feel that it is being deprived of the things it needs. I use to eat more than I needed and when I use to try to lose weight before, I would cut back on my intake. I was not happy and there were some days where I would not eat for a day or eat 1 meal a day or even eat excessively for days. And it was just out of control.

So now, I've taken the approach of schedule my food intake and portioning out what I eat as well as eat more vegetables and fruits. They fill you up and you're satisfied with what you ate. Also, I don't know how many times a day you eat, try 3 small meals and 2 snacks throughout the day and spaced them out 3 hours or so apart so you could fit everything. I mean it's working for me. I'm getting in my calories, not depriving myself of anything that my body needs and satisfying my hunger or lack of. Because eventually, your hunger is going to come back and it may be stronger than before, causing you to binge and have setbacks in your journey.

Maybe you started off too quickly with your goals on calories. Try starting off slow or moderate so that your body isn't in shock because of the quick jump from the higher calories down to the lower ones. I'm starting out new too so I know where you're coming from with trying to keep the low calories and cutting my eating down.

Original Post by fit4tina:

If Sedentary means bedridden then I think CC really needs to rewrite their descriptions...

I don't know why it would - Sedentary on CC's burn meter is a calculation based on BMR - specifically, BMR * 1.2.

If BMR is how much your body burns at complete rest for 24 hours, I'm not sure how being bedridden would burn 20% more than that.

Sorry, but I don't quite understand the last post...are you saying that the sedentary description is correct? What is BMR?

BMR is "basal metabolic rate" - it's the calculation on which all of CC's burn meter data is based.

How much we burn in a day it taken from BMR (although CC will not tell you your BMR).  It multiplies BMR times an activity multiplier (based on your activity level) to tell you how much you actually burn (I should say - to estimate how much you burn).

From multiple sources, these are the activity multipliers and their associated definitions:

BMR * 1.2 - little to no exercise
BMR * 1.375 - light exercise (1-3x/week)
BMR * 1.55 - moderate exercise (3-5x/week)
BMR * 1.725 - heavy exercise (6-7x/week)
BMR * 1.9 - very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts)

To my understanding, sedentary is "little to no exercise"... which, quite unfortunately, many people actually fall under. Of course, you can be active outside of "exercise" and should adjust your activity level to take that into consideration. But too many people live from home to car to office, and back, with very little activity.

But based on the definitions of BMR that I have seen, I don't see why bedridden would be the equivalent of sedentary (i.e. BMR * 1.2)

I've seen numerous posts where sedentary was explained as bed-ridden and no one corrected or mentioned anything about it being inaccurate..

So, does that mean If I'm sitting down for some of the day, say about 2 hours at a time, even with walking for 20min and any weight training I do that day, it's still sedentary?  I do work out for 3-5 days a week, sometimes multiple times in a day.

But  also  in one of my other posting someone describe sedentary as taking less than 5,000 steps in a day. Other than the walking I do, or the cardio days, I don't take 5,000 steps on a regular basis. Having online classes kind of prevents me from walking as much as someone who has a job or walks campus everyday. I have the SAT to study for so that's even more time spent sitting down.

Original Post by amethystgirl:

BMR is "basal metabolic rate" - it's the calculation on which all of CC's burn meter data is based.

How much we burn in a day it taken from BMR (although CC will not tell you your BMR).  It multiplies BMR times an activity multiplier (based on your activity level) to tell you how much you actually burn (I should say - to estimate how much you burn).

From multiple sources, these are the activity multipliers and their associated definitions:

BMR * 1.2 - little to no exercise
BMR * 1.375 - light exercise (1-3x/week)
BMR * 1.55 - moderate exercise (3-5x/week)
BMR * 1.725 - heavy exercise (6-7x/week)
BMR * 1.9 - very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts)

To my understanding, sedentary is "little to no exercise"... which, quite unfortunately, many people actually fall under. Of course, you can be active outside of "exercise" and should adjust your activity level to take that into consideration. But too many people live from home to car to office, and back, with very little activity.

But based on the definitions of BMR that I have seen, I don't see why bedridden would be the equivalent of sedentary (i.e. BMR * 1.2)

Sedentary is bed ridden only. I know it reads as "little to no exercise" as though you are hanging out at the office, but the actual burn meter amount that you get back reads more as a basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is indeed the approximate amount required to keep you alive if you are in bed all day.

So, BMR *1.2 is not what you see when you use CC activity setting of "sedentary". And yes perhaps CC really does need to rewrite its descriptions. 

Also, much as it all looks like simple equations (BMR multiplied by whatever) there's a lot of recent data that show BMR itself is questionable. We are human ecospheres, not human computers so everyone is different.

And finally, I would encourage all of us to take that into account when we decide to help or advise particular posters. I don't encourage anyone under the age of 25 (for medical reasons) to use a sedentary setting because diet-abuse is rampant in the young and they are the ones who damage skeletal, hormonal and neurological development by using the "sedentary" setting and assuming 1200 calories is acceptable because it is what the burn meter suggests.

There are times when subjectivity and not science benefits the individual far more.

I've actually posted several times asking hedgren to explain her argument, but she hasn't responded yet. I don't know that she's wrong, just that it contradicts my understanding of the numbers CC provides, and I would like to know her explanation.

If you are working out, you aren't sedentary, that I know for sure. Your activity level without exercise might be sedentary (assuming I am correct, and sedentary does not equal bedridden), but your exercise certainly takes you out of that category.

You say that you are sitting for 2 hours a day... that's not that much, when you compare to a desk drone (like me) who spends a good 8-9 hours at her desk with few reasons to get up and walk around. So don't discount how much activity you do. I don't have a pedometer, so I haven't looked into how many steps it takes to qualify for what activity levels.

Edit: I just saw hedgren replied, but I haven't read her reply yet - will respond once I've read it.

Well, my amount equals your amount, just in intervals. Every 2hours or so, depending on how much work I get done, I take a break and either go for a walk outside or just mess around with something else. It varies day to day, but I try exercising as much as possible through out the day to balance out the fact that I don't go to a..'normal' school? Normal being not in home.

Original Post by hedgren:

So, BMR *1.2 is not what you see when you use CC activity setting of "sedentary". And yes perhaps CC really does need to rewrite its descriptions. 

Well... actually, it is.

CC uses the Mifflin St Jeor equation to do its calorie burn. This is the updated version of the Harris Benedict. There was a CC blog about it when it switched from HB to M-SJ.  I've read the arguments on why it's better (it tends to be a little lower), but since both are just estimates, I think it's a little bit of splitting hairs which one is used.

Using the Mifflin-St Jeor for a woman:
BMR = 10×weight in kg + 6.25×height in cm - 5×age - 161

At my weight (135), height (5'6") and age (29), I get:
10 x 61.23  +  6.25 x 167.64  -  5 x 29  -  161 = 612.3 + 1047.75 - 145 - 161 = 1354.

When I put those same stats into CC's burn meter tool, and set my activity level to sedentary, I get 1630.

1354 * 1.2 = 1624.

 

Of course I know that these are all estimates. But they are starting points. And I think you are coming from the starting point assuming that CC is reporting a calculated BMR, when it is actually first multiplying it by 1.2. The fundamental equations are surely faulty and won't work for everyone - I'm not trying to say that they will. But having done the math out, I can tell you that CC is not using "sedentary" to be the same as BMR.

I'd just like to add that I am a firm believer that teens (at the very least, but perhaps I should adjust that to include under-25s) should not be dieting. I also think that it would be difficult to find a high school or college student who is actually sedentary. Even without playing sports and not being in any way a social butterfly, my high school and college days were spent rushing around campus, even with hours of classes and studying.

I also think that CC tends to suggest too low calorie targets (I'm talking about the calorie target tool here, not the burn meter tool) for many people, especially those who under-report their activity level (the people who say "well, I'm sedentary, but I exercise - so I'll just add that in later").  1200 maybe the CC-approved minimum, but I believe that most, if not all, people would be better off if they eat at the very least their BMR. We had this debate a few years ago on CC, and the result was that a member, phord, created what is now referred to as the phord calulator: www.phord.com/cc

Phord's calculator still has problems with it - it will let you try to keep as high a deficit as possible, while still eating over your BMR and if you happen to be very small, and your BMR is calculated under 1200, it will recommend a number below 1200 (1500 for men).  But it won't give you calculations if you are under 21 (or 18? can't remember). Something I wish they would change about the CC calorie target tool.

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