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Don't Starve! The Eat More to Weigh Less Group

(967 Posts)
ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 10:04:00


OK, stemming from this thread I promised to start a thread to explain a little bit more about eating well and still losing weight.

I'll start by telling you about me because I love to talk about me

About 5 years ago (when I was 34) I went back to work full time, this time locally, in a sedentiary desk job. I drive to work everyday and was often far too busy lazy to do any exercise at all. My weight remained fairly static (At about 11 stones, I'm 5ft 7.5 and fairly chunky) for a good couple of years and then it started creeping up.

For the past two years I have skipped on and off WW, SW and I have tried low calorie diets, the lot. My weight has gone up to 12 stone 11 lbs at it's highest and I'm carrying it pretty much all over. My gut though shock TERRIBLE - It hangs over my knickers and in January my size 16 clothes were starting to strain.

Miserable ain't the word. It has affected my confidence (yes, honestly) and I know that at my age (39) it is only going to get harder to lose.

So, in January I started back on WW. I watched everything I ate, I thought about food compulsively, I went for walks in my lunch hour, and every weekend I fell off the wagon and stuffed my face. WHY? It makes no sense! I gobbled bread and cakes and biscuits and sweets like mad.

In April, after having lost and gained the same 7lbs over and over again I joined BIWI's Low Carb Bootcamp, and started upping my exercise at the gym (Doing classes mainly and swimming and I also started the Couch 2 5K) this is where it got weird...I stuck to the diet, it was pretty easy! I loved the food and didn't feel hungry at all - my endurance during exercise was affected but I thought I'd break through that barrier sooner or later. I watched as people on the thread lost masses of weight and I was completely stalled out. What? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? I believe that during this time I was eating a good couple of thousand calories per day, plus exercising almost every day.

I left the group as I felt so fed up with not losing and limped back to my fitness pal, but decided to stick with the no crap (no white bread/pasta/rice, easy on the white potatoes, easy on the fruit) WOE. MFP gave me a calorie limit of 1,200 cals per day and I did this for a a few days before starting to feel rotten. I started looking around the MFP community pages and found the Eat More To Weigh Less Group and read every link, and lots of the discussion boards.

It was a lightbulb moment - WHY was I expecting my body to cope on less calories than it needs just to exist? WHYYYYY?

I started EMTWL on 16th May and have lost 1 lb. That doesn't really mean very much though, as the scales are FILTHY liars - but I have eaten very well and am losing inches consistently. Since I started eating more calories (I include BIWI's brilliant Bootcamp in this calculation) I have lost 4.5 inches from my waist and a good couple of inches from my hips, arse and bust. I have dropped a dress size.

OK. I'm going to post this essay and then I'm going to talk a bit about metabolic rate calculations and the sciency bits.

knitknack Fri 25-May-12 10:06:42

This is brilliant! Thank you smile

Maryz Fri 25-May-12 10:10:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TobyLerone Fri 25-May-12 10:12:12

I'm in. I like the idea of eating more.

bibbitybobbitybunny Fri 25-May-12 10:15:55

Shirley, thank you, I have gradually come to realise over the past few months that I need to eat more (even though I am about 30lb overweight). I need to eat breakfast, have a bigger lunch, have more healthy snacks, drink more tea and non-alcoholic drinks, but eat a smaller evening meal. I am convinced that this plus exercise will result in weight loss. Will check out the link later but am on my way out to lunch with a friend soon. Will be back!

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 10:24:14


So the first link you're going to need is My Fitness Pal

Sign up, it's FREE and there are millions of foods in the database. If you have a smartphone the apps are also free (AND BRILLIANT) and on the i-phone it also has a handy bar code scanner which really takes the faff out of working out the calorie content of food.

Once you've signed up, you can PM me and I will friend you! (I'm not wild keen on shoving my MFP name on here for all to read as I do attract some HATERZ! grin)

Now, the next thing you need to find out is what your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) This is the number of calories your body burns just BEING in existence.

Mine is at around the 1,500 mark. I make sure that I always NET 1,500 calories everyday. I'll explain a bit more about net calories in a bit...

Once you have your BMR, you need to find out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is the amount of calories you actually use in a day. This is dependant on your level of activity.

To get these figures go to:


and hit in your figures. Most healthy people should be choosing MODERATE exercise level - that walk you take to drop the kids at school? That laundry you do? That walk from the tube to the office? That gardening? It all adds up.

My TDEE is about 2,400.

To lose weight safely and to KEEP IT OFF and not want to fall off the wagon and shovel crisps into your gaping maw (just me??) is a 15% cut of your TDEE. I eat 2,000 calories everyday, regardless of whether the day is an exercise day or not - REST DAYS ARE VERY IMPORTANT!

For example my week might look like this:

Monday - Eat 2,000 calories. Gym - burned 500 calories. Net calories = 1,500
Tuesday - Eat 2,000 calories. Rest day
Wednesday - Eat 2,000 calories. Gym - burned 700 calories. Net calories = 1,300 calories. Eat 200 additional to bring net to 1,500...

and so on.

Read this for a really thorough explanation!

Trills Fri 25-May-12 10:26:30

Am I allowed to lurk on here just to see what tasty healthy things people are eating?

mumat39 Fri 25-May-12 10:30:00

Marking my space. Brilliant thread and looking forward to the science bit smile

TobyLerone Fri 25-May-12 10:37:53

My figures are similar to yours, Shirley, so I've changed my calorie goal accordingly, along with setting my Carbs/Fat/Protein to 40%/30%/30% as advised.

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 10:40:13

So, once you've got your amount of calories you should be eating you're probably feeling a bit scared.

I know that I was - HOW CAN I EAT 2,000 calories per day? I will balloon into an enormous shuffling creature made entirely of fat...

Well, the truth is, that if you've been consistently starving yourself, then binging, then starving again the likelihood is that there will be a small gain in weight. I have been tracking my weight properly since 1st May and here is what has happened:

1st May - 170.5 lbs.
3rd May - 168 lbs (weird fluctuation)
11th May -168 lbs
19 May - 172.5
22 May - 170.7
25 May - 171.5

Right, so as you can see, I'm bibbling about with 1-2 lbs coming on and off and getting right on my tits but I'm EATING 2,000 calories per day. Surely, if all we read about low calorie diets = weight loss, and higher calorie diets = weight gain I should be PILING IT ON?

Well, no, actually. This first 6 weeks (<gulp> Yes, you heard) can be tough (from everything that I've read) and the scales fiddle about and small gains are made - but what you're really doing is teaching your body that it's OK - you're going to be feeding it now, piling coal into the fire of your metabolism to help it burn MORE fat and help you lose weight.

The real story is in my measurements. Unforch, I'm at home today and the spreadsheet I keep with my measurements is at work, but I can tell you that since the first of May my waist measurements look like this:

1st May - 39 inches
25 May - 33.5 inches.


What I'm telling you is that

a) you might gain a little bit on the scales
b) You MIGHT gain a few inches even in the first few weeks
c) You must remain patient
d) You WILL feel great.

Honestly, I feel terrific, bags more energy, I'm happy AND I'm dropping inches. What's not to love?

Now. Read this

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 25-May-12 10:40:45

Shirley this is so interesting.

I am doing Paul McKenna, and I've lost about 17lbs over the last year and dropped 2-3 dress sizes - 6 inches off my waist, 7 off my hips.
I have been really surprised at how much I can eat and lose weight, and when I read that stuff about Base Metabolic Rate then I understand why. I need over 2000 calories just to keep me functioning based on my lifestyle (dashing about after 2 preschoolers + BFing).

I really think this could work well alongside PMK.

Tell me more about flaxseed - when do you eat it and how?

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 10:42:16

Of course Trills!

addictediam Fri 25-May-12 10:45:20

Thanks, this is great!

TobyLerone Fri 25-May-12 10:46:52

I'm really regretting that McDonald's breakfast now sad

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 10:47:20

Hi Ali! Well done on your loss!

Flaxseed contains shitloads (technical term) of Omega 3 fat, which is the shizzle in oily fish. Omega 3 fats have proven health benefits. flaxseed

I buy the milled stuff, and the "dose" is 30g (about 2 x dessert spoons). I add it to protein shakes, I added some to my porridge this morning, you can bake with it (add it to breads and cakes) you can stir it into yghurt etc etc...

It's got a mild nutty flavour.

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 10:47:59

Tobes - Forget that. You can calorie it up, now worries. Work out the damage and then compensate by having a salad for lunch or summat.

ViviPru Fri 25-May-12 10:54:56

Eh up Shirl.

I'm still a bit baffled by all this voodoo but I do know that once I started eating my exercise calories, I started to see results.

I'm very much where you're at weight/height/goals-wise so it'll be good to keeptrack with you.

CJCregg Fri 25-May-12 10:55:32

I'm in. Lost loads of weight with Dukan last year, but then stopped smoking and have put it back on AND MORE. Heaviest I've ever been.

Signed up to MFP a few weeks ago, but keep slipping again. I need HELP grin

Ormiriathomimus Fri 25-May-12 10:56:07

shirley - I totally agree with you about inch loss being more significant than weight loss. I ditched my scales for years when I got to my slimmest because I knew that the way my body looked and felt mattered more than numbers on a dial. I bought some last year when I started to get really down about my weight and within a few days they were bullying me again sad So I have banished them to the back of my bathroom cupboard! Whether my jeans fit is a better indicator to me.

TobyLerone Fri 25-May-12 10:57:54

I've already got a delicious salad in the fridge. Homemade, with a baked salmon fillet. I'm looking forward to being hungry enough to eat it!

Re flaxseeds, is it ok just to eat them as they are? You know, like actual seeds, rather than ground up? What is 'milled'? Does that mean they're ground, like flour? I use them in muffins and sprinkle them on yogurt with sunflower seeds.

TobyLerone Fri 25-May-12 10:58:14

(cheers for doing this, btw)

Maryz Fri 25-May-12 10:58:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumat39 Fri 25-May-12 11:06:50

Shirley. Hi. What should i put in for the % calorie reduction in step 6? Sorry if i'm being a bit dim. Thanks and this is a really interesting thread.

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 11:08:08

Oh one thing I haven't said:


This is about changing our relationship with food. It's about eating WELL, good food and getting some exercise in there too.

Think about it, you know when you're looking at the nutritional details on food, and it has guideline amounts? It usually says for Women the guideline amount of calories is 2000 per day? Well, obviously, that's just an average for women to be eating (this is why you need to try and calculate your TDEE) but this means that once your at your goal weight you will still be eating around about this amount - the goalposts don't change! You won't be able to suddenly eat 4000 calories per day, or drop to 1500 per day - it means that your body NEEDS about 2,000 (or whatever your TDEE is) to maintain your weight!

ShirleyKnot Fri 25-May-12 11:08:39

Hey mumat39.

You want to choose the -15% deficit option.

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