If your weight is 180 pounds and you don't want to gain or lose weight, you can calculate your TDEE and strive for your average intake to match that amount. If your TDEE is 2,300 calories a day, you should be eating about that much every day - but if sometimes you are eating more, say 3,000 calories on weekend days or heavy training days, you will need to adjust calories on other days accordingly. And don't forget to adjust your TDEE as needed with changes in fitness or calorie burn. If you were previously fairly active and now working a desk job or mostly sedentary, failure to adjust your activity factor and adjust your estimated TDEE may result in weight gain.
Just to be clear: if you’re struggling with a chronic hormonal issue like PCOS, infertility, or amenorrhea your best bet is to go find a good endocrinologist who can run blood tests and give you specific advice. Diagnosing yourself over the internet is not a substitute for a doctor! But while you’re waiting for an appointment, here are some studies that point to possible avenues for normalizing estrogen levels.
With potatoes, leave the skin on (with baked or mashed potatoes) or if you peel them, make snacks of them. For example, drizzle olive oil, rosemary, salt, and garlic on the peels and bake at 400 F (205 C) for fifteen minutes for baked Parmesan garlic peels. Keeping the skin on potatoes when cooking them helps keep more vitamins/minerals in the flesh (just don't eat any parts of skin that are green).
When you start eating more fat and cut out all those senseless carbs (sugar, bread, and the like), you tend to stop experiencing the blood sugar swings that plague most people on the Standard American Diet. These fluctuations cause intense hunger that keeps you lurching from one carb-heavy meal to the next, never feeling satisfied—and never reaching the deep fat-burning state of ketosis. But that’s not big news to most of us.
It’s hard to keep track of how much we eat. But a lot of research shows that when we keep track of intake, we eat less. This is called self-monitoring, and why writing down what I ate and weighed helped me.4,5,6 There are so many ways to do this nowadays: from the old-school paper-and-pencil method, to apps like MyFitnessPal, or the Weight Watchers points system.7
If you aren't getting enough protein, and not strength training regularly, extremely restrictive diets may cause you to start burning more lean muscle for energy instead of fat (23). Why does this matter? You are losing precious muscle mass - which is key for keeping your metabolism intact and improves your overall quality of life. In addition, reduced lean muscle mass increases your overall body fat percentage, even though the number on the scale is decreasing.
I am not as much in favor of ‘forgiving’ as you mention. Let’s be honest about realizing that if you want good health, stop giving in to the miriad of food temptations. I am in my 70’s and hear all the time from my contemporaries that they think keeping to a good eating regime is only necessary if one has a ‘health problem’. The most valuable asset we all have the potential to possess is good health.
Focus on cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight. Studies show that cardiovascular exercise like walking, jogging, and running is highly effective at any degree of intensity. That's because cardio/aerobic exercise works the muscles in your arms, legs, and hips, and increases blood flow to all sets of muscles. Effective cardio exercises include:
“I was inspired to lose weight because I had gained a little every year in my thirties and forties, especially after having children. I lost the weight using the natural pregnancy hormone HCG and eating only green veggies, white fleshed fish and seafood, and drinking a gallon of water a day. I was always very active, and held certified personal training certificates for years. I keep the fat off now by hiking, yoga, walking, lifting weights and waitressing in the evenings. I eat clean and green 80 percent of the time and allow treats—notice I don't call them cheats—20 percent of the time. I still drink lots of water, meditate and smile at myself daily! My best tips are to slowly increase water consumption to a gallon of water a day and add lemon or cucumbers. That way you can tell if you are truly hungry or just socially and emotionally hungry.”
5. Start with one small change. "I realized that a lot of sugar and calories that I consumed came from drinks, so I challenged myself to drink only water—no sugary drinks!—for 30 days. After just one successful week, I decided to add another challenge: to cut back on the carbs I was eating. When I did eat bread, I switched to wheat bread and when I wanted rice, I used brown rice."
Since cutting 3,500 calories in a day or two is not realistic or even possible for most people, it is best to spread out your calorie deficit throughout the week. You can cut 3,500 calories by decreasing your calorie intake each day, or increasing the amount of calories you burn through physical activity. In other words, in order to lose one pound per week you will need to cut 500 calories per day from either food, exercise or both combined. And for two pounds lost per week, you would need to cut 1,000 calories a day.
Switching from carbs to ketones does not happen overnight – it takes weeks of consistently restricting carbs for this process of keto-adaptation to fully occur. But once this process is complete, the body can burn fat at over twice the rate compared to when carbs were a major component of the diet (Phinney 1983, Volek 2016). And this remains true even when comparing highly trained athletes, where we have shown that high-level endurance training in the context of a high carbohydrate diet cannot come close to matching keto-adaptation in giving the body permission to burn fat.
Little treats keep you from feeling deprived, so every day, allow yourself a bit of something you love (aim for 150 calories each). This kind of moderation is the difference between a "diet" and a lifestyle you can stick with forever. For salon owner Caitlin Gallagher, who lost 125 pounds, that meant replacing her nightly bowl of ice cream with a square of chocolate; social worker Brittany Hicks, who lost 100 pounds, started baking mini versions of her favorite pies.
“I started my 78-pound weight-loss journey by tracking everything I ate with the Lose It! app. I track right after I finish because if I wait until later, I don’t always remember. Sometimes I’ll even record before I eat, so I know if I have enough calories for the day. That, paired with daily weigh-ins helps to keep me accountable.” —Kari Hammond, 42
Additionally, many women have to face one lifestyle change before getting to another, such as overhauling eating habits before taking on exercise. For example, Michelle DeGennaro got a handle on her diet and soon after found that she was more inclined to exercise. "Feeling lighter on my feet was thrilling, and it gave me the confidence to start walking every day," she says. And as Blanca Valdez noticed, "Eating right made my energy soar, which I channeled into exercise." She has kept off 78 pounds.
Patty, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100. You know when you need to make changes to get back to feeling better. I’m so glad you’re taking the action to make it happen! Diet-wise, definitely try to avoid sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs as much as possible (those are big contributors of belly fat!). Unfortunately, losing weight in one specific area isn’t something we really have control over, so it’s going to be tough to target your stomach. Sometimes it’s just genetics that decides where those extra pounds decide to cling. So, as far as exercise goes, the cardio you’ve been doing with your bike rides is great! And with strength training, try to target your big muscle groups to boost your metabolism to burn off that fat. This is a great article on burning stomach fat – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-truth-how-to-burn-abdominal-fat.html . And I highly recommend HASfit workouts! https://hasfit.com/
3) In our recent blog post on NK and appetite, we point to newly published studies showing how low-grade inflammation can change the brain’s response to signals from hormones like insulin and leptin. In our on-going study with Dr. Hallberg at IUH, we have reported large and consistent reductions in two inflammation biomarkers (CRP and WBC count) at baseline and 1 year in the ketogenic diet group, which adds another level of complexity to the metabolic responses to various levels of dietary carbohydrate intake.
Work your core. When many people think of core strengthening, they think of stomach crunches. Crunches are helpful for building abdominal muscles, but contrary to popular belief, crunches won't do much to lose the layer of fat stored in your belly, and can actually cause significant damage to the spine. Instead, try a workout routine that strengthens your whole core, like yoga, or try abdominal presses and planking.
Over the summer, I began to figure out what "eating healthy" even meant. I spent the summer learning to balance meals with protein, veggies, fruits, and carbs. I learned what kinds of foods were good for me and ate less and less processed foods. Once the healthy foods were a regular part of my routine, I didn't have to think as much about making healthy and smart choices. My self-control was more focused on trying to avoid slipping into old habits.
Good question…they actually do…and it’s a horrible idea! During the hours leading up to a fight, while an athlete is depleting water and glycogen, exercise should be kept to a minimum. Not only does the athlete need to recover from a hard training camp (thus, taper off exercise) so they can perform during their fight, they need to prevent excess stress. Cutting weight is pretty stressful as it is.
In short: it’s complicated! Clearly, it’s not as simple as “estrogen makes you fat” or “estrogen prevents weight loss.” And like most things in life, there’s a happy medium. There’s a healthy range of estrogen that brings nothing but benefits, but too little or too much estrogen can cause problems. Think Goldilocks: it’s not about demonizing estrogen (or anything else); it’s about finding the balance.
However, sometimes this requires you to put on muscle mass in the first place, which can cause the numbers on the scale to go up initially. It is essential to understand that weight loss and fat loss are different. Weight loss includes the loss of lean tissue and fat, whereas building muscle to promote more fat loss over time can hep you increase definition and look leaner overall - even if you aren't losing weight. This is one of the biggest reasons not to measure your success by the numbers on the scale.
I can completely relate to your struggles with weight. At times, I almost felt like I was reading my own story. Take out the college dorm stuff and throw in 2 jobs, one of them at a gym, and add a baby and I’d say our stories are pretty similar. My husband is deployed now, and I started running (did my first 5K 10 days ago). I’m down a solid 15 lbs in 2 months… and I haven’t even been strict with my “diet”. Keep running, girl! You can do it! 🙂