Reducing My Calories – Part 1

I want to preface this post with sort of a disclaimer. When I was losing 100 pounds I reduced my calories a lot, but never this low. Going from eating 5,000+ calories a day to under 2,000 calories a day is a pretty big jump. It was a drastic change for my lifestyle and my body. But it was a healthy drastic change.

I got used to eating around 2,000 calories a day and for the year and a half that I was losing weight I was striving to eating between 1600-1800 calories a day. Sometimes I ate back the calories I burned in the gym, sometimes I didn’t and created a bigger deficit. I was writing it down by hand in a journal and just adding my calories that way. It worked for me.

Fast forward a few years after maintaining my weight, I started using an iPhone app to track my calories. I maintained the 110 pound weight loss for 6 years. What I was doing was working. Now here comes the disclaimer. I firmly believe that eating 1200 calories a day is the most bottom number you can consume before it becomes dangerous. I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist and you should definitely talk to a professional before doing something drastic.

I can’t say I’m excited about reducing my calories so much because of that. I don’t want to screw up my metabolism, or cause secondary issues (like immune problems or injury–which can happen if you don’t eat enough calories). As a result of these potential issues, I’m not going to be doing this super-low calorie diet for an extended period of time. My HOPE is that doing it for a week or two, maybe 3 tops will jump-start my body into losing weight.

The nutritionist I spoke to suggested I experiment with caloric intake–higher calories AND lower calories–and see what helps. Sometimes your body just gets STUCK and you need to wake it back up. Here is the food diary I have for the first week of trying this.
1

Day One

Breakfast: My breakfasts are usually pretty good and I don’t feel the need to change them up too much. What I’m doing has worked for the most part and keeps me full for a long time. Breakfast this day was 2 fried eggs, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, black coffee with creamer, and an EmergenC drink. Calories: 342

Snack: String Cheese, hot mint tea. Calories: 80

Lunch: I wasn’t quite prepared for lunches this week so the first day of the “diet” (i.e. lower calorie days) wasn’t the best. I kind of threw things together at the last minute. Lunch was a Chocolate Whey protein shake, medium sized banana, and sugar snap peas. Calories: 256

Dinner: Michael was famished after biking to work and needed a lot more calories than I did. I ended up having some leftover rice, a veggie burger, and steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing. Calories: 530

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Dessert: For dessert I had some chocolate pudding. Calories: 180

Total Calories for the day: 1456

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It was a pretty good food day, even being a little higher than 1300.

2

Day Two

This is a gym day and I wanted to eat a little bit more calories on this day in order to work out and not hurt myself.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 1 English Muffin toasted with cinnamon and splenda, black coffee with creamer, unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 362

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70

Lunch: I had some Carrot Ginger Soup, snap peas, raw red and orange peppers with a little salad dressing for dipping. Calories: 220

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries. Calories: 110

Dinner: I was doing really well and then it was Cinco de Mayo…I got home from the gym and Michael had made guacamole (which I love and have a hard time resisting). Dinner was 4 ounces of grilled flank steak on top of a salad with sauteed peppers and onions. I had some guacamole and chips, and topped it with a little sour cream. Calories: 790

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Total Calories for the day: 1622. A little higher than I wanted to shoot for but still less than what was my old “norm”.

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Calories burned: I did the elliptical at the gym and burned 374 calories.

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3

Day Three

Breakfast: Trader Joe’s oatmeal with some brown sugar and dried coconut, coffee with creamer, unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 308

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70

Lunch: Carrot Ginger Soup and a chocolate protein shake. Calories: 240

Snack: Trader Joe’s Cottage cheese. Calories: 90

Dinner: Salad with raw yellow and orange peppers, carrots, 5 ounces of baked chicken breast, Gorgonzola cheese and Buffalo Sauce. Calories: 433

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Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries, chocolate chips and dried coconut flakes. Calories: 182

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Total Calories for the day: 1424

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Calories burned: 604

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Day Four

This day was not my best day. I did well until I got home from swimming. I was so freaking hungry I ended up snacking on some tortilla chips while I was cooking dinner. I ended up going over my calories for the day. I’m disappointed but I’m trying not to let it derail me.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, cottage cheese, coffee with creamer and plain iced tea. Calories: 342

Snack: Apple. Calories: 80

Lunch: Carrot Ginger Soup, sugar snap peas and a string cheese. Calories: 231

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, dried coconut flakes.  Calories: 135

Dinner: Spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, couscous and steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing. Calories: 730

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Calories burned: Went swimming and burned around 300 calories.

Dessert: Fun sized peanut butter snickers. Calories: 130

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Total Calories for the day: 1725. Too many! Went over my calories today. 🙁

Day-5

Day Five

Breakfast: English muffin with cinnamon and a little splenda, cantaloupe, half a serving of cottage cheese and coffee with creamer. Calories: 300

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Lunch: Steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing, leftover couscous, and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shui Mai. Calories: 388

This day is incomplete because I didn’t track my calories for dinner. It was Mother’s Day.

Calories burned: Went for a run and burned 443 calories. Then did yard work and burned a little over 200. 645 calories. 

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day-6

Day Six

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 338

Snack: Cantaloupe.  Calories: 56

Lunch: Salad with dressing and two slices of turkey deli meat, celery and baby carrots with guacamole. Calories: 249

Dinner: Couscous, spicy bratwurst with mustard and sauerkraut, steamed and sauteed Brussels sprouts. Calories: 600

Dessert: strawberries and some chocolate. Calories: 120

Total Calories for the day: 1472

Calories burned: Around 80

The verdict: This first week I lost 1 pound! Stay tuned for next week!

10 Responses

  1. Congrats on the loss, Lisa! It’s a great start, isn’t it? Do you find that it is beneficial to have “go-to” meals when you’re restricting calories? Like eggs and English muffins for breakfast most days and the soup and snap peas (thank goodness for snap peas – I love those things and they are so cheap, calorie-wise!) for several lunches? I have a “go-to” breakfast, but not so much for lunch and dinner, and I was wondering if that might be helpful to my efforts.

    1. YES! Having go-to breakfast and lunch meals helps a LOT. I like to have a few basic things I eat and then switch it up here and there but soup is a good lunch for me.

  2. I wonder if you might want to try more protein and some healthy fats. Not to piss you off, but I’ve been doing FMD Ph3 for two days and the scale has dropped almost 4 lbs. Plus I feel like I’ve been eating a lot of food, and I’m not hungry. I’m trying to only weigh myself once a week, but I just had to peek this morning. My next two days will be more fruit and carbs, then two days of protein/veggies, then back to a more balanced eating for 3 days. Snacks like carrots/hummus or protein at every meal. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if you bounce your calories up a day and then back down.

    You’re doing great!

    1. What is FMD?
      This first week I was NOT prepared at all for changing up my foods. I had to scramble a bit. This week I am much better prepared and bought foods that work well for me and help me stay within my calorie range. For example, today I have salad and salmon for lunch.

      I love hummus! I need to get some more of that.

  3. Lisa, If you wish to shake things up, it’s not just what and how much you eat but when you eat.
    Everyone has to find what works just for them. I front-load my calories. My theory is that you need to use up all your calories by bedtime. By use up I don’t mean eating but using up the energy they provide.
    I’m 5’4 1/2″, 132 lbs and lost about 70 lbs eating 875 calories for breakfast, 230 as a morning snack, 930 for lunch and 384 in a couple of adult beverages. Grand total of 2419, about what I should eat just to maintain but I’ve been able to shed the weight and not be terribly hungry. No, I don’t eat dinner right now, haven’t in over a year now but I’m usually just too tired to eat.

    1. Yes, I’ve read a lot of stuff about what you are talking about…that your largest meal should be lunch, smallest at dinner. I’ve thought about trying this but in the end I know myself and I am a night-time snacker and I don’t think this would work for me. Eating a larger dinner helps me to not snack.

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