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What and how much should I eat?

8/17 8:51:34

Question
Hi,
I have a couple questions that I'm pretty confused about. A few years I fell
into some bad eating habits and wasn't exercising and got up to 145 lbs. Over
the past three years I've gone down to 124 lbs. I am a pretty normal size now I
think but I would like to have a flat stomach and toned arms and thighs. My
ideal weight is 118(my old weight), so I only have five more pounds but I can't
seem to lose it!
I'm a 24 year old female and I'm 5'3". I lost most of the weight by just eating
moderately healthy (vegetarian diet) and exercising once in a while (sometimes
regularly 3-4 times a week, sometimes sedentary). I went from 132 to 124 by
adding juiced vegetables into my diet as a meal replacement for lunch and doing
30 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a week. I plateaued at 124 so I decided to try
zigzagging my calories and hiit workouts everyday. The first week nothing
happened but the second week I lost three pounds but my measurements were only
down a tiny bit (1/4 to 1/2 inch). Plus, I gained the weight back after taking a
week off the workout because I was sick. I've been at 124 for three months and
can't figure out what to do. I think it's mostly my diet that is to blame, which
is my main question. I don't know how many calories to eat and what I should
eat!
I found out that my BMR is 1377 and that Moderately Active I need 2134. That
sounds so high to me! Looking at some weight loss forums it sounds like what I
should do is eat 1337 calories a day plus any calories I burn in a work out. Is
that correct? If so, that also doesn't make sense to me because I do a 20 minute
hiit workout and I only burn about 160 calories for that workout a day. But I
need a 500 calorie deficit(without going under my bmr) a day to lose a pound a
week. Ideally, I'd like to lose two pounds a week. I'm going on a road trip in
July until August and would like to be at my ideal weight and look by then.
Right now, I eat 1600-2400 calories a day. The reason there is such a big
difference is because I don't know what to eat and I get frustrated and end up
eating something bad for me like pizza or dessert on some days. I would like to
eat a mainly vegan diet with the exception being eggs if I have to. Right now,
besides the bad junk food, I eat oatmeal with sunflower seeds in the morning and
then through out the day I have rice or quinoa with beans, an orange, peanut
butter and toast, and veggie juice with kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers,
and celery. I took a quiz that said I'm a balanced oxidizer and should have 40
percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat but I don't know how to
figure all that out. There are meal plans out there for this but I have a busy
schedule from day to day and am a picky eater so I would rather just have a set
list of meals and snacks that I eat everyday and have no to little preparation
time. My last question is what should I eat a
fter my HIIT workout? It includes both strength and cardio so I don't know if I
should eat carbs or protein or half of each?
Thank you so much in advance for all your help! I know I asked a lot but I'm so
confused and frustrated!

Answer
Hi Ella,

While reading your question it really sounds like you know exactly what to do!

You were already successful in losing weight on what sounds like a great plan. If I were you I would continue that plan, avoid the foods you know are high-cal (as you mention, pizza, desserts), and do exactly what you suggest: 1377 cal plus 160 from your 20-minute workout (1537) is pretty close to a 500-calorie deficit from 2134, isn't it!

It might not be reasonable for you to lose 2 pounds per week because of your small size and the fact that you are so close to your goal weight.

It seems obvious you are not losing because you're eating 1600-2400 calories a day!

Don't worry about the balance of your protein, carbs, and fat--when you eat a variety of foods this will work out fine :)

Check out any of the online sites that help you track your meals (fitday.com, sparkpeople.com, loseit.com) or Choosemyplate.gov to track your intake. The choosemyplate site will help you plan healthy meals.

Do what you already know is the right thing to do and the weight will come off in time--in the meantime you'll feel nice and healthy and balanced; not deprived and cranky and hungry like you would on an unhealthy crash diet :)

Laurie
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