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Diet and Weight

8/17 8:58:16

I'm sorry if this gets a little lengthy.  I want to make sure you have all the information.  I'm 28 years old, 5' tall, and weigh about 110 pounds.  In about the last year and a half, I've changed the way I eat and exercise, and I've lost somewhere around 35 pounds.  Now, I'm trying to figure out how to go from losing to maintaining, and I'm having some difficulty.  I exercise somewhere around an hour a day.  Occasionally, it's more than that.  

I try and watch my calories as much as is possible and keep track of what I'm eating.  Sometimes, it feels like I should be able to eat more than I do for the amount that I'm exercising.  The past few days, I've been eating a little bit less, because I knew that I was going to be eating more on a certain day coming up.  Yesterday I ended up exercising around 90 minutes, and I had around 2500 calories.  My weight went up 1.4 pounds overnight.  I know that's not physically possibly, but it still leaves me with questions.

Am I short changing my metabolism by trying to eat to little, so that when I do eat more, my body tries to store everything?  How can I know how much I should be eating?  What are normal weight fluctuations?  I'm scared of gaining the weight back, and yet I'm trying to keep a good perspective on everything.  Any insight would be appreciated.  Thanks.  

Dear Sarah,

Congratulations on your weight loss, and most of all on your change to a healthier lifestyle!
If you are able to exercise an hour most days, that will be a major key to maintaining your weight.
I'm not sure how many calories you are eating on most days.  2500 Seems a bit on the high side. I am 5' tall as well, and we can afford precious few calories!  Exercising for an hour might burn 500-700 calories, depending on how hard you are working out (I am assuming you are probably doing quite a brisk workout!)  You'll need to play around with it a bit and see what level works for you.  Maybe a 2200 calorie level will be the answer?

Of course you did not gain 1.4 pounds overnight :)
You may have included some high-sodium foods in your meals and that will reflect water retention when you get on the scale.  You should lose that pound over the next day--see what happens.
Meanwhile you may be interested in a body-fat monitor scale such as Tanita.  This way, if the number of pounds go up while the % body fat goes down a few points, it's easy to see that it's a reflection of water retention (which can also be seen at certain times of the month).

Just as an aside: consider whether you might be tipping towards a mild obsession with your calories, food, exercise, etc.  If it begins to monopolize your every thought and interfere with normal daily activities, you'll want to nip it in the bud right away. It's likely there are eating disorder centers in your area that will offer evening support groups for starters.  You don't have to have full-blown anorexia or bulimia to have dieting interfere with a normal life.  You don't have to have a major eating disorder to benefit from getting help either.  You may be comfortable talking to a counselor in private, as another option: often the thoughts of weight and food and burning calories are actually a distraction to other life issues over which we have less control.  This is something that can get easily out of hand, so if you start to feel uncomfortable with the power that your weight has over you, check into getting some support.  Being scared to gain weight is an indication now may be time to do so.
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