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The All or Nothing Approach

I'm worried my approach to dieting is too severe. I went from recognizing I was overeating to eating 1300 - 1500 calories per day of very healthy food. I am covering all the food groups and reading a lot about nutrition, and yet there are days I feel much worse than I did before I began my diet. My biggest complaint is that I feel less able to focus, and sometimes I notice a great loss of energy.

Could this be because the calories I'm getting are completely different? Sometimes I have difficulties getting enough calories for the day (because vegetables and other healthy foods have so few) but I almost always manage. I just can't bring myself to eat any of the foods I used to eat.

I know this might sound like success but I'm not exactly sure it is. Any advice/recommendations anyone?


Sun. Mar 30, 11:34am

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How long ago did you make this change?
How much weight do you need to lose to get to the top of your healthy range?
How do you space your meals?
Are you getting at least 50g protein every day?
Do you start off with a sizeable breakfast, at least 250 cals?
Are you eating things you've never eaten before (possible sensitivity)?
Has your activity level changed?

You don't have to answer in this forum (but please do if you feel so inclined), but this is the kind of information you need to look at for the reasons behind your lack of energy and focus.

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 12:10 PM

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-I made the change about two weeks ago.
-I need to lose 40 pounds in order to have a healthy BMI for my height.
-The largest gap is some mornings between 7:30 (when I eat breakfast) and 1pm (when I get a chance to eat lunch). This is usually when the lack of energy begins (despite a breakfast of at least 250) and I usually can't shake it no matter how much healthy food I eat the rest of the day.
- I have been eating more vegetables than usual, but nothing I haven't eaten before.
- I'm not more active than I was before. I want to start working out but I really don't know if it would help or hurt the situation. I've lost five pounds so far which I'm happy about but I'm not sure if it's been worth it. Thank you for responding!


Sunday, March 30, 2008, 12:26 PM

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Okay, narrowed it down to three things to consider...

- Shuffle your calories around so that you can grab a mid-morning snack. If this is really difficult for your lifestyle, there are some great threads about quick, healthy 100-150 calorie snacks you can wolf in 2 minutes.
- Play with your breakfast. If it's normally a cereal-and-fruit affair, add protein; if it's a healthy omelet, add whole wheat toast. That sort of thing.
- Caffeine. Did you cut back your consumption? Could be withdrawal. In which case you might not want to give up your mid-morning coffee on top of all the other changes if it's not causing you any health issues.

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 12:39 PM

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You could be going through withdrawal from other things besides coffee, like sugar, additives, and anything else you are not eating anymore. Give it time. You will break your addictions and start to feel great in no time!

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 1:42 PM

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How many cals are you eating that brekkie is only 250? That sounds problematic.

Also, if you've increased your grain consumption, that could be the problem as well. Too may grains and I turn into a zombie...

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 3:14 PM

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I was thinking it could be withdrawl from all the crappy foods, but I thought perhaps I was just making that idea up to comfort myself! I'm glad someone else mentioned it too.

I will definitely head your advice 12:39. I don't drink coffee usually, but perhaps it's the lack of protein in the morning. I will be giving it a shot tomorrow!

3:14 - I usually eat about 1400 calories a day, but always somewhere between 1200 - 1500. I also usually have a healthy snack in the afternoon and the evening so that also explains where my calories come from. How large are your breakfasts usually? The Kashi cereal I usually have comes to exactly 250 with milk. Then I have my green tea which has no calories.

Sunday, March 30, 2008, 4:23 PM

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Bad gas

When you drop calories hard and fast, you body is using it's own fat for energy. You feel more energetic working off a bunch of food than feeding of of your body, because - simply put - eating yourself doesn't provide great energy. You are tired becasue you are eating your own fat on your belly for fuel. Your fat reserves are fuel, but not very powerful fuel like a noce big meal would be - so you are tired. Oh well, tired shmired - keep it up, you'll burn that fat right off.
Trust me - I am eating 1100 a day and with my daily double workouts I am exhausted as soon as I get started.



Monday, March 31, 2008, 3:11 PM

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My first thought was withdrawl. I know I felt awful for quite a while. It takes time for your body to adjust.
And sometimes if you lose quickly you can feel more worn out.
I wouldn't think it is from the calorie amounts.
Unless you are eating unhealthy food in which case you would get verry little.
But it sounds like that isn't the problem.
I would give it a little longer and you should begin to see a change.
And you may want to take a bar of some sort to have for a quick snack between breakfast and lunch. Like the other poster said just a few bites but it may be enough to keep you going.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 4:53 PM

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How's your iron intake? I know lack of can really make one sluggish and spacey. Sufficient iron is how your blood bonds to a great many things that it delivers to the rest of your system... I feel a lot better since I added regular servings of lean red meat (1 or 2 times a week).

I think you may just need to experiment a little but remember it takes your body a couple weeks to really feel different and with a change as drastic as it sounds like yours had been it's perhaps unsurprising that there is signifigant adjusment. The caffine withdrawl really threw me for a loop and I had to add add some back in and slowly cut it out little by little.

How's your exercise and water intake? Dehydration (even mild dehydration) can make you sluggish and spacey as well. Exercise will get the blood pumping, regulate your homone levels and makes sure your brain is supplied with plenty of oxygen for better focus.

Check back in and let us know how you're doing. Congrats on the great changes and best wishes in the fine tuning!

Monday, March 31, 2008, 8:20 PM

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bad gas you are doing more harm than good, no knowing how old you are, what type exercise, for how long, or your age, but 1100 calories a day and working out twice a day is very unhealthy. you will start buring muscle instead of fat. just a little info for you, just eat more protein

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 12:45 AM

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Multi-vitamin?

I noticed a huge difference in my energy once I stated taking a good multi-vitamin after I started eating better and lowering my intake.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 2:10 AM

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12:45 - I know it is extreme, but it worked for me last time, I got below my high school weight six months ago. I focus my diet on protein, but thanks for the good tip. I have muscle to burn so it is okay if some muscle gets burned away with the fat for now.

-bad gas

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 7:16 AM

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A little exercise won't hurt...

start with walking. I find that if I don't workout I am more tired and have less energy. The others are right, you should work in some snacks (string cheese, apples and pb, cottage cheese - something with carbs and protein) to help keep your energy up. I eat 2 regular snacks a day and when I don't I feel it! Good luck and keep it up!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 11:01 AM

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