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Question about weight/calories (Read 332 times)

Walker23


    I'm at a healthy weight right now and I'm not overweight, but I think I'd like to drop a few pounds.  I'm a female, 5'1", and typically weigh about 103 lbs.  Currently I am 101, and my goal is 97.  I'm a high schooler so this wouldn't be underweight for me.  I know you have to take online calculators and stuff with a grain of salt, but my research indicates an estimated 10-20 seconds faster per mile from losing six pounds.

     

    Over the past five days I've averaged about 1200 calories total but I ran 13 or 14 miles over the course of that and I'll be doing harder workouts next week (probably shorter and harder, if that makes a difference).  My plan was to just go low calories for a couple weeks until I dropped the weight, then gradually bring my calories up to maintenance for my goal weight.

     

    Two questions:

    1) Is it a bad idea to try to lose some weight?  I don't want to lose any muscle.  My workouts haven't felt any worse, although I'm coming off a break so they haven't been too difficult.

    2) If it's not, is it a bad idea to try to lose weight this way?

    Any other advice is also appreciated.

     

    Also, I'm not worried that I'm going to end up bingeing or anything because it actually feels very maintainable.  I usually just only eat fruit and nuts from when I wake up until the afternoon, then I eat pretty normally from there, so I never really feel like I'm restricting.  I'm also tracking nutrition (with the MyFitnessPal app) so I can try to eat healthier as well.

    bhearn


      Others will have better opinions on the advisability of losing weight in your situation. But I would say that if you plan to do this, I'd recommend (1) taking your mileage into account when calculating your daily calorie budget (that means a different budget each day, depending on mileage), and (2) not going beyond a ~500 cal / day deficit. You want to use NET calories burned per mile in your calculation. Oh, and harder workouts don't make much difference, calorically.

       

      http://www.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/how-many-calories-are-you-really-burning

      Walker23


        Thanks!  For calculating calorie deficit, do I use BMR or daily calorie needs or how much I used to be eating?

         

        I appreciate the article, it's very interesting.  I'll be sure to keep that in mind.

        bhearn


          You could start with BMR, but I think the only way to really know what you're burning is to track weight and calories for several weeks and see what actually happens. Helps to also look at weight trend rather than raw weight data. I'd think MyFitnessPal would do that for you.

           

          FWIW none of those apps work for me, because they don't support the most basic thing in the world, carrying over today's surplus or deficit to the next day. Boggles my mind. Maybe it's changed since I last looked, but I doubt it. When I lost 50 pounds 16 years ago I used my own spreadsheets to record and track stuff. Not too hard to do.

          cookiemonster


          Connoisseur of Cookies

            Please strongly consider working with a reputable registered dietitian with regards to your diet, caloric intake and weight loss goals.  This can help ensure you're eating a healthy diet while still meeting the nutritional demands of your body.

             

            Also, I'll admit to being fairly sensitive to this topic but what you're describing is concerning for the development of an eating disorder.  I may be way off in reading your posts.  I may not be.  However, what you've written and how you've written it is setting off some alarms.

             

            I have seen, dealt with and on a limited level treated patients with eating disorders.  Many of their stories start exactly like what you've written here.  Please be aware of this and do not go down that road.  Working with a reputable registered dietitian can help ensure that your diet is healthy and will meet the demands of your activity levels while still allowing you to reach your athletic goals.

            ***************************************************************************************

             

            "C" is for cookie.  That's good enough for me.

              Two questions:

              1) Is it a bad idea to try to lose some weight?  I don't want to lose any muscle.

              2) If it's not, is it a bad idea to try to lose weight this way?

              Any other advice is also appreciated.

              1) No

              2) Yes

               

              I have a hard time recommending for any high school runner to cut calories to lose weight.  I would only recommend a change in diet.  But it sounds like you are eating fairly healthy already.

               

              My suggestion, if you want to run faster, is run more.  That will help twofold.  First, it will burn more calories.  Second, it will get you in better shape to run those fast times.

               

              Also, if you don't want to lose muscle, you should start a strength program.  It doesn't need to be a lot, but that too will help with calorie burn.

               

              If you're eating right, you don't want to cut back as you start to up your training.

              There was a point in my life when I ran. Now, I just run.

               

              We are always running for the thrill of it

              Always pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it

              Daydreamer1


                If you were 120 lbs and trying to go to 110 lbs it would probably be OK. But, you are at the low end of a recommended weight as measured by BMI. In fact the calculator I used shows that 97 lbs would leave you underweight.

                 

                At 1200 calories a day it is very difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs. Cutting it further may leave you malnourished and slower than before even if you do lose weight.

                 

                As Cookie Monster pointed out trying to cut weight when you are already this lean may lead to eating disorders. Awhile back I read some articles about some high school and college age athletes who ruined their running careers by trying to drop weight at all costs.

                 

                Look at other ways to increase speed and endurance. Simple things such as paying attention to your stride length and rate, and working on increasing those if needed, may easily shave 10-20 seconds off your mile time. There are many other things to look as well, such as how much mileage you are doing each week and is it quality or junk miles. Stuff that I won't go into here as there are those who can give better training ideas.

                 

                Bottom line, with your weight where it's at I would be very cautious about loosing weight without being under the supervision of a good coach or dietitian.  Remember, you're still growing and by next year this time you could be a inch taller and require more weight.

                 

                If you really like running don't ruin it by only looking at weight.

                bhearn


                  I don't know. It all depends on body type. My wife is 5'5", 110, and is IMO at the right weight. She has a runner's physique. At 5'1"? I'm not gonna say 97 is too skinny. But, I'm no expert.

                   

                  I do agree that getting advice from a dietician before a weight-loss plan is a good idea.

                  cookiemonster


                  Connoisseur of Cookies

                    5'1" and 97 pounds is a BMI of 18.3. That's underweight. This can be somewhat mitigated by how old the OP is. Depending on her age at that height and weight she is either the bottom end of healthy or underweight. Either way, it is potentially dangerous as a young woman who is still developing physically, mentally, emotionally and athletically to be trying to drop weight by restricting her diet.

                    ***************************************************************************************

                     

                    "C" is for cookie.  That's good enough for me.

                    Walker23


                      I'll reply more in detail later but I just wanted to let you guys know that, as you all are advising, I think I'm going to discontinue any sort of restricting and just focus on eating healthier.  You all bring up some excellent points, thanks for the help.

                      Ginsling


                      Slowpoke

                        This sounds like a very sensible plan. Focus on healthy eating and running more (can you run to and from school?).

                         

                        I'll reply more in detail later but I just wanted to let you guys know that, as you all are advising, I think I'm going to discontinue any sort of restricting and just focus on eating healthier.  You all bring up some excellent points, thanks for the help.


                        Mmmmm...beer

                           

                          Also, if you don't want to lose muscle, you should start a strength program.  It doesn't need to be a lot, but that too will help with calorie burn.

                           

                           

                          This.  Focus on getting stronger, strength train and eat more protein.  Don't worry, you're not going to get bulky, that is hard for men to do, even harder for women.  Forget what the scale says.  Get stronger and you WILL get leaner and faster.

                          -Dave

                          My running blog

                          Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-3 marathon 2:56:46!!

                          Walker23


                            Daydreamer1:  I did try to pay more attention to my stride and I noticed that putting more weight on my right foot and running more on the outside of it makes me run faster!  Logically I know that I'm probably also putting more weight on my left foot without realizing and so what I'm doing basically amounts to "just run faster", but it does make it feel easier to surge ahead to think of it as just "putting more weight on my right foot" so I guess it works.

                            My right foot is a bit turned out, though, so maybe I'm actually just running more "normally"?

                             

                            Ginsling: Running to and from school isn't really an option, at least on school days.  It's not farther than I'm able to run but I'd be loaded down with school stuff and then I'd get to school all sweaty and have to wake up really early to have time, so not really manageable.  And I think if I can run the 4 miles uphill after practice, I haven't run hard enough in practice Wink  I might be able to add in some weekend miles to get my mileage up, though.

                             

                            I'm going to see about going into the weight room to train there or maybe getting together a group to do core, but in the meantime I'm working on making a simple strength training routine that doesn't require any equipment.  I think I want to focus on strengthening my hips and core section most; during the XC season I was having issues with some hip soreness.

                             

                            I'm off to a way better start this track season than I was last XC season, so I'm really optimistic that I'll see a lot of improvement-- I'm ready to really work hard for it.  Thanks for the advice, everybody!

                              I'm off to a way better start this track season than I was last XC season, so I'm really optimistic that I'll see a lot of improvement-- I'm ready to really work hard for it.

                               

                              This is it in a nutshell. A positive attitude, hard work, the right mix of easy and hard miles, and optimal nutrition will give you way more success this season compared to losing a couple more pounds.

                              CharlesEdwards


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