Struggling with balancing the running and calorie count

Hey everyone. I'm new to the forum (always late to the party!) but I'm on week three of the NHS weight loss programme.

I've been trying to lose weight since graduating from University - but every time I do, it creeps back on over the next few months. Hopefully this is a change for the better!

I was wondering if anyone else is having difficulty with the calorie counts for Women and the amount of exercise they're doing? I feel like 1400 isn't a lot when I'm running for 40 mins to an hour 2-3 times a week? I'm not sure - but I think that's why my weight loss has slowed over the past week - like my body has gone into starvation mode? Would appreciate any advice!!

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10 Replies

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  • Hi Lucy,

    Enter your details into the NHS BMI calculator, including the level of activity you do, for a more accurate, personal calorie range :)

    nhs.uk/Livewell/weight-loss...

  • Thanks moreless - 1600 seems a bit more doable!

  • Yaaaay!!! :)

  • I'm so glad for you! No good starving :-)

  • Heya. I dont run, but i was told by my GP to never go below 1500, and that was advice for me as an inactive person. Which calorie calculator did you use? Was it the NHS BMI one, cos thats a good one.

    I think you are probably right in thinking you are not having enough cals, if thats what you are feeling. Perhaps add 200 as an experiment and see how you feel?

  • Ah just read the replies, sorry! 🙄

  • Thanks! Yes I think it's time I do add some more - I was thinking off upping my 100 cals (just to begin with).

    I was thrown off by the advice in the downloadable week plans - where it says you should stick to 1400 calories for a woman.

    My mind is now going into overdrive - the possibilities that 200 extra calories hold!

  • Yes i must say i dont agree with that 1400 figure, i think unless you are very tiny its just too low. Ive also read books on eating disorders that say you actually should always eat minimum of 1800 (max 2200), as thats just what our body needs, and you apparently settle out at your natural weight at that allowance.

    Its quite confusing knowing who to listen to sometimes!

    Enjoy the extra cals- oh the possibilities! (I vote dark chocolate melted over a banana 😊) xx

  • I'm not sure if it's clear from the other replies but you have to periodically reassess (update your details) to keep your personal calorie range relevant to you.

    Also, look at having a maintenance break one or two weeks each month to prevent, as you mentioned, going into starvation mode healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh...

  • Depending upon the calorie range presented by the BMI calculator, taking into consideration level of weekly activity, you’re by no means sedentary.

    As such, if you’ve begun to consume the recommended minimum (also known as BMR) from the outset, the calories burned during exercise will have allowed the body to quickly recognise that it’s not receiving sufficient nourishment, which may have also begun to impact upon your running performance, in addition to your level of weight loss.

    Ideally, on the assumption that calorie range allows, you should be attempting to maintain a daily deficit of around 500Kcal from your recommended maximum (also known as TDEE), ensuring that the deficit introduced doesn’t take calorie intake below the recommended minimum. If a 500Kcal deficit does take you below, reduce it to around 250-300kcal.

    In doing so, you’ll be providing the body with sufficient energy, while allowing calories (stored in fat) to be expended during exercise and daily endeavour, thus, contributing towards the level of weight lost each week, since an energy balance is being achieved.

    Based upon your re-assessment of intake, if 1600Kcal leaves you 200-500Kcal short of the maximum recommendation, you should begin to start losing weight once again.

    However, as rightly stated by Concerned, the figures required to satisfy BMR and TDEE will change as weight is reduces, largely since fewer calories are required to satisfy BMR. As such, the calculation should be re-performed with every 7lbs lost.

    Additionally, as you grow closer towards goal weight, since the body will no longer possess the level of fat it once did, calorie intake will need to increase closer towards the recommended maximum, to ensure that it continues to receive sufficient energy.

    By reducing daily intake by 100-200Kcal from your recommended max, you should continue to lose weight, albeit a little slower than at the outset, purely due to the fact you’ll be working within a finer calorie margin.

    In the latter stages, however, since the inches lost will undoubtedly lead to an improvement in your composition, focus may switch towards seeking to improve definition and shape of the muscles that have begun to emerge, rather than worrying about weight reduction. As such, to maintain their prominence and shape, the muscles must continue to be fed.

    However, the failure to consume sufficient calories will begin to result in its loss, as it’s broken down and used to provide the body with a source of fuel, resulting in decreased levels of energy and an overall gaunt appearance.

    When you’re eating close to maximum intake, HIIT exercise really does become your best friend, since the activity continues to expend calories for up to 24 hours afterwards, largely due to the huge oxygen debt it creates, in addition to the fact that it severely depletes glycogen within the muscles.

    Consequently, the carbohydrate eaten in the hours afterwards is less likely to be stored as fat, since it’s used to replenish depleted glycogen reserves.

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