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It's been a long time since I last spent any serious time working out. And the skinny and fit kid I used to be is now a lightly overweight and unfit man. I weigh 12st (at 5' 7'') and have had to buy new clothes recently because my old ones don't fit any more :(

I finally started again, and I'm doing quite a bit (four equimentless workouts a week, 2 strength, 2 HIIT, cycling half an hour twice a day, and working my way through a 50 push ups challenge)

I'm suddenly finding myself hungry all the time. I'm not eating "bad" food, as far as I know; I've been having nuts and bananas and lots of water, so I think this is natural.

What I would like to know is:

  • Should I try and avoid eating sometimes? (Keep in mind I'm looking to loose quite a bit of weight)
  • Should I restrict what I eat?
  • Will this go away or should I get used to it?

UPDATE
Following comments regarding overtraining, I thought it best to mention that my excercises had at first left me sore and stiff but that has now gone. I'm working hard but I don't feel (physically) like I'm overdoing it.

I'm doing Neila Rey's 50 push up challenge and I'm definitely making progress (plus my shirt collar doesn't do up any more :( ) Progress is good, my concern is in telling the difference between hungry because I need to eat and hungry because my body doesn’t want to use up its fat cells.

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You can get a constant feeling of hunger due to your fat cells being filled less. Fat cells will produce hormones that tell the brain to eat more when they get empty. But that's not what you want as you want to lose weight. However, you should make sure you have enough energy to exercise. You should watch out for feeling a lot more hungry when you exert yourself more and if that feeling gets less when you reduce the intensity. That is a sign of an actual shortage of energy, you must then eat or drink some energy drink and make sure you eat more the next time before exercise. –  Count Iblis Jun 16 at 13:42
    
How much did you weigh again? 12st? –  Kneel-Before-ZOD Jun 16 at 15:21
    
@Kneel-Before-ZOD, Yeah 12. I've put on a stone and half over the last year. –  CLockeWork Jun 16 at 15:37
    
@CLockeWork Sorry about that, I didn't realize st is the symbol for stone. Do you know the recommended height for your age and gender? –  Kneel-Before-ZOD Jun 16 at 15:45
    
@Kneel-Before-ZOD, my fault, I keep forgetting how much weight and measures vary. According to calculator.net/… my ideal weight is around 10 stone –  CLockeWork Jun 16 at 15:59

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You should have a plan for weight loss that has the following:

  • Your target weight--this is the weight you believe you should be healthy for your height.
  • Milestone weights--every 5 lbs is good here.
  • An estimated amount of how many calories your body burns with your current activity level.

Without defining these things you'll be constantly wondering whether you need to eat more/less/etc. Every milestone you'll be re-evaluating your estimated calorie expenditure at your then current activity level.

As you increase activity, your body burns more calories. Also, as your lean mass increases, your body burns more calories at rest. As you become more athletic your body responds by doing what's necessary to keep up that activity--which includes getting rid of the fat stores.

No matter what, you will never lose weight unless you have a moderate deficit. By moderate, I'm talking about eating enough to lose 1-2 lbs a week. 2 lbs is OK if you have a lot to lose, but 1 lb if you are within 10 lbs of your goal. Too aggressive a deficit can actually work against you.

  • Figure out your calorie plan, if you choose to eat more on training days and less on rest days then make sure the weekly deficit is 1-2 lbs a week.
  • Keep protein intake constant: .85g / lb if you are exercising
  • Eat enough fat for healthy metabolism: .35g / lb minimum (preferably healthy fats)
  • Make up the rest in carbs: choose carbs that also have fiber to improve satiety and support an active lifestyle, but a minimum of 125g / day on average.

The exact balance of fat to carbs is a very individual thing. Some people deal better with more fat, and others deal better with more carbs.

The bottom line is that a well designed diet will:

  • support your activity levels
  • not leave you feeling deprived
  • and improve your metabolic health.

That is very achievable as long as you pick foods that are high in nutritional value.

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An excelent answer Berin, thank you. I'm looking to lose around 30lbs so 5lb milestones seems like a great way to go. I'll have a proper look at what I'm eating and see if I can figure some properly calculated intakes, in other words it's Excel spreadhseet time once again! –  CLockeWork Jun 17 at 13:00
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You can also use an online calorie tracker. They have all the food you would normally eat, and they calculate your daily macros from the food you've logged. –  Berin Loritsch Jun 17 at 18:40

It sounds like your body sends an SOS because you worrk too hard. You have to consider your age and state of health. If you are under 40 and have no chronic health problems then just slow down and start slowly again - with 2-3 workouts a week, but go on steadily for a long time. Remember, your body has to get used to exercise, if it doesn't you'll gain weight again when you have a break from exersices. The same with the diet! Slowly and steadily are the key words.

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He hasnt mentioned any symptoms of overtraining yet. –  OmarAsifShaikh Jun 17 at 4:53
    
All right, I'm just relying on my own experience) And for me the most important symptom was that there was no progress (along with always being hungry and sore muscules). Do you still have good progress? –  Ardine Jun 17 at 9:31
    
Thanks for your insight @Ardine. If it's of any help I've updated my question with a bit more info. –  CLockeWork Jun 17 at 12:33

Many people live under the assumption that there must be some sort of caloric defecit and/or starvation scheme in order to lose weight. The case just isn't so. In september of last year i weighed in at around 253 lbs 24-26% bf. I am now 205 @ 15% bf. I did this by eating MORE. Obviously not shit, but healthy foods and a low carbohydrate intake, high protein, healthy fats..etc. Look, the key to your (FAT)loss is your metabolism. Now look at your metabolism as a fire. In order to keep the fire burning you must keep feeding it.(good foods) Enough shitty metaphors for today, but i hope i gave you a different look at it all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THBKenQZOhg -WATCH

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Uhm... yes, there must be a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. Whether one reduces calorie intake or increases calorie expenditure through sports or a heightened metabolism is irrelevant. But it's still a deficit either way. –  LarissaGodzilla Jun 17 at 11:33
    
Ya, in terms of general *weight loss you would need to be in the negative calorie wise. However in terms of actually changing body *COMPOSITION, (fat loss/muscle gain) is it hard to believe that i lost an immense amount of fat via glycogen depletion (low carbs) and built lean muscle by increasing my protein intake substantially. All of this while being 500-1000 calories over my daily maintenance calls or whatever they're called. I literally lost 45lbs of FAT this method so to say metabolism isn't relevant is pretty retarded. –  Macedon93 Jun 17 at 20:59
    
Yes, okay. Recomp is another thing entirely. For that there doesn't need to be a caloric deficit, I agree. Your answer says "to lose weight", though. Maybe you'd want to clarify that a bit more so nitpickers like me don't go on your nerves :p –  LarissaGodzilla Jun 18 at 6:50
    
yea i did use that term, you're right lol. No hard feelings ! –  Macedon93 Jun 18 at 8:18

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