Getting in Shape

Spreading out calories

I recently started tracking calories on the daily plate, and I need to eat about 1400 a day to lose weight. What I've been doing is eating around 200 for breakfast and 300 for lunch. That way I save most of the calories for dinner so I can eat something that I really want. Is it ok to do it like this? Will I still lose weight as long as I eat 1400 in a day?

Re: Spreading out calories

  • I used to save up nearly 1000 calories to have at dinner and I was finding that I was much grumpier and hungry through the day.

    Lately I've been doing a more balanaced/morning heavy spread.  And really, it makes sense.  Eating more in the morning gives you all day to burn off what you eat.

    You should also be aware that not all calories are created equal.  While, yes, eating 1400 calories a day will help you lose weight, 100 cals of chips are WAY different than 100 cals of lean protein.
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  • As long as your net calories for the day are 1400, you will lose weight.

    You might want to consider factoring in a snack or two, especially in the first few weeks as you get used to eating less. That way you can avoid feeling hungry between meals and will be less likely to overeat at dinner.
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  • NebbNebb member
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    What on earth are you eating for dinner that is 900 calories? I have to reiterate that not all calories are the same, and I would think to amass 900 cals in a meal its probably not the healthiest meal you could be eating.
  • I try to plan my meals for the day in the morning or even the night before. That way, if I know I'm eating a higher calorie dinner (i.e. salmon instead of chicken), I have a lighter breakfast or lunch to compensate. However, not eating all day and then having a 1200 calorie splurge dinner at 9pm... not so great. Just be smart about it! :-)
  • To be honest, I have just been focusing on the calories and not really if what I'm eating is healthy or not. For my whole life I have been eating whatever and as much as I wanted, so just limiting my calories is a big change for me. I figured if I can have one meal per day of something that I crave (like a burger and fries) then I would be more likely to stick to the diet. But really it does make more sense to split the calories throughout the day, I will try taking your advice!
  • I sometimes leave slightly more for dinner, however, I think it is better to eat a large lunch rather than a large dinner--you'll use all the lunch calories during the day and as you work out, instead of feeling tired as you go about your day.  In contrast, I always feel that dinner just goes to waste, since I usually just sit at home, do my homework, and ice my knee after working out.  
  • Just so you know, a burger and fries can easily run at least 1200 calories.
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  • edited March 2010

    If you've really been eating 'whatever you want, whenever you want' I would DEFINITELY focus on the kinds of food you're eating before you start counting calories.
    You will probably find that by eating better foods (more whole grains, lean meats, lots of fruits and vegetables, unprocessed foods in general) you will find yourself more full for longer AND have more energy throughout the day. A side effect of that will be fewer calories, without even really trying. Also, allow yourself a REASONABLE splurge once a week, maybe just the burger, no fries. So you don't feel completely deprived and end up binging or feeling like you should just give up.

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  • There are days when I know I will be eating a big dinner (especially if I am going out to dinner) so I will eat a light breakfast and lunch to accommodate.  For example, tomorrow I am meeting a friend for dinner and will need 14 WW points (out of 20) for an appetizer and dinner.  So I will eat lots of veggies early in the day.

    However, in general, I like to spread my calories out more evenly because I do not get hungry during the day and I do not get the urge to pig out at night.

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  • Spreading calories out is the only way that I can make it through a day without getting hungry and grumpy.  When I was really restricting calories, I'd have about 300 for breakfast, 350 for lunch, and 500 for dinner.  Then I'd have morning, afternoon, and evening snacks that totaled about 350 calories.  And the snacks had to be good, filling things (WW string cheese is my favorite, a handful of nuts, etc).

    I never abolished something I was really craving from my diet.  I'd either eat much less of it (say, eat only half the burger and get a healthy side of steamed veggies instead of fries) or eat it waaaay less frequently. I'd also try to find ways to make my favorite foods lighter.  Cooking Light was my food bible for delicious recipes that still tasted good.

    After several months of eating healthier foods, I don't get cravings for bad food nearly as often.  I actually crave vegetables and fruit now if I don't get enough of them in a week. 

    Bad foods may satisfy your emotional hunger, but if you eat fatty foods like fries and burgers, they don't fill you up nearly as much as they *should* for 1200 calories.  And then you're *still* hungry later. Not good for weight loss.


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  • My trainer actually does this. He knows he loves to eat in the evening, so he saves about half his calories for dinner and a later snack.

    As long as you don't get too hungry and make yourself ill (I get headaches if I'm really hungry and low on energy) you'll be fine.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_getting-shape_spreading-out-calories?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:238Discussion:66e83552-fbd7-4b57-9296-94c98fc2dfc1Post:6fdac26f-62e0-46b1-9ad6-2b1ccb861247">Re: Spreading out calories</a>:
    [QUOTE]To be honest, I have just been focusing on the calories and not really if what I'm eating is healthy or not. For my whole life I have been eating whatever and as much as I wanted, so just limiting my calories is a big change for me.<strong>I figured if I can have one meal per day of something that I crave (like a burger and fries</strong>) then I would be more likely to stick to the diet. But really it does make more sense to split the calories throughout the day, I will try taking your advice!
    Posted by samissmiley[/QUOTE]



    Rather than having one meal per DAY that you crave, try just once a week. I usually allow myself one splurge meal per week. It seems to help.
  • I think you just need to experiment until you find what works for you. Just don't give up!

    I do however agree with PPs who mentioned that eating healthy foods will keep you fuller longer and give you more consistent energy throughout the day. Even when I save calories for "splurge," I do my best to get a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs every single time I eat. It makes a huge difference for me.
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