Another calories question for any counters out there...

For those who count their calories... Do you eat the same amount everyday to cover your weekly mileage, or do you adjust your daily calories to replace the number burnt in that particular day's run session? I'm currently sticking to a net intake of 1700kcal per day PLUS 80kcal per mile of running. But when I do a ten mile run I find eating that extra 800kcal feels waaaaay too indulgent! Like i should not be consuming 2500kcal in one day because that's how much the average bloke needs, not a 5'3" female like me! I know 1700kcal is how much my body needs (I saw a dietitian for a while) but I just can't decide the best way to fuel my running. With a history of disordered eating it's all pretty anxiety-provoking image If I trusted my appetite and natural hunger cues I would leave calorie counting alone but I can't trust myself not to overeat or undereat. Help please image X


  • Listen to your body. I know it's hard as you've said but really?

    Has your dis-ordered eating started all this counting?

    How is 1700kcal enough?? Sounds like your majorly under eating to start with!!

    Then you add running into the mix!!
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Kcals in food is under estimated.

    Kcals in exercise way way overated.

    How else do I run 70 mile weeks, work gardens all day on less than 2500 kcal/day.

    And gain weight?

  • Depends on how you count your kcals I only eat things in packets. So presuming they're correct I know exactly how many kcals I consume in a day. How many I use is obviously another matter, in truth I've no idea Sport tracks logs my weekly running as somewhere between 2600 kcas (~20 miles a week) to 5900 kcals (~44 miles a week) - over the last month, marathon training longest week and recovery week.

    Jason Wintin wrote (see)
    Listen to your body. I know it's hard as you've said but really?
    Has your dis-ordered eating started all this counting?
    How is 1700kcal enough?? Sounds like your majorly under eating to start with!!
    Then you add running into the mix!!

    Jason, i'm a 5' 10" male, I eat ~2000 kcals a day, I add no extra for running, many Sundays I use more kcals than I eat. Some weeks I lose nothing, most around 1lb. Every calculator on the net says my basal metabolic rate (estimated obviously) is 2000 kcals so this is the amount I eat to lose weight.

  • If you were overweight and trying to lose the excess, then yes, eating all of the extra 800 calories you'd just exercised off would be a bit over-indulgent, as it would slow down your progress towards your weight-loss goal. But from what you've posted here and elsewhere, you're not trying to lose weight, are you?

    If you're trying to maintain a healthy weight or gain a bit to get you up to one, I'd say try to eat all the calories you're supposed to. Not by doing a 10 mile run then trying to take in your normal meal plus the extra 800 calories in one go, but if you have a rough training plan for the week you could try to schedule in the extra calories the same way you plan ahead for a run. I think adjusting your weekly calorie intake to cover your mileage is a more sensible and steady way of eating than doing a huge run then stuffing yourself afterwards.

    If you know you're going to do a 10 mile run on Wednesday evening, you could add 200 cals on Tuesday night, 200 cals with breakfast on Wednesday morning or as a mid-morning snack, 200 cals for refuelling immediately after the run then you'd just have to add another 200 cals on to your evening meal. That would be an easier way to take in the extra nutrition you need and would probably not feel as obviously greedy or indulgent. Though really those terms and feelings have no place in your training diet, as emotional attitudes to food intake are probably something you want to move away from. Just think of your body as an engine you're fuelling, and the food as petrol. If you drive your car an extra 100 miles you don't think of it as being greedy for burning more fuel and needing refilled, do you?

    And if after a few weeks of eating to refuel, you find you are gaining weight, you can adjust your per mile calorie allowance down the way a bit until you find what works.

  • every forum topic you have started summerrain is about food or eating dis-orders?
    sounds like you havent really got over your disorder and food is still playing a big part of your anxiety?
    is it just me that can see this?

  • Jason, I think eating disorders are like a lot of other chronic illnesses or conditions both mental and physical - they're not something that you can fix and then forget about and for most people it's more about coming up with sensible life-long coping strategies. Which I think is what Summer is trying to do.
  • yeah im abit un educated when it comes to eating dis-orders. 

    i always watch the programs and just shout at the t.v and say 'well just eat some more...duh' 

  • The thing with eating disorders is they have a huge stigma attached to them as though they are all about vanity/dieting/looks when in actual fact they are a serious psychological illness. That's why they rarely leave you once you've got one and / or recovered. It takes over your thinking and life in such a way that makes you feel completely helpless. Ask anyone with an eating disorder to "just eat" is not going to work. Nobody wants one! I sure as heck have been struggling for eight years and its the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. I don't want to have it but I just can't get rid if the thoughts and that compulsive need for 'control' (when, in reality, it's controlling me)! I am far into recovery in that I now eat a lot more than 700kcal per day and actually have energy and am a normal weight. But the thoughts are still there all day every day despite the fact that I wish this illness would leave my brain etc for good image Nobody would choose to have a disorder like this. Nobody would choose and nobody DOES choose.

    And this is why I regularly come on here for advice etc because it won't leave me no matter how hard I try. I hate it so so so much.

    So forgive me for being all about eating and calories but I cannot get rid of the 'fear' and stress and torment that I wish were gone. It seriously sucks. You don't waste eight years of your life on an eating disorder because you want to. You struggle for years because you are being controlled by it all the sodding time.
  • I just want to be normal like you lot. I really really do.
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    @summerrain - I assure you that none of us are normalimage

    I try to ignore the calories as otherwise I become obsessed with it. A few years ago I could tell you the calorie content of 100foods that I have committed to memory. Since picking up running I look to food as fuel for my runs (the runs put my head in a good place). So rather than obsessing about calories - I focus on putting quality into my diet. That includes some high calorie items (nuts etc) but because I categorise it in my head differently it works for me.

    On my long run days - I'll never eat as much as I've burned but I make it up the following days.
  • How have you arrived at 80kCal a mile for running? The best formula I've seen is 1.1xWeight(kg)xDistance(km). 80kCal would put you at 45kg or 7st. At 5'3" that gives you a BMI of 17.4, underweight by at least 6lbs for a normal person. If you're an athlete you can expect to have a higher BMI than normal and still be the right weight. My BMI says I'm 2lbs overweight and I still look thin!

  • Because I weigh 8 stone, am 5'3" and female. Every calorie counter gives me around that much so it's an average. My BMI is 19.6.
  • It depends on how that BMR of 1700 was calculated really. I don't know how it was arrived at or how old you are but I stuck 30 into BMR calculator and it came up with 1297 then you multiply it up depending on your lifestyle. So guessing at moderate exercise levels (running 3-5 times a week) x1.55 gets you up to 2010.

    You don't need to add any more on a daily basis to compensate for a 10mile run as it's included in moderate exercise level.

    Alternatively you could go for sedentary x1.2 gets you up to 1500. Then add each run you do. But I think you should be looking at least 90kCal a mile, and it doesn't take into account that you burn calories at a faster rate rebuilding after a run. So you will probably start losing weight doing that.

    It's all a very rough guide for a starting point anyway. You don't suddenly lose loads of weight or suddenly gain loads of weight, it takes weeks. So carry on as you are and if you start losing weight or start having dizzy spells; eat more.

  • I'm 28 and the 1700 was worked out by an NHS dietitian I used to see (using lots of my food records, weekly weigh-ins and general calorific science type knowledge). And then she told me to eat more on run days.

    I think I'll use the extra calories I burn and find a weekly average, like you said.
  • Hi Timr,

    If you look them up you will find that most elite distance runners have BMIs of around 18/19. About the lowest possible healthy weight. Mine is 22 but I am not that dedicated.... I always assume that I burn just over 100 caleries per mile.
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    Same here as Surrey runner. I was told that it was between 90-100kcals per mile dependent upon speed etc.
  • But if you look at the build of elite distance runners you'll see why they have low BMI. Hardly any muscle mass. BMI is a very blunt tool. According to the calculators I should be between 120 and 160 lbs. That's nearly 3stone difference. I get comments about looking too thin at 162lbs.
  • The calories you burn are related to weight so the more weight you lose, the further you have to run to use the same calories.

    As I say It's all ball park because you burn calories at an accelerated rate for the 24hours after anyway. Once you start exercising regularly from a sedentary life, you're onto a winner.
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