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Calorie restriction as a runner


Marcomat
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Hi! I am a runner and I really want to do calorie restriction without malnutrition, I was wondering to ask if any of you had experience as a very active person on HOW CAN I CALIBRATE THE RIGHT CALORIE RESTRICTION so I can reap the benefits without causing malnutrition and becoming underweight. My current weight is 50kg., I am 166cm. Which makes my BMI 18,5-19. I run long distances and on top of that I like to have a generally active lifestyle , I take hikes, in nature long walks always do chores around the house and dance with myself! I am very careful to ensure maximum nutritional intake when it comes to my meals . I am a religious person and do not count calories, but it is respect to my body and to God in my belief that I should not eat until completely full. I always eat until I am 80% full, only when hungry and never really eat until being completely full. I don’t count calories and I am not interested to do so, I want to follow my hunger cues and fullness cues on how to practice long term calorie restriction because I think it’s more sustainable. Although I don’t count calories just out of curiosity I have tried to see where my intake stands and it turns out I actually already do calorie restriction. I eat 1900-2400kcal most days.  My energy expenditure of the day usually is 2750kcal. So it’s a mild calorie restriction, all my blood tests came super perfect and my BMI is so low that my fat % is 8-10. Shall I continue like that, following my hunger cues and eating everything in moderation and “just enough” or do you have good tips as a runner how I can balance out a good calorie restriction lifestyle with my running? Thank you!

Edited by Marcomat
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Welcome Marcomat! 

While some folks here wouldn't consider what you are doing to be calorie restriction, it sounds like you are doing great. My approach to diet and lifestyle is very similar and it has been working for me for the last 10 or so years. Before that I practiced a more traditional form of CR for over a decade, with fewer calories and less physical activity. I prefer the active lifestyle, and like you, my blood work and biomarkers remain extremely good. 

I'd say keep doing what you are doing!

--Dean 

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1 hour ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

Welcome Marcomat! 

While some folks here wouldn't consider what you are doing to be calorie restriction, it sounds like you are doing great. My approach to diet and lifestyle is very similar and it has been working for me for the last 10 or so years. Before that I practiced a more traditional form of CR for over a decade, with fewer calories and less physical activity. I prefer the active lifestyle, and like you, my blood work and biomarkers remain extremely good. 

I'd say keep doing what you are doing!

--Dean 

Hi Dean thank you. Yes as mentioned I am not interested in obsessive calorie counting , I go by hunger and fullness cues. I like to eat very light generally and never get up from the table feeling completely full, rather moderation is more my lifestyle. I go by stomach sensation and not count calories. I found out about my calorie restriction based on my curiosity on what I eat generally from day to day, which I found out by counting calories on what I eat in general it turns out on a given day I eat 1900-2400kcal about 14-25% less than my needs which are about 2750kcal a day. I would like to cut more calories buT considering my low BMI, I don’t want to become underweight. I would so basically want to maintain the same weight by eating fewer calories. I also just like you want to keep an active lifestyle and would like my cues to guide me, no calorie counting. There is an Okinawa saying “Hara Hachi Bu”, Eat until 80% full. I kind of feel I want to adopt this kind of thinking, rather than a strict calorie counting regime. But yeah, thank you again! If you feel I am in the wrong community let me know

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49 minutes ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

That is a very sensible approach as far as I am concerned. And you and your perspective are very welcome here. 

--Dean 

Thank you! It all started with how eating lighter makes me feel to be honest. I decided to eat less compared to the usual supersize portions that athletes are told to eat all the time by nutritionists and personal trainers. Years ago I ate so much more because I was told that I should eat at least 2500kcal a day, I was always bloated and miserable, never been overweight tho, I was still pretty thin . By eating lighter I felt better and realised calorie restriction without malnutrition is what I was unconsciously doing, some days I eat 1800 and burn 3000, others I burn 1500 and eat 2200, it just depends on the sensation feeling but in average 2200 is my intake. I feel much better , always energised and light which is how food is supposed to make you feel. All my blood tests improved especially excellent insulin sensitivity and glycemic. Cholesterol and triglycerides are super low. Glad to be here and maybe get good advices on how I can live longer! ps I come from one of the Blue Zones in southern Italy and I am very familiar with the mentality of centenarians, moderation is the key, they don’t count calories, run marathons. But they have some things they do that keeps them living longer 

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One more thing.

3 hours ago, Marcomat said:

... In general it turns out on a given day I eat 1900-2400kcal about 14-25% less than my needs which are about 2750kcal a day.

And:

52 minutes ago, Marcomat said:

some days I eat 1800 and burn 3000, others I burn 1500 and eat 2200,

Unless you've found a way around the First Law of Thermodynamics, you'll need to be eating approximately the same number of calories as you are burning in order to avoid losing weight, averaged over time.

You may be eating more than you think and/or burning less than you think, but the equation has to balance somehow if your weight is stable.

--Dean

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1 minute ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

One more thing.

And:

Unless you've found a way around the First Law of Thermodynamics, you'll need to be eating approximately the same number of calories as you are burning in order to avoid losing weight, averaged over time.

You may be eating more than you think and/or burning less than you think, but the equation has to balance somehow if your weight is stable.

--Dean

Then how can I restrict calories without becoming underweight? None of the centenarians I know are clinically underweight. If I maintain a BMI 18,5-19 with my current intake, then decreasing my intake will probably make me underweight with the distances I run and my lifestyle. Well as you said I am probably gonna keep doing what works for me. I came here for more advice because I was interested to start calorie restriction after reading Luigi Fontana’s books. But I have to consider how I can do it 

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20 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

You'd can't restrict calories from what you are eating now without either losing weight or cutting back on your physical activity.

Good advice. Don't try to fix what's not broken.

--Dean

Thank you Dean! I usually go by sensation, stopping to eat before I am completely full and only eating when hungry has kept me lean all my life. I took so much UV damage when I was young, I wish I had cared about my health earlier. 

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