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    How many calories should I be eating?
    jennyli posted:
    I may be an "over exerciser", but I truly love it and is actually also a part of my career. I practice Bikram yoga (90 minute yoga in a 105 degrees) almost everyday and run from 3-6miles about 3-4 times a week along with basic weight training. On top of this I teach Power Yoga 7 times a week and am constantly moving. Why, then do I seem to put on weight easily? How many calories should I be consuming to keep my metabolism where it should be. I definitely have a belly! I am 5'1", 110lb. 31 year old Female. Maybe I haven't been eating enough for the past two years? Could this be?
    PetuniaPea responded:
    I have a few possible answers that may require you to do more research online if you feel the need.

    Exercising at the level you are can cause cortisol levels to rise. This is the "stress hormone" that causes people to gain and retain belly fat.

    You may not be getting enough antioxidants. Excessive exercise depletes the body of antioxidants, so you may want to make sure you are increasing your fruits and veggies intake. This may not have anything to do with weight gain, it's just good to do for your health's sake!

    But, less-than-optimal nutrition can also cause cortisol levels to rise, so if you are getting Starbucks frappucinos, eating junk food like sweets or chips, etc, then that could be a reason for weight gain. But if you're doing all these different activities like yoga, I think you're probably eating well!

    You may not be consuming enough calories, like you said! You can easily consume 2000-2300 calories per day with your activity level! Here's me, for a comparison: I'm 5'0" 105lbs, and a 38 year old female. I consume about 1600-1800 calories a day, and I do mild to moderate cardio, weights, and yoga (all of those activities in a 30-60 minute session) 3-5 times per week!
    jennyli replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    Thank you for your response and since then have been reading a lot on cortisol levels increasing, which makes sense because I have quite a bit of fatty accumulation around my abdomen regardless of how much I work at keeping it simply remains fatty and bloated.
    However, I have not found information on how to exactly start to turn it around. Do you or anyone know the appropriate steps in reversing this damage I have done to return my cortisol levels back to normal? And do you know how long it may take? I really feel I have damaged my body with the amount of exercise and watching what I eat over these past few years and need guidance on how to reverse it all! Should I even stop exercising all together for a week or so and "de train"? I have no idea and just want to be healthy all around.
    Thank you!
    brunosbud responded:
    The exercise is great and I congratulate you for already establishing a healthy, active lifestyle, but...

    I bet you don't cook much, do you?

    I have the same issue as you but I know that I eat my excess calories through fats & oils. For example, everybody (else) loves Panda Express, right? Broccoli Beef and Kungpao Chicken with lots of veggies...Got to be healthy, right? Maybe so, but the number of calories is ridiculously high because of all the oil and fat (not to mention the salt) in their dishes. Salad dressing is another example of "healthy" turned into calorie disaster. Beer Batter Fish Tacos and Fried Zucchini...another example of "healthy" eating, right. Cheese and Olive Oil are healthy with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants...But, at only 25% of the average consumption of Americans. If you have a weight issue (which in your case is debatable), you have to learn something right up front...

    It's not about what to eat or how many's all about what you're eating, now, that you shouldn't be.

    And, if you don't cook your own meals from fresh ingredients and control the amount of fat, oil, salt and sugar in the foods you eat, you're going to have a very difficult time.

    PS: I know you read labels. But, tell the truth, have you ever in your life ate just the "portion size" on that label?
    jennyli replied to brunosbud's response:
    Not to completely disregard your efforts in helping me with advice...but come as a shock it may...I am an incredibly healthy eater (and cook) who wouldn't touch panda express with a ten foot poll. I have a degree in nutrition and health and exercise science WHICH is what makes this all so frustrating.
    The response prior to yours is more suitable for what I am looking for as I already know I make more nutritionally educated choices, so I am curious if I am possibly being TOO overly careful and if my cautiousness has somehow sabotaged my metabolism.
    My cortisol response seems to be the culprit. Thanks to the previous response.
    And to answer your questions regarding portion sizes...I pretty much never go beyond them.
    Thanks anyways!
    PetuniaPea replied to jennyli's response:
    You're welcome. Forgot to mention, and you probably already know seeing your background now...but just wanted to add...too much caffiene, not enough sleep, and stress, as well as what I mentioned, not eating enough, can affect cortisol levels, so tackle all areas and your belly will be gone.

    Yet another possible thing to consider: bloating! It never helps and anything you can do to reduce it will make your stomach look smaller as you continue to try to reduce it! I know, I've been there! Things to consider: sugarfree gum and other artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages, food sensitivities like dairy, gluten, etc., too many good-for-you gassy foods eaten all at once!
    read77 replied to jennyli's response:
    I find that if I cut down sugar altogether, especially ADDED sugar, my stomach pouch gets smaller. I now do not drink Almond or rice milk with added sugar. I try to get rid of much of the sugar as I can in everything else. And of course, lots of fruits and veggies.
    jennyli replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    Wow! A big sigh over here, because this is what I was afraid of. Sleep is sound and stress level low which only means my vices must definitely be the culprit. I have been in an unhealthy phase of using splenda (as apposed to more natural sweetners) for the past two years since moving to new york to simply save money. Not only that, but sugar-free gum is a part of my life...and a big cup of coffee each morning. Deep down I knew...and now it's official. I could also be sensitive to gluten, but my finances are so tight it is hard to commit to a diet completely free of gluten.I will have to research how I can affordably do that within my area.
    Again. Thanks for everything. Wish me luck! I'll let you know in a month or so how it all went down...and that's literally speaking:)
    brandylenz responded:
    This is typical for a lot of people because they're not eating right. Too many hormones and preservatives in your food, no matter how low of calories you're eating, will inhibit weight loss. Not too mention animal products (meat, dairy, fish, eggs, cheese) are actually horrible for your body and keep it from processing at its maximum potential (I promise, read Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman- you will be a nutritional wizard!) So cut back on animal products, and increase fruits, veggies, beans, and legumes and watch the pounds melt off! (without calorie counting)
    PetuniaPea replied to jennyli's response:
    Good luck with everything! I cut out gluten years ago, good riddance! It was causing me all kinds of problems, including bloating. Just look for brown rice and quinoa and buy in bulk, which is usually cheaper, and create recipes around those staples...splurge on more expensive gluten free bread every once in a while to keep costs down.
    PetuniaPea replied to brandylenz's response:

    I second Eat to Live (and Super Immunity) by Dr. Fuhrman! You will not go wrong with his advice. He is the doctor who brought the importance of micronutrients in foods to the forefront. Eat nutrient dense foods like leafy greens, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, any and all veggies, berries, apples, and all other fruit, and you will feel satisfied and not crave those empty calorie junk foods!

    And yes, stay away from conventional food and go organic whenever possible. Conventional food = possible contaminants, hormones, antibiotics pumped into the animals including dairy cows, drugs pumped into animals, genetically modified organisms in fruits, vegetables, grains, etc (i.e, FISH GENES in conventional tomatoes...not good, since I'm a vegan! That's just wrong on so many levels) the animals eat genetically modified soy and corn! Organic foods may cost more, but you'll find that you eat less because you don't crave anything.... plus you're saving on future medical costs!
    jennyli replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    Thank you both and am already on top of getting into this book. I am not one for animal products really, but will absolutely look at more carefullyon my gluten intake as I think you have a good point with that, too. I think the good feeling and all you described as apposed to the cost of living more organically will completely override the cash burden. Thank you for all your awesomely sound feedback. I really appreciate it!

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