I started calorie counting on January 6th 2014 and have 1400 calories a day and burn at least 200 calories a day in exercise. The past few weeks I've been feeling dizzy, overly tired and have cold like symptoms but nothing major. I am 5ft 3in and now weigh 8st 10.4lbs (starting at 9st 8lbs), the occ health nurse at my work said to eat 1600-1800 calories a day instead now that I've lost most of the weight I wanted to, and this will stop me feeling so ill all the time. Is this advice I should take?
It is possible that your calorie allowance may not be giving you all the energy you need now that you are approaching your goal weight, however before you start increasing calories it’s important to think also about the quality of the calories that you’re already consuming, and how your weight loss has been going.
Firstly – reducing your calorie intake, as you did when you started with NC in January, does mean putting less energy into your body. Added to that the extra activity you’re doing could mean that you need a bit of an extra boost. The types of foods that you eat are also important so make sure you’re having plenty of slow release carbohydrates by choosing wholegrain or wholemeal as often as you can. Protein is also very important for keeping you fuller for longer, and for releasing energy more gradually – this can help to prevent blood sugar lows, which can often cause dizziness. Limit sugary and sweet foods and drinks too. Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
Secondly – how has your weight loss been going? Have you had a steady weight loss, have you been losing more than 1-2 lbs per week? If you have then it may be that you’re not taking in enough calories, however rather than simply increasing to 1600-1800 calories per day, it might be sensible to gradually increase the amount of calories that you’re having. Start with an extra 100 calories per day and see how you get on. Try and choose healthy snacks to increase your calories rather than a treat food – veggie sticks and hummus, rice cakes, Ryvitas and cream cheese…..aim for a healthier, longer lasting snack to maintain your satiety for longer.
The final thing is to make sure that you aren’t missing out on any vital nutrients. Its important to carry on having a good range of different foods even when you’re dieting to get all the nutrients you need. One particular nutrient that can have an effect on energy levels is iron – if you’re not getting enough iron in your diet, it can lead to a condition known as anaemia. Include iron rich foods such as red meat, fortified breakfast cereals, and green leafy vegetables to improve iron levels. If you feel that iron deficiency could be an issue for you it is worth considering making an appointment with your GP just to get it checked out.
I do hope that you start to feel better soon – please don’t hesitate to come back to me if you have any further questions.
Best of luck
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