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calories and working out
Oct 15, 2001

hi, I am a 22 year old female college student. I am 5'7 and 190 lbs. In June of 2001 I weighted 235 lbs. Ever since June I been working out 6-7 days a week doing 60min of cardio and weight training of the upper and lower body. I have been restricting myself to 800-1,200 calories. This past week I went over my limit. I had about 1,500 calories. I am really worried that if I continue consuming 1,500 calories I will get fatter. It's all I can really think about now. I don't know if I am doing the right thing or not. It seems like I am getting more hungry, even more than before I started watching what I eat. So the question is, how many calories should I be taking and am I doing the right thing so far? Thank You, kjf

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

I admire your dedication to exercise! Let's start from the beginning. Weight loss is a tricky business with HIV infection. If you restrict calories too much, you set yourself up for your body to adapt to starvation and, in the long run, this may be counterproductive to a goal of staying fit.

Fat is not everything! While you exercise, you are likely to hold onto or even gain some muscle tissues. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to function.

Sounds like it is time to get evaluated. Because you are so careful about counting calories, this will be pretty easy. Set up an appointment with an HIV-savvy dietitian and bring food and exercise records. When you set up the appointment, check to see that the dietitian can do a body composition evaluation on you (using BIA) or that you can get that procedure done beforehand to take the results with you to the appointment.

In the evaluation, the dietitian will look at your body composition and food intake and make recommendations that are geared to keeping you healthy. If you gain weight, it is not always fat and if you lose weight, it is not always lean. These are things that need to be evaluated for you as an individual. Off the top of my head, I would say that below 1000 calories may be counterproductive. To be sure, get it checked!

Best wishes on your workouts and diet!

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