struggling 1st week - still hungry :(

  • I've been working out for the past couple weeks now (went from being pretty inactive-a flight of stairs was hard for me). So, I started running everyday--basically run/walk intervals for about 20 minutes, followed usually by some type of circuit training. Then I stumbled across BFL online about a week ago and decided I would do it. So, my first day was the 20th (Thursday). The first 3 days went well, but yesterday and today have been pretty bad. The main reason I gained about 4 dress sizes in a mere 3 months was because my eating got out of control + I was unemployed and stopped being active. I felt like I could never get sated when I ate, so I just kept eating.

    I was pretty motivated and full of energy when I started this challenge, but the past couple days I've been cheating on the food (not the exercise..I like that part) and I've been extremely fatigued yesterday and today (I had to sleep an additional 4 hours today even though I got 9 hours of sleep last night). 

    So, now I'm back to feeling hungry all the time, and I don't know what to do about it. This is really discouraging because it seems to be a trend that whenever I try to get my eating under control, it only lasts a few days. 

    I drink about 8-10 glasses of water every day. I've had my meals planned out all week and have had to adjust them a few times, but still within the rules. 

    My stats:

    5'2", 130 lbs. I don't know my body fat %, but I know its higher than should be for my size. I'm 25 and in the worst shape of my life. 

    Does anyone else have this problem or have trouble when they first started?

  • I think everyone has trouble when they start :) Honestly it took me a whole 12 week challenge to figure out the eating. It is a journey and it will not be perfect right from the start. The important thing is to learn quickly from mistakes and make adjustment and never give up. You didn't get out of shape overnight and you won't get back into shape overnight, it is a journey. The good thing is there are wonderful people here to help and support you on your journey :)

    If you want to list your food plan, myself and others can give opinions on it and help you out. Nutrition is 80% (at least) of a transformation. If your eating is poor it doesn't matter how much you work out. You can't outwork a bad diet!

    You are not alone in this and you absolutely have the strength to turn your life around! It won't be easy but you can do it!

  • Thank you, Orrin. That is very encouraging and comforting to know that it took you the entire challenge to figure it out, yet you still accomplished it. I am my own worst enemy and I'm trying to not be an all or nothing person because I can make things very hard on myself, but I'm learning its ok to make mistakes, as long as I can try to fix them.

    So, my food plan started like this:

    Day 1-

    Meal 1 - 1/2 c. oatmeal with 1/4 c. blueberries

    Meal 2 - salad w/ grilled chicken and balsamic vinegar, 1/2 apple

    cardio + UBWO

    Meal 3 & meal 4 - 1/2 strawberry protein shake (about 45 minutes apart)

    Meal 5 - 2 granola bars

    Meal 6 - 1 can tuna w/ low fat mayo w/ celery

    Day 2

    Meal 1- 1/2 c. oatmeal w/ 1/4 c. blueberries

    Meal 2 - fat free yogurt with banana

    low intensity walk (30 min)

    Meal 3 - Whey protein strawberry shake

    Meal 4 - tuna salad on 2 pieces whole wheat bread

    30 min cardio- HIIT

    Meal 5 - Whey protein banana shake

    Meal 6 - Fat free Cottage Cheese w/ 1/4 c. strawberries

    Day 3

    Meal 1 - 1/2 c. oatmeal with 1/4 c. blueberries + half banana

    Meal 2 - 3 egg whites with sauteed (cooking spray + tsp olive oil) zucchini & green peppers


    Meal 3 - Whey protein strawberry & banana shake

    Meal 4 - tuna salad on 1 whole wheat bread

    Meal 5 - Protein bar

    Meal 6 - grilled chicken with pea salad (this was food from a banquet that I was working that night)

    This is where it goes downhill...I came home from work about midnight and was fairly exhausted, but still hungry. So... I ate a tuna salad sandwich (2 pieces of whole wheat bread), half an orange and another protein bar :(

    Day 4

    Meal 1 - 1/2 c. oatmeal with splenda & 1/2 cup cottage cheese

    Meal 2 - 1/2 c. lean ground beef with 1tbsp fat free greek yogurt, 1 small apple

    Cardio + abs

    Meal 3 - small protein shake

    Meal 4 - Hamburger (no bun) with 1 c. of seasoned veggies (potatoes, zucchini & asparagus) + 1 piece German chocolate cake :( It was my roommates birthday and her friends brought food to grill and also made her a cake, and I had no willpower.

    Snack - Ice cream bar (another slip up)

    Day 5

    Meal 1 - 1/2 c. oatmeal with protein powder

    Meal 2 - 1/2 c. tuna salad with 1 slice whole wheat w/ 1/2 c. potato salad :( (leftover from bbq the day before).

    Meal 3 -  1/2 c. tuna salad with 1 slice whole wheat bread

    Meal 4 - 3 beef tacos + diet coke :(

    Meal 5 - granola bar

    Meal 6 - 2 slices whole wheat bread + 1/2 c. potato salad+ 1 apple + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter :(

    SO, as you can see, it did not take long at all to give in to bad foods. It obviously did not help that there was bad food dangling in front of me like some higher power was just mercilessly tempting me.

    I'm clearly failing at this. The things I ended up eating were not what I had planned to eat. It doesn't help that I live with 2 other people who sometimes have bad things around to eat.

    Anyway, I really want to commit to this because I feel unaccomplished in many aspects, and this could be something that I can feel accomplished and proud of-- if I finish. I just am having difficulties controlling myself.

  • By looking at your weekly routine, it seems to me that you're working out too much, which is causing you to burn up calories and making you hungry. Do your 20 minute aerobic solution, no more, no less. Then do your 40 -45 minute weight routine. You may be thinking your not doing enough exercise, but this will work if you give it time. Plus you come from a background where you really worked out in the past intensely, so this to you may not seem like enough. Believe me, it is. You diet looks really good. Keep up the good work!

  • You are most definitely NOT failing at this. I do know how you feel though about being all or nothing and being hard on yourself. I am the same way. It took time to accept the fact it was ok to make mistakes (everyone makes mistakes) and it was ok when I slipped up. It happens. What matters is pressing on and learning and growing.

    I am impressed you have your nutrition plan all worked out. :) Planning and writing everything down is essential to knowing what you are doing and being able to adjust. For the most part things look pretty good. Your "slip ups" are not horrible. And eating a tuna sandwich after work is not bad. The body needs fuel even at night, especially at night, so if you are up late and working hard then another meal is definitely a good thing. Bread may not be the best choice right before bed but it is better than not eating.

    Feeling hungry at first is very normal. The body craves simple sugars and when you cut them out odd feelings even headaches will be around for a little bit. Once you push though though, energy will soar! Try and add tons and tons of fresh veggies to your meal plan and lots of water. Water helps fill you up and aids in so many functions of the body. I drink 4 liters (a gallon) a day at least. It is hard to get used to at first (many trips to the bathroom) but because of things caffeine and alcohol and poor nutrition it takes weeks of drinking water for our bodies and the cells of our bodies to truly become properly hydrated again. A glass of water here or there doesn't work.

    I think if you keep pressing on, learn from your "slip ups" and add veggies and water to your current plan you will see great results!

  • Cameo-

    Thank you for pointing that out... it makes a lot of sense and seems obvious now. I used to be a 3 sport athlete, mainly focused in track & field, so having that background definitely makes me feel like I'm not doing enough.


    Thank you again for reassuring me that I'm ok. Today is a new day and even now I am thinking I was way too hard on myself the past couple days. I just need to get in the mindset that this is not as hard as I'm making it out to is definitely a challenge, but clearly an attainable one.

    Also--I do enjoy veggies, but some of them taste better cooked and I know vegetables lose some of their nutritional content when heated above a certain temp. So, is raw the way to go? I also enjoy using some kind of dip for certain veggies, but need recommendations on allowable dressings/dips.

    Thank you both, again!

    Its really neat to be able to have this support out there:)

  • I like veggies raw but not all the time and some veggies need to be cooked. Steamed is the best way to keep as much of the nutritional value as possible. Another thing I do and this may not be for everyone, is when I boil vegetables I drink the water the veggies were boiled in. Mmmmm some veggie water is really good. As for dips I would limit them while you are trying to get back into the shape you want to be in. It could be a treat on your free day. I use plain greek yogurt as a dip sometimes. It makes me think I am dipping but without the unwanted fats of most dips. Like all things, keep it in moderation and be aware of the nutritional value of what you are eating. With a gram of fat being 9 calories, it doesn't take long for tasty dips to add up.

  • Thanks for the input/advice. I actually got an idea from another BFL'er about whipping balsamic vinegar into plain greek yogurt for a tangy dressing, so that's what I did (with a pomegranate red wine vinegar instead).

    But I have another dilemma--regarding the workouts.

    I'm working out from home and my dumbbell set is limited. I can only make the following weight amounts:

    5, 10, 15, 20, 22.6, 25, 30, 32.6 & 37.6 (I have a few weights that are 8.8 lbs--I thought it was odd, too).

    I know that the point of the weight training is to do as much as you can lift (10's) to the point of failure, but for some of the workouts, it would take me a few more reps to get to that, is it ok if I add more reps so that I can hit my 10's with a lower weight?

  • That is a great idea about the dressing!

    regarding weights: I think It is always best to do all you can do, to the best your ability with whatever you have at your disposal. So yes do what it takes. Maybe you could pre-fatigue a little more so your final sets are within the rep range with the weights you have. The other thing you can do is to really focus on form and cadence. Two seconds up and four second down. Take curls for example: Curl the dumbbell up squeeze the bicep at the top for a second and do not let the muscle rest. then slower on the way down.  1 - 2- 3- 4. short pause at the bottom so you are not using momentum and curl back up again. Do this will all your exercises - go slower down than up - and really feel it. The down portion of an exercise is where the magic happens. That is when muscle fibers stretch and tear and repair stronger. which is what we want. :)

  • Thank you for the solid advice again:) I've been focusing on that with my workouts now and its making a difference. I'm still struggling with the food thing. I've been doing good with consuming a lot of water (I've been trying to get a gallon a day in), but my hunger problems are still there (which are more of a psychological issue than anything else). I find myself cheating at least once a day or so. Once I eat, all I can think about is the next time I can eat. It's only Day 12 and my motivation is waning.

  • I agree with Orrin, this definitely takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you were not the healthiest eater in the world beforehand.

    Like you, I have pretty much no willpower when it comes to food. So I started REALLY dressing up my meals. Tried to work in as much pseudo-decadence as possible without cheating. It staved off hunger and cravings like you wouldn't believe. It did take time; I devoted an extra 30 minutes - 1 hour every day on meal planning and food prep and I know not everyone has that much time, but maybe it's worth trying? I made every attempt possible to vary my breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, etc. For example, the next time you want beef tacos, make tacos with 93% lean ground beef, ground bison, or ground turkey and serve that with black beans, fat-free salsa, wheat tortillas, and lots of fresh vegetables like peppers, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. You can make your own taco seasoning too, there are loads of recipes online so you don't have to worry about it have junk like modified food starch. I also used to make pizza a lot, I would make whole-wheat crust in my breadmaker, roll it out, cover it with fresh or canned tomatoes, cooked chicken, TONS of veggies and bake that without cheese. Doing stuff like that really did keep me sane those 12 weeks. :)

    Also, looking at your eating, are you getting in protein every day for meal 1? Some days I see only some oatmeal + blueberries. You should definitely try to get in some protein each morning, this will definitely help you throughout the day (I liked egg whites scrambled with feta + spinach, low-fat all-natural turkey or chicken sausage, or a quick hash made with leftover meat + potatoes from the previous night).

    For a good dressing/dip I would highly recommend Whole Foods' oil-free dressings. NO fat and only 35cals per 2 Tbsp. They have lots of delicious flavors like fig balsamic, carrot ginger, asian sesame, and more. They go with anything and everything!

    I hope you find some of this helpful, and don't lose heart, keep up with your workouts and the eating will happen! It sounds like you are dedicated and up for the challenge of taking control of your eating. Good luck!

  • I'm guessing some people may differ in what I have to say but I suggest making some changes to your menu.  One thing that I believe causes people to give up is they make their menu's kind of boring and too light.  We forget the key to what Bill Phillips said about portion sizes.  The following is an example of a day's worth of my food:

    Meal 1: Oatmeal, two small turkey sausage patties, 1 banana.  Meal 2: EAS AdvantEdge Protein Bar.  Meal 3: Cobb salad made with Grilled Chicken, boiled egg, turkey bacon, spinach, Cucumber, and topped with a bit of Light Vidalia Onion Dressing.  Meal 4: One apple and 2 light string Cheese's, Meal 5: Pork Chop and Wild Rice. Meal 6: AdvantEdge Carb Control Protein Ready to Drink Shake.

    As you can see, there's plenty of tasty food for the day and if you keep your portions the way BFL suggests then this is a perfectly sensible and healthy menu.  I always use low--fat or not-fat and I stick to the approved food list.  Also, left-overs are the key to keeping things easy.  Whatever I make for dinner is my lunch the following day.  I plan my entire week and do all of my shopping on Sundays.  Sometimes I do some prep work on Sunday as well (Like boiling eggs for example).

    If you get a craving for something "unapproved" then write it down and give yourself permission to enjoy it on your free day and then remind yourself of your goals.  Just keep in mind that free days can be counterproductive if you give yourself too many "permissions".  I found certain approved snacks that I really enjoyed helped me with some of those cravings.  One of my favorite snacks was to eat an apple with All Natural Peanut Butter.  I also liked to eat a piece of fruit and some cashews.  

    If I turned BFL into a restrictive diet and wasn't able to enjoy eating at all then I wouldn't have completed the program and I wouldn't have lost 33 lbs. during those 12 weeks.  It's important to look at food from a different prospective and to figure out how you can still enjoy food while eating healthy.  Good luck and if you want more examples of my menus or any other questions then please feel free to e-mail me at  You can also check out my blog at

    I hope this helped,


  • Japril00,

    I have problem with sugar also. But since due to my fastings for last few years. I found out that if you cut down on sugar and salt (also, spicy food if you usually eat it), that dramatically calms your appetit. I know you think it's impossible, that's what I thought too, til profound events occured in my life that enticed me to start fasting, when I did, my tasting buds literally closed and I was no longer craving this or that. The struggle will probably last for couple of days at first, and you will be fine afterward. Also I recommend you look up "Mastercleanser" or commonly known as Limonade. That's the one I fast on. the picky taste of the traces of cayenne pepper that are in it really shut my appetit Beautifully. Start making one glass a day and see how helps.  I highly recommend it.

    "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." – Ralph Waldo Emerson---

  • Willpower has been a problem for me too. It's hard to eat right when you know how good bad food tastes. The only thing I can offer is to not beat yourself up over it. It was mistake, get over and move on. There is no sense in feeling guilty about it, it doesn't change anything. If I do eat bad, I make myself work extra hard the next couple days and then try even harder to watch what I eat to sort of "make up" for being bad. It takes time to realign your whole way of thinking and almost everybody has bad days, the longer you do it right, the easier it will get!

  • You are right Steve, the majority of people tend to associate deliciousness with how sweet or salty a food is, regardless of its substance or lack thereof. And the more "delicious" they are manipulated in thinking it is, the more likely they will binge on it to their own loss and negative consequences. I recommend that all start to learn appreciating food flavor and taste without sugar or salt. It's so beautiful. Salt will give you high blood pressure at best, plus will accelerate water retention leading to even more weight gain, and sugar usually destroys the entire body, anything from eye sight, to teeth, to nervous system and not to mention premature aging. So learn to boycot the use of salt and sugar.

    "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." – Ralph Waldo Emerson---