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I don't eat enough and need help

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I have a question regarding obviously my calorie intake.

I'm 5' 0.5" and weight 112.4 pounds. I'm 26 years old and between medium and small frame. My meter says I ened 1540 calories on a sedentary level to maintain. I eat an average of 700 calories a day. 3 or 4 times a month I'll eat more like 1200-1400 when I have parties and all that.

I eat like this since maybe mid october.

Now people on this site recommand to not drop under 1200 calories a day. Ok but why? My diet is very healthy. All I eat is veggies, fruits, chicken, fish, whole-wheat bread, yogourt, cheese. That's about it. I don't eat junk, I have no interest and it's been like this for a good 6 months.

I feel full everytime I have ate. I take my time to eat and if I'm not finish but feel full, I stop eating. Like intuitive eating. If I'm hungry I'll eat. It just that what I eat is low calorie and I have a small appetite, always had but before I was stuffing my face with junk and crap. That's why I was obese before.

If it's true that I need a minimum of 1200 calories a day I'll eat them. It's just difficult for me but I can make it.

My question is this: How to increase my intake without gaining all the weight back? Someone have any experience with this? Anyone was eating low and started to eat more without gaining?

I used to be 180 pounds and I'm afraid of getting back there. I know it's silly but that's how I feel.

If anyone can share their experience I would appreciate.

Thank you :)

P.S. English is not my first language so my writting is not perfect.

18 Replies (last)
add 150 calories into your plan each week untill you stop losing and start maintaining.

It sounds like you have become somewhat anorexic. This probably came from your previous unhealthy dieting. (Too-Fast weight loss)

You do need to eat 1500 calories per day or more. The reason is that you burn 1500-2000 calories per day just to stay alive. You may think that you don't, but everything you do burns calories: breathing, thinking, sleeping, walking, typing, yawning. It all costs calories.

If you don't get enough calories as food, your body will take some from you. That's how dieting works. You eat less, your body takes the fat and converts it to energy (calories). The problem with eating less than 1200 calories is that your body can't consume the fat fast enough to keep you alive. So it begins to eat your muscle.

Muscle consumes more calories than fat, so when you lose muscle mass you also lose metabolism, you get weaker and you can spiral down to deadly levels. Also, you heart is made of muscle. Anorexia can kill you by weakening your heart until it can no longer keep you alive.

I promise you will not get fat on 1200 calories per day. Seriously. Eat it. If your muscle mass is at a healthy level, you will "maintain" your weight at 1500 calories (sedentary lifestyle).

And: do some exercise. Your heart will thank you.

Hey you sound very similar to me!  I eat only healthy foods, and have no desire, at all, to eat junk.  Strange seeing as that's all I used to eat =) but it doesn't really even tempt me anymore.

And, I'm just gonna tell you from experience, it is SO worth it to eat more!!  And, you really won't gain!  I went from less than 800 cals everyday for months to eating 1500-1800...a couple days even 2200!  and I haven't gained.  I exercised like I normally would, but just ate more and it was fine!  Just keep eating healthy foods, but more, or if you can't stomach more, get more calorie dense foods or prepare them in a way that gives them more calories!  Milk always helps me get up there when I feel like I can't eat much more!

Seriously, you will have so much more energy and feel so much better.

DO IT!!!!
Handful of nuts.

Raisons, Cream cheese, Peanut butter these foods in small quantaties have high calories and they wont make you feel overly full =D

It's not the people on CC who say it, but every medical expert we've asked.  Here's an easy to understand explanation from the CC+ Library

Why must I eat at least 1,200 calories a day when I want to eat less?

In order to get the daily food servings you need for a balanced diet, it takes about 1200 calories a day. With careful planning, you could have a balanced diet on 1000 calories, but the restrictiveness of a very low calorie level can lead to binging and weight cycling, which will take you further from your weight loss goal. What's more, very low calorie diets can cause excessive muscle breakdown and metabolic adaptations, which can drive down your calorie requirements. In the end, you'll need fewer calories to maintain a higher weight.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to write back.

I feel fine like I use to feel before I ate more, is that means that I haven't restricted long enough to have health problems?

deflepfan16, what you said is true? How much did you add per week in order to eat more without gaining?

Oh and I don't purge or binge at all, I don't think I can be classified as anorexic. I eat and enjoy it. Yes I do have an eating disorder but it's not anorexia.

I do know what to eat to have more calories, I just don't want to gain weight, that's it. Being overweight all my life was not fun at all.

And I haven't lost fast. It took me 3 years in total to lose 70 pounds. I lost at an average of 1.5 pounds a week which is healthy.

Yep it's true..

I didn't really go up any certain intervals...I found that as I ate more, I got hungry more so I just let myself eat.

I do remember I went straight to 1200 right away, then started increasing from there, within a week or two I was at 1800. 

I lost 40 lbs over about 6-7 months and have been able to keep it off still!
That's a relief.

I already planned my meal for tomorrow. It will be close to 1200. I plan on a big breakefast to start the day. 2 servings of All-Bran Strawberry Bites with a yogourt, an apple and some peaches.

For lunch, one slice of whole-wheat bread with half a can of salmon, a babybel, a yogourt and a miso soup.

For dinner it will be the same sandwhich to pass the can of salmon but 2 slices of bread instead of one, miso soup, tomatoes, yogourt, jello.

It's around 1200 in my log.

I'll try to eat all this and be happy and not feel guilty about eating it since it's all healthy and good for my body.
Good plan.

But please, as soon as you can, get up above that..
Hi again.

This morning I feel better. I made a healthy brakefast. I actually added mroe calories in there. In total it's near 550 calories and almost 100% daily recommended ditery fiber! I'm not even hungry at all and it's been 5 hours that I ate it!

I feel energized, I started to do my exercises like I used to do when I go to the bathroom at work! I even went for a 15 minutes walk and plan to do another one this afternoon and return home by foot (25 minutes) tonight. I even want to do some elliptical tonight! I haven't done it in a while, I had no energy.

I'm still afraid of gaining, that will take some time to not think about it. I just ened to not freak out tomorrow morning when I'll weight myself. If the scale is up I need to say to myself that it's because of all the fiber that ate and my body is not used to so I retain water and it will go away in some days.

I might not get 1200 calories today but I plan on doing it gradually.
if you eat 1200cal a day, you may gain a little (false) weight.. mostly in the form of water for a couple days so dont weigh yourself, and then very soon once your body gets used to the new intake you will actually start loosing... no lies.
Good morning everyone.

I ate near 1200 yesterday. I'm up 2 pounds today. I know it's not fat but water retention and waste in my body. I did not freak out, my clothes fit the same.

This morning I ate the same breakfast as yesterday. My plan for today is protein. I entered all that I plan to eat today and it comes out like this:
Fat – 11.5%
Protein – 32.1%
Carbs – 56.4%
Sodium: 1800mg
Cholesterol – 161mg
Fiber – 32g
Vitamin A – 100%
Vitamin C – 108%
Iron - 100%
Around 1300 calories

I just hope that my weight will not be even more high tomorrow morning. I wish to lose a little bit more fat to feel more comfortable.

I plan on doing some cardio tonight. I know I'll have the energy to do it. Yesterday I felt so much better I could have done cardio. I plan on doing strength training 2 or 3 days a week. I need to build muscle. I'm pretty muscular, everyone tells me my muscles looks good and I don't even do strength training at the moment. It's just mentally exhausting. I slept maybe 3 hours last night because I was thinking about all I can eat for 1200 calories. I wasn't even tired. Is it because my body had lots of energy and not used to it? This morning I'm not feeling tired.

You think 3 months of eating an average of 900 calories for 2 months is enough to have cause a lot of damage or I stopped at the right time? There was 2 days a week where I was eating my 1200 calories. You think that helped my metabolism to not slow down?

How can I tell if my metabolism is slow or fast?

Sorry for all the questions but I know a lot of people on here can help me. If someone can answer all my answers, I would appreciate it a lot.

Thank you.
Hate to bump but I'm really looking for some answers and I know I can get them here. Please.

The best advice I can give you is to stop weighing yourself.  You need to focus on your calorie intake.  give it a few weeks.  Let your body stabilize.  Let your metabolism stabilize.  THEN after you get to a good calorie range, (and you can hold it there for a while) you can worry about losing the weight.  Right now, the weight is not what you should be focusing on.

You have not done permanent damage to your metabolism.  It is reversable, but you just have to be patient with your body until it kind of...fixes itself.

you're not hungry because you're used to the small amount of food. When I was anorexic, I ate under 400 calories a day and was NEVER hungry. Once you start to eat more, you actually start to get hungry sometimes. And you won't gain weiht, because yur metabolism will catch up.

The 2 lbs is not fat, it's a normal amount of water weight which will adjust itself right off of you.  The fact that you feel that you have energy shows that you're on the right track, your body approves of what you're doing.  Don't worry about the cardio or the temporary weight gain for the moment, just focus on getting enough calories and a healthy balanced diet.  After you've got that down, then reevaluate your goals and decide what you they should be and what you need to do to get there.

Easy & healthy ways to get more calories:

  • Nuts - almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, they're all good
  • Add olive oil for cooking or to your salads as a dressing with a splash of vinegar
  • Add protein powder to your yogurt
Any damage that you may or may not have done to your body is already done.  The important thing now is to stop doing any additional damage and give your body enough calories to recover. You'll have to see your physician and give a complete accounting so they know what tests to run and what recommendations to give you to know what damage you might have done or what you may be at risk for in the future.  Hopefully nothing but only your doctor can help you out with that aspect.
Okay so sooo should be a nutritionist if that is not what you are doing or studying already..gosh you know so much about diet and healthy eating and weight. Loved your advice about the more calories thing. I think nuts are the key because they give you healthy fats and oils while leaving your refreshed and full.
okay, i hate to say someone has an eating disorder from just reading their posts,
but honestly, you sound like you do...

1200 is a low amount of calories.
especially if you work out,
honestly, i think you should see a nutritionist

i don't mean to judge or point fingers, but i think you'd benifit from a doctor, i know i have...

anyways, hope you continue to eat more !!
18 Replies