Weight Loss
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How Many Calories a day is too little???

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I have been struggling losing weight, I use to weigh 125lb which is pretty normal for a 5'2 gal, then I changed my bc pills and starting slacking and in a year gained about 40 lbs, and now i'm 170lb. You would never guess that if you looked at me because I don't look that heavy, I just have a lot of muscle and yeah some extra i'm tryin to get rid of in the wrong places :) Right now I have been doing cardio everyday which takes off about 300 calories and I am getting approx 900-1000 calories before exercise so after exercise 600-700 calories a day and I find I am not losing weight at all. I am staying the exact same weight. It's driving me nuts because I have been eating very well, taking good care of myself and I feel like I'm never going to get back to the weight I was last year and always was in the past. ANY SUGGESTIONS??? is it because I'm not getting enough calories? is it something i'm doing wrong? anything would help right now. When I log my meals for the day I get a B+ to a A on the breakdown of carbs, fats, proteins, etc. but that makes me even more confused now...


Edited Jan 16 2011 21:57 by coach_k
Reason: Promotion of starvation diets or habits that exhibit signs of an eating disorder ("pro-ana", "pro-mia", etc.) is prohibited.
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You should be consuming a total of 1200 calories AFTER exercise.

Please eat back what you burn, 600-700 calories a day is Starvation.

When you are starving your body panics and will hold on to all your fat cells.
but i don't feel like i'm starving AT ALL...like i'm eating a good breakfast (2 scrambled eggs and a piece of toast with jam and a banana for example) , than i have a snack usually about 2 hours later (a yogurt or fruit) , then I have lunch(deli meat sandwich, apple)  then another snack(usually fruit or thinsation cookies or some almonds) then dinner (usually chicken breast, or fish, veggies and rice or potato but all small portions) then nothin after dinner. and if i'm hungry i have a little extra here or there but i usually am not hungry. Like by all means i wouldn't starve myself and i didn't think that is what I was doing. 1200 calories a day seems like so much when i think of what I have now...all am thinkin is where can i eat more...haha
oh yeah and somedays a large glass a milk(1%) but usually 4-8 bottles of water, depends how thirsty i am that day...
Well you may need to switch to some Full Fat products, like whole milk instead of 1%.

Or take a walk that adds up to 100 calories a day, and have a cup of milk before bed.  No more cardio or whatever burns 300 cals. =\

Regardless of whether you feel stuffed, you are starving yourself.
If you are truely only consuming 600-700 calories a day total.

If your total to lose weight is 1200 calories, and you burn 300, you need to eat 1500 calories on the days you exercise.
thank you for the info, i truely didn't know what was too little, i would never try to "starve" myself because a) i love food too much and b) i know it doesn't work, i'll try getting somemore in there and see what happens...

No problem, it's what everyone else would have told you anyway =). I'm pretty sure everyone here has accidently starved themselves once, including me.

Some people just have a hard time eating the amount they need, I think it's because they are use to large amounts of low calorie foods already.  While I could very easily consume 2000 calories a day without thinking about it.

The standard numbers for an average woman is 1200 for her basic organs to work.

1500 for a male.

Any lower, unless you are extremely petite (4'6") risks anyone going into a "Starvation Mode".  Your body is designed to survive, it will hold on to the longest burning energy first, fat.  It sucks, but it kept us alive for a very long time, it has no idea if you're dieting or starving.
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I know the rut you may be in at the moment. I was in your position right after the holidays. My only suggestion is to keep at it. One thing that I found out is that even when you do cardio, you're burning less than you may think. I was running 3.5 to 4 miles 4 days a week and eating pretty much what you were and I stayed exactly the same weight. From what you're listing, it sounds like you're getting more than 1000 calories a day. I mean, a banana alone is around 120 calories. Now add jam (maybe 50 calories per tbsp) + bread (110 a slice) + eggs (scrambled are at least 80 per egg) + yogurt (around 110 per snack container) before you even eat lunch...that breakfast alone is between 400 and 600 calories...see what I mean?

All I'm saying is to do everything in super moderation at first, eat smaller meals more frequently, and snack on raw veggies instead of fruit. When you're in need of a boost but somewhat watching what you eat, fruit basically counts as sugar. Red peppers or carrots or broccolli have nutrients and are low in fiber and are much better snack alternatives. From what I see, you are eating healthy...but it sounds like you're eating enough to just maintain your weight...
Depending on your age/weight/height and activity level you expend a certain amount of calories a day. You should be eating 500-700 less than the amount of calories you burn in a day. No matter what your expenditure is, you should be eating atleast 1200 cals a day, and the 1200 should be after your excersize. I would suggest using the expenditure tool on this website to figure out how much you should be eating per day.
i know exactly how you feel Jenn, i am in the same situation...i'm natural small build/frame/height etc...theres no way i eat 1200 cals a day! even when i have a bit of a pig out....if i did, it would be going against what my body tells me and i think thats the most important thing...to listen to what our bodies need.

At the end of the day, calorie counting is only one type of diet, there are other regimes you could follow that might be better suited to you.

I've reached a plateau and have been stuck at same weight (+/- 3 pounds) for months with everyone telling me i eat too little, even though i have a very healthy balanced diet. so no i figured it may be best for me to restrict certain food groups (e.g. carbs) instead.

Let me know what you think
I would agree with most who have posted here:  1200 calories is about as low as you should go.  The weight WILL begin to come off if you exercise faithfully and eat sensibly (healthy protein, whole grains, plenty of fruit and vegetables).  Give it time.  It took me six months to lose 24 pounds, and there were several plateaus along the way, but the weight has stayed off because I'm eating healthy now and still exercising.  It's got to be a change of life style in terms of eating, a life style you can stick with, not a foolish fad diet that may work at first but isn't for life.  lkm
Try reading this article. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/core_march_8. htm You are not eating enough.

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I'm only a medical student - so I'm not qualified to give medical advice -  but I think it would be a good idea to see your doctor.

I'm about 5'1 and 122 lbs, and I know that an extra 40lbs in the course of a year on people like us is pretty excessive.

You say you had a pretty drastic change in your lifestyle last year, but you don't say why. Were you depressed, injured, or was there something else going on?

Also, your new birth control could be the culprit. BC is notorious for causing things like weight gain. Or - depending how you look at it - it could be affecting your mood, or hunger level (though you say you have been pretty vigilant) or a number of other things that may lead to your eating more. Luckily, with BC there are a lot of options.

I agree with the above posters that you are not eating enough calories for an overweight but otherwise healthy person trying to slim down. I would add that you should be doing some weight training.  There are too many reasons to list here why it's so important - so I'll make the oversimplified statement that it might be even more important than cardio when it comes to fat loss (vs muscle loss) and maintenance. There is a large body of research that supports this, and I would be happy to point you in its direction if you're interested.

Still, I really think you should see your doctor, and try to pinpoint whatever it is that caused you to gain all that weight in the first place.


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Ok, so yes 1200 cals is suggested. BUT even though you are strtving your body, eating only 600-800 cals, you SHOULD loose wieght, i know my experience, plus thats why people are anorexic. Thats why people eat so little, BUT the problem with that starvation is that when you go to eating about 1200 cals a day, for a normal person they would loose weight but since you are used to eating 600-800, even with excersize, you will GAIN weight. THIS i also know from experience, case taking in such little calories not only starves your body but RUINS your metabolism. Oh, and if you eat what you listed, it is more than 1200 cals. I hardly eat and yet i consumer about 1100-1300 cals before i know it. You must have some calories that are uncounted for somewhere. Bananas are GREAT for you, but are fattening, so are eggs.
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Agreed.  The OP's daily meal plan is easily well over 2,000 calories.

Original Post by cheddar:

Agreed.  The OP's daily meal plan is easily well over 2,000 calories.

Uh, this thread is over 2 years old. 

if thats really what you're eating.. youre eating way more than 6-700 calories lol. id say 1200 is a much better estimate.


just up your physical activity... i like jump roping! or an hour of dancing in the mirror to your favorite album... its great cardio, and you might pickup some great new moves!

Agree, this thread is from 2007 and the OP has not logged in in two years.

However, just to make a point:

(1) Bananas and eggs are not fattening Undecided

(2) Here is some info from the Ask Mary section of Calorie Count as to why undereating does not lead to successful weight loss:

Why eating only 1200 calories or undereating doesn't work

In the long run, you won’t lose weight faster by eating 1200 calories a day.  Under-eating deprives your body of essential nutrients and leads to muscle breakdown to provide energy.  With less muscle, you require fewer calories and you reach a weight low plateau more quickly.  Restrictive dieting also places you at risk for binge-eating which can lead to weigh gain and a life of yo-yo dieting. Use the Calorie Target calculator in the Tools section to figure out how many calories a day you need and set yourself up for lasting weight loss success.

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I am in a similar boat, I'm 5ft 1 and a half inches (not quite 2) and would like to go back to my ideal weight of about 120-125 pounds however I am currently 145 pounds.  I used to be quite active when I was in school but ever since I graduated and have been working, I am finding it harder to have the time and energy to excercise and resort to convenience foods, I try to go on the treadmill once a week for 30mins but at max I burn 150 calories.  I know I should make more of an effort to exercise but given right now it's a hard option (I do alot of volunteer activity - and I am not a lazy person I walk and take the bus to work, I take stairs when I can, I clean, cook and do things around the house) what can I do in terms of food?  How did you get the A & B grades?  I am bad at setting up a nutrition plan, how do you decide what to eat and know it is getting you your daily nutritional value and is balanced etc..?  Overall, how do I ensure I am eating right?  And what about foods I eat that are not in the calorie count database, how do I know how man calories I am eating as it is not always accurate.  HELP!



im sorry, but i just find this whole "starvation" mode thing a load of garbage

Honestly, you shouldnt have to count every calorie to know if you starving. do you feel hungry? then eat

if what your eating satisfies you, then your fine. Period. Hunger pains are our bodies natural mechanism to prevent us from dying of starvation, so if your not feeling those, then i dont see the problem

i guarantee you a lot of the days i eat way less than whats recommended on here for maintenance, simply because i feel full on what i eat.



Original Post by jhanson7183:

if what your eating satisfies you, then your fine. Period. Hunger pains are our bodies natural mechanism to prevent us from dying of starvation, so if your not feeling those, then i dont see the problem

One of the side-effects of chronic undereating is depressed appetite. Plenty of anorexics don't feel hungry. And they are dying of starvation.

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