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Weight Loss
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Need help verifying BMR vs intake information

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I am looking for some help figuring our my daily calorie intake vs burn rates.  I *think* I understand it from reading several of the forums here, but I know there are others who really get it and I am hoping they can either confirm I am on the right track, or help me adjust my numbers accordingly.

I started CC in October 2009 at 205 lbs.  I lost 40 lbs. eating 1680 calories per day.  Then I gained 10 back when I "fell off the wagon".  I feel I need to lose at least 25 lbs to be at a healthy weight, but I would love to lose 30-35.

My Info:

Female, age 33, 175 lbs.

Activity - Sedentary (desk job, lots of time in car, little to no regular exercise)

Calculated BMR - approx. 1525 (two different calculators gave same number)

Calculated maintenance calories - approx. 1850

Calories to lose half lb. per week - approx 1680

Am I correct that I should not eat less than 1525??...that seems high to me.  Does the calorie deficit come from the difference between the maintenance calories and the acutal calorie intake??

I allow myself 1600 calories per day but I try to stay under that goal by 100-200 calories just to give myself a cushion in case I estimated something incorrectly.  I use mearuing cups and a food scale to be as accurate as possible.

I am trying to lose slowly.  Hubby doesn't watch what he eats and I know I will quit if I feel like I am depriving myself too much.  I am also trying to add exercise but with two jobs, Master's classes, volunteer work and a household to maintain finding extra time is like finding buried treasure and I usually use this for something I enjoy.

Please tell me if I am on the right track...and if not, what I need to change to get it right.  Thanks!!

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Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever eat below your BMR.


Ever, ever.




If you eat around 1680, assuming these calculators are right (which they will never be), then you will lose the .5 lb you want per week.

Give it one month at 1680 or so. Worst case, you eat better for a month. Best case, I'll bet that if you lose a few pounds, you will find time to move more, even just in everyday life. I found the first few pounds to be quite motivating--And then if you add exercise, you'll lose more, and more importantly, you'll look different and your clothes will fit like magic, even when the scale number stays the same.

Changing habits is so so hard. I applaud you for doing it when your hubby is not on the same path!! Hang in there. Who knows how the example you will set for your home will impact his thinking... Good luck!
Someone posted a math formula that I used to calculate my BMR and total daily burn which I believe is your "maintenence". My numbers and CC's numbers weren't far off so I keep around 1721. I was at 1200, then upped to 1500 then figured out I was taking the deficit from the wrong number. It should be off your total burn which would be your BMR*RMR. I just upped my cals from 1500 to 1721 plus I exercise hard 5-6 times a week and leave myself a 700 cal deficit (not counting my exercise burn).

How tall are you? Using the formula CC uses, I'm guessing you're 5'6 or 7" to get a BMR of about 1525. I agree with armandounc, don't eat less than your BMR. At sedentary you'll burn about 1828 per day, so you won't want to go over that too often. That gives you a pretty good calorie range.

Gah! I just started CC a couple of days ago, although for the past two weeks, I've been trimming my intake without logging. Didn't know this site existed. I am having a huge problem eating *enough*.

My stats:

Female, 41 years old

Starting/presumed current weight:307

Height 6'2" (yes, really)

Sedentary up til now, but walking 1 to 2 miles a day for the past week.

BMR according to a couple of different other sites is 2133 cals/day. But I feel full after around 1200 calories. WTF? I am looking for advice on what to supplement my calories with. I am soooo afraid to add fats/oils, and I'm picking up some low fat milk and yogurt today. I want this to be a permanent lifestyle change, but right now eating just to amp up calories when I already feel full is hard to wrap my head around.


Sorry, yes I'm 5' 7".

So am I correct in calculating that at an intake of 1600 calories a day (give or take a couple hundred) I should have a deficit daily of about 220 (1820-1600) and weekly of about 1540 (220 x 7) which is a loss of about half a pound a week??


Use the forums, there are lots of forum threads about what foods you can eat that are healthy and higher in calories to help get your counts up there.  Just do a search for high calorie food options. 

If you still have questions, start a thread.  You may not get the responses your looking for about how to adjust your diet by posting your question in the middle of an unrelated topic.

Original Post by celestialfish:

Sorry, yes I'm 5' 7".

So am I correct in calculating that at an intake of 1600 calories a day (give or take a couple hundred) I should have a deficit daily of about 220 (1820-1600) and weekly of about 1540 (220 x 7) which is a loss of about half a pound a week??

Yeah, approximately.  All these calculations and even the most careful logging of calories are an acceptable guesstimate at best; everyone's body is different. You can increase your deficit with exercise, too.

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Use the Tools setting at the top to get your Burn Meter and Calorie Target.  I set the Calorie Target using the same weight.  i.e.  The weight I am now and the weight I want to be - will give me a rough estimate of how many calories I need to eat where I am now.  I have learned a formula which I am trying:  Take your Basal Metabolic Rate + activity log (average of about one week) = calories burned per day.  If you want to lose one pound a week subtract 500 calories from that number = number of calories to eat daily.  For me that is BMR 1600 + 300 = 1900 calories burned on an average day with exercising for about one hour.  Then, 1900 - 500 calories = about 1400 calorie budget to lose about one pound a week.  Check out "how to lose weight - the basics of weight loss" for the full explanation.  So far it is working for me.  Good luck.  It is a numbers game.

Original Post by armandounc:

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever eat below your BMR.


Ever, ever.




THANK YOU!  I've been over thinking and re-thinking and re-re-thinking and googling and and and and and...

I get it now.

10 Replies