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Looking for suggestions on calorie intake..

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Old 02-20-2008, 11:36 AM   #1
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Default Looking for suggestions on calorie intake..

I was hoping to get some insight on how many calories i should be eating a day i've been searching all over the web and get so many different answers I have been eating about 13-1600 calories a day and eating really healthy food but the weight isn't budgin yet and im wondering if it's because of how much im eating, I was hoping someone around my same stat's or someone that has been where i am could give me an idea of how many cal's they ate to lose I am 5'4 and weigh 250 and im 23 almost 24. any suggestions?! thanks gals!
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:39 AM   #2
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Kimberly, I'm your height and weighed 257 when I started. I began with 1600 calories per day and lost quite nicely. But I also was doing quite a bit of exercise.

Maybe keep your calories closer to the 1600 level for now? Most people would say that 1300 is too low for you to be starting out at -- save that for when you weigh less and hit a plateau.

If your weight loss seems to be stalled, how about increasing your exercise time or intensity?
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:44 AM   #3
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Great thanks meg, were you doing alot of working out? I have been working out 5 days a week but pretty low impact like 15 min on elliptical then a aerobic video or just a video with some light weights all equaling out to about 30 minutes a day when i do them. Should i up my cardio? I know i could push a little harder but how much longer? thanks!
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:13 PM   #4
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Hi Kimberly,

I started at 278 pounds and lost on 16-1700 calories. When I got under 250, I had to lower it. If I eat under 1500 calories, I lose weight at a nice rate. If I eat 1600-1700 calories I maintain. Over 1700, I gain. I figured this out with months of tracking calories and weight.

The exercise just recently increased for me but it's just 12 minutes on an exercise bike, 3x a week. Other than that, I am fairly sedentary (except for chasing my kids and doing housework).

I think you might pick a level... 1600, 1500... somewhere in that range... and track your calories for a week online or in a notebook. Be very accurate and measure everything. Then see if you lose in a week. If not, drop the calories the next week. Then you can find out your best level for losing. Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:36 PM   #5
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I'll just chime in. 1600 seems to be a reasonable start number, but you do have to pay attention to everything -- what you drink, too! Many condiments are highly caloric and people don't even realize it!

Increasing the length and/or intensity of exercise are good ways to burn more calories and get yourself healthier and relieve stress! Just don't do more than your body can handle -- many people increase slowly and steadily over time.
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Old 02-20-2008, 12:38 PM   #6
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I started out at 237 and eating 1500-ish calories a day (sometimes closer to 1600)

Now that I'm down to the 170s, I've dropped to a range of 1300-1500 and I try to stay towards the lower end of that range. I'm losing more slowly now and recently had a little bit of a 2 month plateau/maintenance phase, but that's more because of *my* habits and less becuase I stalled. I just have had a stressful couple of months and have been less stringent with myself lately. I've also skipped the gym more than I should due to scheduling issues.

Anyway, all that to say, I'd say maybe raising to 1600 like Meg suggested and throwing a bit more exercise in there. I'll be honest that *I* personally didn't see any big weight loss until I got serious about exercising and made sure I got in at least 45 mins a day of combined cardio and weights.

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Last edited by PhotoChick : 02-20-2008 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 02-20-2008, 01:09 PM   #7
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Kimberly, I think that increasing your exercise will make a big difference in your weight loss, just like it did for PhotoChick.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine jointly released new exercise guidelines a few months ago: Physical Activity & Public Health Guidelines The key recommendations for basic good health are:

Quote:
Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week

Or

Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week

And

Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week
Again, those are recommendations for basic good health for everyone, regardless of weight.

It goes on to say:

Quote:
It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.
Other recommendations, such as in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, echo the 60 - 90 minute on most days recommendation for weight loss and maintenance.

So you might want to think about gradually increasing your exercise. Don't forget strength training component -- it's an important component of our exercise programs!
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:10 PM   #8
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I started cal counting when I got to 242. I was walking 60 minutes, sometimes more about 6 days a week. I was eating 1700 cals a day and lost 9 pounds that month. (I had stalled at only 3 pounds lost the month before cause I was still eating too much.)

Now I am down to 196 but I am not sure if 1700 would be too high or not. I now walk 60-80 minutes 6 days a week. Whenever I say to myself to stick to 1700, I go over and get frustrated and quit counting. lol Or I wind up at 2200 or something. SO I legitimately don't know NOW if I could steadily lose on 1700.

Right now my goal is 1200-1600 a day. I try to aim for 1400 and have been doing pretty good hitting that number.

If I were you I would start walking. Make it a commitment to do 3 days a week and walk for just 15 minutes. Then slowly increase that. Stick with 1600 calories a day. Take pictures. Sometimes we lose and don't realize we lose. I have had some months where on the scale it said I lost 3 pounds but the picture tells another story. Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:54 PM   #9
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http://nutrition.about.com/library/b...tion_guide.htm
that website tell you how many calories you need.
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:30 PM   #10
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dali78 that is the link I have always used too!
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:37 PM   #11
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I started at 2000+ and gradually inched down to about 1800 calories per day. I'll stay here until/if the weight stalls again.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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I have been wondering the same thing. I am not really a calorie counter - I am doing South Beach, however, I have recently started tracking the calories. I usually eat between 1500-1600. I thought maybe that was a little high but according to the link provided by dali, I should be eating 2000 calories. Anyone else think that is high? I have been losing 1-2lbs a week but I think I could be dropping more. I know if I don't get enough calories, I will not lose as much. It also says if I exercise, which I have started, that I need 2700 calories. I am just scared I am not eating enough even though the calories seem high to me. Does that make sense to anyone? Any thoughts? I'm 24 and I am 5'4, if that matters.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:17 PM   #13
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It sounds like you're right on track - you're losing 1-2 lbs a week and you're making progress. I wouldn't tweak anything unless you seem to hit a plateau or you feel like you're stalling.

I ran the numbers and it says I could eat more than I do, especially considering how much I exercise. But I'm happy with what I eat now, I'm getting the nutrients I want / need (right amounts of fiber, protein, folate, etc.), and I'm losing steadily.

So ... as with everything on this journey, we're all different and we all have to take what we read with a grain of salt and adapted to our own bodies and needs.

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Old 02-20-2008, 05:23 PM   #14
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Kara, keep in mind that calorie calculators are only guesses and estimates. They don't know what your individual body needs to lose weight. That's something that you figure out on your own through trial and error.

Those numbers sounds very high to me. 2700 calories to lose weight if you're exercising? Most of us would be rapidly gaining weight at that level!

The calculator is way, way off in my case ... it says that I can maintain my weight at 2200+ calories! No way!! Even though I do more daily exercise that the calculator allows for, I gain when I go over 1600 calories (and I've been tracking for more than six years). That's a pretty big margin of error -- if I believed those numbers, I'd find myself back into size 22 pants rather quickly.

I'm a little puzzled by your fear of not eating enough, even though you're getting 1500 - 1600 calories and are losing 1 - 2 pounds a week. I agree with Photochick that you're right where you want to be. If you raise your calories, you'll only slow down your weight loss since you would be reducing (not increasing) your daily calorie deficit.

I think that the only time you would need to worry about not eating enough is if you were consistently under 1200 calories for a long period of time. It sounds to me like your weight loss is right on track, just as it is.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:14 AM   #15
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Thanks Meg and Photochick. Calorie counting has not been "my thing" so its all new to me. I honestly had no idea the amount of calories I was eating before a week ago. I will keep watching and stick with what I have.
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