Weight Loss Support - How many calories did you start at?

01-31-2008, 10:57 PM
Before when I tryed to lose weight my calories stayed between 1200-1300 calories, when I was 200+. But that would end up to weeks where all I did was binge because I felt deprived. Lately my calories have been at 1400-1600. And I dont feel deprived. I dont even feel like Im trying to lose weight, since Im getting alot of food.

Im curious about where everyone started at and how much did you weigh.

01-31-2008, 11:08 PM
I'm at about 1200-1300 calories a day but it seems like the key to going low in calories is volume, eating soups and foods that fill you up without a lot of calories. I've read that rotating calories is helpful to keep the body tricked, so on days when I do 1400-1600 I don't feel bad at all since my real goal is 1200. It seems to be that if you are working out hard you need 1400-1600 for energy, but if you want to lose without super workouts, low carbing it at 1200 is the fast way. That's my personal opinion, everyone is different.

01-31-2008, 11:10 PM
I have never gone below 1300 a day. I started around 1600-1700, went down around 200 lbs to 1500-1600, then to get to goal (the last 10 lbs...so starting at about 170) went 1300-1400.

01-31-2008, 11:22 PM
I'm losing well enough on 1800-2000 (started at 358 actually lower, but upped it in January as I started exercising more). I didn't want to have to lower it too much later if I stalled.

01-31-2008, 11:51 PM
For my main period of weight loss, I averaged 1300-1400 per day eaten. My burn rate, with exercise, was between 1900-2000.


01-31-2008, 11:57 PM
Me? I originally went from 185-142 on 1200 a day, plus 1 hour of cardio 5-6 days a week. I lost quickly and efficiently and steadily. But, I didn't learn anything. Kept the weight off for 1 1/2 years and then regained to 155. Dropped from 155-138 on 1800, plus all the exercise. This time I learned something about how to manage calories in maintenance. From my experience, it's best to start as high as possible so that you can really learn what it feels like to eat like a normal, non-weight challenged person while losing weight so as to practice for maintenance.

(But I also completely agree with Horsey that restricting carbs and emphasizing veggies and volume is the smartest approach to calorie counting.)

02-01-2008, 12:13 AM
I started at 196.5 on 1600 a day with relatively infrequent exercise. So far, I've lost 7.5 pounds my first month. Halfway through the month I added in about 2 hours exercise a week. I'm losing pretty steadily, I don't feel hungry, and, quite honestly, I don't even feel like I'm trying.

02-01-2008, 12:14 AM
When I first started I ate anywhere form 1800-2000 per day and I weighed 250 lbs. I lost 2-3 lbs. a week with that. Right now I'm eating around 1500 and I weigh 187, I'm losing pounds quite a lot slower but I'm building muscle like crazy and my body fat % is decreasing so I'm happy!

02-01-2008, 12:27 AM
I started calorie counting when I was a little over 280 and I lost on 2000 calories/day initially. As I lost, I brought my calories down a bit and ended up at around 1800/day. I ended just under 180...

Shy Moment
02-01-2008, 02:55 AM
I have pretty much been between the calories I am at right now. 1200 to 1400 since I started loseing weight.

02-01-2008, 05:08 AM
I started at 150 lbs and 1200 calories a day. My gym has an online tool that suggests how many calories you should eat and that's what it came up with for me. I think it is just weight-based; I now know there are more sophisticated formulas out there (e.g., ones that take into account your level of exercise, etc.)

I did pretty well on 1200 calories a day, but friends expressed shock and horror at it, so I increased it to 1300 a day after about four months. I continued to lose pretty steadily at 1300 a day for a while then stalled out after significantly increasing my level of exercise. After several weeks of frustration and hunger, someone on 3FC suggested increasing my calories, so I bumped them up to 1400 a day. That worked; I wasn't hungry anymore and I started losing again. Got pretty close to goal at that level, then had some off plan periods and gain a few lbs back. Couldn't manage to lose them, so I dropped my exercise a bit (after reading an article that suggested there is such a thing as too much cardio) and dropped my calories back to 1300. That worked and I again got pretty close to goal (well, actually got to goal but then moved the goal). Then had a few more off plan periods and gained a few lbs back. It's been a real struggle to lose this time, so I'm down to 1200 a day again. But the lbs do seem to be coming of very very very slowly.

02-01-2008, 08:15 AM
I aim for 1500-1600 calories a day, but the reality of it is that I'm often as high as 1800. Anything less than 1500 and I'm starving. I do quite a bit a of exercise, and right now it seems that I've been holding steady at about 132 lbs.

02-01-2008, 08:29 AM
I started at 1600 and dropped by 100 if I stalled. I spent the last six months of my weight loss around 1200 calories. I think I had to go lower than some because of my age (I was 46/47), hormones (menopausal), and metabolism (I'm hypothyroid).

02-01-2008, 10:22 AM
I just started calorie counting in earnest in January. I didn't want to start out too low because that's what I'd done before and failed. Right now, I'm at 272 lbs and have set my calories at 1800/day. I don't freak though if I go over by say 100. So far, I've lost 9 lbs - maybe more since I haven't weighed in 4 days.

Mrs E

02-01-2008, 11:26 AM
After years of dieting and feeling hungry, miserable, bingey (and usually giving up in some spectacular binge-induced food blowout), I very carefully stayed above 1400 this last time. I started counting at 1400-1600 and lost weight very steadily from July to March.

Then, I plateaued for months. I ate less, exercised more, scale didn't budge. Around June, I figured my body was done losing weight and slowly shifted to maintenance (raising calories very slowly over time to 1800-2000) a day. The next month I lost 2 lbs. In October, I was down another 3 lbs to 135. I finally ended up at 127 - it took me 9 months to lose the last 13 lbs at 1800 calories a day!

Shy Moment
02-01-2008, 03:55 PM
Mrs E
I am the same way. The amounts of calories I allow myself are not written in stone. I want to keep my weekly averages there. There can be days I have more than those numbers.

02-01-2008, 04:06 PM
Thank for asking that question because there were some really wonderful responses. I am keeping mine between 1500 - 1700 calories right now but I am just restarting. All the responses made me realize I am on track.

02-01-2008, 06:52 PM
I started at 292 lbs. at 1200-1300 calories a day and working out 5 days a week. I concentrate on getting the most volume I can out of my calories and haven't really had any problem at all with hunger. Actually I like feeling a little, not a lot, empty. It's so nice after the years of feeling stuffed and miserable.

I've probably had half a dozen days since last May when I went over that number. I ate more on the days when I was honestly hungry and never worried about it.

I know a lot of people start out higher so that they can drop when they plateau, and maybe I'm just lucky, but I haven't had anything close to a plateau.

I probably would have started at a slightly higher number but I had some medical concerns that were about to result in taking medication and I really wanted to get a good chunk of weight off fairly quickly.

02-01-2008, 07:24 PM
I went from 264 to 164 in a year averaging between 1300 and 1500 cals a day. Exercise was consistent but not very strenuous. I walked 1/2 an hour to an hour a day 6 or 7 days a week.

02-01-2008, 08:42 PM
It seems like most people's goals are much lower than mine. Hmmm. I've just started, but I figured I'd eat normally and record how many calories I was taking in, and then reduce from there. My goal right now is just not to be as hungry for food when I eat less!

My biggest problem is that I am not responsible for choosing my meals. I am a residential teacher at a boarding school, and I get paid pittance but I get my food free. I can't afford to buy much food outside of that, especially as I'm moving this summer! The food is all mashed potatoes, thick gravy, mac and cheese, creamed corn, and stuff that like. Stuff that's easy to cook for lots of hungry teenagers and that keeps you warm in the winter up here in Maine.

I was shocked to discover when I started keeping track on FitDay that I was eating more than 3000 calories a day. Gah! So I'm starting out by just trying to accustom my body to living on 2000 a day or less. Then I'll see how much I can reduce it realistically and still have enough energy to chase teenagers around and work 18-hour days.

Does anyone have any advice for what to do when you can only control portions, not your diet? I've gotten some Lean Cuisine frozen dinners (because I love them and they're pretty healthy) to substitute out when the food is really awful, like the grilled-cheese sandwiches we were served for lunch today. But beyond that I don't really know what to do except eat less and hope I'm not too hungry! Does 2000 sound about right for this situation, or should I be trying to go lower to start out?

02-01-2008, 08:47 PM
When I hear people say they only eat 1200 calories a day... I don't know, something inside me just cringes. That seems SO low. I guess maybe it's just low for ME.... Not that 1200 is starving or anything, but I know that if I were to eat 1200 calories a day, I would be absolutely ravenous all the time--I'm sure I would lose another 10 lbs probably at that level. But I just can't bring myself to be that low. So at 132 lbs I shall stay! (for now)

02-01-2008, 09:02 PM
Hey emmyroo! :wave:

The only way to see is to try it for a couple of weeks and see if you are starting to lose. So, try it!

I think Lean Cuisines are fine myself--they are a mainstay of my weight loss, and although this is not for everyone, it has worked for me.


02-01-2008, 09:30 PM
emmyroo...dang that's a tough one. Is there any way whoever is cooking might be persuaded to add at least something healthy at every meal? You can't be the only person at that school who would make healthier choices if given the chance.

One cheap way to enhance the meals you describe might be filling up on steamed veggies and then you can portion control the rest of the meal...

02-01-2008, 09:31 PM
Oh yeah, I have nothing against Lean Cuisines either if the other option is mac and cheese or anything involving gravy. :p

02-02-2008, 12:08 PM
I didn't count cals when I started, but counted up later what I used to eat in a normal day and figured it to be around 2,000/day. That was at over 200 pounds with daily exercise. And I was eating healthier foods. And I still lost around 5 pounds a week at first. As the rate of loss dropped, I started monitoring calories. I started out at 1,500, probably around 180 pounds or so, then later dropped to 1,300 as I got closer to my goal.

02-02-2008, 07:55 PM
I started out aiming for 2000-2100 with extras for high workout days**. I averaged 2250-2300 when I went from 176- about 132. Running a lot and nursing. I quit tracking but was roughly taking in about 2500/day when I went from 132-127.

I am trying to get back on track now and I am giving myself a baseline of 1800-2000/day + extra for high days.

I personally will never go below about 1800, 1600 is a bottom for maybe a day, and never intentionally. I just dont function well like that.

**Note - most people here do not believe in "eating back" your calories burned from exercise, I personally find that creating too large a deficit in one day makes me weak and leads to poor workouts in subsequent days, illness, crabbiness and binges. And I am RAVENOUS. So I "eat back" over a certain level. When I started I would add 100 calories for anything over 4 miles running, now I add 75-100 for over 5 miles up to about 12 miles. Above 12 miles I plan to try to add some to the day before and the day after instead of porking out on one day. I ran in to some problems last fall with 20 mile days.

02-02-2008, 08:06 PM
I had lost weight before at 1500 calories so that was my starting point this time. Initially I was closer to 1200-1300 but not really by plan. I had quit my job and was at home 100% of the time with no eating out. I had such control over my food choices that it was easy to stay that low. I made the specific effort to increase up to 1400 calories as my exercise intensity increased.

Right now I am trying to work up to 1500 calories. I know that sounds strange to increase my calories as I lose weight but last time I lost 94lbs and had to the same. Again, as my exercise intensity increases I need more fuel to keep up my energy.


02-03-2008, 02:01 AM
Does anyone have any advice for what to do when you can only control portions, not your diet? I've gotten some Lean Cuisine frozen dinners (because I love them and they're pretty healthy) to substitute out when the food is really awful, like the grilled-cheese sandwiches we were served for lunch today.

I don't think there's anything wrong with lean cuisine, but if you have a place at work to 1) refrigerate a lean cuisine until lunch 2) heat up a lean cuisine at lunch time, you can easily bring your choice of lunch EVERYDAY so you can always have something delicious that fits into your new healthy life style.

I go through phases, right now, I buy a big container of spinach leaves on Sunday and I make 5 salads for the week. They are delicious - spinach, grape tomatoes, pepper strips, beets, wild rice, red onion, shredded carrots. I bring a little chicken and some fat free balsalmic vinaigrette dressing (I get the chicken and the dressing from Trader Joe's). It takes about 30 minutes on Sunday to get all my lunches/snacks ready for the week - so quick and easy in the morning to just grab my lunch and go.

It's habit for me now, I've been packing my healthy lunches for over 3 years! A healthy, sustainable lifestyle change for long term weight loss :)

02-03-2008, 10:40 AM
Right now I am at b/w 1,500-1,600 and I've lost 7 pounds in a little over a week (although 5# were water weight from TOM). My goal is to loose 5# a month until June which means I want to hit 184 by 2/22 (I said 10# for the first month b/c I always loose 5# of water weight when I start).

I am loosing faster than I want to, and will most likely hit 184 before 2/22. When I do hit that weight I am going to increase my calories to 2,000 so that I can maintain until 2/22 and then probably go to 1,800 and see how I do.I ideally want to loose a little over a pound per week.

I'm usually the person that will go on an extreme diet, loose 15# quickly then gain it back. I am determined to exercise self control and not let myself loose faster than 5# a month. I am sure that after maintaining at 2,000 calories for a week or two (which probably wont even feel like a diet), I will be energized to start month 2.

02-03-2008, 10:49 AM
I just started and keeping my calories 2100 or less.

02-03-2008, 03:15 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with lean cuisine, but if you have a place at work to 1) refrigerate a lean cuisine until lunch 2) heat up a lean cuisine at lunch time, you can easily bring your choice of lunch EVERYDAY so you can always have something delicious that fits into your new healthy life style.

My apartment is "at work." I teach at a boarding school, and I get paid next to nothing but I get free room and board, since I have residential duties along with teaching. So I can't afford to cook for myself too often, since food is included in my salary! It's a lot cheaper to cook for yourself if you do it all the time instead of once or twice a week, because food spoils, but I can't afford to do it all the time. So instead I've got some LCs in my freezer for bad days. Even on the good days, though, the food here is NOT healthy, and I don't have the self control to eat salad every day!

02-03-2008, 04:40 PM
I vary my calories - I have betwen 1100 CALS A DAY AND 1500...this is so my body doesn't get complacent lol.

Boo x