Weight Loss Support - Can anyone explain high calorie needs for higher weight??

08-05-2008, 11:00 AM
I am confused about the higher calorie requirements the heavier you are. It doesn't make sense when you think about it.

If you get weight loss surgery, you cant consume so many calories and you still lose the weight.

But i keep hearing that if you don't eat enough you wont lose the weight.

I seem to get stuck in that, where i get through the day without the required calories and seem to get into a rutt but i just don't get it.

Can anyone explain this?

If you join one of those delivered food diets, they sure don't send everyone different amounts of food.

So is there really any truth to this???

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, there is so many around here, sometimes it is difficult to know where the heck to post something! :?:

08-05-2008, 11:03 AM
A heavier person requires more calories just to keep their body running. It's why, as you lose weight, you're supposed to limit your calories. It also has to do with the fact that if you are going to exercise, you need more energy -- so an active person needs more calories as well.

But think of it this way: let's say that you are 100 pounds overweight. That means you are literally carrying 100 pounds more than someone not overweight, so you are having to work much, much harder to do any activity than someone lighter than you. So you need more fuel to keep yourself going.

One thing I recommend is www.thedailyplate.com, because you can track your calories, but it will automatically tell you how many calories you should be consuming to lose a certain amount of weight per week.

The two things I also recommend is to never eat back your calories, as it suggests, and always set it to "light work" so that you can also add in your exercise.


For example, according to Daily Plate, if you wanted to lose 2 pounds per week, you (with the height and weight you have listed here) would have to eat 3,027 calories per day. I would need to eat 1,533 per day.

The good thing about that is that it allows you to lose weight much faster, because let's say you ate 1500 calories per day, then you could lose (obviously this is pure math and not factoring in water retention or TOM, but...) about 5 pounds per week.

08-05-2008, 11:09 AM
Thanks so much for your reply, That makes sense but i still don't get why people that have the wls get by with fewer calories.

One of my problems has always been getting enough calories in. With changing how i eat when dieting, it is less calories so i end up having to eat MORE when dieting and it seems like im stuffin the heck out of myself and sometimes i just cant do it.. Does that make sense?

Like for instance - NO french fries, so im saving calories there.. I guess i will never understand completely!

08-05-2008, 11:14 AM
The Daily Plate is closed to new registrations, but you can create a free LIVESTRONG.COM account now,which will give you full access to The Daily Plate on LIVESTRONG and the rest of the LIVESTRONG.COM site.

08-05-2008, 11:15 AM
Thanks so much for your reply, That makes sense but i still don't get why people that have the wls get by with fewer calories.

In that case, they physically cannot eat very many anymore because their stomachs are so tiny. Also they're basically on a starvation diet. You *will* lose more if you limit your calories, but I guess what I meant was that if you are much bigger than the average person, you would lose faster by limiting your calories than they could.

One of my problems has always been getting enough calories in. With changing how i eat when dieting, it is less calories so i end up having to eat MORE when dieting and it seems like im stuffin the heck out of myself and sometimes i just cant do it.. Does that make sense?

It does -- and I think it's because we're so used to (at least from my perspective) being told that we need to starve ourselves to lose weight, but when you're on a diet you often are forced to eat big, balanced meals.

08-05-2008, 11:16 AM
But as far as WLS goes, I've heard that often they lose weight too quickly and have a lot of excess skin and sometimes even break their staples or their bands and gain the weight back.

08-05-2008, 11:52 AM
But i keep hearing that if you don't eat enough you wont lose the weight.

If you join one of those delivered food diets, they sure don't send everyone different amounts of food.:

You will lose weight eating low calories, at first. Some people are lucky enough that they can continue the low calories for a long time. I know some people who have lost almost all their weight doing low calories.

I am not one of those people. I started at 407 and did a combination of eating plans (most low cal) until I hit about 300 pounds. I did this in 10 months. My body got used to the lower calories and I reached a point where I could barely lose weight (3 - 5 pounds a month). I added lots of exercise (I was already in a job that was fairly active) and continued to drop my calories. None of that worked. My hair thinned, I would get home at the end of the day and not even have enough energy to go for a short swim. I also ignored random, but persistent pain (symptom of something that became more serious). I was eating (at the highest) 1500 calories, but closer to 1200/1300 each day. I did an hour of really heart pumping cardio 5 days a week, worked on my feet all day walking around. The last three months of my dieting I lost 10 pounds total. I ended up in the hospital (those pains I ignored) which derailed the process completely.

Maintaining would have been nice, but over the next few years I gained 70 pounds of it back. This time I'm doing less cardio, some strength training, and just trying to be more active in daily living. I don't sit at the computer for more than 15 mins without getting up and walking around (preferably up the stairs and back). I'm eating 2150 cals on days I don't exercise and 2400 on days that I do. You know something - I'm losing 2lbs a week pretty consistently. I even took a diet break last month for a week where I ate a planned 3000+ cals a day - and I lost more last month than the past two or three months. I don't want to reach my goal weight only to find that I need to eat 1000 cals a day for the rest of my life. My 80 yr-old mother eats closer to 1800-2000 cals a day, does no regular exercise, oh and eats candy that I haven't included in that calorie count. Some people would say she has a great metabolism, but if you watch her she's rarely at rest. She putters around a lot (a concept called NEAT - http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/levine_lab/about.cfm). I think this is sometimes a problem with dieters. You put so much energy into a 60 min scheduled workout that you don't do anything else all day. The small constant movements may burn just as much.

Maybe I'm not going to see 3 and 4 pound a week losses like I have in the past. However, I'm eating in a way I can continue to eat for the rest of my life. I've found an exercise (lifting weights) that I really enjoy and look forward to doing. I haven't seen a week where I haven't lost weight since I started the weight lifting. I'm not sure that they are truly tied together, however, I started eating more at the time which may have helped as well. I'm also very consistent with water intake as well. I found at the beginning (this time) of my weight loss that inconsistent water intake really would throw my numbers out of whack.

The cardio is a necessary evil, however, I only do 4x30min sessions a week (on two days, so an hour twice a week). I track what I eat very consistently though. I don't go to bed without working out what I'm going to have the next day. I'm to the point now where I can usually make substitutions on the fly when the mood hits (or I forget to take something out of the freezer the night before). However, when I do that I go back to the tracking software and adjust it right away. I eat 6 or even 7 times a day and although I have 'slight hunger' moments it's never binge type hunger.

As to the delivery services not adjusting for different people's weights. My opinion on this is that they really don't know how to. The better ones will add more snacks, etc. but even that's not a really good solution.

08-05-2008, 12:05 PM
Thanks so much for your post. Can you tell me how much water you get down each day and any tips on how to if your just not thirsty?? I guess i have many things that get in my way. Water is a BIG one. :(

08-05-2008, 12:07 PM
Anne, thank you for sharing your experience! :bravo:


08-05-2008, 12:10 PM
Listen to Anne. She is very wise!

08-05-2008, 12:15 PM
i still don't get why people that have the wls get by with fewer calories.The people who have WLS get by with fewer calories but they have to be VERY careful to eat nothing but nutrition rich meals. Many people who have WLS wind up eating a lot of nutrition-enriched foods or taking supplements to make sure that they get adequate amounts of nutrition.

And many of them fail to maintain weight loss over the long term. Unfortunate but true.


Shannon in ATL
08-05-2008, 02:15 PM
My boss had gastric bypass a few years ago and she seemed to be eating all the time - if she didn't have a protein rich snack every couple of hours she got sick. She did lose a lot of weight in the first year, and did have a lot of excess skin in the process, but has gained a good bit of it back because she didn't maintain the healthy eating patterns she had to adopt immediately after the surgery.

I'm currently eating around 1200 calories per day, exercise six-seven days a week for 45-60 minutes, I'm hoping to be able to move back up to around 1700 calories once I get to my goal and am maintaining. the daily plate tells me I need 1475 at my current weight and a setting of lightly active to lose one pound per week, but I very seldom eat even that many.

As people have already said, you need more calories if you weigh more just to maintain body functions - if you cut too far you will slow your metabolism down, make your body adapt to the new number and only burn what you consume. Like Anne says, you will find yourself tired, and will likely only maintain or even gain weight. My DH compares it to people who lived through famine and such - the body goes into survival mode and starts storing what it can for future use.

Anne - thanks for sharing! I like what you said about finding a calorie level you can maintain for life! Good job!

08-05-2008, 02:45 PM
Sounds like the whole reason that i am where i am right now.. My whole life i have skipped meals and watched calorie intake, eating diet foods to lower caloric intake.. always worrying about everything i ate.. and spent my whole life tired and draggin by.. even in high school i had to force myself to get up and get there each day.. i was soooo tired :( I always wondered why i had no energy.. I thought it was cuz i was over weight and i wasnt that overweight back then! Not like i am today.

I got used to NOT drinking much cuz when your in school you cant drink just anytime you want, you get a sip at the fountain in between classes.. how the heck do they expect kids to start healthy habits like that anyway? But yet it doesn't seem to effect everyone in the same ways so hmmm..

I sure have ALOT of bad habits to break.. Not drinking enough of anything.. Not eating enough calories.. No energy cuz of those things to get enough exercise.. UGGGH

So why do we watch calories when its difficult to get enough in each day!? So much i don't understand. I guess i will learn if i keep askin these questions!

Another thing i have a really difficult time with is.. some of these sites that have the menus and meal planners.. I just don't have the food in my house to follow them! I ALWAYS end up substituting meals and its not usually with one of their substitutes cuz i don't have anything on their lists.. I'm a very picky eater, always have been.. I do try to buy healthy foods, nothing prepared or packaged... But yet it is still difficult cuz their meals are so weird to me!

Any suggestions there? Do i have to start eating things i don't care for?

Like right now.. On my stove, cooking for dinner tonight

Lean steak, with onions, green peppers, carrots and i will add zucchini 15 minutes before its done

That's dinner. Is that bad? I might add a green salad to it.. depending on how i feel when the time gets here..

I still didn't eat lunch.. cuz i had breakfast late cuz my sleep was screwed up last night so i slept late cuz of that lol what a vicious cycle my life is!

So i managed to get down 30 ounces of water so far today... that's great for me! Seems like if i drink the water tho i don't get hungry which is good but then its not cuz how do i get the calories in for the day if i keep drinking?

I am all screwed up! :(

08-05-2008, 03:27 PM
It sounds like you really need a basic education in nutrition. :) Don't freak about it - a lot of people do. It'd kinda sad how little people are taught about real basic nutrition in our society.

A couple of basic things:

Skipping meals doesn't work. What winds up happening is that you skip a meal and then you're starving by the time the next meal rolls around and you wind up over eating. A lot of people (myself included) wind up breaking their food into 5 or 6 smaller meals a day ... or 3 meals and 2 or 3 smaller snacks. I find that it's easier for me to eat if I eat smaller meals more often. Some people don't like to snack or don't want the hassle, so they stick with 3 meals.

The problem for most of us is NOT getting too few calories, but getting too many. I guarantee that it's not difficult to get enough calories in each day - the problem is that you're probably eating more calories than you realize because of things like garnishes, seasonings, oils, butters, and portion sizes. We wouldn't be overweight if we weren't eating too many calories over too long a period of time. :)

Portion size is a HUGE big deal. I measure and/or weigh every bite that goes into my mouth. Americans especially have a hugely skewed idea of what a "portion" is. Take your steak and veggies for example. How much of that steak will you eat for dinner? A reasonable portion size is 3.5 - 4 oz. That's a piece of steak about the size of the palm of your hand and about 1/2 inch thick. Or a piece the size of a deck of cards. Would you eat only that much, or will you (since you skipped lunch) eat double or even triple that? (I know I would have in the past - a "serving" of steak for me would be closer to a 1/2 or 3/4 of a pound w/out even trying.)

Also think about methods of cooking. You say that you have steak and veggies on the stove. How have you cooked them? Butter? Oil? Broth? Fried? Sauteed? All of those things add calories. It's great to have a piece of lean steak, but the minute you fry it up in a glob of oil, you've added 200+ calories to it.

Diet foods are another problem. Any diet food is only substituting one "bad" item for another. Low fat items are boosted with sugar. Low cal products are boosted with fat. Etc. Ever looked at a bag of candy and seen the label "NO FAT" on the front? Of course it's no fat. But that doesn't mean that each piece doesn't have 300 calories in it. The "diet food" industry is simply a way to fake yourself out.

The healthiest way to eat is to eat REAL food. Lean meats, fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains. Eat healthy oils and fats (olive oil, nut oils, avocados, etc.) in small quantities.


08-05-2008, 05:03 PM
It's all about knowing what works for you, really... And, yes, knowing EXACTLY what each piece of food is "worth" calorie wise is a big thing...

I plan out my eating for the whole day one day ahead of time... So there's no room for mistakes or "oops" moments.

As photochick mentioned, we are a society programmed with these bizarre ideas of what portions are. However, just because a "portion" of steak is 4 oz doesn't mean you can ONLY eat that! Steak is a rare treat in our house, and I would MUCH rather have an 11oz lean steak with a size of fresh veggies... compare that to a 4 oz steak with a baked potato with a small amount of butter and sour cream, a dinner roll, etc etc... Both might equal out to the same amount, but my big grilled steak makes me WAY more happy than a roll and potato...

I love my big dinners... so I eat small meals throughout the day... Because that's what works for ME.

08-05-2008, 06:20 PM
Thanks ladies. It will be more impressive when I'm done, but it seems easier this time. Now, I like to cook/experiment, so along the way I'm creating new dishes for myself that I can continue to eat.

To answer the question about water - about 160oz a day, maybe even a little more. Partly this is because I have a tendency towards kidney stones and was told a long time ago that if I drink enough water to (TMI here) keep my urine fairly light in colour that I shouldn't have problems with them. Funny thing is that if (for whatever reason) I'm low on the water I can tell pretty fast. Try drinking when you first get up in the morning (as you should naturally be a little dehydrated from sleeping).

Because of the lifting I'm doing I do try and keep my protein levels up. I won't use today as an example as I've been baking (some of it high protein), but it's not a usual day. I can use yesterday as an example.

Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in 1 tsp butter, pecan raisin bread, jam, 3 clementines (357)
Morning snack: 2 fruit & nut squares (169)
Lunch: 2 whole wheat tortillas, 4 oz smoked turkey, 2 tsp mustard, 1 oz cheese blend <--- made into two wraps, peach, 2 plums (483)
Afternoon snack: 1 oz hummus, 4 oz carrots, protein shake (254)
Dinner: 7 oz boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1/2 cup salsa, 1/2 can corn, 1 cup broccoli, 3/4 oz cheese blend <--- crockpot dish, 5 oz calico coleslaw (624)
Evening snack: protein shake with frozen peaches (278) <--- with a couple of ice cubes, like a chocolate/peach milkshake

I added in the portion sizes to show like BrandNewJen said, a portion is not always 4oz of meat. Although as PhotoChick said, the meal sounds good, but using a lot of oil (or salad dressing) can make a good meal suddenly a lot higher than you expected. Skipping meals is (for me) just not an option. You'll see that I space things out (that way I don't eat mindlessly). I don't follow any meal plans. I count calories (also paying attention to protein levels by choice), eating what I want. That's the big plus of calorie counting - flexibility.

Having said that, once you start counting calories you will find that suddenly things aren't necessarily worth the calories. I just sat down to a very filling snack of hummus and baby carrots. They were 119 calories for 5 oz of food. An ounce of potato chips... 153 cals. For me, not worth it. :)

08-05-2008, 06:25 PM
One of my problems has always been getting enough calories in. With changing how i eat when dieting, it is less calories so i end up having to eat MORE when dieting and it seems like im stuffin the heck out of myself and sometimes i just cant do it.. Does that make sense?

It depends on what kind of food you're eating. If you really are having a tough time getting the calories in.

2 Tb peanut butter = 200 cals
1 oz almonds = 164 cals
1 oz full-fat cheese = ~120 cals
2 hard-boiled eggs = 149 cals

They are all excellent sources of nutrition, although watch the portion sizes as you can easily overeat some of them. You don't need to be eating 2000 calories of lettuce you know. :D

08-05-2008, 07:22 PM
Big Booty,
I would like to add to Anne's last post that need to start reading the labels on everything. For example, peanut butter can vary wildly in the amount of calories. I remember a while ago I was looking at some PB at a healh food store and I was horrified by the number of calories (I don't remember the brands or amounts, as this was sometime in the spring). For example, my PB says 1 TB equals 80 calories.

08-05-2008, 07:45 PM
Great posts girls, thank you!! I will pay closer attention to every little thing now.. But i dont use oil or anything when i cook.. I used to use that spray but then i got some good cookware where nothing sticks.. i just let meats make their own juices, same with veggies..

I managed to get down 60 ounces of water today! Maybe tomorrow i will do better!