Weight Loss Support - It just doesn't work that way...too few cals




ncuneo
05-19-2010, 10:00 AM
I'm really frustrated because I keep seeing these threads pop up of people eating less than 1000 cals a day and are frustrated that they are losing very little to no weight. Is there a sticky we can develope to discourage this? I'm not even a fan of 1200 and really think that the red line should be 1400, but I completely understand that we are all different we all lose differently and 1200 is great for many people. But under 1000 cals...I'm sorry, I know it seems logical that if you go really low cal you'll lose faster, but it just doesn't work that way. I'm running late for work and I don't really have time to go into all the specifics, but someone help me out here...how do we spread the word? Can we get some links together to support this. It breaks my heart that people are tourturing them selves this way to lose weight...I would think that this low of a calorie range would really impead someone's success chances because it is just completely unsustainable. And of course I know that people have done it and been successful, but let's be honest it's just not healthy. Please help me spread this information in a more thoughful educated manor. Thanks!


serendipity907
05-19-2010, 10:55 AM
I think the majority know eating under 1000 cals is unhealthy, but they have a different drive behind their weight loss I guess.

I have gone through so many phases of 'dieting' and still do, where I eat about 750. I would never encourage it to anyone, but it's one of the issues I have to work through, in the same way people struggle with overeating, binge eating etc.

People don't necessarily eat low calorie because they believe they'll lose weight faster, I think for me it is the primarily a control thing.

If someone wants to eat 1000 calories it's up to them, and if they want to eat 3000, it's their choice too. Neither may be very healthy for their frame/lifestyle, but it's their decision.

mkendrick
05-19-2010, 11:01 AM
It also drives me nuts when I see people going under 1200. It's a pet peeve of mine, actually, lol. I don't see it too much around here, but I use caloriecount.com to track calories, and I venture to the forums sometimes. It's very common there for young girls (and some not young, but there are a LOT of teenagers) that start threads about eating like 500cal/day. "Will I lose weight if I eat 500 cal everyday?" and "How can I stay under 1000 calories?" and "I'm eating 750 cal/day and I'm not losing, what's wrong?"

I just want to shake them and tell them they're being stupid. Tell them they're doing more harm than good, and will end up either malnourished with a host of health and emotional problems OR gaining the weight back and then some. It is not "trendy" or "cool" to starve yourself, it won't make you popular. However, I realize that it takes a more sensitive approach. These people have deep-rooted emotional issues if they're willing to starve themselves to lose weight; they're desperate for help. Either that, or they're just ignorant and don't know that it's unhealthy and counterproductive.


Eliana
05-19-2010, 11:03 AM
I disagree with just one tiny thing...it is potentially sustainable to eat 1200 calories. Dipping below that I don't know how one can get their nutrients in. But it is possible to live happily on 1200 and not be hungry.

Now for SOME, no, it's not sustainable. I know a woman who exercises so she can eat more because it's unsustainable for her. For me...I'm not hungry on 1200 calories.

The key, which is your point, is nutritionally sound calories at a SUSTAINABLE amount that works....whatever that may be.

CorinneIrene
05-19-2010, 11:10 AM
I was doing 1100 calories- but after recalculating how many calories I'd need at my weight if I were "active" I've decided to go up slightly to 1200 calories. This works perfectly fine for me- I'm totally satisfied at then end of the day and find ways to get my nutrients in. But this won't work for most. I admit, I've had under 1000 days...just because I get too busy and "forget" to eat- and by the time I realize it it's too late to eat (I don't eat for 3 hours before bedtime).

My co-worker, sometimes I want to throttle her. She'd been having 1 meal a day at 400 calories. YIKES! I explained to her that it wasn't going to help her...and I think she's started up-ing her calories, thankfully!

In the end, you've got to do what you're body can do. One good starting point is to have 4 400 calorie meals a day, making your intake 1600 cals. I have had bouts of anorexia in the past- but now I can't imagine ever going there again!

Eliana
05-19-2010, 11:16 AM
My co-worker, sometimes I want to throttle her. She'd been having 1 meal a day at 400 calories. YIKES! I explained to her that it wasn't going to help her...and I think she's started up-ing her calories, thankfully!


My girlfriend is on a 800 calorie medically supervised diet. :rolleyes: I think that's ridiculous and unhealthy. But I'm supporting her. She's only allowed to be on it 12 weeks and I think she's doing 6.

ThicknPretty
05-19-2010, 11:25 AM
I've had a few days under 1000, but they were unintentional. It's weird, sometimes I feel like I'm eating more than I actually am. I'm an eyeball calorie counter and I tend to overestimate apparently. I'll get home and calculate a little more officially and sometimes I realize that I didn't eat enough.

If it's intentional, it's dangerous for sure.

kaplods
05-19-2010, 11:35 AM
So long as doctors support medically supervised vlcd's, I think it's probably inappropriate to lecture folks too intensely on vlcd's.

Personally, I think they tend to set up a person for failure (they did me). The body's brain and body physiology fight starvation. When a person on such a vlcd does eat, they're more prone to binge eating (and not just for psychological reasons). Then the person feels guilt and shame for losing control.

All that being said, no amount of admonishment helps people "see the light" when it comes to this and other dangerous dieting practices. In fact, I think overlecturing actually makes the situation worse. There's a dark side to human nature when it comes to warnings. I've seen it over and over with weight loss, warnings about diets that are dangerous, can actually attract people to them (oooh, if it's that risky, it must work killer fast).

Anyone who's here very long, will notice that almost no one is on a diet under 1200 calories. They also will see people discuss this topic as it's being done in this thread (it crops up often enough as a topic, that I don't think a sticky is probably necessary, but the mods will decide that).

I think the fact that it isn't often discussed, and is so often actively discouraged (almost anyone who eats less than 1800 calories will receive advice at some point that they're eating too little), is about all that anyone can or should do.

There are thousands of ways to lose weight, and I think we've got to be very careful about "spreading the news" about methods we think are unhealthy. It's taken me almost 40 years of dieting to find a weight loss method that works for me (low-carb), and one of the reasons it took me so long to try it, is because "everyone knows" how unhealthy low-carb diets are.

It makes ME want to shout from the rooftops that low-carb is THE way to lose way - but I could be wrong. Maybe it only works for some people. Maybe it's healthy for some people, and unhealthy for others. It would be just as irresponsible for me to shout out "it's healthy," than for all the others who've shouted out "it's not."

kuchick
05-19-2010, 11:45 AM
I've been trying to plan how I'm going to maintain a healthy weight when I make it to goal, and at 5'2" and 135 pounds, my BMR is going to be around 1300 calories. Right now, I'm losing on 1500 calories a day, but when I get closer to goal, I'm going to have to drop my calories to around 1200. Short women need fewer calories normally, so it makes some sense that our calories to lose weight will be lower than the average height women. I've found though that if I eat only healthy food, then I don't need as much and I don't get hungry. I don't believe that there is an across-the-board amount of calories that everyone should eat in order to lose weight. I've had some people tell me that everyone should eat 1500 cals to lose, but at goal, I could GAIN eating that many calories.

I do agree that going under 1000 calories is potentially harmful, but going under 1000 calories on the rare day that you just don't feel like eating isn't going to do permanent damage either. I believe that if you're not hungry, don't eat, but when you are hungry, eat healthy.

PeanutsMom704
05-19-2010, 12:02 PM
I think this is the basically the same issue as the "It's My Metabolism" thread. http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/weight-loss-support/202257-its-my-metabolism.html

There is no specific number of calories that works for everyone, maximum or minimum. Personally, I cringe every time the advice is given to raise calories, which happens all the time. I would not lose weight, and would likely gain, if I were consistently eating in the 1600-2000 calories range that works for many people.

Basically, I think we all need to just give support to others as they figure out the right plan for themselves, but not judge and compare against our own plan because no one plan works for everyone.

TornadoSiren
05-19-2010, 12:14 PM
Kuchik, you would not gain weight eating 1500 calories at your goal weight. If your BRM would be 1300 calories, that is the amount of calories needed to maintain your weight if you did nothing but lie in bed all day long. I am going to assume this is not how you live your life. If you lead a normal moderately active lifestyle (regular exercise 3 to 5 days a week) you would multiply your bmr x 1.5..and bingo..you are now at needing approx 1900 calories per day. DONT confuse yourself with BMR numbers. BMR is a baseline for doing absolutely NOTHING. Each movement you take outside of bed adds to this number.

rockinrobin
05-19-2010, 12:23 PM
I'm not even a fan of 1200 and really think that the red line should be 1400,

Oh no, no, no... 1200 calories of HIGHLY nutritious food is MORE THAN ENOUGH to sustain many, many, many people - if not all. And yes, I've dipped below 1200 calories from time to time with no ill affects what so ever. NONE. These numbers are just * basic* averages. So that means that some people will do fine eating higher than that and some will do fine eating lower. It's up to US to figure that out. We can not rely on some *calculator* where you punch in some numbers, not from a genie, someone who's *been there, done that* dietitian, nutritionist or even a doctor. These are all guesstimates. It's up to us and individuals to figure it out through trial and error.

I too cringe when I hear to up your calories and I also cringe when I hear, that a *safe* rate of loss is 1 -2 lbs a week - so not true- for the super morbidly obese (& less than that too), it most certainly IS safe to lose at a higher rate, provided of course you're adhering to a healthy, nutritious diet.

You know, you do hear of the folks who are eating very little calories, but I'm fairly certain that the overwhelming majority find out pretty quickly that that is not sustainable and NOT the way to go. Sometimes you just need to figure it out on your own, though I DO understand the need to *let people know*, to so badly want to help them.

There are never any *definites* and it would not be our place to *lay down the law*.

sacha
05-19-2010, 12:36 PM
Sometimes, we also forget that most people still do not calculate their calories properly (out of the population that actually tries!). While someone may claim to be eating only 1200 calories, I think often the reality is that they aren`t eating 1200 calories. Calories in, calories out, is a fairly simple process that is difficult to accurately measure in practice (generally, a weigh scale is required to make this truly accurate, as product labels and cooking methods can really vary). People in severe calorie restriction (medical supervised diets, eating disorders, prisoners) will lose weight at an alarming rate when eating too few calories. There is a lot of research about the validity of `starvation mode`- a great deal of medical journals and other literature have shown that it is not nearly as prevalent as people claim. I find it very difficult to believe that those who have a history of eating too much food can`t seem to lose weight on low calorie diets (that they calculate themselves) when medical science has shown that those who are forced into severe calorie restriction do not suffer from this so-called `starvation theory`.

The truth - a lot of people have bad math. And some people really can eat 1200 calories. I personally aim for 2500+ due to my exercise level and age, but there are some who really can eat 1200.

kaplods
05-19-2010, 12:36 PM
BMR and maintenance calorie calculators aren't terribly accurate in my experience. I've used them for 35 years plus to try and estimate my loss rate. Heck, I used them before home computers were common, and you had to do them with pencil and paper.

They were fairly accurate (my results matched) when I started, but got less and less accurate with each new diet. It's one of the reasons I suspect that dieting can lower your metabolism. Even accounting for my activity level and age (I'm now in the sedentary category from my health problems) my numbers don't add up.

The calories BMR calculators spit out for me, are far too high. I gain weight at that calorie level - proving of course that my actual BMR must be much lower than the calculator estimates.

The only way to determine how many calories you can eat to lose or maintain weight, is to try it and see. I lose more weight, more comfortably (less hungry) on 1800 - 2000 calories of low-carb than on the same calories of higher carb). As a result, I'd also recommend people experiment with the proportion of fat/protein/carbohydrates as well as the calorie level.

The calculators can tell you what the average BMR is, but it can't tell you what your BMR is. It's not a bad tool to give you a starting point, but experimentation is really the only way you can find the right level for yourself.

StuffedBunny
05-19-2010, 12:41 PM
I think alot of people who don't calorie count, don't really know how many calories they normally eat in a day. I remember when I did my first diet in High School, I was eating 1500 calories a day and it seemed like so much! I ended up only eating like 800 a day. But when I added up how many calories I had eaten before dieting it was 2000+...but I didn't know.

Now I'm at 1200 calories a day and it's plenty! I make sure I get enough proteins and vitamins and all that, I am never hungry and I eat plenty.

kuchick
05-19-2010, 01:20 PM
Just to clarify - I understand that I probably wouldn't gain on 1500 calories at goal weight, but I could potentially if I was sedentary for any reason for any space of time. I guess all I mean is that everyone is different and some do need to drop their calories more to produce a loss, but it doesn't mean that it's unhealthy or wrong. I make very healthy meals which DH also eats - I just eat less of each dish than he does. He's 6' tall and weighs 199. He eats many more calories than I do, and he's still losing :) Where I need to be more careful especially is with eating out. I've never finished a restaurant meal - even at my highest weight, but I would still gain because I need fewer calories than the average height person - so every restaurant meal, I try to pack up 2/3 to take home when I'm in weight loss mode. Luckily, I haven't been eating out much lately.

goodforme
05-19-2010, 01:23 PM
I know it's all individual. I know that some people can feel incredibly satisfied on small amounts of calories.

I just don't believe some teenage girl who is 10 pounds overweight, can feel satisfied on 800 or less calories a day, expecting to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. And I don't think anything healthy can come of this type of diet.

I also don't think any amount of reading, research, true stories, or even horror stories will make that girl up her calories before she "diets" long enough to see that the results aren't worth it.

Like others have said, the information is out there, and you can lead a horse to water, but you can't MAKE them drink.:?:

Beach Patrol
05-19-2010, 01:58 PM
The only way to determine how many calories you can eat to lose or maintain weight, is to try it and see. I lose more weight, more comfortably (less hungry) on 1800 - 2000 calories of low-carb than on the same calories of higher carb). As a result, I'd also recommend people experiment with the proportion of fat/protein/carbohydrates as well as the calorie level.

...experimentation is really the only way you can find the right level for yourself.

JUST AN OBSERVATION...
(I agree! for me anyway!)

but, as I bolded part of your response - does that not suggest that "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" is incorrect information? Because I've conversed about that very thing before, and everyone seemed dead-set that calorie counting is THE way to go, and that your total calories are what matters most. And yet, like you, I can eat 1800 calories of low-carb and LOSE weight, while 1800 calories of high carb makes me GAIN weight.

And really - we're all very different, different goals, height, activity levels, etc - so it stands to reason that what works for one may not work for someone else.

Like I said, just an observation. :)

Fat Pants
05-19-2010, 01:59 PM
I'm sure, barring any sort of eating disorder, that people will figure out on their own that eating vlcd's is not sustainable for the long run. But that's for them to figure out.

Personally I have lost on 1200 calories average. I don't feel hungry. I am completely satisfied. The only time I had to slightly increase was toward the end of my half marathon training to sustain my long runs, but when you are burning 1200 calories during exercise, you have a little more calorie room. I also had already reached my goal weight so it was not concerning to me. I never plateaued during my weight loss journey. Sure weight loss slowed down once I had less to lose, but I still averaged .5-1 lb lost per week, and like kuchick or rockinrobin, certainly had days that were under 1000 cals. Why force myself to eat more if 1) I don't want to and 2) just because it's taboo to go under?

PeanutsMom704
05-19-2010, 02:23 PM
does that not suggest that "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" is incorrect information? Because I've conversed about that very thing before, and everyone seemed dead-set that calorie counting is THE way to go, and that your total calories are what matters most.

I honestly haven't seen too many people promoting this idea. You don't need to be following a low carb diet to think that the source of the calories is important. Most people who are successful with calorie counting are pretty particular about the source of those calories and I think the majority seem to focus on a minimum amount of processed foods, esp. refined carbs in order to get the best caloric bang for the buck in terms of both nutrition and satisfaction.

Again, it's all very personal and some people do great with low carb, others do great including whole grains in their plan. The only plan that has any chance of working is the one each person can stuck with for the long term.

PinkHoodie
05-19-2010, 02:24 PM
Some of has to do with how active you are though. I also eat around 1200 calories a day regularly. Somedays I am higher, but its about that consistently. But besides one workout, and some cleaning sometimes, I am very inactive...so I would think I need less calories then someone who does a lot of exercise...
I'm the same as some posters above. I am doing South Beach which isn't necessarily low carb, but focuses on healthy carbs. I'm losing slowly and consistently, but I don't eat potatos, rice, or anything like that. I have PCOS AND Hypothyroidism, so I have a lot working against me. When I even bump it up to over 1500 cals, I don't lose that week....its all just subjective. I'm not saying people should eat under 1000 consistently, but I do think that 1200 just works for some and is sustainable.

catherinef
05-19-2010, 02:44 PM
I do sometimes drop below 1200, down as low as 800-900. Currently, I'm getting very near the end of the weight loss project, and planning my transition into maintenance. I'm very tall, I'm very active, I am pretty sure I could still be losing at a much higher calorie intake than I currently eat, which is about 1200-1300 average. However. That occasional 800-900 calorie day is being done for a very specific reason: I am no longer allowing myself to eat when I am not hungry, just because I can. If I get near the end of the day, and I've still got a few hundred calories' worth of eating in my plan, but I am not hungry? I don't eat them. I can either catch them up later in the week, on a day when I am hungrier, or, well, bonus, maybe I'll lose these last pounds just a little bit more quickly. I believe it is very, very important to my long-term success to break the habit of eating when I am simply not hungry enough to warrant it. I eat very, very well. I am getting plenty of nutrients. I am very careful about it, which isn't hard, because I'm kind of a geek that way, and greatly enjoy planning how to get the most filling, satisfying, nutritionally beneficial food I can within my calorie budget.

Now, yes, somebody just racing off and going on a crash diet, or a medically-unsupervised very low calorie diet is probably looking for trouble. But somebody who has been at this a while, and has educated him- or herself on how to safely & healthfully lose weight is something else entirely, and this is why I reject so many hard-and-fast rules when it comes to losing weight, because almost every situation is different.

ncuneo
05-19-2010, 02:52 PM
So admittedly I wrote my post quickly without much thought, I apologize for being judgemental or offensive. Oddly enough, I calorie cycle and am often more satisfied on lower cal days because I'm eating better foods. I guess what I'm trying to acomplish is just to get some info out there, but I really just don't know the right way to do it...Or what the appropriate information is.

thesame7lbs
05-19-2010, 03:04 PM
Interesting thread. I really can understand all of the various viewpoints. I just read today that it is "inadvisable" to ingest fewer calories than your BMR. My BMR is supposedly somewhere in the 1300s, so perhaps for me even 1200 would be too low? Not a concern, however. I could never be satisfied on so few calories and am amazed by those of you who are!

Interesting also about "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie." I, too, do not believe this. For starters, every body is different and every body is going to have small differences in efficiency, etc. Some bodies will be better at processing carbs. Some may not be able to tolerate as much protein as another. Also, I think that crappy foods -- processed foods, HFCS, transfats, artificial sweeteners -- can mess with our bodies and make them not work quite right and affect our weight (as well as our overall health). I do not mean that I follow a diet completely free of these things, but I do try to limit them.

What a nice community here on 3FC -- differing opinions, respectful discussion. :)

rockinrobin
05-19-2010, 03:39 PM
does that not suggest that "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" is incorrect information?)

To some it is, to some it isn't.

We have all got to figure this out for ourselves as individuals. There is no once correct way to lose weight, if only.

As far as the information that's *out there*, there's TONS of information out there and LOTS of it is conflicting. Because what works for one doesn't work for others for whatever reasons - though the basic principle is, is to create a calorie deficit.

So though I do count calories, where they come from matter - HOW I create that calorie deficit is VERY important - but again for different reasons. Would I have lost weight the same way eating my calorie allotment from McDonald's and Haagen Daz as opposed to the calories I did consume - mostly whole, HIGHLY nutritious, practically ZERO grains, no sugar, flour, etc... maybe, maybe not. The thing is, I wouldn't have been able to STICK to that kind of calorie allotment - I'd be STARVING & CRAVING CONSTANTLY - and not so healthy.

Tomato
05-19-2010, 04:07 PM
Oh no, no, no... 1200 calories of HIGHLY nutritious food is MORE THAN ENOUGH to sustain many, many, many people - if not all.

Really? I strongly disagree. I am sure I would NOT die of starvation if I lived on 1200 calories a day, but what kind of a life would it be to go through life with constantly grumbling stomach? (and mind you, I eat nothing but highly nutritious foods [lots of lean meats and veggies]). Also, you are very short, do you think 1200 calories is a number that would apply to much taller people?

yoyoma
05-19-2010, 06:08 PM
First off, all calories are not equal. Different macronutrients require different amounts of energy to digest and/or store as fat. Fat has the lowest thermic effect (about 4%); protein has the highest (about 30%). The difference is very significant.

Many other things affect how many calories (and other nutrients) you actually get out of your food, including fiber and intestinal fauna. Here, the difference can be very large between different people. I do not know how selective these mechanisms are for the "type" of calorie, but I'd be surprised if they had a completely consistent effect.

That's before you begin to factor in individual metabolisms, body fat ratios, tolerances, diet histories, etc.

So, like others, I say it is important for everyone to find what works for them, and many people *can* maintain their weight on surprisingly low calorie counts.

That said, the original poster seems to be talking primarily about younger inexperienced dieters who probably need to focus more on eating healthier foods and less on starvation diets, possibly abetted by appetite suppressants.

ncuneo
05-19-2010, 06:23 PM
That said, the original poster seems to be talking primarily about younger inexperienced dieters who probably need to focus more on eating healthier foods and less on starvation diets

Yes! Yes! This is what I was getting at. I didn't want to start a debate about calorie types or the low cal diet for well educated dieters who have done their homework and realized for their body this is what works, although the discussion has been good.

Shmead
05-19-2010, 06:50 PM
What I would like to tell people is: Don't be afraid to experiment.

I was raised on the idea that 1200 was the "best" number: you went to 1300 or 1400 if you were weak and that was the best you could do. But the goal was 1200. 1200 was always best.

I started this time on like 2000 because I weighed 300 lbs and I was just starving all the time. But I cut down to 1200-1300 as quickly as I could. I was starving, but I felt virtuous, and losing 2 lbs a week like clockwork.

Then I started reading. And there were all these people who were "dieting" on 1400, 1500, 1600, 1800 calories a day. And claimed to be losing weight! I scoffed. It seemed insane. 1200 is THE magic number. But I kept reading all these accounts of people losing, and finally I decided, what the ****? So I tried it. One of the most difficult leaps of faith ever. I had this totally irrational fear that I would gain back 60 or whatever lbs after 2 weeks on 1500 calories.

Instead, I kept losing 2 lbs a week. My weight loss rate changed not a whit. And OH MY GOD that extra 200 calories a day has improved my life. That's a McDs ice cream cone once a week. That's a huge bowl full of broccoli. That's 2 mini-bags of popcorn. That's three sticks of string cheese. It shifted my life from "bearable" to "pleasant".

Everybody is different, yes, but I think everybody owes it to themselves to try different things. Just because something is painful doesn't mean it's actually helping.

rockinrobin
05-19-2010, 06:53 PM
Really? I strongly disagree. I am sure I would NOT die of starvation if I lived on 1200 calories a day, but what kind of a life would it be to go through life with constantly grumbling stomach? (and mind you, I eat nothing but highly nutritious foods [lots of lean meats and veggies]). Also, you are very short, do you think 1200 calories is a number that would apply to much taller people?

Didn't I say that it is enough nutrition for many, many people? I most certainly did not mean to intimate that it was the *correct* number for each and every individual on the planet. Absolutely not.

And why in the world would you live on 1200 calories if you need/require/function properly on more than that? Why? Like I said, I would certainly not mind being able to eat more calories, not that I'm ever hungry, but just that I, ummm, like to eat!!

And the truth is, if 1200 calories was the number that I needed to remain a healthy weight, but was always hungry - I'd rather be an unhealthy weight. Without a doubt. But that's NOT the case, which I think just goes to show you, that the number that keeps us at that healthy weight IS the number that will also satiate us. I think that's an interesting observation.

I have never, ever pushed 1200 calories on anyone. I was just saying that people should not be AFRAID of it and it's a possibility and there's nothing wrong with it and it can be perfectly healthy, in fact health-ier than more calories This is what I have found that *I* require and I'm pretty certain many others do as well, just as some others DON'T.

As far as height, again, we're all different. I can't possibly predict what I would require if I were taller. How could I possibly know that? I believe cathierineF is 6 feet tall and she's stated that she does just fine on 1200 calories or less.

Once again, and again and again and yet again - we are all different. We are all different. We are all different.

And on a closing note - we are all different. ;)

rockinrobin
05-19-2010, 06:57 PM
Everybody is different, yes, but I think everybody owes it to themselves to try different things. Just because something is painful doesn't mean it's actually helping.

Painful??? Ouch. How would painful be helping?? :dizzy:

But I DO agree with you 1000% - experiment. Experiment and than experiment some more. Don't be afraid to tweak things, don't be afraid to do your own things, don't be afraid to think outside the box, don't be afraid to go against what the *experts* say, because they'll always be another *expert* who will say something else...

Shmead
05-19-2010, 07:12 PM
Painful??? Ouch. How would painful be helping?? :dizzy:



Surely you've seen this behavior? I think society teaches us that we are fat because we are bad and lazy and indulgent, and it's pretty normal for people to extrapolate to the idea that the secret to losing weight is punishment.

Petite Powerhouse
05-19-2010, 07:24 PM
I honesty cannot conceive of subsisting on 1,200 calories. I probably haven't eaten 1,200 calories a day in my life. I feel like I'm dying of hunger if I've only had 2,000 calories, and often enough if I've only had 2,500, and that is all nutritious, large-serving food. But that's because my muscle, and much more to the point my activity level, requires I eat more than that. So, sure, I can see why fewer calories would be satisfying to others.

That said, though, I do admit I still wonder if there are people out there who have perhaps gotten their bodies to function on just 1,200 calories because that is what they have given their bodies as fuel for so long. I still wonder if it wouldn't be possible to train one's body to use more fuel if you gave it more fuel.

Do I believe this is the case for everyone? No. But I wonder if it might be the case for some, and maybe for many. And I know this happened to me. I went through a period where I ate far less than I realized that I could. I was a kid in college who didn't know the first thing about how much I could eat and still lose weight. Over time I corrected that situation. At first, I gained weight, because my body had adjusted to the amount I normally fed it. But, once it adjusted to the new fuel levels, I lost that weight and more.

But, all that said, I am no expert. I'm not remotely an expert. This is all purely hypothetical, something I wonder about sometimes because fitness and healthy eating are big aspects of my life, and because the weight crisis in America is also of interest to me as a result. I do tend to believe that the drastic measures some people take in order to lose weight can have an effect on the body—that it can begin to function less efficiently than it would have otherwise because it is operating conservatively on restricted fuel—and that this is often a contributor to gaining the weight back. What is drastic, however, varies from person to person, and is up for debate.

I find the viewpoints on this forum to be eye opening and intriguing, as it is in my experience more typical in weight loss forums for posters to encourage eating more than 1,200 calories as a general rule.

PeanutsMom704
05-19-2010, 08:15 PM
I'm a lot taller than Robin and I could definitely survive and more on 1200 calories, and if I planned carefully enough, I could do it without being hungry. However, I am more like Shmead in that I've found a couple of hundred extra calories does not seem to derail my loss yet adds a lot more pleasure to my eating - not that I use it for treats, but it just makes it easier to fit in all the healthy foods I like to eat.

And that is an average - my actual daily intake runs from 1200ish, even slightly under from time to time, to 1500, and even more than that occasionally, if that is the difference between being hungry or not. That was a decision that I made when I started, because I think that is a big part of what makes my plan sustainable.

But to be honest, I don't think I could consistently eat another 200 calories on top of what I eat unless I started adding in less nutritious foods. I am full with what I eat and generally, don't have a physical desire to eat more. However, like many of us, if I let myself, I could manage to find room for all sorts of treats. While some people like to build those treats into their day on a fairly routine basis, I have personally done better keeping my calorie limit to a point where I accept I don't have room for them in my diet other than as a special treat on a limited basis.

So once again, the proof that everyone is different!

Serbrider
05-19-2010, 08:19 PM
In the past (and occasionally recently) there have been those rare days (like, once or twice a month) when I'd accidentally eat less than 1000 calories. I just wouldn't be hungry all day... and just eat a little bit here and there... my parents didn't have set mealtimes on those days, so I didn't feel as though I HAD to eat... so I didn't. There were actually a couple days where I had around a maximum of 400 calories... completely on accident. I don't ever STRIVE to eat only that much though... ;)

rockinrobin
05-19-2010, 08:47 PM
Surely you've seen this behavior? I think society teaches us that we are fat because we are bad and lazy and indulgent, and it's pretty normal for people to extrapolate to the idea that the secret to losing weight is punishment.

Well I indeed WAS fat because I was lazy (sedentary) and I was over indulgent. The reason (as if there are any good ones) that I was over indulgent and sedentary are another issue all together.

I DO get what you are saying about the punishment part of weight loss. It is a myth (and what a SHAME that is) that weight loss/maintenance has to be unpleasant and one must starve. Turns out adhering to a healthy lifestyle, sticking to a calorie allotment (the one that I've found works for ME) is no punishment, no hardship, no burden, no pain, no discomfort, no displeasure, no deprivation like I've always feared it would be. It turns out that adhering to this healthy lifestyle is a joy and a blessing and just pretty darn flippin' AMAZING. :smug::smug::smug:

Karen925
05-19-2010, 10:25 PM
I'm a lot taller than Robin and I could definitely survive and more on 1200 calories, and if I planned carefully enough, I could do it without being hungry.
So once again, the proof that everyone is different!

I do all the time. My energy level has never been higher, my nails and hair are glossy and growing. I am so glad I did not listen to the lower than 1200 calorie crowd and found what was right for me.

catherinef
05-20-2010, 02:46 AM
I would like to add that I have not been in the 1200-ish range for the entirety of this project, not at ALL. I started out at about 2000-2500 calories, and I've been whittling them down over the time span it's taken to lose the weight I have so far. Starting at 1200 (or even lower) would've been absolutely crazy for me when I started, because with as big as I was, it just wouldn't have been enough to keep me from flipping out and binging out of legitimate hunger. It took a LOT of calories to fuel my body at its highest.

Now that I'm down in the high-normal range, I just don't get as hungry as I did way up at the top, not even close. Some of this is, no doubt, just me adjusting to eating less and less as I've gone along, but some of it is surely my body just not needing as much fuel to keep me happy and comfortable. And on those days when I'm eating considerably more than 1200 -- absent too much sodium, or my digestive tract, er, slowing down a bit -- I don't immediately start gaining weight or anything. As I said, I am sure I could be eating more and still losing, and I hope to add at least a few more hundred calories in for maintenance, but where and when I add them will be key. I am pretty comfortable where I am for day-to-day living, but being able to carry on all week sort of where I am now, or a bit higher, will leave me with some room to eat a bit more when it counts. I don't mean 'cheat days,' I mean having the freedom to go out to dinner on the weekend (something my husband misses quite a bit, since we seldom do it now) or not worry too much at parties and family gatherings. Nope, not face-planting into the buffet, or anything, but those days do come along, and having a routine I can go back to, and I'm pretty comfortable living within, will make all the difference, I think.

Eliana
05-20-2010, 10:04 AM
You know how we all fear failure and we all know the key to successful weight loss and more importantly MAINTENANCE is about sustainable diet and exercise? Here I am on a 1200 calorie diet and you know what I fear is unsustainable? MY EXERCISE! I truly am not hungry on 1200 calories, and I know that's hard for some of you to believe, because 1200 calories is not right for you. I was starving those first few weeks, but I am so on auto-pilot now.

And more ridiculous....my exercise routines are crazy. There are days I burn 1000 calories just in exercise. And I still am only eating 1200 calories. Sometimes I think I'm crazy, but if I was hungry, I'd eat.

As for a "calorie is a calorie is a calorie"...I believe that's true for some. It's not true for me. I've had to tweak WHAT I eat as much as the quantity I eat. My cousin who got me started on this lost 100 lbs on 1200 calories of "a calorie is a calorie" diet. Most of her meals are carbs. That would not work for me as I was/am insulin resistant.

Love this discussion!!

Beach Patrol
05-20-2010, 02:56 PM
Michael Dansinger, MD (from The Biggest Loser) has this to say:

Losing weight is a simple mathematical formula: You need to burn more calories than you eat. Experts generally recommend creating a deficit of 500 calories per day through a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. Over the course of a week, this should yield a loss of about 1-2 pounds of fat.

If you want to lose weight faster, you'll need to eat less and exercise more. Bottom line: 1,050 to 1,200 calories and one hour of exercise a day (but be sure not to dip below this calorie level for safety's sake). On this type of plan, you can expect to lose 3-5 pounds the first week, or more if you weigh over 250 pounds.

"Dieters who follow the plan can lose 2 pounds from diet and 1 pound from exercise each week, and even more if they have more to lose, because the more fat you have to lose, the faster it comes off," says Dansinger.

You may lose even more weight initially if you limit salt and starches.

"When you reduce sodium and cut starches, you reduce fluids and fluid retention, which can result in up to 5 pounds of fluid loss when you get started," explains Dansinger.

* * * * * * * * * *
there's more if you care to read it - click here http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely

SouthLake
05-20-2010, 03:41 PM
I have no problem with people eating 1200 calorie a day diets. It's not sustainable for me, but I'm not everybody.

What bothers me is that so many people see 1200 as the minimum and think "ooh if that's the minimum, that's where I should start and I'll lose weight the fastest!" Which just isn't true. Not to mention, the average person starting a diet is coming down from a daily diet high in fat, sodium, sugar, etc., most likely in the 2500 ish calories a day range. Dropping down that low that quickly is likely to lead to failure and extensive hunger. I think every person should start with higher calories and work their way down to 1200 calories if need be. Everyone has a weight loss "sweet spot" and in my experience, it tends to be over 1200 calories for the average person. Some people have 1200 as their magic number... but I think everyone should try several different ranges to see what gives them the best results and leaves them feeling the most satisfied.

Case in point: when I was calorie counting and eating 1200 calories a day- I lost a pound a week, at best. At my MD's urging, I bumped it to 1500 calories a day and lost a pound a week. (this was with an hour of exercise a day) At her urging (again) I bumped it up to 1750 a day and started losing 3 pounds a week. Voila!

Alexandra
05-22-2010, 05:10 PM
I will say that I aim to eat 1000 calories a day. Half of the time I do eat 1000 calories a day. The other half of the time varies between 800 (though that's rare) and 1300 calories a day. So I also end up zigzagging my calories.

I have tried everything in-between. My maintenance used to be about 2000-2200 calories (when I was at 210 lbs.; obviously it would be different at my current weight). I have tried calorie counting at 1800, 1600, 1500, 1300, and 1200 calories. The more I restricted the more I lost, but even that was negligible (one pound a week if I was lucky; two pounds was a miracle). I also did a lot of exercising, with quite a bit of experimenting in variation of weight and cardio and time spent exercising, and exercised long past the time when any muscle weight gain would have been an issue.

Aiming for / eating 1000 calories a day has several benefits for me. The weight comes off (two-three pounds a week on average), the weight comes off without exercise, and I am much more aware of what I am putting in my mouth. I eat more nutritiously, I eat things that keep me fuller (protein, fiber), and I am much more energized than I ever was at 2000 calories.

It's been noted (with good reason) that it would be hard to eat a balanced diet on less than ~1200 calories. I fully agree. But what on earth was I consuming that put me at 240 lbs in the first place?! It certainly wasn't a proper diet. I am sure I am still not eating a balanced meal, but I know I am consuming many more fruits, veggies, vitamins, oils, the things I should be consuming, on this amount of calories than I ever did at my maintenance weight.

I've tried just about everything else, and this is what works for me.

So while there's something to be said about not doing VLCDs (800 calories or less) without professional supervision, and new / crash dieters going to extremes in calorie restrictions, it is not helpful to paint various calorie amounts (1200 calories, 1000 calories, VLCDs) with the same brush.

Gold32
05-22-2010, 05:48 PM
First, let me say that I'm kinda of shocked at the number of people jumping to defending their own calorie level. I think you may be missing the point- that there are plenty of women (and men!) who cut way too many calories (for them!) and become border-line anorexic. They are obsessed with skinny and not so much with health.

Let me tell a little story- My aunt lost 30+ pounds going through cancer. At one point, she was not sick from the chemo, needed to start radiation, but her blood cell counts were too low. She needed to rebuild her strength and health, and yet she ate, on average, one cheeseburger a day. Now, she's completely done, and she's "maintaining" her weight loss by eating one meal a day. And not necessarily a healthy one.

Apparently, the short term results are more important than maintaining a healthy life style. You would think that someone who has been through cancer would want to do anything possible to be healthy and avoid it again. But nooo, being "skinny" is more important than healthy foods and exercising.

She looks like a mal-nutritioned skeleton. She thinks she looks great.

Some women who go way too low in calories don't do it on purpose, they're ignorant of the health consequences, or whatever. But there's still that mentality, to get skinny quick and stay that way, no matter the consequences or path to get there. That's when cutting calories too low is dangerous. It's not the amount. It's the mentality. And, as you can tell, it's kind of close to my heart, and it makes me very, very sad.

Alexandra
05-22-2010, 06:16 PM
First, let me say that I'm kinda of shocked at the number of people jumping to defending their own calorie level. I think you may be missing the point- that there are plenty of women (and men!) who cut way too many calories (for them!) and become border-line anorexic. They are obsessed with skinny and not so much with health.


Those of us who are defending our calorie level know that :hug:. But the point is that there is no one way to lose weight, and any method can be abused, so it is useless to say that one specific way is or is not healthy.

Heather
05-22-2010, 08:23 PM
This thread has been very enlightening, and it seems that many people have had the chance to air opinions. The original poster asked if there was a sticky to discourage people from eating less than 1000 calories a day. There isn't and there isn't likely to be. 3fc encourages healthy weight loss. But it's very difficult to tie this concept to a specific number of calories alone. After all, as was discussed, there are some medically supervised plans that involve eating much less than 1200 calories/day. I think healthy eating encompasses a number of practices and perhaps a particular mindset, not simply a number of calories.

3fc moderators will continue to monitor the forum for discussions of unhealthy eating.

I'm going to go ahead and close this thread, as it seems to have run its course.