Weight Loss Support - Lesson in basic nutrition needed, please

07-23-2010, 01:21 PM
Can someone either explain this to me, or send some links, becuase I'm just not getting this.

Okay, so I *thought* that in order to lose weight, you have to eat less and exercise more, becuase exercise burns calories, right? Then if that is the case, why is that that according to the calorie calculators, I need to eat 2240 calories a day for "extreme fat loss"? WHY?? Why would it be so bad to slip down to 1200 calories instead? I thought ultra-low calorie diets is why people lose weight. If I had weight loss surgery, would I still be expected to eat 2240 a day to lose weight?

And if I really AM supposed to be eating that much, at what point do I start eating less?

I know I sound like a total idiot, but I really am seriously confused here. :o

07-23-2010, 01:27 PM
i'm no expert but i've read a lot online etc. i have no clue about if someone has surgery, but the more you weigh the more calories your body needs to function in daily routines, that's why it doesn't say 1200 because healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs which is a 500-1000ish calorie deficeit a week. if you drop to 1200 your metabolism will probably slow down and store fat because your body is used to getting a lot more than 1200 calories and it doesn't realize you're trying to lose weight. eventually you'll plateau, probably and that's when you can adjust your calories down a little bit, but if you start at 1200 there's no room to adjust down. again i'm not an expert but this is what makes sense to me, hope i've helped. good luck.

07-23-2010, 01:31 PM
Why go to one extreme to another? You can lose weight by slowly lowering your calories instead of diving straight to 1200 a day. :)

07-23-2010, 01:32 PM
Why go to one extreme to another? You can lose weight by slowly lowering your calories instead of diving straight to 1200 a day. :)

I agree.

07-23-2010, 01:37 PM
your basal metabolic rate (this is how many calories you need to eat to stay at your current weight) is about 2033. here is an example of how you should acheive a calorie deficit of 500 (500-1000 calorie deficit a day is healthy, 3500 calories = 1 lb)

1800 (taken in thru food) - 300 (burnts through exercise) - 2030(BMR) = -530

07-23-2010, 01:38 PM
my suggestion is a starting point. the less you weight, the lower your BMR, in that case you'd have to decrease your calories in or increase your exercise. hope this helps.

Med School Mom
07-23-2010, 01:40 PM
From what I have read... extremely low calorie diets work for a while. Yes you will lose weight eating 1200 calories a day. Your metabolism may slow down some (say 10%) but not enough to outweigh your reduction in calories (say 40%). The problem is as soon as you eat more than 1200 calories your body is going to want to store everything because it thinks its starving. Unless you have the most amazing will power in the world and will never again eat more than 1200 calories I wouldn't recommend that low of a calorie intake. I am currently 280 and eat around 1700-2000 calories a day depending on my activity level. On days I exercise my body bugg says I burn around 3400 calories (around 2900 on days I don't exercise) so I end up with a 1000 to 1500 calorie defecit for the day. This equals around 2-3 pounds per week. Save the really low calorie dieting for when you lose a lot of weight and your body actually needs less calories. At some point you may need to eat that few of calories to get the last little bit of weight off but not now. Eat enough that you aren't hungry and likely to fall off the wagon. Slower weight loss = success. The slower you lose it the less likely it is to come back.

07-23-2010, 01:55 PM
Look--just start tracking what you eat in a day, using a calorie tracker like FitDay. That will help you see how much you're eating at present. You may be surprised to find out how many calories are in some foods, especially foods at restaurants.

Then, try eating that 2240 calories a day for a couple of weeks and just see what happens. Make sure you get some physical activity in there. Try to choose wholesome foods when possible, namely, lean meats and poultry, vegetables, complex carbs like brown rice and whole grain bread, and fruits. Avoid fried foods and foods high in fat and sugar.

If you drop to 1200, you will be very hungry, you will have no energy, and you'll eventually give up because it's too hard. Why make it harder? It's difficult enough to stick with a plan.

Good luck!

07-23-2010, 02:09 PM
Hey, why stop at 1200 calories a day? Why not eat 0 calories a day and lose weight even faster?

The reason is clear on a moment's reflection: you'll quickly become unhealthy if you starve yourself. Your body needs energy to keep your brain and heart working. It needs nutrients to repair damaged tissues and perform essential functions. And you need energy to do something other than lie still like a barely-functioning lump of flesh. If you walk, carry, breathe, speak, or think at all during your day, you need to ingest some amount of calories to do that.

That basal metabolic rate others have mentioned is, roughly, the bare minimum of energy you need to be a barely-functioning lump of living, breathing flesh. The bigger you are - the fatter you are, the more flesh you have on you - the higher that number will be, because it takes a lot of energy to pump blood around a big body.

It's been determined empirically - and a lot of people on this board will testify - that eating around that number of calories creates enough of a calorie deficit for you to lose weight at a healthy rate - averaging to 1-2 lbs a week, depending upon how much you have to lose. This is because anything you do above and beyond merely existing burns additional calories.

As you lose weight, your base metabolic rate will also decrease, and you'll reduce your calorie intake accordingly. That's why someone starting out at 300 pounds can "get away with" eating a lot more calories than someone at 200 lbs and still lose weight.

But if you eat far under your basal metabolic rate, you will be trying to live your normal life while not even giving your body enough fuel to perform its basic functions necessary to your existence. You will feel hungry, sick, exhausted, and miserable - and that is a guaranteed ticket to falling off the wagon.

07-23-2010, 07:12 PM
Remember, too, that your average day is not your daily average. You may be looking at that 2250 and thinking "But I don't eat that much NOW!"--but you probably eat more than you think on an average day, and those above-average days REALLY drive the number up: one 5000 calorie day (which is surprisingly easy) and all the sudden your actual average is over 3000.

The trick isn't going to the extreme, it's being able to keep it up EVERY SINGLE DAY for MONTH AND MONTHS AND MONTHS. So it needs to be easy. It needs to be an amount of food that leaves you feeling like you could eat more, but not so little that you have to fight the urge all the time. The reason for this is simple: if it takes major will power to stay on a plan, then the plan won't last through your dog getting run over, your kid getting sick, your hot water heater exploding. But if you can stick to your plan through those times, then you can't fail. The weight will come off.