Calorie Counters - Under Calories

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09-26-2013, 07:15 PM
Hi. I'm struggling a little with how to handle being under my calorie goal. I use MFP and it calculates my daily calorie need, and I agree with what they assign me. Unfortunately, I'm coming in a little low-- 100-200 calories below my calorie target--several times a week. Usually I'm not hungry and I am very uncomfortable eating something just to eat something. That is the exact habit I'm trying to break. I also know that not eating enough can cause some struggles with weight loss.

So what are your thoughts? How much is too much under calorie? MFP gives me this annoying message warning me about being under calorie and it drives me nuts. I guess I'm just afraid of eating when I'm not hungry. Trying to break that habit.

09-26-2013, 10:24 PM
Im very new to this but I have researched alot and I too go under my calories more than a couple times a week I did notice I stayed at the exact same weight for three days. Thats when I did some research and found out it was probably bc I wasnt eating enough and my body thought it was in starvation mode and started hold on to everything I eat o I upped my calories and lost. If u do have to increase your calories you can do so with healthy foods and fruit and veggies or peanuts ect. It doesnt have to be unhealthy. But I understand what u mean I dont feel comfortable eating when im not hungry. But our bodies are like cars ..they need fuel to run efficiently. Hope this helps like I said no expert YET.. lol but I m learning.

09-26-2013, 11:32 PM
I'm under my calorie goal most days and I'm ALWAYS under my weekly goal by at least 500 but it's been as high as 1700. I tend to "bank" calories during a week. If I'm heading towards the weekend and I see that even if I eat all my calories for the rest of the week I'll still have a deficit I don't worry if I splurge a bit one day. Like so far this week I've been under by 300-400 every day so when I went over today by 400 (bf just HAD TO HAVE red robin YUM) I'm not too worried about it because I know I'll still be under come Sunday.

I have not had an issue yet with my weight stalling in fact most weeks I'm losing more then the 1.5lbs I have it set to lose. That being said I've also never had it yell at me for eating too little because even on days I'm under by 600 (it happens) I'm still over 1200.

If you are worried about it and feel that you want to try to reach your goal try eating something healthier but high calorie. My favorites are peanut butter or some nuts, my mom chooses guacamole (yuck!)

09-26-2013, 11:44 PM
I also have days when I find it really difficult to reach 1200 calories. On those days if I am really not hungry and sitting around 1000-1100 calories, I'll just eat a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. That almost always brings me to 1200 calories, and since I love peanut butter so much, it's almost like an evening treat! :)

09-27-2013, 12:41 AM
Thanks everyone! A spoonful of peanut butter is a great idea. Jeni, what you described sounds like calorie cycling. I need to look at that a little more, I think.

09-27-2013, 11:35 AM
I don't know how many calories you are on, if it's higher than 1200 then you might be safe eating a little less ... but no matter what, you should try to stay above 1200 calories. I too struggle with eating enough (never a problem when I'm not dieting for some reason, ha) and I almost always stall out if I go too low.

If you exercise, make sure to bump the calories up a bit more so your net is at least 1200. For example, I will have an extra piece of fruit on my workout days.

I agree that peanut butter is a good way to bump calories when you are coming in a little bit low; others are a piece of low fat string cheese, or an apple. Some people have a tablespoon of nuts (nuts set off my cravings, so I can't).

If you know you are going to come in low, add some berries or nuts to your cereal in the morning, or a teaspoon or two of low fat shredded cheese to your salad at lunch, etc.

And if you stall, try upping your calories a day or two before you try dropping them. It's so easy to panic at a plateau and try to eat less, but if you have been strict; you can't afford to go any lower.

Good luck LisaLou!

09-27-2013, 01:18 PM
Maybe you're eating things that are a little too low in calories which can be easily fixed with just a little bit of high calorie food to each meal.

If it's consistently under 1200, I'd bump it up a bit but otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep in mind, you'll have to reduce calories little by little as you lose so try not to be too low already. Everyone else has given you great advice already. Congratulations on your progress!

09-30-2013, 05:49 PM
I agree, I don't want to eat just to meet the calories. But I am afraid to go into "starvation mode. Sometimes I just don't want breakfast either

10-01-2013, 02:39 PM
Well, I definitely made up for my under calories by having a bad weekend. Blech. This morning, my weight was back at my pre-weekend weight, so I guess I didn't do too bad. Just not as well as I'd hoped.

Thanks again for the feedback. Lots of good ideas.

10-01-2013, 08:34 PM
I have the same problem. There are some days where I miss lunch (busy at work) so I come home and even after a very filling dinner, I have a couple hundred calories left over...Then there are days when I graze and snack all day and have to figure out a small/light dinner. haha

10-30-2013, 02:32 AM
I bank my calories and use them on the weekend. It works well for me and I am still losing almost 2 lbs a week. I haven't had any issues with this so far.

10-31-2013, 02:39 PM
I use to always be under my calories by 100-300 every day and I lost 25lbs and then my weight loss stopped, I mean really stopped for 9 months! So what did I do? stopped tracking and gained it all back...Now I keep my calories to 1300-1500 per day depending on exercise and after 3 week am finally seeing some that starvation mode is for real and it takes awhile for your body to bounce back please keep it in mind

11-04-2013, 09:33 AM
Starvation mode, as commonly understood, is a myth. It's true your metabolism slows down when you restrict calories, but never enough to offset the caloric deficit. The less you eat, the more weight you will lose.

You can't draw any conclusions from 3 days or 5 days of eating very little. If you want to do an experiment on yourself, eat 1,000 cals per day for one month or longer (with vitamin supplementation as needed) and see how you do. People who have weight loss surgery eat 600 to 800 cals per day in the first year and lose massive amounts of weight.

This MyFitnessPal article explains the starvation mode myth very well.