General chatter - ??as you lose weight you need to lower your calorie intake??

11-09-2006, 08:41 PM
I've been thinking about this for a while now and well ... I believe it ain't necessarily so.
In some instances(#1) it just isn't so and in some instances (#2) it can be prevented.
Now, let's see if I can clearly explain what I mean.

#1 If your maintenance at 130 lbs is 1800 calories per day, no matter what weight you start at, you'll get to 130 lbs and stick. Your maintenance calories would only go down if you became more sedentary or lost muscle mass.
If you decide to cut calories slowly ... down to 2200 to start ... you'll level out when you get to a weight that is maintained by 2200 calories THEN you'll have to drop -or- increase activity or muscle mass. If you then cut to 2000, you'll drop weight until you get to whatever weight is maintained by 2000 calories ... and so on. Your maintenance calories should never end up very very low unless you've wasted muscle mass.

Is that clear so far?

#2 If by eating (I'm going to pick numbers out of thin air here, just hang in with me a minute) 1300 calories you get to your goal weight, you'll be able to eat more calories than that if you exercise and build some muscle mass. I know that, for women, it's hard work to put on a few pounds of muscle. But if we do ... we'll keep those maintenance calorie levels at a nice wholesome nutritious amount, we'll be smaller, we'll look toned and we'll have better bones.

Is there a really important point I'm missing? Am I being overly optimistic here?

11-10-2006, 01:25 AM
Well..... from my knowledge it is not necessary, but it is what works best.....

if you want to lose a pound a week you need to cut 500 calories a day. so for example, if you weight 165 and you want to be 130 and you are 30 years old and 5'5 and moderately active, then at 165 lbs in theory you need to eat about 2300 calories to maintain, and about 1800 to lose about a pound a week. at 130 lbs, in theory you'd eat about 2100 to maintain. the difference isn't that much so if you eat the amount to maintain all along, you'd be losing weight at a rate that is borderline maintaining. if you have more weight to lose, then it would be fine until you lost a bit, then towards the end the loss would be really really slow...

used this formula for calorie amounts btw.....

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

If you are sedentary : BMR x 1.2

If you are lightly active: BMR x 1.375

If you are moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 1.55

If you are very active (You exercise daily.): BMR x 1.725

If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 1.9

11-10-2006, 02:29 AM
That is all well and good if your metabolism works that way. Some of us, however, are not quite so fortunate. I am maintaining with moderate exercise at 1550. At 1800, at the same level of exercise, I GAINED 6 POUNDS IN A MONTH. So, obviously, my metabolism will not support 1800 calories per day, much less 2000+. I'm having trouble losing what I had gained at the calories I lost at before (that would be the 1550). I am 99% certain I have not lost any muscle (haven't gained any either, I don't think). It's also not like the 1550 come from yoohoos and cocoa puffs - they come from lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits/vegetables. The only thing I can think of is sodium and artificial sweeteners may be stalling me a bit. I love my olives and pickles (salty!) and my sugarless gum. Yet my habits have not changed, I have always loved my salty foods and my sugarless gum. My nutrition is probably better now than when I lost before, yet I can't lose again.

Any ideas?

11-10-2006, 07:56 AM
1TiredGradStudent ... I think you are an example of what I was saying. You're maintaining at 1550 with moderate exercise. So you'll have to cut calories and increase the intensity of your exercise to lose but you will not end up LIVING at 1000 calories in order to stay at your goal weight.

11-10-2006, 09:21 AM
Here's the thing--even if you are exe4cising (including strength training), I honestly don't believe it's possible to lose large amounts of weight (I'm not talking about those who only need to lose 10 pounds or so, but LARGE amounts of weight) without losing some muscle. For example, the last time I had my body mass tested, I had nearly 170 pounds of lean body mass (muscle and stuff). Now, 170 would be too high a weight for me (I'm 5'5"), so I'm going to need to lose some of that muscle (I know "lean body mass" includes more than just muscle, but in order to have a healthy body fat % and weigh a total of 150 or less, I'll have to be losing more than just some water and blood and such). If I don't lose some muscle, then I won't reach my goal of a healthy weight.

I've seen others raise similar questions, stating they were tested and had more pounds of lean body mass than they even had for their goal weight. In order to lose weight, you have to deprive your body of calories (create a claorie deficit). The simple truth is that your body gets more energy from burning muscle than fat, so when you create these deficits, your body will burn some muscle. By burning muscle, you're further reducing the number of calories you burn in a day.

Add to that the amazing adaptability of the human body. If I eat 1800 calories a day (while exercising as appropriate), will I ever reach 130? Ha, not a chance! Your body's metabolism can adjust over time to survive in its current state with whatever number of calories you are eating. So, if I start out at 1800 a day, then eventually, my body will adjust as I lose weight, so I'll have to reduce more to keep losing (this is why I always suggest people start as HIGH as they can so they have somewhere to reduce to rather than starting at 1000-1200 and having nowhere to healfully go).

If our bodies worked according to a mathematical formula, then life would be swell, but it just ain't so.

My current plan is to eat about 1800 calories a day (I'm about 300 pounds). I know that as I lose weight, I'll have to reduce my calories further in order to keep losing. That doesn't mean I'll cut down to 1000 a day, but maybe when I'm under 220, I'll have to reduce to 1600-1700; maybe when I'm 180, I'll have to reduce to about 1500; and so on. I can't expect my 300-pound body to react to 1800 calories the same way my 200-pound body will.

And then there's the matter of exercise--so many people say, "I do this workout, and it burns X amount of calories." Well, that may be true for a while, but what a lot of people don't realize is that as they get fitter, their body burns FEWER calories doing that workout. Increased time or intensity is required in order to keep burning the same amount of calories, so I think most people are way off when trying to estimate their caloric deficits.

Alright, I'm going to stop now that I've written a novel, but suffice it to say that for most people, I think it makes complete logical sense that you would have to reduce your calories a few times throughout your weight loss journey (there are exceptions to every rule, of course, but those exceptions can't be held as the norm).

11-10-2006, 09:37 AM
Hey Jilly, how are ya?
I think it's this sentence that gives me pause ... Your body's metabolism can adjust over time to survive in its current state with whatever number of calories you are eating ... that's maintenance right?

Maybe the desperation cry I was reading was more like .... By the time I get to goal I'll have to subsist on 750 calories or something.

I think the point I was missing was that yes, you drop calories as you go along but in the end, you don't have to stay below your maintenance level.

11-10-2006, 11:32 AM
unfortunately, there's some evidence that people who lose weight - fairly large amounts of weight - require fewer calories to maintain that weight compared to people who never lost weight.

so, if someone started at, say, 180 pounds, and lost 50, getting down to 130, they'd need fewer calories to stay at 130 than someone whose weight has stayed at 130 for 20 years.


11-10-2006, 12:58 PM
Yes, Jiffypop. That's well proven. But it's comparing one person to another.
I think it's Meg who says we are each an experiment of one.
If when I started, I'd thought that when I got to goal, I'd have to eat less and less as the years went by just to stay there ... I don't think I ever would have started. Whether I can eat more or less than my skinny friend shouldn't really matter to my experiment of one.

Did that come out like I meant or snarky? Cuz I sure don't mean to be snarky.

11-10-2006, 01:53 PM
If when I started, I'd thought that when I got to goal, I'd have to eat less and less as the years went by just to stay there ... I don't think I ever would have started.
Okay, I think we're all talking about 2 different things here. Are you saying that someone said that AFTER they are already at goal, they will have to continue reducing calories for forever in order to maintain? That just doesn't make any sense :dizzy: I mean, I'm sure age plays a role, and as you get older, your metabolism may slow a bit, but that doesn't mean constantly reducing calories for the rest of your life.

11-10-2006, 02:02 PM
Yup, that's probably more what I was thinking. But don't you think some age related stuff is preventable too?

11-10-2006, 02:07 PM
SUSAN...I just have to say I think you're so knowledgable and I love reading your posts!:D Also, love your profile picture, you're so skinny!;)

11-10-2006, 02:11 PM
:hug: Oh Thanks sweetie! I'm gettin' a big fat head now :hug: