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Old 10-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #1
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Default Confused about calories

I've been counting calories for a while now, but I still get so confused! No matter how much I research, I still have so many questions. The myfitnesspal calculator told me I need to be eating 1,450 calories to lose 2 pounds a week, as I'm as sedentary and I'm not going to be working out until next week. I eat 1,500 now though, and I seem to be losing okay on that, about 1-2 pounds a week. I have a couple questions, they're probably obvious, but I'm at a lost. Thanks in advance for any help!

1. When do you lower your calories? Do you keep entering your new weight into the calculator as you lose and use the new number they give you? They have me at 1,200 from 235 pounds all the way to what I think my ultimate goal would be, about 120-140... So how am I going to continue losing weight if I can no longer lower my calories? I'm 5'0, 278 pounds, and 21 if that helps. I can't imagine eating only 1,200 calories, nonetheless under it! Plus, I think that's the minimum females should eat? I couldn't eat under that.

2. Do you eat your exercise calories back? I don't know how to figure out how much I burn, so does it effect anything to not eat them back? Next week I'm going to start working out for 30-60 minutes 3 days a week. I hope to work up to 5 days a week, an hour a day, but I want to start slow at first.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:00 PM   #2
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First of all, congratulations on your weight loss. You're doing great for someone who claims to be so confused.

1.I just mentioned in another post that I have read (and I'm fairly certain this is accurate information but I don't know it first-hand) that myfitnesspal starts everyone off at 1200 regardless of their current weight. I would suggest looking into that situation on their message boards. 1200 seems unnecessarily low for your weight. 1500 sounds much more reasonable and I would suggest sticking with that. If it's working, it's working.

2. I don't eat exercise calories back. I don't know how much I burn either and guessing feels so rife with potential for error. Today I jogged 3 miles and walked 1 and I'm not eating anything back. On days that I lift weights I typically have a protein shake which ups my calorie count by 200, but I tend to eat within a range anyway so I don't truly consider it eating back calories.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:08 PM   #3
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The hard part about counting calories is that it's very different for everyone. If you are successfully losing right now, I would keep your calories right where they are at until you hit a plateu- that can be your cue to change things up!

When you get closer to your goal weight, you make have to eat closer to 1200 calories oer day to continue losing- being 5' tall kind of works to your disadvantage calorie-wise-- but again, it's different for everyone and when you get there you'll most likely have to play around with your numbers a bit to see what works for you!

Adding back exercise calories is tricky- I usually add back 1/2 of my calories if I had a TOUGH workout and am starving. (If I run 8+ miles that day, I'll add in half of what I burned for the most part).

I think that exercise should be considered a fitness-builder rather than a calorie-burner, because it is SO easy to overestimate what you've burned...

Well- that's my two cents, hopefully you can dig something helpful from out of there!
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:11 PM   #4
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when you are 120-140, You will be light and fit enough to enjoy workout.
and you'll be able to either eat back your workout calories or just stay with whatever your BMR is. the lighter you get, the less your body needs to maintain BMR.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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I think you're getting some great advice. I'd definitely agree that if your current calorie count is working for you, and you're losing weight, then by all means stick with it until you're no longer seeing the progress you want.

While it's important that you find ways to be as active as you can, just make sure you know beforehand that for a many people, exercise stimulates their appetite over and above what calories they burn doing it. If you get started at the gym and after a couple of weeks feel like your hunger is out of control, it's OK to back off the gym -- for now -- as long as you're still making progress toward your goal. As masterprt says, when you're under 150 the workouts will be much more enjoyable.

Good luck!
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Thanks so much everyone for the awesome advice! I hope I don't hit a plateau too soon, but I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it! I hope 1,300-1,500 calories will work for me until I'm way closer to some sort of goal, but I'll have to wait and see.

I can't wait to work out this Monday. I'm really scared of what it will do to my appetite but I think I'm going to feel better once I get moving!
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha18 View Post
So how am I going to continue losing weight if I can no longer lower my calories?
Even if you don't lower your calories, you'll continue to lose weight, but at a slower pace (as long as you're consuming less than the energy your body expends). If you want to maintain your pace, which I don't necessarily recommend, then yes, you'll have to lower your calories.

Most online calorie estimators will adjust their recommendations depending on your current weight. Here's a good one: http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
Or you could simply lower your daily intake by about 60 cals for every 10 pounds lost.

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masterptr View Post
you'll be able to either eat back your workout calories or just stay with whatever your BMR is.
Just pointing out that even if you don't exercise at all, your body is using more energy than your BMR. The BMR is the amount of energy you would use if you did nothing but lie in bed all day.

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:34 PM   #9
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As stated, keep with what you are doing.

I personally used to eat back some of my calories, depending on what I did to burn them.

Also, my physical trainer, who was 5'4" 123lbs ate 1450 a day to maintain her weight. Just because you are lighter, does not always mean you will need to eat less. Look at olympians! They eat 5000 calories a day. Yes, they are training and burning all of that, but I am making the point here.

Muscle does burn more calories, so in the long run, you might end up eating more than you are eating now.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:51 PM   #10
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I hope it's okay to ask more questions here! I didn't want to start a new thread and everyone is so helpful! <3

I've been keeping with what I'm doing, but now I looked at my weight log and I realize how slow I'm losing, only 3-4 pounds a month. But for my weight and eating 1,400-1,500 calories, should the weight loss be this slow? I was hoping to lose at least 6-10 pounds a months, especially in the beginning, and it's not happening. I'm getting so discouraged and I'm thinking of lowering my calories even more.

Would it be okay to try 1,200 and stick to that number through-out my whole weight loss?
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:11 PM   #11
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I think I would stay where you r as long as you r losing. There is no magic number as to how fast and how much you will loose. 1200 is quiet low.... Sounds like you r doing great otherwise at 1400-1500 calories If you consume too low in the calorie department per day you will also stop losing too, it will be a balance as to what works for you. You never know, you might even have to add and 100 or so calories for the numbers to pick up so before dropping too low, maybe try 1600-1700 calories for 10 days or so first and see what happens.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:49 AM   #12
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I agree with bluejeans on this one. Slow and steady wins the race-- especially with weight loss. Also- jumping to 1200/day might bun you out sooner. Also adding more frequency/intensity/time to your workouts might help your loss speed up a little. Good luck! I hope all is well
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:40 AM   #13
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You're doing great if you're losing 3-4 pounds a month! Too fast and you might lose too much muscle and jeopardize your health.

Exercise can really impact how much you have to eat to lose/maintain your weight. Consider heavy weight training if you like to eat! I have to eat at least 2000 calories a day to maintain, but on my weight training days I usually go above that You might weigh a bit more in the end, but you'll look smaller.

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Old 10-29-2012, 05:05 PM   #14
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Samantha18, i have been seeing a nutritionist for about 10 weeks now, I have been loosing about 1 pound a week. I have been vey frusterated but she keeps telling me slow and steady wins the race. I am 5'2" and currently weight 203, she has me eating 1600 calories a day. Everyone is different as to what there body needs, and not eating enough will slow your body down as well.
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