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Worrying about caloric intake/outtake~

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Old 03-22-2011, 11:37 AM   #1
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Default Worrying about caloric intake/outtake~

Hello, I'm new here and I'm not ~entirely~ sure if this is the correct place to post this, but this forum does say it's for questions! And I definitely have one!

I'm nineteen years old, 5'2" and I weigh 177 lbs. I'm aiming to lose at least 30-40 pounds by July 29th. My question is about my caloric intake and outtake. I fear that I'm eating either too much or too little!

For example, yesterday I consumed 1280 calories. But I went to the gym and burned about 520. So that means I only consumed 760 calories. Will this stop me from losing weight?

My exercise at the gym consists of an hour on the elliptical. It's not too hard or too easy, and always, always, breaks me out in a sweat. I understand I'll have to switch it up once I build a resistance to it, but right now it's okay.

Basically, I'm afraid that the amount of calories I'm burning are putting my body into "starvation mode" or something similar, and preventing me from losing weight. I feel like I'm eating 'just enough' though, and I feel really full after each meal as it is. Any help, please?
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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Hi! According to this: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ your BMR is 1627. That's what your body needs to fuel just what you are NOW.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:07 PM   #3
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Do you think starvation mode will kick in if I continue at this 700 calories a day thing? I /am/ eating more than that, I just work it all off. Thanks for the BMR tip, by the way~ I'm eating much, much less than that, so hopefully it will result in some weight loss, but the body has some tricky ways of working...
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:23 PM   #4
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The short answer your question - no you will still lose weight. Its calories in and calories out. You are creating a deficit so you will lose. You need to create the deficit to force your body to go to the stored fat for energy to burn.

The long answer is you may alter your metabolism if your body perceives it is in starvation mode i.e., the deficit is too big.

Also the calorie counts on exercise machines are notoriously known to be inaccurate. I read somewhere that you should deduct 20% to get a better idea of calorie expenditure.

The BMR (estimate) is the calorie intake to stay just the way you are. A deficit of 500 cal a day by restricting food and adding exercise will give you a loss of 1#/wk.

Figure 400 (exercise) plus -400 (restricted food intake) is a deficit of 800 cal per day = 1#/every 4 days or 1.5-2# a week. And thats pretty average but still may cause a stall when your body adjusts. Some folks start with the intake of cals a little higher so they have so where to go (drop intake).
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DixC Chix View Post
The short answer your question - no you will still lose weight. Its calories in and calories out. You are creating a deficit so you will lose. You need to create the deficit to force your body to go to the stored fat for energy to burn.

The long answer is you may alter your metabolism if your body perceives it is in starvation mode i.e., the deficit is too big.

Also the calorie counts on exercise machines are notoriously known to be inaccurate. I read somewhere that you should deduct 20% to get a better idea of calorie expenditure.

The BMR (estimate) is the calorie intake to stay just the way you are. A deficit of 500 cal a day by restricting food and adding exercise will give you a loss of 1#/wk.

Figure 400 (exercise) plus -400 (restricted food intake) is a deficit of 800 cal per day = 1#/every 4 days or 1.5-2# a week. And thats pretty average but still may cause a stall when your body adjusts. Some folks start with the intake of cals a little higher so they have so where to go (drop intake).
Thank you! Your response was extremely helpful!
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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The BMR is the amount of calories your body needs if you were doing nothing (like in a coma). I am just started to really pay attention to all of this BMR, calorie in/out thing though. So my BMR is around 1450. But my Total Daily Expenditure (for my lifestyle) is around 2100 calories... Supposedly that's 2100 calories to maintain my weight. So if I subtract 500 from that (to lose a pound a week), I am supposed to stay around 1600-1700 calories a day.

Anyway.... to answer your original question, I think you will still lose weight.. Most people do. I think that the lower your net amount of calories, the higher the possibility of your body stalling out LATER (from slowed metabolism).. I basically lost most of my weight without believing in the whole "not eating under my BMR" stuff.. But just recently after plateauing in the 140's even with intense exercise, I caved in and decided to really figure out what the heck was going on..

Now I am experimenting with this whole theory of keeping my calories within the "right levels" and see what happens. So far so good, but it has only been a week.

Good luck to you. If you do decide to keep your calories low, I would just offset them at least once a week by having a higher calorie amount, just to keep your metabolism rolling.

Just my .02.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:44 AM   #7
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You've gotten great advice, just want to add a couple of comments in agreement with what's already been said:

1. The calorie counters on the machines at the gym are highly inaccurate. See this thread: Are The Calorie Counters On Cardio Machines Accurate? Some people (myself included) do not count calories burned from exercise, some people do. I eat a little bit more if I'm hungry, but otherwise I just consider it an extra boost to my deficit for the day.

2. There's a lot of back and forth about the starvation mode theory, but the bottom line is YES you will lose weight if you burn fewer calories than you consume, which on a 1200/cal diet you are on right now you will do. Many maintainers on this forum lost a lot of weight on 1200 cal/diets. Others lost it on 1400 or 1600 diets. I can't tell you what is right for you, but weight loss is calories consumed < calories expended throughout the day. It's important regardless on whatever calorie level you're on right now that you get enough macronutrients and vitamins, so do keep that as a priority whether you're at 1200 or 1400 or 2000

Last edited by indiblue : 03-23-2011 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:59 AM   #8
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I think what scares me the most about this time dieting, is that I'm doing it the *healthy* way. Throughout my adolescence, I have crash-dieted and fasted, restricted calories ridiculously and etc. I would step on the scale every day and see it go down 2 or 3 lbs until it finally stopped after 10-15. I'm stepping on the scale every morning looking for that little bit of inspiration in the numbers and I'm just not finding it. I was 182 on Fri/Sat and I was 177 yesterday and 178 today. It's frustrating because of how much effort I'm putting into my healthy eating and exercise.

I /have/ lost weight the *healthy* way, but only once before. In 2007/2008 I lost about 40 lbs from playing the game Dance Dance Revolution. I didn't have a scale at that time, so I couldn't check my weight every day. Working out wasn't like going to the gym, it was just a game I played at the end of the day. Also, I had more money at that part of my life, so I could afford a LOT of SmartOnes and LeanCuisines. Now I'm being legitimately healthy.

I'm just scared. I don't want all of this effort to be for nothing. From what you guys are saying, I'm on the right track... I just want to make sure because I also have a goal in my life, and I really don't want to miss it...
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:16 AM   #9
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First, if you ate 1280 calories, then you ate 1280 calories! You didn't eat 700 something calories! You got the nutrients from what you ate, right? So that's what you ate.

Second, as many people have said, it's hard to know how many we burn. Those machines ARE inaccurate, and usually on the high side. Similarly, all the calculators are estimates as well. You might be able to maintain on more than 1627, especially if you consider activities levels.

But really, the important question comes back to this: if you continue to eat say 1200-1500 calories a day and exercise, will you lose weight? Yes, probably at a decent rate. What I mean by decent rate may be different than you think....

I don't know if you'll lose 30-40 pounds in 4 months. It's much harder to lose as our bodies get closer to goal, for one. A safe, sustainable weight loss is generally .5-1% of our current body weight per week. So at 170, you might lose at couple of pounds a week, but as you get closer, the rate might stay the same, but the number of pounds you're losing will go down.

Don't be discouraged, though. By July you can be well on your way to your goal weight, with a fitter healthier body!

What's the goal?
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:24 AM   #10
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I think a lot of understand wanting to see instant gratification on the scales, that totally makes sense Perhaps for motivation go to the Maintainers' forum to learn about how people who are at your goal got there. I don't think anyone on the board got to their goal wait and maintained it by crash dieting. I'm sure you know this in your head, but reminding yourself of it whenever you feel discouraged by seeing where you WILL be eventually if you stay on the right track may help. It's like trying to keep a sense of perspective, seeing the forest through the trees
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather View Post
First, if you ate 1280 calories, then you ate 1280 calories! You didn't eat 700 something calories! You got the nutrients from what you ate, right? So that's what you ate.

Second, as many people have said, it's hard to know how many we burn. Those machines ARE inaccurate, and usually on the high side. Similarly, all the calculators are estimates as well. You might be able to maintain on more than 1627, especially if you consider activities levels.

But really, the important question comes back to this: if you continue to eat say 1200-1500 calories a day and exercise, will you lose weight? Yes, probably at a decent rate. What I mean by decent rate may be different than you think....

I don't know if you'll lose 30-40 pounds in 4 months. It's much harder to lose as our bodies get closer to goal, for one. A safe, sustainable weight loss is generally .5-1% of our current body weight per week. So at 170, you might lose at couple of pounds a week, but as you get closer, the rate might stay the same, but the number of pounds you're losing will go down.

Don't be discouraged, though. By July you can be well on your way to your goal weight, with a fitter healthier body!

What's the goal?
My goal is a convention that's happening at the end of July. I want to look good because there's a particular outfit/costume I hope to fit into or at least look nice in.

The time I was speaking of, that I lost about 30 lbs, it was from December until March. That's about four months, and if I could do it then, maybe I can pull it off again! (I went from 170 to 140).

Thanks for the support!



And to indiblue, that's a great idea! I'll definitely head on over the Mainainter's forum!
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:51 AM   #12
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I just hate to see people feel like failures because they didn't meet a specific time deadline -- and it happens a lot! Let's say you've "only" lost 25 pounds by then! I hope that you'll go to the convention beaming like the sun and feeling confident at your new look, rather than upset you didn't make an arbitrary target. Focus on your behaviors that you can control, rather than the scale, which doesn't always follow along.

So, I think you should work toward a safe, sustainable loss and rock it at the con regardless.
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