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Possibly eating enough calories

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Old 05-09-2010, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default Possibly eating enough calories

Hi! I am newly registered here and just had to ask a quick question that's been on my mind for a while before I go. I was lurking a lot last night and couldn't find this answered before so I am sorry if this is the wrong forum or already answered recently.

Ok so my calorie intake goal daily is between 1300 and 1400 healthy calories. A lot of what I eat are foods that are particularly rich in fiber, whole grains and protein (lots of sandwiches). It keeps me pretty full for a while and I find that once I hit 1000 or 1100 calories I just don't want anymore and am forcing myself to eat more just to get at 1200. I don't want to eat junk food just for a quick boost to 1200... I feel I eat a good amount of food but it just happens to be low in fat and calories.

Now my question is if I am satisfied and full throughout the day (believe me, before I started this diet I never thought that'd be possible) but only consumed 1000 or 1100 calories for the whole day, is that necessarily a BAD idea? Calories matter more than being full? Is it still too low? Should I try to fit more calories in during the day?
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:53 AM   #2
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Here's my experience, for what it's worth. Any my mom put me on many low and very low calorie diets throughout my youth.

After a while you don't feel "hungry" on 900-1000 calories--no stomach pangs, no cravings.

This doesn't mean you aren't hungry. Hunger on that sort of diet switches over to being tired, to having no attention span, to being forgetful, to being cranky and rude and impatient, to insomnia. It doesn't feel like hunger so you don't recognize what it is, but the very low calories are affecting you.

The thing about this sort of hunger is that when you snap, you snap for good. You wake up one day and say "I can't do this anymore" and go back to your old ways, when what you should do is have an extra chicken breast. But you don't think it's the hunger that you can't do--you think it's the lifestyle. You don't know how hungry you are.

Super-low calorie diets are also a reflection of a bad thought pattern, IMHO. They are "What's the least food I can eat?" They imply that food and eating are bad things, necessary evils that need to be resisted as much as possible. This is the sort of diet where you start low and push yourself to go lower, to find the lowest level you can stand. It leads to the sort of hunger I talk about before, and to a constant low-level hum of guilt (and the temptation of guilty pleasure) around all food.

But food, healthy food, is good. It's important. It's pleasurable. A much better approach is "What's the most I can eat and still lose weight at the rate I want?" On this sort of diet you start medium, and if you are losing at the rate you want, you slowly add calories to see what you can get away with eating while still losing at the rate you want. I lose the same at 1300 and 1500. Finding that out adds SO MUCH PLEASURE to my life, and it's pleasure that isn't hurting me at all.

So I'd suggest you eat a little more, probably more protein. Add a bowl of cottage cheese with cinnamon and sweetener. I'd track your weight loss, and your mood. Don't try to find out what you can endure, try to find out what you can get away with.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:14 PM   #3
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I'm in the same shoes as you are and at a much higher weight. Because of the amount of vegetables and fruit I eat and how carefully I cook, portion, and select my food I'm averaging at 1,100 calories a day. I'm eating very healthy food and am completely satisfied. But as well with my office job and classes my lifestyle is fairly sedentary.

It would be really easy for us to up our caloric intact healthfully with unsaturated fat. Throw olive oil in our cooking or canola oil mayo on our sandwiches. Fat adds up quickly!

Many people say that if you eat too little you can gain weight. That isn't actually the case. But it is possible to slow your progress by slowing down your metabolism with too low of calories. Where does that happen? That is under debate even in the scientific community. The fact is it is different for every person. 1,200 calories comes up a lot but I believe that is because nutritionist say that it is near impossible to get all the nutrients you should have if you are eating less than 1,200 a day. It is true that the less calories we eat the more we should be concerned about eating nutrient packed foods.


Some studies have shown that an individuals metabolism doesn't slow until they start consuming about 50% less calories than what their body is burning. You can -estimate- how much your total burn is through BMR calculators that include activity level. ( BMR / RMR Calculator ) Note these do not take into your body composition! If you have more muscle and less fat than average you will burn more therefore the calorie intake should be higher. As well, studies show that the lower in body fat you are the more likely you will slow your metabolism by eating too little calories.

We want to create deficit but one that definitely doesn't go below 50% of what we burn in a day and for nutrition reasons we should be making sure we are getting what our body needs. Many health experts say that we shouldn't try to lose less than 2 pounds a week. Theoretically you can get a two pound a week loss by creating a deficit of 1,000 calories a day.

There are also claims that if you are eating low calories consistently (the same every day) your body can get used to it and your metabolism slows. All of these extra fat stores are an insurance policy just in case a famine happens and our bodies really aren't interested in us losing them. They see the extra fat as a good thing! Some people will stagger their calories on a specific plan for this reason. (For instance: Mon: 1,200 Tues: 1,400 Wed: 1,200 Thur: 1,600, etc.) I don't do that but I do have a higher calorie (1,600 - 1,800) day every week to remind my body that there is no famine and it doesn't have to hold on to this extra fat.

I wish I had a simple answer for you, but I don't. Most people have different answers on this topic and I'm certainly not in the majority. I also will not advocate eating calories under 1,200 (even if most days I end up doing so). The bottom line is that we need to find that path that is best and healthiest for our own bodies.

Good luck! The important thing is that you keep taking care of your body no matter what you do.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:19 PM   #4
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exactly what the previous poster said.

I went through a loss of appetite phase when I was lowering my kcals and I decided that, even though my appetite was gone, I would eat things to provide my body as much healthy nutrition as i could whilst still maintaining my loss!
You're going to be thankful that you did if it makes your plan long-term sustainable.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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Based on what you've written about eating sandwiches, you are on a high carb, very low fat diet. I tried doing that about 15 years ago when that diet was all the rage and I got brutal food cravings and ended up gaining weight because I had uncontrollable binges on fruit and flour.

Eating too many carbs and too little protein and fat might work for some people but nowadays I don't think anybody endorses those diets anymore.

Get your nutrition in as best you can and it will probably come out to 1,200 calories minimum. Shaving off 100 calories to lose more weight might backfire on you.

One tablespoon of olive oil a day or a portion of avocado a day is a healthy fat that will get you in caloric range & give you the fat you need.

Personally, I have grown to love having fat in my diet. It increases my satiety and keeps me healthy.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:06 PM   #6
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Cool, I wasn't sure what the answer was.. Thank you!
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:16 PM   #7
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I agree with Motivated Chickie completely. If you're having trouble getting to your calorie allotment, it's a sign you need more fat in your diet. This is a good thing! Fat is not the enemy - it's a nutrient your body needs just like all the other nutrients you dutifully consume. Don't be afraid of fats from natural food sources. Adding fat to your diet doesn't have to mean opening the door to trigger foods.

Add some olive oil or avocado to your salads. Switch from "lowfat" cheese to real cheese. Switch from "nonfat" yogurt to "lowfat" yogurt. These things taste better anyhow and are closer to actual food (in the Michael Pollan sense) than their lower-calorie substitutes.
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