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Are calories calculators wrong? I need to maintain & not keep losing weight!

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Old 11-29-2011, 11:08 AM   #1
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Question Are calories calculators wrong? I need to maintain & not keep losing weight!

Okay, so this should be a dream to someone trying to lose weight, but I no longer want to lose weight! I started 46 lbs heavier and am below my target weight, but even when eating at what my calculated daily calories are, I am losing-albeit slowly at about 1 lb per month.

At 125 lbs I should be eating about 1300-1400 calories to maintain according to some calorie calculators, but I eat as much as 1500 calories most days and on others as much as 1700. I eat :
breakfast (300-400 calories, same breakfast for a year),
lunch (400-500 calories),
dinner (400-700) calories
snack (1/4 or 1/2 cup ice cream in a cone at nights) in addition to a fruit here and there and a treat like peanut brittle or some chips

I was stuck at about 150 lbs for over 4 months and then I was stuck at 140 for another 6 weeks, but since then I have slowly but surely burned off the weight. I started losing weight Feb 2010@ 172lbs and now 22 months later I am down 46lbs. I am no longer exercising as I have connective tissue issue and fibromyalgia and I simply hurt too much. My doc says neither of the two medical issues or my meds can cause weight loss. More so, I am not very active more than to go to the store and cook dinner- otherwise I am in front of a computer.

I go to the doctor at least 3 times a year, most recently 2 months ago and I have had a full checkup with blood tests earlier this year. I am not diabetic and not showing signs of such (apart from losing weight! ). My thyroid tests have always been okay.

So my question is, could it be that my metabolism is to "blame" for how my weight loss is continuing? Can't believe after 20+months I am asking but how many calories should I be taking in to maintain 125/126 lbs?

Even my primary care and rheumatologist want to know. Any ideas?
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:16 AM   #2
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There is no calculator in the world that will give you the exact number of calories you should eat. It's always going to be a bit of trial and error.

Right now, you're eating X number of calories, and losing weight, so you need to eat more calories in order to not lose weight. I'd add 100 cals a day and see what happens. If you maintain, you've found your number. If you gain, drop it back by 50. If you continue losing, add another 100. Repeat until you've found the right range for your unique body.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:17 AM   #3
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While I'm sure that maintenance takes some trial and error, could it be possible that you're calculating the calories you eat wrong? Perhaps you're overestimating your consumption.

I'm close to my goal and trying to figure out maintenance too. It seems that weight loss is so much easier than maintenance.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:50 AM   #4
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Default Maybe I AM calculating incorrectly!

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Originally Posted by sontaikle View Post
While I'm sure that maintenance takes some trial and error, could it be possible that you're calculating the calories you eat wrong? Perhaps you're overestimating your consumption.

I'm close to my goal and trying to figure out maintenance too. It seems that weight loss is so much easier than maintenance.
It is HARDER for me to figure out maintenance!. It was easier losing weight. I am eating more food now, but maybe I am overestimating. It is just that I pick much more than before when I had strict meal plans.

Argh..of all the things to be moaning about after all this time - the fight with finding the right calorie count for the body
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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I think I'm going through something similar. I increased my calories at the beginning of October because I was satisfied with how I looked. I've definitely lost some weight since them (I can tell by the fit of my clothes). I suppose it's just trial and error. It is frustrating, but quite honestly, I'll take this type of frustration any day over the opposite problem (i.e., not being able to eat as many calories as I think I can).
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:02 PM   #6
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You are confusing BMR and maintenance calories.

BMR = sitting in bed without moving (1300ish calories at that size - I believe when I was around 123lbs at 5'5, it was around 1285 calories for me).

Maintenance = BMR + what you burn in a day through normal activity, ie. walking to your car, & intentional physical activity, ie. going for a jog

At 1300-1500 calories, you will still keep losing! You are looking at around 1800-1950 for actual maintenance calories (somehwere around that, haven't done the exact math)
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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It's entirely possible that the fibro is causing weight loss. I'm more familiar with CFIDS/ME, but there is huge overlap between that and fibro and they are probably subsets of the same condition. CFIDS is notorious for causing weight loss problems: some people balloon (the majority, it seems) while others can't keep the weight on. The people whose weight is entirely unaffected are in the minority, as far as we can tell. Bear in mind that both fibro and CFIDS are appallingly under-researched, the vast majority of doctors know next to nothing about them, and even the good doctors don't know enough.

Anyway, there's a simple way to sort out the calorie problem. Ignore online calorie calculators, you've evidently learned as much as you can from them and they're no longer being useful. Keep recording your calories, increase them by say 100cal/day, and see what that does to your weight. I'd suggest keeping a log of both your calorie intake and your weight, so that if it does turn out to be caused by a medical problem, you've got proof to show the doctors.
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:40 PM   #8
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Ditto what Sacha said. It is pretty amazing how much you can consume, even weighing inthe 120s! If you are active and eating good foods, you could eat in the 1800 range.

I am STRUGGLING with this same concept, though. How on earth do you figure out what to eat at maintenance? And it really is just trial and error. SO far..I'm still in the error-part! LOL I have a hrd time seeing myself as an athlete now, so I convince myself that 1800-2000 is just TOO MUCH. But I amstill (very slowly) losing weight and inches and I don't always have enough energy to work out as much as I would like.

I think it is just so tricky mentally to have restricted to lose weight, so the concept of eating more is like, "Whoa! I'm going to gain it all back!" One thing that does help my silly brain is to be aware of eating slightly less on lazy days and slightly more on workout days.
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:56 PM   #9
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Where did calorie calculators came from? They are estimates based off of studies where men and women of varying sizes were hooked up to machines and their BMR was measured.

If you read these studies - or just look at the data - you will find that people are all over the place. Most people fall within a certain range and it is fairly linear based on height and weight. However, there are a decent percentage of people who are outside that range and some which are true outliers.

Having said that - I would assume it would take more than 1300 calories to maintain your weight.

It is surprising that 1500-1700 causes you to continue losing but still relatively normal in particular since you have no idea how much of your weight loss is just water dropping off vs fat loss vs muscle loss.

If 2000 calories causes continued weight loss I would be concerned that something was wrong.
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:38 AM   #10
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Thanks all..I am trying to increase my caloric intake for that day. I am however loathe to undo the discipline that I have developed in eating within my normal caloric range. Furthermore, my stomach is so used to less food, that is a challenge to eat more. I am going to start with 100 calories and work my way up, checking weight every two weeks and see how that goes.

Boy- work to lose weight and now work to maintain weight. Sheesh!
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:53 AM   #11
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On the other hand, working to maintain weight is a lot less grief than constantly losing and regaining and losing, eh?

I'd give the extra 100cal longer than two weeks. Your rate of loss indicates that you are pretty much dead on 100cal short, so it should work, but as these are subtle changes and the body does not lose or gain the exact same amount every day, it may take longer to settle down. Or did you mean that you'd weigh yourself every two weeks? Again, with slow changes it can be harder to see exactly what's happening if you don't weigh yourself as often. Weekly may be better.

100cal shouldn't be that hard to add, it's really not much. A banana extra, a couple of little oatcakes, a few extra spoonfuls, or a slight change in ingredients would do it. I'm looking forward to maintenance as I'll be able to eat a bit more, but I realise that it really is only a bit more.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:50 PM   #12
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You haven't told us anything about your exercise. Eating 1300 -1700 cals would easily have me losing weight given my exercise program, I know I weigh more, but it's very possible you're still not eating enough. Just keep adding slowly until the scale ticks up a bit then back off. Maintenance is a lot of work to figure out.
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