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Old 12-07-2011, 05:12 AM   #1
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Question 500 1000 1200 1500 which is it?

So since ive been on a path of self-discovery lately, i have been looking at diet plans and looking at how i live my lifes no. I dont want to look at a specific plan right now, because im sensing that im getting too anxious when trying to be on a specific plan..so the plan is no plan..well..calories in vs calories out..and no gluten or wheat since im intolerant to it..and low sugar since im pre-diabetic...but other then that..calorie watching and see how it works..but im really confused..

I see some people say "oh you need a lot of calories like 2500" and others say to me "2000" and some say "1500" and some say "1200" and some diets say "500 or 600" -like IP or Medifast

So which is it? the reason i ask.. is because i came across a post by a lady on here somewhere, that said that their was new information that suggested that being on a 500 calorie diet for 4 months would be very beneficial t obese people..and well..im obese..like bmi in the 40s range...but that supposed new information contradicts traditional information saying you need 1000 minimum..and then their is the other information about "starvation mode"..this makes me even more confused..because.. i hear the term "intermitant fasting" which implies fasting one or two days a week to reduce overall calorie count for the week.. but others say.."you will go into starvation mode if your calorie count goes below 1200".

So can someone please clear this up and give me an EXACT minimum that is the lowest amount a person could go.. so im not attempting an IP diet for example and realizing im screwing my body over by not getting enough calories..OR...eating too many calories?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:32 AM   #2
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It depends on person to person. My calories vary from 800 to 1400 on somedays. No this doen't work for some people but it does work for me
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:41 AM   #3
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I know there are people on here with far more knowledge than I on this subject, but I'll jump in with what I think I know...

* The majority of experts on nutrition would agree that at less than 1200 calories a day it becomes difficult long term to get all the nutrients your body needs.

* The big problem with ultra low calorie diets is compliance. The only way to tell whether you can comply with a super-strict regime is to try it. Will you feel deprived/irritable/resentful when you're hungry all the time? If so, it will likely cause you to fail.

* I think all those programs will work - the question is how fast. If you want quick results, then you'll have to go lower calorie... how low is up to you, but most people on here use 1200 as their minimum. But not everyone (and I think not most people) can keep up that calorie level long term. You may have to try it, and adjust upwards 100 cals at a time until you hit a level that you feel you can comply with.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:27 AM   #4
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You are 6 feet tall , a very low calorie diet would not be good for you. You would not get the nutrition you need to survive. I believe that about 1200-1500 calories a day would be about right for you.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:38 AM   #5
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Woah some of these recommendations IMO are far too low!! I am 5'9 and I eat 1800 a day and lose pretty comfortably, so if you are 6 ft I really wouldn't recommend going much lower!

Remember you have to keep this weight off for the rest of your life, and is 1200 really realistic for you?
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:41 AM   #6
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If I were you, I'd just worry about eating less at this point, not extream less...just less. See how it goes...like bargoo suggests, 1200-1500 calories a day is pretty safe. In the meanwhile, contact your doctor and make an appointment to get his/her opinion or a referral to a dietitian. The most important thing is to START, and to be consistent, and to just do it...every single day.

I started out super-morbidly-obese BMI in the 50's and I ate 1200 calories most days a week, and later on (a few months down the road of 100% on plan eating), gave myself some 1500 calorie days. For me to maintain 140 I need to eat 1800-1900 calories a day.

ETA: I didn't realize you were so tall. 1500-1800 would probably be a safer bet on calories for your height.

Last edited by Lori Bell : 12-07-2011 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:42 AM   #7
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My net calories (I subtract for workouts) had been 1,400 (recommended by MyPlate) up to 2,000 and I had stalled. I dropped to 800-1,400 and have started losing quite quickly again. Your mileage may vary, everyone is different. One of the differences I noticed for me is that if I had "extra" calories in the evening I would have a drink and/or a Skinny Cow ice cream, and I have stopped doing that nightly and made it an occasional treat.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:18 AM   #8
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You're tall! You will probably need more calories than the minimum recommended for women (that 1200 number you see). 1200 calories was fine for me, but I'm 5'3"—I need to eat less in general than someone who is much taller. The average woman is 5'4" so that advice is tailored to her, not people who are much shorter or taller.

You might need to experiment and see what works for you. You don't want to feel so deprived that you're starving at the end of the day, but you don't want to eat too much that you're not creating a deficit. It takes a bit of trial and error to find a calorie count that works for you.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:29 AM   #9
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As you can see, no one knows the exact number. There isn't one.

But if you want to be both SAFE and CONSISTENT (a theme in the posts above), then I would say 1800-2000 calories to start would give you both enough calories to get in your nutrition and be sustainable. You'll be hungry at times, but it's enough to give you some wiggle room. Shoot for the low end of the calorie range per day.

If you do that CONSISTENTLY you will be likely to lose, I believe, on average a couple of pounds a week to start (based on your height, weight and age). Do that for a few weeks and see what the weight loss is like. If you aren't losing much, then you can lower the calories a little, stick with that for a while...

The key is recording everything you eat and drink, and consistency.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:21 AM   #10
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It is my personal belief that the right number is the one that you can stick with in a healthy and reasonable manner. If one struggles to stick with the 'magic' (or so it's claimed) number of 1200 then I'm not sure how an even more extreme number will help. Perhaps it is the often mistaken belief that one must fix extreme eating with extreme undereating.

I lost at around 1400-1600 calories, starting at 160lbs and continued that loss. It worked for me. Nothing extreme. And I can continue those reasonable habits through 8 years of maintenance. I personally believe that long-term maintenance involves the formation of good eating principles and sanity through maintenance requires the same.

Extreme diets, IMO, are a band aid. IMO, they base success on sticking to an extreme calorie count and not much more. One exception, IMO, is weight loss surgery - as people who go through this surgery also go through a variety of clinical interviews and seem to have emotional support through counseling to address the root reasons of the gain in the first place. It is far more complex. It is a huge misconception of obesity to assume that a magical calorie number will solve the weight problem. For most, the goal is illusive. For those who reach the goal, the challenge of maintenance is overwhelming. Maintenance, IMO, is harder than the loss process. The tools needed to 'survive' maintenance are ones that need to be developed in the weight loss process.

You can't jump into the deep end of the pool without learning to swim in the shallow end first, can you?

Yes, a lot of "IMO" (in my opinion), but I have successfully maintained for 8 years including 2 pregnancies with 40lb gains and see a lot of consistencies in maintainers from my observations.
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Last edited by sacha : 12-07-2011 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:38 AM   #11
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I agree strongly with Heather and Sacha.

A plan where you lose 4-6 pounds a month and can stick to comfortably for a year and beyond is far, far preferable to a plan where you lose 6-12 pounds a month and fall off of hard after a couple of months of misery.

So your aim here should not be to find the lowest safe number of calories you can eat, but to find the most sustainable number of calories you can eat that will help you achieve your weight loss goals in the long term.

Given your height and weight, I agree with the posters who have suggested you could comfortably eat 1800 calories a day, get enough nutrients, and see a good rate of weight loss. That's what I did in the beginning, and I started a little below your current weight (and considerably shorter). The best thing about that is, you won't find it too difficult or too restrictive, you'll be able to stick with it, and you will see results.

Once you have gotten into the habit of measuring, counting, and recording your calories, you will start to see places where you can shave calories from your plan without changing that much about how you are eating. That way as your weight comes down you will be able to adjust to a lower level without too much additional work.

Just to reiterate: I do not think your aim should be to identify the lowest calorie level that is safe, whether that's 1000 or 1200, and set your plan at that level. That kind of restriction is very difficult to sustain, especially when you are just getting started, and is more likely to lead to binging and falling off plan completely. Just pick something you can stick to and stick to it! A weight loss plan does not have to be punitive to be effective.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:43 AM   #12
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One pound is 3500 calories.

Calories needed to maintain current weight for a moderately active woman is 12 x <body weight>.

To lose one pound a week, we need a calorie deficit of 3500 calories because 3500 calories is 1 pound.

Using myself as an example:
12 x 202 = 2424 calories a day to maintain my weight at 202 pounds
2424 - 500 = 1924 calories a day to lose 1 pound a week
2424 - 1000 = 1424 calories a day to lose 2 pounds a week

This number lowers as we lose weight. When I reach my goal of 159 pounds, I will need 1908 calories to maintain.

So everyone is different based on their weight and activity level.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
is because i came across a post by a lady on here somewhere, that said that their was new information that suggested that being on a 500 calorie diet for 4 months would be very beneficial t obese people..and well..im obese..like bmi in the 40s range...but that supposed new information contradicts traditional information saying you need 1000 minimum..
I heard that years from an health podcast. It was from a Biggest Loser dietecian, but they are also being monitored. I still wouldn't recommend that for anyone. The way I see it, the lower the calories, the higher the risk of rebound and binging. I'm not on a specific plan right now. Right now I'm just doing the whole "write down what i eat, choose smarter options, and exercise." It's working but I also know about the amount of calories I'm eating pretty much. I'm not starving or anything.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:22 PM   #14
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Personally, I would skip counting calories right now and focus on creating healthy habits.

I would start by eliminating one thing this month. Say, for the month of December that you will only drink water -- no soda, no wine, no beer, no juice. See how it goes. If you're feeling crazy and really want to go hog wild, add 5 servings of vegetables/fruit a day. That means you can have 3 veggies and 2 fruits. Make sure you get those every day. Do not count calories.

Then, in January, try something else. You only drink water, eat your 5 servings a day of veggies, AND you don't eat dessert, except for 1 dessert on weekends. See how that goes.

Then, in February, you add something else. You only drink water, you eat your veggies, you don't eat desserts, AND you exercise 3 times a week for one hour. See how that goes.

Eventually, you can start keeping track of how many calories you're eating if you're not losing weight. You're starting at 301 lbs. That means that to maintain 301 lbs, without any exercise or movement (bed-ridden), you need to be eating at least 2200/day, probably more, since you aren't bed-ridden.

Once you start keeping track of your calories, just reduce them by 500. If you're eating 2700 calories every day, then just eat 2200. See how that goes. Then reduce it by 100 calories (that's a piece of plain bread depending on the size/type). Then reduce it by another 100.

But I really recommend the healthy habits first, because you need to focus on eating healthy, nutrient rich food, in order to limit your calorie intake, imo.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:37 PM   #15
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Here's a handy-dandy calorie calculator -just plug in your info & go.

http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
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