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How many calories a day do you average?

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Old 01-14-2004, 03:56 AM   #1
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Default How many calories a day do you average?

I'm curious. I just started the Cambridge Diet and I get flack when I mention it about how unhealthy low calorie dieting is. Well, what about after WLS? You all don't eat much, right? And removing the weight with a low calorie diet with or without surgery is better than being obese, right? How many calories a day DO you average after WLS? Thanks and best wishes to you all.
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:47 PM   #2
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Gee, KimmyKat, I really don't know how many calories I eat each day. I am pretty sure it is under 1000. I'm not familiar with the Cambridge Diet...gee...there IS one I haven't tried. I do know that during my dieting career before WLS that very low calorie diets would always back fire on me. To be specific, I could go weeks on one, lose nicely and at some point I would just have to let lose and gain it all back.

Good Luck to you KimmyKat. Let us know how things go for you!

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Old 01-14-2004, 09:38 PM   #3
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Iíve been interested in that question too, ever since my plastic surgeon showed me a copy of the diet that one of our hospitals gives out to their WLS patients (my PS works with a lot of WLS patients due to skin issues so heís very familiar with the surgery and follow-up care). What intrigued me is that the diet looked a lot like how I eat and Iíve been curious ever since about the commonality of what/how much I eat (as a ďreduced obeseĒ ó isn't that a hideous term?) and what/how much a WLS patient eats.

This diet broke the day into five small sized meals, with an emphasis on protein (looked like about 100g/day?). I think it was 1200 calories a day ó is that high?

I typically eat 1200-1500 calories/day, in five or six equal meals, roughly 50% protein (about 150g/day), 25% complex carbs, 25% good fats, and as little sugar as possible (no milk, very little fruit etc) and still track everything in Fitday (after 2.5 years!).

So Ö if any of you lovely WLS ladies keep track of calories and such, Iíd love to know what you typically eat!

PS ó Peach ó if I couldnít eat a meal every three hours, Iíd gnaw my arm off, so I totally understand about losing your mind on low-cals.
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Old 01-15-2004, 12:22 AM   #4
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at first, it's about 400-500 calories a day. that's why the protein is emphasized so much at first. and then as we tolerate food better and have more variety, the calorie intake goes up.

i've heard that we kind of 'balance out' at roughly 1600-1800 per day, depending on exercise patterns and basal metabolic rate.

one thing to remember, though, is that we don't absorb all the calories we eat [watch it, peachi!!! don't get too excited!!!] because of the intestinal bypass part. we run at about a 30% deficit at first. not exactly sure what happens after a couple of years, though, but we DO absorb more calories over time, although still not 100% of them.

this is why the vitamin supplements are so essential. and it's for life.
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:16 PM   #5
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I just got back from my appointment with the surgeon who will do my Lap Band surgery. Interestingly enough, this is one of the questions I asked. I was also concerned with the whole "starvation-mode" thing. Lap Band patients don't have the malabsorption issues, we just can't (hopefully!) get too much food down. Anyway, my calorie counts after surgery will be between 800 and 1200 calories, according to the nurse. It will probably go up some as I get closer to goal. I was told that we don't go into "starvation mode" (metabolism shutting down and hanging on to every ounce it can) because when the stomach pouch that's created by the band is full it sends a message to the body that the stomach is full and getting plenty of food. Kind of like organic email I guess.

Later Gators,
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Old 01-26-2004, 04:49 PM   #6
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I have a question and I hope that someone may have the answer: if one does not have a thyroid problem, exercises a reasonable amount daily and as unthinkable as it may seem, does not lose wt. on 800-1200 cals a day, on a low carb, low fat diet, what is the next step?
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Old 01-26-2004, 05:09 PM   #7
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Hi Stilltrying! This may seem crazy to you, but the next step is to eat MORE! When your calories are too low, your body can go into "starvation mode" -- it thinks you're starving and shuts down fat loss as a means of self-preservation. There's lots you can read about it and it actually happened to me when I was losing -- I tried going really low-cal (same range as you) and stalled completely.

Especially if you're exercising, you need to feed your body healthy, muscle-building foods. You need to eat to lose weight. Sounds like you're on the right track with what you're eating in your diet, so maybe try raising your calories a bit (so long as they're all "clean" calories -- what body builders call healthy, unprocessed foods).

I don't know how much you weigh now, but I started out at 257 pounds and 1600 calories a day. As I got smaller, I slowly had to lower the calories but never went below 1200 (except for that one disastrous attempt!).

Good luck and let us know what happens!
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:25 PM   #8
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Meg, thank you so much for responding. I've seen your posts and been extremely impressed.

Here is my problem: there was a time when I could lose a reasonable amount of wt. on about 1800 calories. I was low carbing but NOT including unnecessary fats. I still have a good muscle base due to competitive swimming and a pretty active lifestyle (not to mention adhd...). I've struggled with my wt. from about the age of 16, when I stopped swimming for 4-5 hrs/day, 5-7 days a week. Generally speaking though, I could weigh about 140-180# after that period and not draw too much attention to myself or feel uncomfortable. I'm about 5'6''.

Just as I hit my 40's, I had two bouts with metatarsal breaks that rendered me pretty inactive, not to mention depressed! When I started to get back to my routine, I had reached 227#. I did some "faux WLS" eating and lost about 20# or so. At that point I decided to try Atkins, which had worked for me in the 70's, for a whopping 10 pounds or so that I had to lose when I was 16. Atkins worked for me AT FIRST. Eventually, it stopped working and if I was extremely diligent I could maintain. I decided to move to a lower calorie program, still low carbing and gradually started to GAIN, slowly. In the last two years I managed to gain all the way up to 250, making more of an effort than I ever had! I will admit to going pretty crazy on special occasions, on which the gain was not only enormous but completely incompatible with the intake of calories I had consumed.

Last year, at the age of 45 I started my menopause and that's when even 800 cal diets did no more than help to maintain my wt. The only reason I write this thesis is so that you can see that I have tried the higher calorie, low carbing, lots of fruits and vegetables routine and this is where I've arrived.

I have no idea if this makes a difference but the issue with the calories is a complex and longstanding one for me. I have accepted the fact that THEORETICALLY one needs X amount to gain, maintain or lose. I am not certain, however, how that fits in with different individual systems. I grew up in Europe and although calories and wt. were not an issue for us, athletes, in the 1960's and early 70's, looking back, I don't think I was eating more than 1200-1500 calories a day and you already know about the practice sessions. The National team had to undergo biannual medical exams that took an entire DAY! We were checked form top to bottom, including Psy. evals. Except for mild scoliosis, there was never a problem with my health or nutrition.

Currently, with the low calorie program I am following, I lose wt. but slower than others. That is fine, I'm looking to lose ANY wt., not do it on a particular schedule. Currently I weigh 222# and have seen my MD who wishes that I could lose in a different way because she feels badly for me, but also knows what I've TRIED to accomplish for the last 6 years, without success. I've undergone a bone density test (fine), my BP has always been low and continues to be so and my CBC is also fine. I will continue to keep track of these things in order to be sure that I don't make any long term mistakes. Short of WLS, though, I honestly don't know how else to reduce my wt. I am particularly lucky not to have developed any medical symptoms as a result of all this extra wt., but now that I am in menopause, any number of things can change and based on my fam. history, they may! My cholesterol might go up and so might my blood pressure. I am at a crossroads in my life; either I do it now, or I continue to gain wt. and have absolutely no choice but pursue the surgical intervention route.

Sorry this is so long and Jiffy, you are welcome to delete the whole uninteresting saga. I just wanted to give you a sense, Meg, that although I agree with you completely about other approaches, I truly have tried them. They did not do anything but bring me to my current state. I DO, so appreciate your response, your interest and your empathy. Again, congratulations on your own remarkable achievement; it is truly admirable! Who knows, maybe in a couple of years, after this menopausal period has run its course, I can maintain my wt. by following a diet that is much more in line with that practiced by others. It most certainly would be my preference, it always has.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:38 PM   #9
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stilltryiing... i'm not sure i can help much. i also have struggled with that 'i'm eating nothing and gaining weight' problem [see my sig? the fact that i gained weight on an 800 calorie diet? my PCP was convinced that people were smuggling food to me in the hospital, but the dietician finally talked her into prescribing a diuretic.. and i started losing.. but i digress]

and i also have been baffled by the 'calories in/calories out' equation. my BMR has been measured as 1900 calories,. and that's at rest!!! given that i do at least 500 calories of cardio per day, plus weight workouts, i should be LOSING if i ate about 2000 calories per day. and i don't. i don't eat 2000 per day, and i don't lose. and i'm not sure i can physically eat that much!

but for you, well. hmm,. you're not 'surgically altered' so in theory at least, daily cardio plus regular weights SHOULD help move the weight off. and maybe with some extra calories???

Meg is my idol in that department... maybe a couple of weeks of her ideas would be worth a try. but from what i've been hearing recently, exercise alone won't help weight loss, and neither will calorie restriction. but together, it seems to work better.

could you be our experiment????
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Keeping it off is a hundred decisions a day that help you maintain what you achieved. And that's the hard part. - L Sanders

start: 506 [Sept 2001]
weight at gastric bypass [Jan 29, 2002]: 409
current weight: 225
weight for plastic surgery: 200
final goal: 180

Posts by members, moderators and admins are not medical advice. See your physician before taking advice found on the internet.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:51 PM   #10
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Stilltrying (and boy do you live up to your name! ) I have lots of thoughts whirling around in my head after reading your post but unfortunately don't have the time to put them together in any kind of semi-coherent post until later. Could you be patient with me and I'll be back?

And, my dear stilltrying, your post is not an uninteresting saga at all. It's your story and my story and Jif's story and so many others -- see, the beauty of a place like 3FC is finding out that we're not weird or strange or alone after all. For so many of us, there's no one in our Real Lives who understands what we struggle with every day. Someone's going to read your post and see themselves in it and maybe get some ideas or inspiration or some kind of ah-ha moment.

Later, chickie!
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Old 01-26-2004, 07:11 PM   #11
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Thank you Jiffy, for your post and for sending Meg my way (I'm assuming)

Yes indeed, this is a conundrum. I am desperately hoping that during my wt. loss period, whatever process my system undergoes that allows menopause to wreck me so, will subside and I will be able to make some changes. This is the least fun I've ever had with food and I miss the times out with my DH. All joking aside about sugar laden desserts, you would not believe how little of that I do at this point. Hmmmm, that's probably why I talk about it so much. Notice how I don't say a WORD about fruits and vegetables?

I can certainly relate to your frustration in regard to suspicions others had about you having food smuggled. I think it is for this reason that I am so dejected: there are few people who can imagine and/or accept the fact that one can have such an experience (i.e. not losing), NOT have hypothyroid and yet not be the cause of the problem in some manner.

I am so glad that you found a solution that works for you.
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Old 01-26-2004, 07:30 PM   #12
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Thank you Meg You are very kind and I appreciate that. Just as you said, I will wait. After all, there is no place for me to go but ahead. I will be very interested to hear of your ideas and will reject none.

It is generous of you to consider my difficult case and to ponder upon some effective intervention. As for my story, I suppose I only find it of interest in context. It is somewhat out of caracter fro me to delve into such detail but since I'm also somewhat defensive about the manner in which I am handling this situation, I thought some of it might be relevant.

I do agree with you though, I think that the support you all offer to the other chickies is often the one necessary ingredient in this recipe for success. Luckily, dh and those around me have always offered that, so at least I have not felt as isolated in my current situations as I might have felt otherwise. No saboteurs, no pushers, no ridiculers (I know that's not a word, I just like to play with language, since I can no longer play with food), no overly interested parties that makes it seem like it is THEIR investment; just there, how and when I need them. I am grateful for them and for all of you.
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Old 01-26-2004, 10:09 PM   #13
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i don't have anything to add...I just want to thank you guys for sharing your "stuff"!

that whole food smuggling thing REALLY ticked me off. I had blocked it out.

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Old 01-27-2004, 12:27 AM   #14
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yeah... but it was fun overhearing the little tiny blond PCP and the little tiny asian dietician going at it in the nurses' station!!!! a bright spot in my otherwise dreary existence at that point!!!
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Keeping it off is a hundred decisions a day that help you maintain what you achieved. And that's the hard part. - L Sanders

start: 506 [Sept 2001]
weight at gastric bypass [Jan 29, 2002]: 409
current weight: 225
weight for plastic surgery: 200
final goal: 180

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Old 01-27-2004, 09:05 AM   #15
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Iím back, stilltrying, and trying to pull my thoughts together for you.

Let me start off by saying that Iím not a weight loss expert and, though I like reading and learning about weight loss and calories etc, all I really know for sure is what works (and doesnít work) for me. And Iím convinced thatís going to be different for every one of us. In the Ladies Who Lift forum, we talk a lot about how weíre each our own "laboratory of one" where we experiment with different food and exercise plans to see what works for each of us as individuals. Iím positive that there isnít any Magic Weight Loss Plan that works for everyone, all the time. Lifeís not that easy, huh? Of course, a lot of our ultimate success is the dedication and commitment that we bring to whatever plan that we do -- we all have to do that.

Anyway, with all that being said, let me tell you a bit what worked for me. Keep in mind that Iíve been overweight for just about my entire life and was (am?) a professional dieter. I can restrict my calories like nobodyís business, but after dropping 20 or 30 pounds, would get sick of being on a diet. Bored? Lose motivation? Whatever Ö and Iíd put it all back on with bonus pounds. I yo-yoíed all through the 200s for several decades. What finally changed? For me, the key to successfully losing (and keeping off the weight) was exercise. And I hated to exercise! I canít emphasize enough how much exercise was not part of my life. Get out your thesaurus and look up all the synonyms for hate: loathe, despise, detest ó that was me.

OK, so itís June 1, 2001 and my daughter is home from college for the summer and wants to join a gym. I go along with her and God knows why, I join a gym with her on the spur of the moment. I guess I thought itís something I felt like I should do, like eating Brussels sprouts. I just about had a panic attack when I walked in there ó it was SO not me! To make a long story short, I realized that I was clueless and signed up with a personal trainer and he changed my life ó rocked my world ó turned me upside down. And showed me how to lose weight for the last time.

What he explained to me is that there are three parts to successful weight loss. First, the nutrition. Second, cardio exercise to burn calories. Third, weightlifting to build muscle. All three parts are essential ó it wonít work with only one or two. On the nutrition: I started off at around 1600 calories and ended at about 1200. About 50% lean protein, 25% complex carbs, 25% good fats. No sugar, as little processed food as possible. For cardio: I worked up to an hour a day on the elliptical (and this is intense, sweaty cardio, not reading a magazine and talking to your friend cardio). And weightlifting: to build muscle and raise my (very sluggish) metabolism (and get nice arms, but that's a bonus ) Hereís a great thread that talks about the benefits of building muscle while we lose fat: Why do some people just shrink? And it worked for me. I lost 132 pounds of fat and added 10 pounds of muscle in a little less than a year and Iíve kept it off for 20 months now by doing exactly the same things that I did to lose the weight in the first place.

Exercise has gone from being a detested chore to being a integral part of my life. Sure, I like the way I look now, but more important is how I feel. I have so much energy and love feeling strong. Itís so novel to have a body that works the way itís supposed to. I spent so many years hiding from my body and having it be a cumbersome burden to cart around with me. Now itís lean and strong and that makes it fun to run around and take the trash out and do all the ordinary things in life. I know itís exercise that got me here and I wouldn't trade this for all the chocolate chip cookies in the world.

So thatís my long winded story about what worked for me. If youíre not asleep yet, a few things jump out at me from your post that I want to comment on.

First, you say that you are losing, though slowly. It seems to me thatís a good thing ó regardless of how fast it comes off, the really important thing is that itís off forever. I spent way too many years losing and regaining the same stupid pounds, over and over again. If you lose a pound and itís really gone forever, it doesnít really matter how long it takes, does it? Of course, easier said than done ó weíre all impatient Ö myself included.

Itís also a good thing to focus on measures of progress other than the scale, especially your body fat %. If youíre building muscle while you're losing fat, the scale could stay the same while your body composition is changing. Other ways to measure progress are by how your clothes fit and inches lost.

Are you exercising ó if so, what kind? Like I talked about, building some muscle can boost your metabolism and get the weight loss moving again. Cardio will burn off calories. I think it would be really hard to create enough of a calorie deficit to lose weight without doing intense daily exercise.

Do you track what you eat every day ó like writing it down or using Fitday.com? I have to, otherwise I would grossly underestimate how much I eat. I still weigh and measure everything that I put in my mouth because I know myself too well. You know, that amazing expandable tablespoon of peanut butter when youíre hungry and have a jar of PB in front of you ...

Menopause ó Iím there too (Iím 49 and hypothyroid, to boot). All I can say is that I think we can overcome it. We just may need to fight a little harder.

You made a comment about ďfun with foodďó we have a discussion going in the Maintainers Forum about losing food as our best friend that you might be interested in: Non-Food Comforts And Rewards

Bottom line: I canít tell whatís going to work for you, but I do believe that you can lose weight ó even if itís slow ó and keep it off. My thoughts are to weigh and measure what you eat (being brutally honest with yourself), write it down so you can see calories and the ratios of protein, fats and carbs, incorporate lots of exercise into your daily life, and monitor your progress and tweak your plan accordingly. You may already know and be doing all of these things already and then Iíd say ó be patient, my dear! Give it a little more time before you throw in the towel. Maybe try something new ó shake it up ó hit the gym hard. And please keep me posted on how youíre doing ó I really care.
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