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Old 03-26-2010, 04:23 PM   #1  
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Question target calories per day

Hi - I am at the beginning of my weight loss journey and new to this forum. I met with a nutritionist who recommended that I eat 1800 calories/day (for now, at least). Eating this much, I still usually have a deficit between 700-900, according to fitday (and including some exercise). However, it seems a lot of people on these forums aim for somewhere between 1400-1600, or even down to 1200. How did you choose your target calories/day?
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:32 PM   #2  
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I used For your weight 1800 would be a good starting point. The higher you can start and still lose the better. This will allow you room to drop your cals later if you plateau and as your body mass decreases (you require less cals the smaller you are). For reference I having good success at about 1650 cals a day. I'm losing 1-4 lbs a week. I'm also very active though.
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:37 PM   #3  
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First, I want to say, please stick with what your nutritionist suggested for a while (like, multiple months). For your weight, that is a reasonable starting point.

People pick their target calories a lot of different ways. It depends on how much they weigh when they start, how fast they intend on losing the weight, how much they know about nutrition, and how much hearsay/BS they believe from reading about weight-loss on the web.

The best way (other than a professional dietician) is probably to use one of the online tools suck as caloriesperhour, dailyplate, fitday, or the sparkpeople program (these can all be googled for url's). These websites take into account your current weight, fitness level, and some sort of weight loss goal, usually between 0.5-2 lbs a week.

The calorie range of 1400-1600 is moderate to low. People that are closer to goal (maybe within 20lb of the healthy range as an estimate), or less active at higher weights (maybe up to 200) would find this a decent range

The calorie level of 1200 (or under) is, too me, dangerous to many of the folk's to try it because it is verylittle food. For someone who is within the normal weight range and losing primarily by diet rather than diet and exercise, fine. For anyone above the normal weight range, and ESPECIALLY anyone in the obese category, I say this is NOT ENOUGH.

Please don't let yourself be influenced by this diet forum more than your nutritionist. It is true that not all nutritionists are the best, but really, they are the professionals, and we are a bunch of overweight women (and some men) who did it wrong in the first place and are learning. If what your nutritionist tells you feels wrong, question it, but not until it feels wrong.
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:52 PM   #4  
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Welcome to 3fc.

I think 1800 calories a day is a great starting point. Try is for a few weeks or so and then if you are too hungry bump it up a little. If you come to a point where you are not losing anything then you can go down to 1700 calories a day and reevaluate (then 1600, etc.).

Good luck! You can do it!
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:19 PM   #5  
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I eat in a range of 1200-1500. I honestly do not consider that to be very little food - I eat a lot of veggies and they give me lots of food volume for not too many calories. I also eat lean protein, whole grains, low fat dairy and healthy fats, and I eat until I am satisfied and never let myself go hungry. So I think that the specific food you eat plays a big role and honestly, if I were to bump my calories up to 1800 a day, those extras would be coming from foods I don't really need to eat - sweets and more traditional snack foods like pretzels or chips. I do not need larger portions of my regular food to be satieted or to meet my nutritional requirements.

However, having said that, I do agree to listen to your nutritionist and see how it goes. You may do fine at that level - so much depends on your age, activity level and personal metabolism. At the same starting weight as you, I needed to be lower than 1800 in order to lose. But you may not have to - a lot of people on these forums use the saying that "we are all an experiment of one" meaning that you have to do trial and error to find the right combo of food and activity that fits your metabolism and lifestyle.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:11 PM   #6  
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I eat until I am satisfied with the a calorie range of 1500 to 2000. The closer I get to 2000 the slower my weight loss. Over the week my averages usually run in the 1500's.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:18 PM   #7  
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I took an average of the results of sites that calculate resting metabolic rate. That was 1550. I have kost weight since then, and as I progressed I found that 1550 was now a maintenance level. Now I am losing slowly at 1300calories.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:02 PM   #8  
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I'm actually at 2000 --- I don't plan on switching to 1800 until I hit 200 lbs.

People are all different. I'm content with -500 calories. It isn't super speedy, but I find it more comfortable to manage and give that I'm in the 100+ club, I'll be at it a while and I prefer the journey not to be evil.


Last edited by astrophe; 03-26-2010 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:16 PM   #9  
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With the level of activity that I do, my maintenance calories are in the range of 2500 to 3000. I vary my calorie intake based on my activity for the day; shooting for an average daily deficit of 750 to 800 calories in FitDay. So my calories can range from 1500 to 2300. I settled on this just a couple weeks ago, after doing an analysis of the period of time last year when I was losing well and consistently, and that's what was working for me then.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:15 PM   #10  
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I aim for 1800, but usually end up most days around 1600, which allows for those few days around 2000. I find I get too hungry under 1500, and I feel too stuffed above 2000 anymore.
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:53 AM   #11  
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For me when I first started I cut myself back to 2000 calories a day for about 3 weeks, then I gradually sliced off 100 calories at a time. I currently eat between 1400 and 1500 a day. I felt like if I went down too low too fast I would fail. So I think you nutritionist is putting you on the right track.
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:17 PM   #12  
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Thanks everyone! I finally saw some movement on the scale this morning so I think 1800 is at least a little below maintenance for me - and since you guys are right, my nutritionist surely knows what she is talking about, I will stick with it. I have no idea how many calories I was eating before I started the plan but it was probably close to 3000- so this is definitely a major change!
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:01 PM   #13  
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I usually eat between 1750-2000 a day, based on what my burn is according to my Go Wear Fit. I aim for a 1000 cal deficit a day, some days lower/higher than others. Over a weeks time I usually average 1000-1200 cal deficit a day. I have been losing between 1-3# a week for 3 months now.
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:50 AM   #14  
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All good advice here. I read once that you should eat 12 cals per lb of body weight (Calorie Queens) So if your goal weight is 145, then your calories to maintain that would be 1740, so I'd say you are right on track. Now every one is different with different metabolisms and activity levels, so there is no one size fits all answer. But I would definitely say stick with 1800 and see if it works before going lower. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint!
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:33 AM   #15  
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I started at 2200 or so, and then cut back gradually. At one point, I was down to 1300, but I drifted back up to 1500 and found I lost the exact same amount, so I've stayed here for months (since around Christmas, I think).

One huge advantage to starting high is that it gives you time to get used to this major lifestyle change--the planning, the cooking, the weighing and measuring, the record keeping, the exercise, and most importantly, all the new foods--trying new foods and recipes. This is a huge overhaul--it's like moving, or getting married, or starting a new job in an entirely new field. It takes creativity, enthusiasm, and time. It's much, much better to go through all of that without facing Demon Hunger, not to mention all the panicky emotional stuff that a lot of overweight people have associated with Demon Hunger.

2200 calories/day to start gave me several weeks to learn about my new life: what foods kept me full, and what left me hungry, what foods I liked, and what I didn't, how to handle myself when eating out, and how to handle myself with my friends and family. It let "recording calories" become an iron clad habit. I am SO GLAD I took the time to do those things before I started worrying about the size of my deficit. It was probably my single best decision on this trip.
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