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Old 07-10-2006, 09:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,166

Height: 5'5"

Default calorie intake - confused

I wasn't sure where to ask this, so forgive me if it should be elsewhere...

I am 5'5 and 260 lbs - how do I determine what my maintenance calorie intake is, and based on that - how do I figure out how many calories I should eat every day (combined with exercising about 3x/week cardio and weights) to lose an average of 1lb per week? Preferrably not less, but definitely not more than 2 lbs/week. I know that it's weight loss means taking in less calories than you put out, and in order to lose 1lb I need to have a deficit of 3500 calories - and that can be through eating, exercise, or both (I want to do both). But I'm a little stumped here: I've heard of plateaus, and I know that my maintainance calorie intake at 260 lbs is much higher than it will be at say, 200 lbs. So once I start losing weight, will I have to decrease my caloric intake according to my new BMR and whatever else is included in that?? Because I keep thinking that if that's the case, then I want to make sure I don't decrease my intake by too much too fast otherwise towards the end of my weight loss my metabolism might go at a snail-pace and I won't be able to eat enough if I want to lose weight.

Does that make any sense??? How many calories should I be consuming nowadays and at what point should I start decreasing that amount, how will I know it's time? Plus, like I said, I'm trying to aim for a 1 lb loss per week.

I've been pigging out quite a bit these last few weeks, so I've decided to start keeping track of the food I eat and count the calories - that way I can get myself up to around 3,000 if that's my BMR point, get my metabolism stabilised at that intake while exercising, and have a target to work with. But the food I consumed today minus all the junk food I would normally eat only came to 2,000 calories... so I thought to myself, I'll need to find more calorie dense foods that won't make me feel more full but just give me more calories (I don't want to feel hungry once I decrease my intake... heck no). But now I'm curious if in fact consuming that many calories will make me gain weight??

Ahh.. I'm confused and I hope none of what I wrote sounds ridiculous or far-fetched but if it does, feel free to let me know - I would appreciate it! I just want to get a good start on this and optimize what my body can do thanks!

Mini-goal 1: Reach 257lbs
Mini-goal 2: Reach 222lbs
Mini-goal 3: Reach 209lbs
Mini-goal 4: Reach 199!
Mini-goal 5: Reach 179 lbs (overweight BMI category!!)
Mini-goal 6: Reach 160lbs
Final goal: Reach 145lbs

Mini exercise goal 1: Begin running September 2012
Mini exercise goal 2: Celebrate graduation with a 5K
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:40 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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I'm biased in this "argument" so everything I say may not be accurate for you.
First off, there is nothing wrong with losing more than 1lb per week or even 2lbs per week... unless you have some medical condition and your doctor advises against it, take any amount of loss as a success.
Secondly, there is nothing that you can do to *guarantee* you will lose x amount of weight per week consistently. If you strive for a set number of lbs per week, and don't always see that loss, you might become discouraged and quit. You should weigh yourself weekly and chart your weights to keep track.
Thirdly, being obese and then losing alot of weight messes up your metabolism anyway, so don't be so scared of slowing it down. If you read in the Maintainers forum, many of them eat like they did when they were losing because their bodies cannot handle a higher caloric intake and maintain. It all has to do with the fact that the "reduced obese" do not function the same as a never obese person.
Fourth, it is not JUST calories that are important, but where your calories come from. If you are eating high carb, with little fat and little protein, I would doubt you will see much loss. Do you best to eat "clean" - get away from as much processed food as you can. Stick with lean meats, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, and lowfat dairy.

Also, your metabolism doesn't go up just because you eat more... physiologically, everyone is different, and you must experiment to find what combinations of foods and calories levels work for you that you can live with.
Most likely, if you try to use a some type of formula or calculator to figure your BMR, it will be wrong. Of course, I'm assuming that you have dieted many times before in your life - as most all of us have. Those things aren't accurate for us.
Honestly, from everything I read here, you will probably lose weight while somewhere in the range of 1200 - 2000 calories/day depending on your activity level.

BTW, since you are new... I am biased because I am on a medically supervised, liquid diet - I eat between 550-650 calories/day. I've lost 23lbs in 3 weeks... and no, I've not had to worry about my muscle because I lift often and am still increasing my weights.
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:06 PM   #3
I don't even own a wagon.
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 341

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Height: 5'11"


Then, from the calorie-counter's front (sounds like that's the plan you're favoring?)- yes, you've hit the nub of the problem, and there are several ways to attack it.

1)- some people advise that you start with a "safe" number (for most people something around 1800-2000) of cals per day and then hold that number until you see a loss level (this can take a few weeks). If the level is higher than you desire, then just increase the cals by 100/day and see how that effects everthing. If it's too low, then decrease by 100/day. Then, ongoing, you just kind of monitor how your loss is going and adjust when necessary for continued sucess. (Making sure not to go too low- lots of opinions here, but I think anything under 1500 is getting into unnecessarily hard territory.)

2)- you could also look up "daily maintenance calculator" on the net (you'll find plenty to choose from) and play with a couple until you come up with a number you feel comfortable with and use that for your starting number. Just be careful because a lot of calculators seem to over-estimate activity calories. I use them, but always choose "sedentary", ignore my non-exercise activity and add in my exercise individually. Just make sure you have an average daily deficit of 500 and again monitor how this works for you "in the real world", ready to adjust things as needed.

3)- Then there's my way. I decided that I didn't want to "diet" (bad lessons learned about dieting from watching my Mom suffer). Instead, I've just gone ahead and entered maintenance. I decided that since the recommended cal/day for a woman my height is about 2000, I'd just eat that much, make sure to get plenty of exercise, and let my body do what it will. This means that my early weight loss is faster than usual, but as I go along it will eventually slow and I will come to a balance point somewhere and (hopefully ) stop losing weight all together.

I think the main thing is monitoring and gentle adjusting (lol, in case you choose my "like it or lump it, body" approach)- just listen to your body and don't panic or get discouraged when things don't happen as you expect.

The things I believe:

Cal in < Cal out = weight loss
All foods can fit into a healthy diet, some just need to be in smaller portions.
Variety is the spice of life: eat a new dish, play a new game, or go to a new place every week.
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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Height: 5'5"


Jen gave the calorie counting basics, but there's also a lot of info on the calorie counters forum... we're under Diet Plans and get this question all the time! You'll find lots of calorie counters there!

Here we are:

My 5 C's of healthy living: Commitment to conscious control, with the understanding that choices have consequences

Last edited by Heather; 07-11-2006 at 08:47 AM.
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