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Old 07-30-2004, 01:40 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,123


There are a lot of things to analyze here. You need some hard numbers and facts, then you can see where you stand and what to do.

First of all, it's important to know where you really are and what you are really shooting for. You say you are 5'10" and weigh 190, and need to lose 30 or 40 pounds. That may or may not be true, because what determines health and size is not just WEIGHT, but body composition. Have you had your body fat tested? You may find that you have a lot more lean weight than the average person of your height and weight. For example, I'm 5'9" and weigh 195. Because I have a lot of lean body weight, I need only lose 15 more pounds to get to 22% body fat, which is a perfectly acceptable number for a woman my age. If I were to lose 30 pounds, I'd be UNDERweight to the point of having my periods stop, probably. So, get a reliable, professional body fat analysis and forget the BMI numbers and height-weight charts.

Second, you don't say how much exercise you are currently doing. However, according to a metabolic calculator, your expected Basal Metabolic Rate (for your height, weight, gender, age) is 1740. This means that, if you were to do nothing but sleep for 24 hours, your body would need 1740 just to maintain. That is IF your metabolism were normal. Any activity on top of that -- just living, plus any formal exercise -- adds caloric needs. So, assuming you just do light exercise a few times per week, your ACTIVE metabolic rate is 2300. If you are still a serious exerciser, your AMR would shoot up to over 2600.

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit -- burn more calories than you take in. The usual recommendation for slow (that is to say, safe and sane and long-lasting) weight loss is to create a deficit of 500 calories per day through a combination of reduced intake and increased activity. HOWEVER, you never ever ever want to drop your total intake below your BMR. By eating only 1500 per day, you are shorting your body 240 calories per day. Do that for very long and your body starts to think there's not going to be enough food in the future, so it starts lowering your metabolism. This is called starvation mode. It also starts PRESERVING fat and BURNING muscle, which makes your body composition WORSE than it was to start with, and which also further lowers your metabolism.

So, to me, the answer is that you have damaged your metabolism and actually need to eat MORE. Gradually add more food to your day, perhaps 100 more calories a day for a week, then the next week another 100, and so on. While you do this your weight may stay stable or you may even gain a bit. But that's OK, you are healing your body and encouraging it to run at a normal rate rather than an energy-saving rate. If I were you, I'd aim for gradually working up to maybe 1800 per day. (If you are exercising more than 30 minutes a few times per week, you will probably need more.) Stay there for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Other things you can do to boost your metabolism (as already suggested) is to eat throughout the day. Experts recommend 4 to 6 small meals rather than 3. For example, I have about a 300-350 calorie breakfast, 100-calorie morning snack, 400-500 calorie lunch, 100-200 afternoon snack, then the rest at dinner. If you're used to eating most of your food in the late afternoon/evening, then switching like this may actually make you HUNGRIER for a while. But, that's a good sign that your metabolism is revving up, so just hang in.

You might want to get your metabolism tested to see where you really stand with that, as well. You can go to and see what facilities in your area offer the BodyGem or MedGym test, which is easy and quick and costs less than $100.
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