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DCHound 01-09-2009 02:14 PM

Calorie Question
I know, I know, we're counting carbs not calories. :smug:

But, last week I joined livestrong dot com just for the heck of it, and started inputting my daily food to get the calorie counts. Wow! According to them my daily calorie consumption is way too low for my height and weight. It says I should be having 2,560 calories a day and on a typical day I have 900 - 1,200 or so. Really, I'm not sure how to incorporate any more calories without adding carbs, which I refuse to do. I eat three solid meals a day, sometimes four.

Does anyone else have this "problem"? Everything I eat is totally healthy. I haven't cheated since day one. I eat my veggies, avoid processed meat, no splenda or anything sweet-tasting at all, healthy fats only . . . no caffeine . . . I feel great. But am I unintentionally sabotaging myself by keeping my calorie count this low?

I am losing fairly fast [to date, 85 lbs in 4 1/2 months] but when I did Atkins in 2003 I was losing much faster than this. I also had a higher carb count back then with more food options, but the downside was, I also struggled with horrible carb cravings, which I do not have this go-round. My typical daily carb count is around 15 (I have a lot to lose so I am on extended induction.)

I guess I have two questions:

1) should I worry about this and try to eat more, or just not worry about it?

2) how do I incorporate more calories into my eating plan without adding carbs? I just don't think I can eat more meat than I already am . . . any ideas?

Or am I just being totally stupid about this?

kaplods 01-09-2009 02:22 PM

I find that those calculators vastly overestimate my metabolism. When I was younger, and much smaller, they seemed fairly accurate (I could follow them and lose weight), but the more I weighed and the older I got, the more "off" they were.

900 to 1200 calories, especially on only 15 carbs seems to be unusually low. Extended induction has the highest rate of the "bad" effects that are always blamed on low carb in general. I would consider adding more carbs, especially from vegetables and berries. I've mostly read that 20 carbs seems to be about the minimum one should attempt, because on anything lower than that, you're not getting in enough veggies (and the antioxidants and other micronutrients in veggies are very important for overall health, and can't be supplied adequately in supplements).

Overall, I think the best way for the average person to estimate their metabolism is by trial and error. How much weight are you losing, how do you feel overall and how hungry are you?

If you're starving all of the time, you probably need to eat more (if not more calories, at least more volume).

If you're feeling weak and exhausted, you might need more calories, or more nutrients.

If you're losing very rapidly, you might be cutting back too much - and on the other hand if you're not feeling starved, weak, or exhausted, you could be fine - just try not to use it as an excuse to ignore feeling weak or starved.

DCHound 01-09-2009 02:30 PM

Thanks! No I am almost never hungry at all. I have tons of energy and I feel great. I just averaged up how fast I've been losing and it's about 3.86 lbs a week (taking into account, my mean is a bit skewed as I lost 20.5 lbs the first two weeks and also had a six-week stall about six weeks into it).

So, I think that means, as long as I feel good, then I guess I don't need to make any changes . . . ?

kaplods 01-09-2009 02:38 PM

Probably, but I would still consider using 20g as your minimum, not 15. One of the side effects that some people report at carb levels at or below induction level, is euphoria, because their body is making alot of endorphins (which can be a signal of injury, damage, or the body not working entirely right). The body doesn't usually produce those levels of endorphins when the body isn't reacting to some actual or perceived damage (You do hear of the runners' high, but the endorphins are created in response to minor injuries the athletic activity is doing to the muscles, as your body reacts to small injuries to muscle by building more muscle - so in a sense athletes are trying to damage muscle - slightly - in order to build more).

Most of the research that condemns low carb were studying long term induction levels or lower - that is lower than 20g, so I would be cautious about going below 20 without doctor's supervision, but I admit I might be overly cautious in this regard.

DCHound 01-09-2009 03:35 PM

Wow that is good to know, thanks. I guess I would say I feel normal rather than euphoric - but, I am going to try adding maybe another cup of lettuce or half-cup of green beans for the next week and see what happens.

sweetshauna 01-09-2009 06:38 PM

You can also add some calorie-dense Atkins compliant foods, like LEAN meats. So for example if you were to add a 6oz piece of grilled chicken breast (thats roughly the size you would find in a chicken breast sandwich) to both lunch and dinner, you just upped your daily caloric intake by 561cals, and you're still good for your carb count. If you were to "bread" one of those chicken pieces with parmesan cheese & fry it in olive oil, that would probably add over 200 extra calories on top of the 561.

I calorie cycle, and I use meats, eggs, cheeses, mayo & olive oil to vary my caloric intake from day to day- so my carb count typically stays within a 19-22g/ day range, but my calories range from 1200- 1600/ day.

DCHound 01-10-2009 12:16 PM

Oh wow, that is really smart, thanks. The "fried" chicken sounds really good; I'm going to try it. OK off to Costco for a bag of frozen chicken planks!

mariamherrera 01-11-2009 02:16 AM

I've done atkins before and now I'm solely calorie counting - and "watching" my carbs... And it's been working better for me then when I only counted carbs- I used to feel so dizzy on atkins and get horrible cravings- the great thing about calorie counting is you still get to eat all the foods you love just in in more moderate healthy versions! for some one trying to lose weight you should eat about 1400-1600 calories a day- if you are eating less then that it is dangerous.. and you are nutritionally starving yourself. I'd go talk to a doctor or nutritionist fro sure to find out what's healthy for you- but you definitely need to up the cals girlfriend! Good luck!

ale2121 01-19-2009 07:14 PM

i'm also eating relatively low calories. about 20 carbs per day and about 800 - 1000 calories. honestly, the low carbs helps kill cravings, but the low calories is what seems to actually make the weight come off. Nothing else really works for me, and I feel fine. I say if you don't feel sick or sluggish it's ok.

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