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TOPIC: How many calories should I be eating?

 
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July 8, 2012 4:55 PM
So I'm currently eating 1200 a day to lose 2 pounds a week. I heard that you shouldn't eat below your BMR, and mine is 1433. Should I be eating that many calories a day, and will I still lose weight? If so, should I eat that many and exercise, and still eat back the calories I burn off from exercising, or no? Or should I be eating a calorie amount that is totally different than this? I'm 5'8" and weigh 124 and I want to get to about 113 lbs. All of the calorie calculators confuse me since it tells me something different on each one pretty much. I just want a straight forward answer about how many calories I should be eating a day so that I lose weight in a healthy way.
July 8, 2012 4:59 PM
How often do you exercise per week?
July 8, 2012 5:00 PM
Given you are aiming to be so underweight for your height, I doubt you will get many people willing to advise you on how to lose weight.
July 8, 2012 5:08 PM
I don't think you need to lose any weight at all. I'm 5'2, and I weighed 120 in high school and I was a size 4. You being 5'8 and only weighing 124 seems like you need to put weight ON.

However, I would like the answer to this question: according to the calorie calculators I need 2470 calories to maintain my weight. That sounds terribly high, and it doesn't make sense to me. (I currently weight 190. Yeah, I gained a lot of weight since high school, but that's why I'm on here now.) I generally eat under 1200 calories, and exercise 6 days out of 7. I've been "dieting" for the past YEAR and haven't lost one damn pound. Can anybody offer me some advice or tell me what I'm doing wrong?
July 8, 2012 5:11 PM
I just noticed your the same person who asked earlier about eating back exercise calories. I saw your exercise in that thread. I agree with graelwyn that your target weight is underweight for your height. However, I have a feeling that's not what you are wanting to hear. So, I will give you my best advice on where your calories should be.

With moderate exercise at 3-5 times per week, your TDEE is 2159. If you take a 20% deficit from that, you would eat 1727 calories per day. This would put you at losing about .49 lbs/wk. Given that your exercise is factored into this calculation, you would not eat back exercise calories. This is what you are looking for.

The advice you may not be looking for is that you should probably be eating at maintenance, 2159/day, and incorporate a good heavy lifting program into your workouts. It would be good to pay close attention to macros, carbs/protein/fat and put those at a ratio of 40/30/30. Ratios aren't really the answer, but MFP settings only let you put in the percentages.
Edited by IronPlayground On July 8, 2012 5:12 PM
July 8, 2012 5:15 PM
QUOTE:

I don't think you need to lose any weight at all. I'm 5'2, and I weighed 120 in high school and I was a size 4. You being 5'8 and only weighing 124 seems like you need to put weight ON.

However, I would like the answer to this question: according to the calorie calculators I need 2470 calories to maintain my weight. That sounds terribly high, and it doesn't make sense to me. (I currently weight 190. Yeah, I gained a lot of weight since high school, but that's why I'm on here now.) I generally eat under 1200 calories, and exercise 6 days out of 7. I've been "dieting" for the past YEAR and haven't lost one damn pound. Can anybody offer me some advice or tell me what I'm doing wrong?


You aren't losing because you aren't fueling your body. You have to EAT, and eat back at least half of the exercise calories. Your body is in survival mode because you don't eat enough to sustain any weight loss.
  3132416
July 8, 2012 5:19 PM
You really shouldn't be aiming to cut weight but rather cut body fat. And at this rate, you are already close to underweight according to standards. The biggest thing that will help you cut fat is strength training and a proper diet. As stated above, you should be aiming around 1800 calories a day if you workout around 5 days a week. Unfortunately, in order to cut weight, you will need to lose muscle which will make it harder to give you the defined look (aka cutting excess fat). So if you want a lean/tight body, you need ST.
July 8, 2012 5:19 PM
The calculators are confusing, but you should not be eating less than your BMR. You burn that many calories sleeping. If you stick to that you will be eating at a deficit with the activity that you do each day.

I agree with several others, that you don't seem to need to loose weight. Be careful not to go into starvation mode and mess up your metabolism. You metabolism will drop to match the calories you are eating then if you do eat, you will gain fast.
  1145659
July 8, 2012 5:58 PM
Yes, I realize that the weight I want to be sounds very low for my height, but just keep in mind that I'm VERY small boned and I know that's still a healthy weight for me.. I weighed about that much 2 years ago, while eating whatever I wanted, but then my metabolism got slower I suppose and I gained weight. I would look obese at the average weight for my height which I believe is around 140. I need to lose about 10 - 12 lbs so that I can build muscle and get toned without having fat covering it. Because even at the weight I am at now, I still have a lot of excessive fat that I need to lose so that I can build muscle and looked toned otherwise if I tried to build muscle and get toned without losing weight now I would just look bigger.



QUOTE:

You really shouldn't be aiming to cut weight but rather cut body fat. And at this rate, you are already close to underweight according to standards. The biggest thing that will help you cut fat is strength training and a proper diet. As stated above, you should be aiming around 1800 calories a day if you workout around 5 days a week. Unfortunately, in order to cut weight, you will need to lose muscle which will make it harder to give you the defined look (aka cutting excess fat). So if you want a lean/tight body, you need ST.

This is exactly what I am trying to achieve. I just want to cut body fat so I can build muscle and get toned without looking bigger, so I suppose I don't really need to focus on getting to a specific weight, but I need to lose at least 10 lbs of body fat so I can get toned without looking bigger. So if I eat 1800 calories a day, I will still lose body fat? Should I eat strictly 1800 calories a day without consuming the calories I burn from exercise?

To be more specific I am currently doing about 3 hours of exercise a day on average.. sometimes more. I go to the gym everyday for about an hour and a half or two on average, and I do cardio and weight lifting. I also do the brazilian butt lift workout everyday which is 30 minutes - an hour and 30 minutes long.
July 8, 2012 6:06 PM
I think a better measure for you, at this point, would be to take measurements and calculate your body fat percentage. You should start lifting heavy now.

At 1800 calories, you wouldn't need to eat back your exercise calories unless your net is below your BMR. Then, you would eat back to that level or a few hundred over.

Just remember, the real advice here is to not worry about losing weight and focus on body fat%. Lose the scale and embrace the tape measure. Eat at maintenance and lift heavy ass weights relative to your capabilities.
Edited by IronPlayground On July 8, 2012 6:08 PM
July 8, 2012 6:10 PM
3 hours of exercise per day sounds compulsive, especially when paired with your quest for such a low weight. Is that a lifestyle you can maintain long-term? If not, I wouldn't be doing that as a means to losing, because when you stop, you'll notice changes you don't like, I think. I posted a few days ago about a plateau I was in and was able to break through it already but changing from cardio to strength training and I actually UPped my calories. I think you need to reevaluate, honestly.
July 8, 2012 6:13 PM
5'8 and 124....

i'd say you aren't losing because you SHOULDN'T....healthier range for your height would be 135-150 i would say....

my goal is 125 lbs and im 5'4.... if you arent happy with your body at that weight then i would say what you need to do it focus on eating more (around 1800) and WEIGHT TRAIN!! lift HEAVY 4-5 days a week and do minimal cardio..

:) good luck
July 8, 2012 6:20 PM
QUOTE:

3 hours of exercise per day sounds compulsive, especially when paired with your quest for such a low weight. Is that a lifestyle you can maintain long-term? If not, I wouldn't be doing that as a means to losing, because when you stop, you'll notice changes you don't like, I think. I posted a few days ago about a plateau I was in and was able to break through it already but changing from cardio to strength training and I actually UPped my calories. I think you need to reevaluate, honestly.


Actually I have been exercising for that much everyday even when I wasn't trying to lose weight, but I just didn't have a good diet before and I didn't restrict my calories. I plan on having a good healthy diet from now on, but I don't plan on restricting my calories forever, just until I lose the body fat that i want to lose but I plan on maintaining a healthy diet still.

QUOTE:

I think a better measure for you, at this point, would be to take measurements and calculate your body fat percentage. You should start lifting heavy now.

At 1800 calories, you wouldn't need to eat back your exercise calories unless your net is below your BMR. Then, you would eat back to that level or a few hundred over.

Just remember, the real advice here is to not worry about losing weight and focus on body fat%. Lose the scale and embrace the tape measure. Eat at maintenance and lift heavy ass weights relative to your capabilities.

That does really sound like a better approach for me. So just simply lifting weights will cut down on my body fat percentage, and I shouldn't focus on cardio?
July 8, 2012 6:35 PM
QUOTE:

That does really sound like a better approach for me. So just simply lifting weights will cut down on my body fat percentage, and I shouldn't focus on cardio?


Yes, I would take a look at a few things for strength training. New Rules of Lifting for Women, Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5x5. Eat at 1800 calories for now without eating back exercise.

Just a word of warning. You will probably see a gain the first few weeks if you decide to shift to this plan. This isn't fat being gained, it's water from your body adjusting to eating at higher levels. However, as I said before, start taking measurements and don't worry about what you weigh.
July 8, 2012 6:37 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I don't think you need to lose any weight at all. I'm 5'2, and I weighed 120 in high school and I was a size 4. You being 5'8 and only weighing 124 seems like you need to put weight ON.

However, I would like the answer to this question: according to the calorie calculators I need 2470 calories to maintain my weight. That sounds terribly high, and it doesn't make sense to me. (I currently weight 190. Yeah, I gained a lot of weight since high school, but that's why I'm on here now.) I generally eat under 1200 calories, and exercise 6 days out of 7. I've been "dieting" for the past YEAR and haven't lost one damn pound. Can anybody offer me some advice or tell me what I'm doing wrong?


You aren't losing because you aren't fueling your body. You have to EAT, and eat back at least half of the exercise calories. Your body is in survival mode because you don't eat enough to sustain any weight loss.


I'm not eating enough? I struggle to get the 1200 calories as is! Lol Ok, so if I burn off 600 calories, I need to eat back at least 300 of that, plus the 1200? This is so confusing for me. Thank you for answering my questions.
July 8, 2012 6:44 PM
QUOTE:

I'm not eating enough? I struggle to get the 1200 calories as is! Lol Ok, so if I burn off 600 calories, I need to eat back at least 300 of that, plus the 1200? This is so confusing for me. Thank you for answering my questions.


Yes! If your goal is 1200 and you burn 600, then, based on MFP guidelines, you would eat 1800 for the day. Depending on your settings, 1 lb/wk or 2 lbs/wk, you would still be at a 500 or 1000 calorie deficit if you ate 1800 calories.
Edited by IronPlayground On July 8, 2012 6:44 PM
July 9, 2012 6:47 PM
In response to your small boned comment. You have to be careful about weight loss. When you lose weight, you also lose lean bosy mass. Lean body mass is muscle, tissue, bone mass, etc (everything not fat). So while you might think that weighing less is better, the fact will be you will have less lbm than someone 4-6" smaller than you. The less lbm you have, the harder it will be to get definition.

Now, you are exercising too much. That 1800 calories is if you workout for an hour a day for 5-6 days whcih is optimal. Also, you dont want to mix cardio and weight training as your body will not repair itself properly as your body will fight for resources with each other. Also, you can over train your body which makes it harder to lose fat. Additionally, of you are looking to gain muscle so you can have a tighter body, then you will be eating at a surplus, around 2800 calories, and you will gain weight. You cant gain muscle with out gaining weight. Now if you really want to cut fat, the really cut down on the cardio. Cardio makes it harder to cut fat. So then you should do 4 days of weight training, 1-2 days of hiit.

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