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Optimal calorie range for 5ft 8inch semi-active female

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  • Optimal calorie range for 5ft 8inch semi-active female

    Hi,

    So fitday says 2,200 calories and since starting it I noticed two things:

    1) It is very difficult for me to get to 2,000 while primal (that happened a few times on "binge" days)
    2) My eating range seems to be at around 1,600-1,800.

    Is that too much? Too little? I have never counted calories before and am very unfamiliar with the process.

    Should I even be thinking about this? I would like to decrease my body fat percentage.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Just because a chart says that's what you burn, that doesn't make it so. I'd focus on what your body is doing. I certainly wouldn't push myself to eat more. If your body feels sated, then that's plenty. If you don't lose fat, then it may be time to tighten up further.

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    • #3
      Don't stress out over it. I use trackers to measure nutrients and macro ratios, but calorie counting is unnecessary and those counters (let alone estimates of what you actually eat) are often inaccurate. Listen to your body first.

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      • #4
        I'd skip on all counting, weighing and measuring. Eat 2-3 meals a day as much as you need to feel full and make sure you cut out snacking. And ditch the scale or peek once a week, tops.

        Good luck.

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        • #5
          I don't understand how people eat so little, actually! I've seen many people comment that they can't eat 2000 calories a day on primal living, but I haven't had that problem. I come from a background of counting calories for years, but am trying to get away from it. Still, I know about how much I eat and it is definitely 2000 at least per day. And I am 5'4" 108 lbs... so I can't imagine that you should worry that you are eating too much.

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          • #6
            1600-1800 could be ideal, it could be too much, and it could be too little. Really, it depends on how long you've been at this level of calories, your size & activity level, and what movement on the scale (if any) you have seen in either direction.

            Not enough calories can be just as detrimental to fat loss as too many, and is something to watch for, especially when making radical changes to your diet. (I had a hellofa time consciously adding fats at first, even though I'd cut back fatty prepared foods)

            Eat too few calories for too long and eventually your body can slow metabolic processes down to the point where its adjusted to only burning that limited amount your eating. Your "diet" caloric intake becomes your new maintenance intake, and weight maintains, only now your burning that many calories less.
            If that wasn't enough, then you'll get someone saying..."if your not losing you must eat too much" and you cut back another 15-20%
            Rinse & Repeat for months, years, etc...
            Eventually you could end up at what BMR & calorie burn calculators might show is a +1k daily deficit, yet not losing the ~2lb weekly such a deficit should lead to.

            Finding the sweet spot for you is key, and "eat until satiated" simply can lead to too much or too little food for some people depending both on their body and what they're eating
            Last edited by Fury; 10-07-2011, 03:03 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by scotchncoffee View Post
              Don't stress out over it. I use trackers to measure nutrients and macro ratios, but calorie counting is unnecessary and those counters (let alone estimates of what you actually eat) are often inaccurate. Listen to your body first.
              +1

              I use paleotrack.com because I like knowing my nutrients, protein/carb intake, and n6 to n3 omega ratio. But I don't pay much attention to the calories. Carbs are what's important when trying to lose body fat.

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              • #8
                If you're trying to lose body fat, then don't worry about running a bit of a deficit. Those numbers are all pretty approximate anyway.

                Start lifting heavy 3 times a week and you'll have no trouble eating the extra calories. (One thing people don't tell you about hitting the gym - if you work out hard, you will be hungry All. The. Time.)

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                • #9
                  Wow...thank you for the responses! I am considering lifting a few times a week. I did p90x for three weeks in the beginning of the summer and eventually stopped because I was constantly tired (chronic cardio hah). So fortunately, I do know a little bit of what to do.

                  I am moderately active. Although I have a "desk" job, I work in a research hospital and often climb stairs, walk back and fourth frequently between recruiting patients in clinic (on my feet the entire time), the desk and meetings. Plus, I occasionally lift heavy children (the research occurs in a pediatric ward) about twice a week.

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                  • #10
                    That is impressive. If I have been eating at 1600-1800 for awhile now without losing the desired body fat, then perhaps I should try increasing? I have tried decreasing and it never works. Infact, it makes me feel terrible! The only exception is intermittent fasting which occurrs after a binge day and my body simply will not accept food until well after 24 hours from the last meal.

                    Originally posted by Buoy1 View Post
                    I don't understand how people eat so little, actually! I've seen many people comment that they can't eat 2000 calories a day on primal living, but I haven't had that problem. I come from a background of counting calories for years, but am trying to get away from it. Still, I know about how much I eat and it is definitely 2000 at least per day. And I am 5'4" 108 lbs... so I can't imagine that you should worry that you are eating too much.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Legbiter View Post
                      I'd skip on all counting, weighing and measuring. Eat 2-3 meals a day as much as you need to feel full and make sure you cut out snacking. And ditch the scale or peek once a week, tops.

                      Good luck.
                      Thank you! Legbiter is a very funny name. How did you come up with it? (I am going off topic here right now, apologies)

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                      • #12
                        It is so hard to gauge how much is right for you... I guess you could play around with it and see what happens. Eat a little more and see how that goes? I don't know. It kind of freaks me out because either I eat more than many people on here or else I'm just more accurately counting! I don't know. It kind of makes me nervous that I'll gain weight, but if I do I guess I could just cut back! On that note, are you sure you need to lose any more?

                        You could also modify your ratios some... cut down carbs and see if that helps?

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                        • #13
                          For about a week since posting the original post, I was eating 2,000 calories a day and my weight stayed the same! I am not hoping that moderate restriction will help me with losing the last bit of body fat.

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                          • #14
                            Remember that while counting calories can be useful, every body is different, and changes over time as well.
                            Lifting Journal

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                            • #15
                              Not everyone here is so vehemently anti-calorie counting or using a scale. Just wanted to make it clear that these are matters of personal preference, not Primal dogma. You do what feels right for you.

                              As to optimal calories. The BMR table calculations are done with carb burning metabolisms in mind. Once your body is adapted to burning fat instead of carbs/sugar, you can be perfectly fine on a much lower number of calories than would be possible say on a CW Weight Watchers plan. This is because your fat burning body is making up for the calories it needs by taking them out of storage on your thighs.

                              Go with a number for a while and then re-evaluate based on the results.

                              Welcome.
                              Last edited by Paleobird; 10-31-2011, 01:11 PM.

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