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Is a calorie deficit bad for someone who is already skinny?

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  • Is a calorie deficit bad for someone who is already skinny?

    First let me say hello everyone, My name is Tom. I'm just starting out the primal diet, spurred out of my growing interest in nutrition and finding the best dietary practices, which has grown gradually over the last couple years.

    I am 6'2 165lb but really lean, around 8% body fat, been the same weight for years and as a kid i used to eat massive amounts of garbage and never got fat.

    I have an active job in a warehouse where I do low level work all day, on my feet the whole time and lifting boxes. Today after work I walked for an hour and did some sets of sprints up a hill in the primal spirit. Normally I like to ride my bike for an hour hard every week and usually don't exercise after work because its late and I don't feel like doing much(I like to log 50-60 hours a week at work). I'm pretty conditioned from the sporadic aerobic workouts I do and have a good muscle tone, however.

    How many calories would you expect someone like me to burn in a day where I have a workout in addition to a workday. I plugged my numbers into fitday and it came up with 2802 calories with a 4201 calories burn. I feel like this amount of calories is pretty typical of my average day.

    Would a daily calories deficit affect someone who has nothing to lose and always seems to stay in the same weight range?

    One of my longer-term goals is to put on ~10lbs of lean body mass but I'm trying to get a feel for how much food that would take on a daily basis. -Tom

  • #2
    Do you know how much you are eating each day?
    "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln


    • #3
      Around that 2800 area


      • #4
        Are you using Fitday to track your caloric burn? Because it is WILDLY inaccurate. I recommend you find out what your TDEE is using this:

        IF Calculator

        Also, factor in that people are typically one "multiplier" lower in activity than they think they are.

        That being said, if you are already lean, there's no reason for your to be tracking your calories. It's just a snapshot at a point in time and means very little tracking a single day here and there. For it to mean anything, you have to track nearly every day for weeks or months, and trust me, you DO NOT want to start going down that road. You also can't plug in things like "1 apple." You have to weigh things by grams or you could be off by ~25%. You will drive yourself insane doing that crap.

        My suggestion is to ignore calories and just eat based on hunger and need. Try and minimize snacking - you're far better off eating 2 very large meals than eating 5-6 small meals. I prefer to eat twice a day - once around 1pm and once around 9pm. But that's what works for me. Find out what works for you. Chances are, just eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full will be enough to work on you. The only way I'd make changes is if I started piling on body fat. Chances are with your build, even if you gain weight, it'll be mostly muscle...which brings me to my final point: scales are terrible. If you want to track your body comp, ignore the scale and get a tape measure. Don't be alarmed if you start tacking on weight. Chances are you'll be eating more protein on this lifestyle, so that'll mean more muscle mass in general.
        Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 06-11-2012, 08:11 PM.
        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.


        • #5
          Thanks for the reply! The TDEE is right at 2884 on that site which seems normal. I like the idea of eating large meals. Recently I've only been eating a couple cups of fresh fruit they have at work because nothing else in the cafe seems to be edible now and I'm not one for packing lunches. Eating a big meal after work is pretty typical for me but then I start grazing on snacks all night. Maybe ill eat a large breakfast and get 2 balanced meals in a day.


          • #6
            Given my TDEE is around 2400, given you have 7" and 20 lbs on me, that sounds pretty spot on.

            I personally find I function best not eating breakfast at all, eating a modest lunch, then eating a very large meal. I find my head is clearest at work in the morning on no food, I start getting hungry 12:00-1:00pm, which I have a modest low-carb meal to maintain alertness at work, then I have a larger, more carb-heavy meal close to bed. This prevents late night snacking and the carbs before bed help me sleep.

            Experiment. See how you feel eating a big breakfast, skipping lunch and a large dinner. Try skipping breakfast totally and eat a big lunch and a really big dinner. Or, try eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are even some people out there that do 24 hour fasts every day and eat one HUGE meal every day (for you it would be on the order of a 3,000 calorie meal!!!). Self-experimentation is key. The way this lifestyle will work is if you make it sustainable to your schedule. There's no "right way" to eat and the best way is what works for you. The only thing I'm truly grazing. I believe it to be unnatural and unhealthy due to chronically elevated blood glucose and insulin (even if you don't eat carbs, protein will still do this). Infrequent but very large meals and drinking lots of water throughout the day help prevent this for me.
            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.


            • #7
              That's a good idea eating before bed. Thanks for the advice I'll keep experimenting to see what works best for me.


              • #8
                I'm a lot like ChocoTaco.

                I tend not to have breakfasts (unless I happen to wake up hungry), and then I usually eat around 11. This is because I usually start teaching at 12, and barely have time to eat until 3/4, and I can't wait that long. So, I force myself to eat around 11. Breakfast is usually 2-3 eggs plus either veggies or an apple (these days, 2-3 hard boiled eggs and an apple).

                Then, I usually have a snack around 4. That's usually an orange, sometimes some nuts (not many, I'm not a fan).

                Then, I have dinner around 8 -- this is a normal, big meal. Yesterday I had fish, broccoli, and sweet potato. Tonight, I think we are having steak and BAS. I go to bed around 10, wake up at 7.

                It works well for me, but everyone is different. I eat about 1600-1800 cals a day (female, 35, 128-ish lbs, 18-19% body fat, five ft 7 in).


                • #9
                  Just make sure you have some quality high-carb refeed/splurge days if you feel yourself becoming a little too run down.