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  • Caloric intake to lose 1 lb a week seems low, thoughts?

    I just finished reading Primal Blueprint and I am really excited to embrace the primal life. I am currently on Ideal Protein, but do not think this is a sustainable way to live. I did it for 4 mos this winter and lost 20lbs (went from 140-120), but I put back on 10 lbs when I went off of it, mostly from drinking and not knowing what to eat and how to eat with normal non-packaged foods.

    So I went back on Ideal Protein (Our Doctor Derived Weight Loss Program Provides You with a Diet that Really Works) for September and I am getting very lame results, basically none. I want to change to primal eating, but I the calorie intake is still really low and I feel like without the weekly check in I get at the center I may over do it.

    My body fat % is around 23%, I calculated my caloric intake assuming it was 25% because I know the scale is not that accurate.

    This is the breakdown:
    BMR: 655 + (567.3) + (24.8) - (164.5) = 1082.3
    BMR + Activity: 1082.3 x1.375 = 1488 calories/day for me.
    Subtracting 500 a day for the 3500 calorie deficit equals a total of 988 calories a day to lose 1 lb a week
    Protein: 68 grams 273 cals
    Carbs: 50 grams 200 cals
    Fat: 73.5 grams 515 cals

    My question to you is does that seem really low? Do you think I could get away with more calories in fat or protein and keep the carbs low. Maybe I just need to play with it, but I thought you may have some thoughts. I am lifting 1-2 times a week and walking about 25-40 mins a day (to and from work). I am sprinting about every 10 days. Tending towards the lower side of those ranges as I am eating so little right now.

    I'd be really excited to hear any insight you might have. Or maybe there is a person who is similar to me that you can point me to. I am 35, 5'3", big skier, desk job, 130 lbs, Body fat % about 23%.

    Feel free to share this out with a reply, I just couldn't figure out how to post a new thread!

    THANKS!!

  • #2
    Yeah, life sucks when you are on the low end of the spectrum. My maintenance at my activity level is ~ 1600 cals a day, so to lose 1 lb a week I get to eat 1,100 cals a day, which is under the BMR of 1280. Not gonna happen. So, I shoot for 0.5 lbs a week. Well, not so much as shoot, as hope.
    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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    • #3
      I'm pretty sure 988 calories a day would actually be starvation. That's way, way too low. Remember that your body will fight back and down-regulate your metabolism if you starve yourself. One thing to keep in mind is that a good percentage of body fat for a woman is 20, although some people can reach 15 no problem. You might be very close to your ideal weight, so losing will be harder.

      I just googled it, 2000 calories is about the average of what people eat. Even assuming that's a bit high, I think 988 is very low.
      Out of context quote for the day:

      Clearly Gorbag is so awesome he should be cloned, reproducing in the normal manner would only dilute his awesomeness. - Urban Forager

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      • #4
        Yes, the "average person" is 150 lbs and 5'5" or 5'4". The OP is both lighter and shorter, that cuts down his/her BMR drammatically. I am 5'6" and my BMR is some 1270 cals - basically leaving me with no room for cutting calories if I did not train. Even when training, I do not get much room. Like I said, life sucks when you are on the lower end.
        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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        • #5
          That is way too low. I am around your size and I can't imagine eating that little daily. It's not just burn 500 calories a day, lose 1 pound a week anyway. Your body metabolism is complex and will adjust itself to burn fewer calories for energy if it suspects it is getting fewer calories than it needs and similarly will burn a little more if it is getting an excess. Your body is excellent at keeping itself at an equilibrium, which is why it's so hard to lose weight.
          F 28/5'4/100 lbs

          "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by magpieoz View Post
            5'3", big skier, desk job, 130 lbs,
            My wife is 5'2" and 126lbs. She looks good to me. Were it me, I'd go for muscle tone and see if the shape looks right as I don't think a couple of pounds is anything to worry about.
            Why use a sledge hammer to crack a nut when a steam roller is even more effective, and, is fun to drive.

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            • #7
              No, it may not be too low. The only way to know is to try it for a week or two and seek.

              I am about the OP's size, and I lose about a pound a week at 800 cal. The difference may be that I am much older (post-menopausal) with the resulting slower metabolism. I'm also hypothyroid.

              What is 'starvation' for many people, is 'baseline' for others. I maintain at 145 lbs with 1,100 cal daily--all primal and very low carb (I have a strong carb sensitivity). I don't experience any hunger at this level, and all my lab values are ideal.

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              • #8
                This is really helpful, thank you very much everyone. Yes, 988 is a struggle some days. I am a hungry monster. I think I need to add more fat and keep the carbs low. While I haven't lost much in the last month on ideal protein, I have lost about a half an inch in my tummy and leaned out a bit, which is good.

                I thought starvation mode was thought of to be a myth if you look into the intermittent fasting posts, no??

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                • #9
                  Starvation is not a myth, starvation is a myth in regards to the IF (i.e. short term fast). Sustained deficit will eventually invoke starvation response. That's why it is important to eat over the maintenance a few times a months.
                  My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                  When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                  • #10
                    Then I must agree Ledia, life does suck at this end of the spectrum... haha.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wildrose View Post
                      One thing to keep in mind is that a good percentage of body fat for a woman is 20, although some people can reach 15 no problem. You might be very close to your ideal weight, so losing will be harder.
                      Yes, when I got down to 20% body fat at 120 lbs I didn't get my period for 4 mos... so that's no good either.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by magpieoz View Post
                        Yes, when I got down to 20% body fat at 120 lbs I didn't get my period for 4 mos... so that's no good either.
                        +1 I was like this too, but back in college when I was doing extreme exercising and calorie restriction. Right now I'm going for the slow approach and hoping my body adjusts slowly downward so that the next time I hit 20% body fat, I won't lose it again.
                        My chocolatey Primal journey

                        Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by magpieoz View Post
                          I just finished reading Primal Blueprint and I am really excited to embrace the primal life. I am currently on Ideal Protein, but do not think this is a sustainable way to live. I did it for 4 mos this winter and lost 20lbs (went from 140-120), but I put back on 10 lbs when I went off of it, mostly from drinking and not knowing what to eat and how to eat with normal non-packaged foods.

                          So I went back on Ideal Protein (Our Doctor Derived Weight Loss Program Provides You with a Diet that Really Works) for September and I am getting very lame results, basically none. I want to change to primal eating, but I the calorie intake is still really low and I feel like without the weekly check in I get at the center I may over do it.

                          My body fat % is around 23%, I calculated my caloric intake assuming it was 25% because I know the scale is not that accurate.

                          This is the breakdown:
                          BMR: 655 + (567.3) + (24.8) - (164.5) = 1082.3
                          BMR + Activity: 1082.3 x1.375 = 1488 calories/day for me.
                          Subtracting 500 a day for the 3500 calorie deficit equals a total of 988 calories a day to lose 1 lb a week
                          Protein: 68 grams 273 cals
                          Carbs: 50 grams 200 cals
                          Fat: 73.5 grams 515 cals

                          My question to you is does that seem really low? Do you think I could get away with more calories in fat or protein and keep the carbs low. Maybe I just need to play with it, but I thought you may have some thoughts. I am lifting 1-2 times a week and walking about 25-40 mins a day (to and from work). I am sprinting about every 10 days. Tending towards the lower side of those ranges as I am eating so little right now.

                          I'd be really excited to hear any insight you might have. Or maybe there is a person who is similar to me that you can point me to. I am 35, 5'3", big skier, desk job, 130 lbs, Body fat % about 23%.

                          Feel free to share this out with a reply, I just couldn't figure out how to post a new thread!

                          THANKS!!
                          yes that seems rather low in my opinion but since you plugged in a moderate type of activity it will automatically give you an estimated daily caloric intake. When I was 130 lbs at 5'2 I ate about 1600 + calories on a daily basis but with the BMR + 1.55 activity level. This is on a calorie deficit. I was losing bodyfat for a while then I stalled and moved over to paleo and since then I dropped 11 lbs. I still eat about 1500 calories daily if not more and I'm currently 119 lbs.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cayla29s View Post
                            yes that seems rather low in my opinion but since you plugged in a moderate type of activity it will automatically give you an estimated daily caloric intake. When I was 130 lbs at 5'2 I ate about 1600 + calories on a daily basis but with the BMR + 1.55 activity level. This is on a calorie deficit. I was losing bodyfat for a while then I stalled and moved over to paleo and since then I dropped 11 lbs. I still eat about 1500 calories daily if not more and I'm currently 119 lbs.
                            What are you doing for exercise? Are you following the primal plan? I'd be curious to see how much you move and if you lose just eating paleo or is the exercise the thing that help get you down not just the paleo.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by magpieoz View Post
                              What are you doing for exercise? Are you following the primal plan? I'd be curious to see how much you move and if you lose just eating paleo or is the exercise the thing that help get you down not just the paleo.
                              I lift weights 2 or 3 a week, sprint once or steady state depending oh how I feel. Lately I have been just working out randomly when ever I feel rested enough to exercise. Honestly, I don't follow the primal plan. I work out the way I have always done it but I just change my routine every 4 weeks or so. I don't have an active job either but I do walk to wherever I need to go most of the time.

                              I watch what I eat. If I want to drop fat I count calories but some days I don't. Regardless whether I count calories or not I try to eat as paleo as possible. The thing that made me drop weight faster without stalling for weeks is switching to paleo. I would not even say I eat low carb as I eat above 100 g of carbs most days. Before paleo I always felt hungry for some reason but now I could go on for 6 hrs without having to snack.

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