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Just how important are calories, anyway?

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  • Just how important are calories, anyway?

    I know, I know. Calories are less important than the quality of nutrients. BUT. I've been tracking my food intake for a few days now, just out of curiosity, and I've never gone over 1600 calories in a day. The stuff I've tracked is a good representation of how I eat the majority of the time. I don't feel hungry or exhausted. I'm wondering if this is too few. I'm 6'0 and 178lbs, fairly active. Shouldn't it take more than 1600 calories a day to keep me going? I'm tempted to take a "if it ain't broke" approach, but maybe you know something I don't.

  • #2
    If you have energy, and aren't losing weight (or you are losing weight but that's your goal) then it sounds like there's no problem to me.

    Lots of women report needing far fewer calories eating primally. Not men though for some reason.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    • #3
      Losing weight is part of my goal. The first 23 lbs came off so fast, people were joking that I had a tapeworm. I've kinda leveled out since then and haven't lost any more, but I'm still eating the same. I guess that means my body likes being this size, which is fine by me. I just want to be sure that I'm not screwing myself in the long run, and that it's healthy to eat so few calories for someone my size. Thanks for the input!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kata View Post
        Losing weight is part of my goal. The first 23 lbs came off so fast, people were joking that I had a tapeworm. I've kinda leveled out since then and haven't lost any more, but I'm still eating the same. I guess that means my body likes being this size, which is fine by me. I just want to be sure that I'm not screwing myself in the long run, and that it's healthy to eat so few calories for someone my size. Thanks for the input!
        Absolutely.

        Thinner people do have a lower BEE (base energy expenditure) so the more weight you lose, the lower your maintenance calories are. That's the reason why you plateau out.
        Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

        Griff's cholesterol primer
        5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
        Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
        TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
        bloodorchid is always right

        Comment


        • #5
          I guess I was still thinking along the lines of CW's 2,000 calories a day rule. Shame on me!

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          • #6
            If you're not hungry, not angry/overly anxious, and still able to perform all your necessary tasks each day easily, you're probably not eating too little.

            The body is phenomenally good at letting you know when your intake is out of whack, so listen to it! If you decide adding muscle is a priority down the road, you might have to increase consumption, but until then, as long as your observed results are in line with your goals, keep doin what you're doing!

            -K
            My Journal
            Fat Kid Turned Personal Trainer, Nutrition + Lifestyle Coach
            http://www.kentmccannfitness.com to contact me!
            Also on Twitter, FB, and Fitocracy!

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            • #7
              I do stronglifts 3 days a week, which is one of the reasons I was concerned. But I'm able to get through my workouts just fine, even fasted. I haven't been going up in weight as quickly as before, but I thought that was because I'm getting close to my max. What's the consensus on pre-workout eating? Should I try to get in a few more calories the night before a workout?

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              • #8
                I will often have 1400 calories in a day as a very active 172 lb guy. I lift several times a week and do cardio pretty much every day. If you aren't hungry then you don't need to eat more.
                Fitness Wayne | Paleo Health, Exercise and Weight Loss Blog
                Fitness Wayne Facebook Page

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fitness Wayne View Post
                  I will often have 1400 calories in a day as a very active 172 lb guy. I lift several times a week and do cardio pretty much every day. If you aren't hungry then you don't need to eat more.
                  Are you sure you're eating enough bro?
                  "Go For Broke"
                  Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
                  Small Kine-168/9%
                  Now- 200/8%
                  Goal- 210/6%

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                  • #10
                    I think your body weight is pretty fine and you are eating not much that would take you for gaining weight.Just have a check on your body physics and eat according to your hunger.In this way you will keep looking the same and if you are want to loss your weight.So,you should be eat low calories and zero cholesterol diet.

                    Please give your suggestions.

                    Boot camp workout
                    Last edited by Deonte; 10-17-2012, 12:57 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deonte View Post
                      eat low calories and zero cholesterol diet.
                      Are you in the right forum?
                      "Go For Broke"
                      Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
                      Small Kine-168/9%
                      Now- 200/8%
                      Goal- 210/6%

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How old are you?

                        I do heavy lifting 3x/week and eat 2500-3000 calories to maintain, when there isn't a lot of stress messing with the hormones. Granted, I am like 28% BF on my 5'4" frame, but I think 1600 might just be too low...
                        but! if you feel fine lifting your weights, carry on....
                        My chocolatey Primal journey

                        Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                        • #13
                          I am 5'3, 52, am very active (HIT/Crossfit 3 times, train once a week and ride as often as I can) and I have to eat quite a lot more than you in order to lose weight. For me, at least, with my activity level my body won't give up any weight at 1600 calories.
                          On very active days I eat at least 2000. I was on a plateau for years because I thought that 1400-1600 was enough for me. While my body adapted to my high activity level and I wasn't hungry & my energy was fine, it wouldn't give up body fat or weight until I gave it more fuel. On rest days I get between 1600-1800. Granted, there aren't many of those but this is what works for my body and my metabolism... I've been told that women's bodies are more susceptible to this dynamic than mens but I don't know if that is actually true.

                          I don't do fasted workouts - no time to eat afterwards so I have breakfast before my 6 am workouts.
                          Last edited by Catrin; 10-16-2012, 04:16 AM.

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                          • #14
                            sakura_girl, I'm 22. Maybe you're lifting heavier than I am, so you need more to recover? I'm currently squatting 165, 5 sets of 5, max deadlift of 250, if that gives you a basis for comparison.

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                            • #15
                              All these spammer comments crack me up.

                              Anyway, if you want to look like Paleobird, calories are important. If you want to look like me, calories are unimportant.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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