Thank you! That makes senseSure. Well, first of all, my special snowflake metabolism is 50 years old, post menopausal, and taking some medications for epilepsy.
So, don't take my numbers as gospel any more than the official chart's numbers. You need to find your own.
The idea that cutting and cutting calories damages the metabolism I think comes from people with sugar burning metabolisms. It is incredibly stressful on a sugar burner to go without food (shaky dizzy, lethargy, etc.). People who have transitioned to being what Mark calls a fat burning beast are not damaged by calorie restriction at all. Burning your own body fat gives the metabolism a nice tasty snack to go along with the lower levels of dietary calories, so there is no damage.
This was the way we survived famines for millions of years. It's a natural process.
The modern day famine is a Weight Watchers diet which just gives you smaller portions of "all the foods you love". It gives you enough sugar/carbs to keep you in sugar burning mode and low enough calories to keep you miserable. This kind of calorie restriction done repeatedly to the body definitely can lead to damage to the metabolic systems.
But WW dieting should not give all caloric restriction a bad rep.