So I went to the doctor recently for a basic check-up. I told her all about the life style changes I had made (working out 4-5 times a week, eating much better and weighing my food for calorie counting, etc). I had not lost any weight since I had started two months ago (I have since the check-up, yaaay), and she basically told me that a lot of time when people start dieting, they are still eating too much, and a lot of times some calorie counting apps are severely off, that I was lucky I hadn't gained (which apparently happens to a lot of people). She didn't remember which app it was, and I asked her if LiveStrong or Calorie Count rang any bells, and she said no. Considering I usually record from labels and not from pre-entered food entries, I shrugged this off, and decided I would just keep-on-keeping-on with my new habits.
On the way out the door, I asked her opinion concerning how many calories I should be eating. She said her general rule of thumb is to take your goal weight, say 120 lbs, and add a zero to get 1200 calories. Seeing as my goal weight as of now is 135 lbs, my daily allotment of calories in her book would be 1350 calories. I'm only ever comfortable with eating that little when I have burned a bunch of calories at the gym to get the deficit (so I have really eaten ~1700 on workout days). I should have questioned her further, but she seemed to be in a rush.
She's kinda a health nut and is very fit so I want to trust her opinion, but it just seems wrong to me to eat under my BMR (which is something I learned about since coming here often).
Tell me she's wrong? :/
All labels are allowed to be off by like 20% or something. What I do, I actually don't even weigh food (I know I know bad but my guesstimating as actually lined up to almost perfect cals in cals out to my weight loss) and I probably never will I need to learn decent portions on my own. But I do this, over estimate bad foods (or the 'not the best foods') and under estimate the good foods if you do weight how about cutting off a little more of the bad/not so great food and add a bit more of the good foods (fruits/veg, clean food).
My doctor gave me a blank stare when I asked about dieting losing weight from medication weight gain, so I figure, unless a registered dietitian you can just take her advice with a grain of salt. Even with an infection or bad cold you can say 'no' to the antibiotics and 1/2 the time they say that is probably better so your immune system can beat it on its own but on the other hand a broken body part you may want to take the docs advice.
These are just my thoughts, I'd try maybe a deficit of -100 more (than what you already have) at first or the under estimate good food/over estimate bad foods approach just in case those labels lie much worse than we think :P
She's basically advocating eating to your goal weight bmr. You'll get varied answers here. This is the NEVER have more than a 500 a day deficit crowd. IMO it depends on where you are starting from. People with a high BMI, the Biggest Loser types will have a tough time eating healthy and eating anywhere near their current BMR. If you just have a little to lose, less than 50 lbs or so it's not necessary to to something drastic. You'll lose without doing that. If you haven't lost weight in two months you aren't some freak of nature, you aren't in a deficit. Make sure you are counting accurately. If that's a problem now it's a problem until you fix it whether you cut more or not.
Looking at my own numbers, if I were to take my goal weight and add a zero that would be the amount I would need to eat to lose a pound a week if I were sedentary. So maybe as a very rough rule of thumb it would work for some people. But anything that general is not going to work in every situation.
The best way to tell if what you are doing is working is to track your progress. If you haven't lost any weight in 2 months (assuming you have legitimate weight to lose) then something needs to change.
I have actually started to lose since the appointment (as I stated in my first post). I've been inadvertently zig-zagging my calorie intake, and that seems to have helped.
I've been very good about accurately calorie counting, over-estimating on treat-foods (thanks for the tip through) and weighing almost everything I put in my mouth... eating lots of fruits and veggies, cutting fruit juice completely out, drinking almond milk instead of skim, drinking much more water (seriously bad about this), getting better about taking my vitamins, etc. I already didn't drink soda or eat out often, so it was basically portion control that needed to be done.
I think I was still eating too much before. I was eating 1500 calories daily, even if I had worked out that day (I would eat the calories back), so my deficit was around ~200 calories (because my BMR was 1500+200 for daily activities). Even on days I did nothing I would eat 1500... now I realize I should have been eating around ~1200 on sedentary days for a 500 cal deficit? Sorry, this has always confused me... how am I not supposed to eat under my BMR, but also have a 500 calorie deficit on inactive days?
I'm 22, female, 5'4", 157 lbs (as of this morning), and I started out around 165 lbs. With my goal weight at ~135 lbs, I'm looking to lose ~30 lbs.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think I understand now.
Original Post by worst15pounds:
I'm a 25 year old female, 5'3" and 143 lbs. Trying to get to 135 as well. I've been eating only 1200 calories a day and no bread/pasta, no treats, no alcohol. I go to the gym 3x per week and I usually have an 800 calorie deficit every day, if not more. I'm hungry a lot but I figure I'll get used to it. I am not feeling sick and I am alert and have good energy. The only distracting thing is the annoying tummy rumbling. This is my first week in a while of eating so few calories. After I lose 5 lbs I may start the zig zag diet and allow more calories or treats on a few days per week. I thought I'd give you some ideas since we're probably about the same age and BMI. If you want to give yourself a head start to lose some weight more quickly, don't be afraid to try lowering your calories to 1200. If you do it right and eat healthy foods you should be ok still. I can share my progress and menus with you if you want to know how well it works. Good luck!
1200 shouldn't really be a long term thing (and it is good you already thinking away from it) if you do choose to do min female cal intake (which most advise against and prefer BMR as min), and with exercise you seem too aggressive a 800+ deficit for the last 10lbs is a bit big. I myself am trying for 135lbs and am about 148-149lbs and some day or weeks with 1200-1400 but I also have higher days/weeks with 1500-1700 (with a 1500 BMR) and have been losing about 5lbs a month with this zig zag/cycle but my deficits are usually 300-600 with the rare 700-800 odd day and I am usually not too hungry (mostly hungry days after an exercise if I am and my workouts are light/moderate). Either way I hope anyone who does eat the bare min just to be careful to not keep it up too long especially with exercise, this can in some cases causes plateaus and the feeling to be even more aggressive, which can be counterproductive.
Good luck and be safe the both of you ;)
I know a great many posters in this forum advocate only 500 cal deficits, and never eating below your BMR recommended caloric intake, ect.
I do not have sufficient medical or nutritional background to make potentially serious health-related suggestions about what your diet should be, particularly in absence of more knowledge about your lifestyle, health, and possible medical conditions; and honestly many people on these forums are likewise positioned.
That being said however, you are communicating your dietary plans with your doctor, which is #1 the right way to go. I did the same thing with my doctor when I began my own dieting program, and he assured me that very large calorie gaps are manageable by our bodies, below the BMR calorie limit, so long as we consume the necessary daily need of vitamins, minerals, complete proteins, and small amounts of healthy fats.
My doctor did schedule a checkup six weeks after I started my diet in order to run my blood work and make sure everything was hunky-dory blood serum and metabolites-wise. For reference, I was exercising and consuming 1000 calories less per day than my calculated BMR. Oddly I only experienced fatigue occasionally, and I usually remedied it by upping the amount of carbohydrates I ate. For comparisons sake though I was a nearly 280 lb, 29 year old male, so I could still eat balanced and filling meals at only 1200 to 1400 calories per day (putting me 1000 under BMR).
In summary: trust your doctor, and if you start to feel unwell, meet with her again. Bring along a food and activity log and go over your diet and exercise practices with your physician or a nutritionist. If they tell you it is ok to do something then it is probably ok. If you are not sure you can always get a second opinion.