Weight Loss
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Net Calories and Under Eating


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I need some advice about net calories. Currently, I'm eating between 1000 and 1500 calories per day. I'm burning between 250 and 600 calories per day. So on a day where I might eat 1250 calores, I will expend about 250 calories. On average my net calories are between 850 and 1000. I never go over that because I refuse to eat more than 1500 calories a day, and then 1500 calories is probably due to eating candy or dining out for a meal.

My question is: Am I eating too little? Does anyone have any advice?

Oh, by the way: I'm a female currently weighing 138lbs and I'm 5' 1" tall.

Thanks in advance!

12 Replies (last)

yes you are eating too little! First off, a woman should never eat less than 1200 a day if sedentary (you are not). An under-21-year-old should never eat less than 1500 a day if sedentary. Basically your net calories shouldn't be less than 1200 or 1500 (are you under 21?). This could lead to malnutrition or starvation (remember starvation does not necessarily = hunger). So say you are an adult over 21, if you burn 500 extra cals a day, then you shouldn't be eating much less than 1700.

Why are you refusing to eat more than 1500 a day? What is wrong with the 2000 cals reccomended for average women (minus some if you're trying to lose weight, plus some if you're exercising as much as you are)? We need food to live and function well.

I am over 21. I'm 29. To answer your question, I find that I can eat three meals a day for about 1000 calories (800 calories if I try to cut down). Anything over 1200 calories is just excess or junk food. It's not hungry eating. And really, 2000 calories is so much food, I can't manage 2000 calories unless I eat McDonalds or something.

Maybe try nuts/seeds or nut/seed butters, avocados, fullfat milk/yogurt, dried fruits, olives or olive paste, there are many high calorie but low volume foods out there which will make it easier to add calories. Like I said, starvation does not mean hunger, alot of people don't realise this, especially when trying to lose weight. Your body needs the energy, regardless of whether you feel it or not. You say you can have 3 meals for 800 calories if you 'try to cut down'. But with the amount you're eating, it is really not a good idea to cut down any more, it can damage you if you keep it up.

It may be easier to spread out the calories alot. Why not try having at least 400 calories for each meal (a little nuts/nut butter with breakfast, an extra tbsp of olive oil with dinner, some olives or avocado in your lunch sandwich/salad, etc) and then 3 snacks of 150-200 calories? That would up your intake to about 1600-1800.

What is a typical day of eating for you?

My usual eating habits are this:

Breakfast: Cereal with low fat milk or toast.

Lunch: A sandwich, ramen, or a low calorie appetizer sided frozen meal.

Dinner: Lean protein with potato and steamed vegetables. Or pasta on occasion.

Snack: (If I have it) A piece of fruit, or a small amount of chocolate.

I suppose I could up my intake a bit, but 1600-1800 calories is too much. I'd be too anxious about putting on weight to persist with it probably.

Original Post by ava_callahan:

My usual eating habits are this:

Breakfast: Cereal with low fat milk or toast.

Lunch: A sandwich, ramen, or a low calorie appetizer sided frozen meal.

Dinner: Lean protein with potato and steamed vegetables. Or pasta on occasion.

Snack: (If I have it) A piece of fruit, or a small amount of chocolate.

I suppose I could up my intake a bit, but 1600-1800 calories is too much. I'd be too anxious about putting on weight to persist with it probably.

This is something alot of people struggle with, and it can lead to eating disorders. Would you rather tha anxiety of gaining weight or an unhealthy starved body? 1600-1800 is a weight loss amount, though there might be an initial gain if you've been 'starving'. Your question was whether or not you eat too little, the answer is yes.

It's not that hard to eat more. Why would you make a topic asking if you eat too little if you refuse to eat more. People on here confuse me sometimes.

Original Post by krishnalynn:

It's not that hard to eat more. Why would you make a topic asking if you eat too little if you refuse to eat more. People on here confuse me sometimes.

This. I'm 5'4". I weigh 134 lbs. I'm moderately active. I'm losing weight eating around 1800 calories a day give or take - and yes, that's 1800 calories of real, wholesome food - not junk.

So no, you are not eating enough. For goodness sake just eat something already.

Yes... you are eating too little and you are damaging your body.

I get the impression that you are looking for validation here that undereating like this is OK... but you aren't going to find that kind of message on the CC boards.

You need to provide your body with adequate and nutritious food.  Which, by the way, is totally possible to do at higher calorie levels without going to McDonalds or eating junk.

i weigh the same as you and I eat 2100 calories to maintain. You will not gain weight on 1800 calories, especially if you are active at all. 

This is an eating disorder. I underate for many years of my life (modeling). I finally took the plunge and increased my calories to 2200. I burn about 500 calories at the gym, and I feel amazing. Everything is coming together so nicely: my mood, my outlook, and most importantly, my health. You should seriously consider help. If you know you are potentially (and you are) hurting yourself in the name of weight, this is an eating disorder, and you will very much regret what you are doing to yourself. At 36, my bones are brittle and my metabolism is only now catching up. Please seek help.

I understand you completely! I started just counting calories because I would like to loose like 6 pounds, but I can never - ever eat over 1200 kcal per day. I would have to eat even when I'm not hungry at all (and I definitely do not have any eating problems). I think that you other people have to understand that some people eat less than others and to increase your daily kcal intake doesn't seem like a way to lose weight to me! And those who says that you have a eating problem I think just are used to eat a lot more !

Under-eating will only slow your metabolism down and you won't lose weight.  Our bodies are built that way because for most of human history we encountered periods of time where we had less food than we should.  That's how we ended up surviving until the 21st century.  If you don't have problems now you will later, just one of which could be your thyroid.  Please don't do this.  Find some higher calorie foods to eat so you are at least at 1200 cals a day.

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