Young Calorie Counters
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1,000 calories a day really that bad for me?


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hi! i am brand new to this site and i don't even know if this is the right forum to post in, but i just needed an outside opinion on my diet.

i am seventeen and this year i have lost a little over twenty pounds. i went from 135 to around 110. i am a short girl, like only 5 foot 2 inches. i eat in between 1000 and 1200 calories a day. This completely fills me because i eat a lot of fiber and protein and i love healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. i don't have any problems with binging or purging, i am completely healthy and active and have tons of enegy. i work out about four or five times a week.

my concern is that i have been reading a lot of posts on this website that 1000 calories is really un-healthy and is actually starving my body. i just want to know is this really true? i mean... i have no problem with eating a little bit more every day but i feel like i will gain weight if i do. is it really important that i start eating more? how do i know if my body is starving itself?

 

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1200 calories is the minimum recommendation for a woman over 18 to eat with the goal of weight loss.  1500 would be the minimum for weight loss if you're sedentary, probably closer to 1800 for maintenance given your age.  The more active you are the more you should eat.

Depending on how your body has responded to undereating and how much you really were undereating you may or may not have done internal damage.  Undoubtedly you have slowed down your metabolism at a time in your life when you really do need the calories for development.  Talk to your doctor about what kind of testing they can do to check your overall health given your undereating.

You may or may not suffer any number of nasty symptoms from a restricted calorie diet plan like you've been following.  Hopefully you'll be lucky enough that simply starting to eat enough will put you back on track.

Will I go into starvation mode if I eat 1000 – 1200 calories a day?

http://caloriecount.about.com/starvation-mode -eat-calories-q2046

Your body will not selectively burn stored fat because your central nervous system needs glucose and you can’t make glucose from fat.  But protein can be converted to glucose, and so the body breaks down your muscles to provide it.  Ultimately, you lose lots of muscle along with fat, and that drives down your calorie requirements because muscle burns calories but fat does not.  You then maintain a higher weight on less food making weight gain inevitable.  For best results, eat the number of calories prescribed by the Calorie Target calculator in the Tools section.

There is no way that on so few calories you are fuelling your body with what it needs. The minimum intake for a sedentary female over 21 is 1200 calories per day. For a sedentary female under 21 or a man over 21 it is 1500 per day, and a sedentary male under 21 1800 per day. And believe it or not, that’s only the sedentary minimum. Unless you are very, very short and small, and/or if you are working out it is very likely you will need even more calories than those minimum guidelines.

If you are 21 or older use CC's tools to work out your BMR so you have a number to work from for your diet: . If you are under 21, CC's tools are inaccurate and you should use this calculator instead: http://www.bcm.edu/cnrc/bodycomp/bmiz2.html as you are still growing. Yes, even in the later years - there's more going on inside of you that you simply can't see.http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-bur ned.php

Eating too low a calorie intake, or having a deficit from your BMR greater than 1000 results in something called "survival mode", where your body holds every last thing it can get in expectance of a famine. Water, food, calories. Explained:

  • Dieting & Metabolism - This article explains starvation mode and why undereating is counter productive.
  • The Body Neglected - This is what happens when you undereat for an extended period of time. 
  • "Obesity on 700 Calories" - A tale of starvation mode's devistating effects, and proof you don't have to be underweight to be starving.
  • From Ask Mary, the segment provided by our CC nutritionist Mary Hartley: On the dangers of undereating and what it does to your body.

The physical dangers that come with undereating are numerous. You put yourself at risk of osteoporosis, of loss of fertility if you lose your period, hair loss, electrolyte problems, a weakening of the immune system, low blood pressure, blood disorders such as anemia, heart problems, and even death. The mental woes that come alongside can be just as devestating. Depression is common in undereaters, as well as distorted perceptions and problems like Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Crash dieting will do nothing to help you lose weight as the weight will likely come straight back on, and undereating can easily do more damage than good. Think about it - your health or your vanity? Weight is easily lost if you do it in a healthy and sustainable manner which is what CC is all about. 

I think you ought to read the following link: An Unofficial Calorie Count Guide to a Fad-Free 2009. It covers the basics of calorie counting, largely in how to do so safely and sensibly without resorting to drastic methods. And please remember:

Posting Guidelines

Calorie Count's mission is to promote healthy and sustainable weight management. Please help our moderators follow this vision and respect the following guidelines.

  • Your post is subject to modification or deletion by our moderators. Repetitive, off-topic, disruptive, and frivolous posts will be removed. We will take down any posts that violate either the letter or the spirit of any of these rules.
  • Promotion of starvation diets or habits that exhibit signs of an eating disorder ("pro-ana", "pro-mia", etc.) is prohibited.

Sara
Calorie Count Volunteer Moderator

Emily, you are still growing and teen's need more calories than an adult. You should eat more 1200 is the bare minimum without an activity. Are you getting enough fat and protein, whole grains? If not you are not properly nourishing your body. Think of fueling your body like you would a car. Take care of it, get it out and run in and put good fuel in it. You need a balanced/clean diet to provide your body with the nutrition it needs to grow properly and to be a "healthy body" It's great you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but add more good fat. Lean meats, chicken, fish, cheese, olive oil, yogurt, milk, eggs, beans. Whole grains, like whole grain bagels, muffins, breads, pasta, brown rice, buckwheat. You are still growing and will gain weight. You do that when you grow. Wink Exercise 3-5 times a week. It will keep you at a healthy weight and allow you to eat more. 3 days a week of lifting would rev up your metabolism and allow you to burn off any extra calories. Cardio and HIIT are also very beneficial. All of this advice is given if there is no eating disorder involved If there is I would give different advice.

Original Post by emily803:

 

my concern is that i have been reading a lot of posts on this website that 1000 calories is really un-healthy and is actually starving my body. i just want to know is this really true? i mean... i have no problem with eating a little bit more every day but i feel like i will gain weight if i do. is it really important that i start eating more? how do i know if my body is starving itself?

 

 

 Yes, it is really unhealthy, yes, it is starving your little body, and if you do in case have an underlying ED, talk to a professional.

I don't think she has an ED, she just wanted to know if she was doing anything wrong and if so what could she be doing better.  Listen smwhipple, she knows what she is talking about.

it's been working for you so far, if you've been doing it for a year and you don't have any health problems from it it can't be that bad. Not everyone's body works exactly the same. just make sure you get all your nutrients and watch out for any unhealthy signs in your body. 

Original Post by darkylinky:

it's been working for you so far, if you've been doing it for a year and you don't have any health problems from it it can't be that bad.Not everyone's body works exactly the same. just make sure you get all your nutrients and watch out for any unhealthy signs in your body. 

Unfortunately, some of the health issues may show up later down the road.  Especially if you are at an age when your bones are still growing.  Not to mention possible damage to your kidneys and liver, which might not be noticeable until later.

Your family doctor is the best person to advise you about any potential health issues.  Please don't be afraid to discuss the issue with them.  Chances are you are okay, but don't rely on what you read online from non-professionals. 

Hehe. I am on a diet too, and this site recommended that I should be consuming 1,600 calories a day.  Sounds very diminutive.

 What you should eat;

Breakfast: Cereal, Yogurt, Oats – very hale and hearty and a great way to start your day

Lunch: Fruits! Snack on an apple, or a banana. Treat yourself to tuna pasta or tomato soup. How about a sandwich? Lots of options to choose from!  You must remember to eat very little during the day. Don’t eat when you don’t feel like eating. Eat when your stomach starts growling!

Dinner: I have a friend who told me to NEVER eat after 6PM. So try eating before sunset, and go for vigorous meals such as spaghetti, vegetable soup, white meat, fish! Make sure you drink 7-8 glasses of water throughout the day.

 

Best wishes! x

so sorry kaufmkk i had no idea you were a profession, by all means give your professional advice.

Original Post by darkylinky:

so sorry kaufmkk i had no idea you were a profession, by all means give your professional advice.

I'm not a 'profession,' but I am a professional within my field.  As for health and nutrition (which I readily admit is NOT my field), I've never claimed to be a professional if that's what is being insinuated.  My apologies if anyone is offended that I recommend that people seek advice from their family physician when dealing with their health. 

darkylinky, I didn't say that your comment was right or wrong; I was simply pointing out that there could indeed be consequence even if someone is feeling okay.  I'm basing that on actual experience.  If you read my profile, you'll see that I was diagnosed with cancer even though I didn't have symptoms.  My cancer was detected accidentally through a random checkup.  It has been speculated that the cancer was a result of my poor nutritional habits.  Hence my recommendation that people not hesitate to visit their doctors and to discuss their diets if they have any concerns.  With diabetes, high blood pressure, and so many other health issues facing the younger generation these days, I don't think my advice is too off base.

I'm sorry you took offense or felt I might have been attacking you.  Maybe I should have worded my response differently.

emily803, sorry for getting off topic! I hope things are working out for you.  I admire that you have the foresight to question if what you are doing is healthy.  By the way, you have one of those million dollar smiles (as per your profile pic).  I'm envious!!!

Emily, this is what you've been doing to yourself (copied from Ask Mary in the Advice section)

Why does the body burn muscle when it could burn fat?
Asked by anonymous on Feb 05, 2009 in Weight Loss

I am well over 100 lbs overweight. I workout 50 minutes a day and eat 1200-1800 calories. I was doing okay, or so I thought until I read about "starvation mode". Why would my body consume lean muscle mass for energy when I have more than enough juicy fat morsels to feed on.  Surely, it must be different for me.

 Answer

The body burns muscle to meet the needs of the central nervous system.  That system, which accounts for at least 20% of calories burned, can only burn glucose, a carbohydrate  The body doesn't really store glucose, but protein, from the muscles, organs tissues, and cells, can turn into glucose, while fat cannot.  Protein breakdown continues until the metabolic rate shifts to burn fewer calories from all sources.  That shift is familiarly called "starvation mode" and it is a life-sustaining adaptation. To forestall starvation mode, lose weight slowly, do muscle building exercise to offset muscle loss, and eat about 20% of your calories from protein.

I am 22. around 5'5". 139 pounds. my goal weight is around 125.

i recently started counting calories and i've been eating up to 1000 a day. i thought this was a good count for losing weight?? guess not. I'm fairly active, running each day and doing some weights along with running. i guess i'll bump it up to 1200. i had no idea.

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