Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Message Boards
FORUM:   Diet and Nutrition

minimum calories

Click here to read our frequently asked Diet and Nutrition questions.

Search the
Message Boards:
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Author: Message: Sort First Post on Top

Posts: 11,747
1/17/13 8:48 A

1200 cals is the floor for women because it's nearly impossible to get all of the nutrients you need in fewer calories by happenstance. it's possible to plan it out and make weird food combinations to do it, but that's something you should really be working with a dietitian on to make sure you are not missing something important.
then you move on to calories. two of the biggest factors in how many calories you burn are your height and your age. at 5'6" i am about average height. which means that roughly half of women are shorter than me. and those who are on the short side have smaller bmrs. then you factor in age. without any amendments, your bmr is going down by about 10 cals a day every year you age after about 24 or 25. so by your midthirties, you've gone down 100 cals a day from your peak and by your midforties you're looking at 200 cals below your peak. so if your bmr in your midtwenties was only 1250, by the time you hit your forties you're looking at only 1050 being your base bmr. so that window of space where you can eat and lose is quite small. because there are a lot of small women on this site. there are a lot of women over thirty on this site.
and then you get to the people with unrealistic goals. yes, the program will let you try and lose 2lbs per week if you are 130lbs, even though you would have to be a about 3'5" for that to be a realistic goal. that's when it just dumps you into the lowest ranges.
couple that with the fact that most people asking questions are relatively new and haven't figured out that you can only lose about 1% of your bodyweight be week [at least regularly] in a sustainable manner or that you have to keep your calories burned number accurate to what you do and that does bump up the numbers in that lowest range.
for a woman who is 5' tall and 50 years old with a slightly slower than average metabolism she might need to put in some hours at the gym to be able to lose on 1200 cals.
for a woman who is 6' tall and wants to lose 20lbs, 1200 is probably too few and way too few if she were working out a lot.
so it all really depends on what stats you are talking about to begin with. if i had to venture a guess, i would say that there are more women than men on this site,there are more women under 5'6" than over on this site, and there are more women over thirty than under on this site. and those factors do increase how close you need to eat to 1200. and if crash and fad dieting do help bring down your metabolism, you're talking about skewing that bmr number down a little more.
so while it does seem like a lot of women are in that range sometimes, there is somewhat of a basis. i mean, if you are in a grocery store in southern california on a tuesday in april, what are the odds of seeing someone wearing a chicago bears jersey? but if you go to the grocery store nearest soldier field the day of a playoff game how many bears jerseys do you think you would see?

SparkPoints: (72,309)
Fitness Minutes: (55,156)
Posts: 2,484
1/17/13 7:49 A

I have my goal set to lose 1 lb a week and I exercise a lot. I've been given the 1200-1550 calorie range for errmmm... the last 3-4 months? Ever since I hit the 130's. But I continued to eat at the middle of my range until I hit a plateau around 125 lbs. Then I dropped down to 1200 cals for the last 6-8 weeks and lost an additional 15 lbs. Of course I realized I couldn't do this forever without hitting another plateau and I have. So now I'm raising my deficit up to a 1 lb loss again (avg 1400 cals) and calorie cycling to fire up my metabolism again. If I get stuck again before I reach my goal weight (which may be 105 lbs, not certain until I get closer), I'll lower to 1.5 lbs deficit (avg 1200 cals) for 2 weeks and then 2 weeks .5-1 lb deficit.

I am experimenting with a modified version of body building cutting/bulking.

1200 is definitely low for a woman who exercises to stay at for a prolonged period of time and it will definitely lead most to plateau within 6-8 weeks. I did find it difficult to always meet my vitamin/mineral requirements but got fairly close with the aid of a multivitamin. If I have to drop that low again, I plan on doing it for shorter intervals. I'm also petite, 5'2 and wouldn't recommend dropping that low to medium sized or larger women. I'll also freely admit this is a vanity goal.

For calorie cyclers (whether they do it consciously or it's just their habit of eating) it would make sense to have this range because their calorie deficit at the end of the week would be close to the same had they ate at the middle of their range. To stay consistently at that large of a deficit would eventually become counter productive.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 1/17/2013 (08:16)

Posts: 1,753
1/17/13 6:40 A

1200 calories is not for everyone...depends on lots of need more calories, women who are active and excercise need more calories too.! And, Men need at least 1500 calories.

Not everyone realizes that our bodies need good nutrition in order to stay healthy and lose weight. Once blood sugar is stable its easy to lose weight...give your body a steady supply of fuel and our body works best.

1200 calories means eating three 300 calorie meals with 2...150 calorie snacks...yes, that can be done...I have and usually stay between 1200 to 1400 loow carb meals, but I make sure that I eat food with good protein, vitamins and minerals to fuel my body best.
If more people would learn about one food a day and also impart that knowledge to their children we would have a healthier America and everyone would be making better choices.

I never worried about 2lbs a week, I just keep going and never gave up even when my weight stalled....I lost 54lbs the first year..40lbs last year....and about 3 this year....I am patient and have about 15 more to go...if it takes 6 months thats okay with me...I dont have cheat days...becausee I do all I can do to make it happen.

Posts: 33,498
1/16/13 11:41 P

Some people have the site's maximum rate of loss of 2lb/week set, even though at their current weight that is not achievable. That can mean that the pure mathematics works out at an astoundingly low value per day, giving the 1200 minimum, and meaning that even if they do enter thousands of calories burned, they still get 1200 as the recommended amount.

They simply aren't aware that's not really feasible for someone of their current size.

I do think the site could benefit from, instead of setting the maximum at 2lb/week for everyone, setting it at 1% of bodyweight for everyone. This would mean someone weighing 130lbs who wants to lose 15lbs would not be able to set a rate of loss higher than 1.3 pounds per week (which is still pretty high, but not as high as the 2.0 currently allowable that gives this kind of result).

SparkPoints: (3,328)
Fitness Minutes: (4,278)
Posts: 88
1/16/13 9:29 P

It really depends on their current weight, amount of exercise, current lifestyle, and how much they want to lose each week.

For me I'm 160lb looking to lose 2 lb a week while making the minimum calories I want to burn through exercise 2000 per week with me going 5-6 nights out of the week. With that set up my calorie intake is between 1200-1600. And 1200 tends to be the minimum SP likes to tell almost anyone which is why its so common since for others they don't really want to say under 1000 calories of food.

For me I have a desk job for the most part so I'm not burning as many calories as someone that is consistently on their feet during work so I will have to eat a smaller amount of calories to compensate for that.

Now if I raise my calories burn for the week my calorie intake does go up but I don't raise it since I know I'll hit 2000 whereas about every other I might hit 3000 but I don't want to overeat when its not guaranteed.

Posts: 16,783
1/16/13 8:14 P

I am always reading how a majority of the women on here have 1200 calories as a goal, or minimum Some of them do a LOT of exercise, but still say they need to " get over " 1200.

If 1200 is the minimum, wouldn't any exercise necessitate adding calories? It seems to me that a lot of people are at 1200, and that just can't be right.

Page: 1 of (1)  


Diet Resources: nutrients in bananas | red banana tree | fiber in bananas