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How to find the correct calorie intake

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I was recommended this site:

It helps you calculate your BMR and how much you should eat to lose weight in a safe manner. It also tells you how much weight you can expect to lose in a year, if the numbers are correct, that is.
The goal is to lose the fat, but not muscle, which is what happens when you lose weight too quickly by not eating enough. The trick is to have a small to moderate calorie deficit. Of course you don't lose weight as fast, but... is that really a bad thing?

From my own experience, what happened to me when I ate around 800-1000 calories a day was:

- I was hungry, dizzy and weak all the time.
- I lost a lot of hair
- I became really skinny. Skinny-fat, that is. Like a stick person made of jelly.
- I KNOW I lost muscle. My lower legs were not that much bigger than my arms. I have a photo of me proudly standing on a sand dune in the desert with bare lower legs. I still don't like looking at that photo. I think what I did to myself during that period really set off my unhealthy relationship with food.
- When I reached what I decided was my goal weight (actually I weighed myself one morning and decided I'd had enough, I couldn't do it anymore) I went on a binge that lasted a long time. Like, a couple of years.

Last time around I lost weight healthier and happier. I stayed at around 1400-1600 calories a day. Although I did a lot better, I did feel deprived and obviously, something didn't fit as I gave up only 10 kg away from the finish line. Gained almost all the weight back. ALMOST. This time I took control before I let it get too far.

So what gives? Did I eat too little? Well, I'm a big girl. I'm like.. a 180cm tall viking woman. I NEED FOOD! I tried this calculator and BAM! I should be eating 1800 calories a day. If I eat at my BMR, which is the absolute minimum the body needs for things like breathing and all, I lose a little faster. But it's recommended to stay somewhere between your BMR and the total amount of calories you burn per day. So 1700 should be my absolute minimum. No wonder I felt like a zombie on 1000 calories.

I need to find this lovely balance where I eat enough, but not too much. Not too little so I feel starved, then binge, then eat 1000 calories the next day to make up for it. I need to find that lovely, peaceful level of enough, but not too much.

I also need to learn to accept that although I could ditch this weight in a couple of months, it's a bad idea. This can take an estimated 2 years if I eat at this healthy level that lets me keep some muscle and is enough even for some strength training. I have to like to step on the scale each week and see maybe a 200g loss.

I set my tracker on 1700 calories (just couldn't set it on 1800!) so off I go on this experiment. I eat at this level most days anyway, but when I do I feel like I need to compensate the next day, starve myself and then it turns into a binge. No, no, no. Now I'll measure and weigh all my food and eat at 1700, and see where that takes me. If it helps me keep muscle mass, then it's worth it. With my condition I really need to take care of myself.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good to hear that you're not going to starve yourself this time around. emoticon emoticon emoticon Slow and steady weight loss done the healthy way will make you not only feel better, but look better!
    1405 days ago
    A very interesting blog. I'm so glad you figured out what your body REALLY needs. And I'm sad to read about how deprived you felt and how your body struggled to survive. Unfortunately I can relate to such things.

    My personal idea and experience says that if one has a tendency to binge, tracking calories and setting calorie limits is not a good idea.
    One can track and count calories and weigh portions and exercise all day long... but if you have a big binge you will wipe out all the effect of all those efforts. It's so easy then to feel defeated and hopeless and to become obsessed thinking about weight and food.
    Which is why 'normalizing' our relationship with food is quite important. For example getting used to eating only / mostly when hungry. Getting used to not eating all the time, not acting on thoughts about (over) eating. That's why I started that team... :)

    What you could do, and what I have done, is make a food plan. Think about what foods you really like to eat and that you consider to be good for your health. Write down what you will have for breakfast, lunch and the evening meal on most days.
    Write down what kind of snacs you will usually have. Make sure many of those foods are foods / dishes you enjoy. Then, run it through a tracker and see how many calories this plan is. If it's too many, you can see if you want to substitute a food or dish here and there. My guess is that if you stick to mostly healthy foods and eat lots of vegetables, you won't be over those 1800 calories.
    Next, instead of counting calories every day and aching over that, you only need to more or less stick to the plan. And exercise if you can. And MAKE YOUR LIFE USEFUL AND FULFILLING. Do things you enjoy and that make you feel important.
    You don't want to obsess over calories the rest of your life... you want to eat when hungry and stop at enough and enjoy your days...! I think...?!

    Sorry this got so long.
    1407 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/13/2014 3:00:28 PM
    Thank you for sharing that link. I must check it out.
    1408 days ago
    It isn't JUST the amount of calories. It's having the calories be from nutritional sources. 100 calories of junk doesn't do anything for the body. 100 calories of fruits, greens and/or veggies does. Think nutrition first and foremost. For me this means no animal products, no packaged/boxed/canned "food", no processed "phood" at all.
    1410 days ago
    got to be worth a try.let us know how it goes. emoticon
    1410 days ago
    emoticon sounds like a doable & happy making approach!!!
    1410 days ago
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