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.