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FITTEREVERYDAY SparkPoints: (29,346)
Fitness Minutes: (18,503)
Posts: 2,081
2/3/14 11:12 A

Height wise I'm actually below average. I guess for me it really is activity above average whether I realize it or not (I also suspect perhaps a higher metabolic rate than average). I do a lot more physical work than an office worker and I walk, not drive, to get around (even if I take a bus or go somewhere in a car I'll go to the initial destination and then walk between stores). I also am one of those people who has a very hard time sitting still. I pace on phone. I stand up while I'm reading (or oftentimes on the computer). I hate manipulating a shopping cart so unless my groceries are beyond my carrying limit I carry around a shopping basket.

Like I said I'm losing at around 1800 or so. At 1200 I actually seem to not lose at all and feel sick and tired all the time to boot.

EX-PRESSO Posts: 478
2/3/14 1:01 A

I'm 5'5, 40, 1 child, thyroid problem and still pretty overweight.
I lose weight if I eat less than 1400 cal. but maintain with 2000.
So I guess if I will have reached my goal, I have to eat less to maintain.

VWMOMMY SparkPoints: (9,888)
Fitness Minutes: (5,930)
Posts: 296
2/2/14 8:19 P

I think the general rule is that you should look at averages as just that, averages. Think about it this way: Just because the average income in your area is $XXX doesn't mean that your income is even close to that. Or that even though the average woman's height is 5'5" doesn't mean that you aren't 4'11" or 5'11".

In the end you will have to experiment to find out what works best for you. For example, a number of people have mentioned staying at around 1200 calories a day. For them that works. For me, my body would go into starvation mode and I would hold onto every last bit of everything. When I was running too high a calorie deficit a couple of weeks ago my weight loss stalled. As soon as I bumped the calories back up a little, the weight started coming off again. For me to lose weight with exercise I need to stay around 1500-1800 for the most part, 1200-1400 without exercise. I don't know what my caloric needs will be when I finally make it to maintenance but I do know that it will be something that I will have to figure out for myself.

Good luck and congratulations on your progress so far!

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,486)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,280
2/2/14 4:43 P

I am just on 5' 6" and was GAINING weight on 1650-1850 calories a day. I was over 200lb, too, so was heavier than 'average weight' as well. Some of that time I was extremely active (just not in the latter years.) Now, an average of 1600 calories is my maintenance calories at my current weight.


FITTEREVERYDAY SparkPoints: (29,346)
Fitness Minutes: (18,503)
Posts: 2,081
2/2/14 4:14 P

I've been losing on around that (I don't track regularly, I might track 2 - 3 times a year). I am petite so am technically supposed to lose on a lot less. But average I may not be. I walk to get around a lot and eat in a very healthy manner.

2/2/14 8:22 A

I have learned this go round that I must eat around 1200 calories to see change. 1500 calories did not do it for me at all.

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
2/1/14 1:51 P

I'm 5'3" and fairly petite, a hair shy of 30, and a mom of one. 2000 calories per day is a pretty accurate representation of my maintenance intake when I make sure to get at least a little exercise daily, but when I laze around too much it slowly leads to a gain. Like Nirerin pointed out, those numbers assume a bit more activity than what is (unfortunately) average.

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
2/1/14 1:50 P

I'm 5'3" and fairly petite, a hair shy of 30, and a mom of one. 2000 calories per day is a pretty accurate representation of my maintenance intake when I make sure to get at least a little exercise daily, but when I laze around too much it slowly leads to a gain. Like Nirerin pointed out, those numbers assume a bit more activity than what is (unfortunately) average.

SWIMMERGIRL0222 Posts: 785
2/1/14 1:41 P

I think everyone's bodies are different. What works for one person isn't necessarily what will work for you. I'm 23 and very active. I workout 2-3 hours a day. If I eat more than 2000 calories I would gain weight (despite my activity level). I eat a whole foods plant based diet with no processed foods so it would be fairly hard for me to eat that many calories as it is.

HARPS81 Posts: 77
1/29/14 11:36 A

I stay at the 1500 range however I do not think that is enough I am 6 to 7 days of cardio and I am not losing anything!!

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
1/29/14 5:37 A

I'm losing weight eating around 2000 cals. I'm 31, 5'2 and around 115 lbs. I weight train, do cardio 6x a week and work an active job and have had 2 children? Not sure what that has to do with it. I'm guessing I'd have to average around 2300 cals to maintain my weight.

NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (76,244)
Fitness Minutes: (31,253)
Posts: 867
1/28/14 9:56 P

I'm 44, 5'5", and have two kids. I maintain (127 lbs., plus or minus) at right around 2000/day when I'm running my usual amount. The last couple of months have been rough for me to keep up that schedule, so I'm currently at more like 1800.

STARSHINEFL SparkPoints: (1,072)
Fitness Minutes: (40)
Posts: 158
1/28/14 9:12 P

I can maintain with about 2000. I'm 44, 5'3", never had kids. I don't do much exercise, but what I do is mostly weights and when I am consistent with those, I get good results.

In my case the faster metabolism seems to go along with a higher heart rate and higher body temperature... I am not sure it is necessarily a healthy thing, based on my dad, who was the same way.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
1/28/14 8:31 P

Well, take this with a grain of salt, since I don't track calories, but at a reasonably well-educated guess I am eating approximately 2000 calories a day and maintaining. I'm just moderately active right now, nothing special.

(Edit -- this is my no-exercise guesstimate; with exercise it's higher by maybe 200 or 300 (I tend to have an extra snack that I skip otherwise). I'm 5'8-5'9, female, 43, one child, been sort of slowly gaining weight my entire adult life, with a few minor reversals. I eat low protein (very little in the way of animal products), higher on the carbs and probably fat. I lost 45 pounds last year. Just to cover all the bases. ;) Anyway, it's accurate for me.)

Edited by: RENATARUNS at: 1/28/2014 (20:38)
AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
1/28/14 5:31 P

I think that it depends entirely on your metabolism. A healthy, young, active woman with a really robust metabolism might be able to get away with 2000/calories a day.

Even though I am much taller and much more active than the average woman, 1200 is the absolute upper limit for me. Not fair, but all you can do is to work with what you have.

ACM3DS Posts: 17
1/28/14 2:03 P

If I eat and sometimes do, 2000 cals a day I gain very quickly even if I'm exercising. I've been trying to lose weight and have loss 20-23lbs I go up and down. I'm 5' 5, 35 yrs and have 3 kids. Even exercising as I said but going over cals I gain or can't lose. I have to restrict cals by at least 1750 to slowly lose and if I really want to get to losing it has to be 1200. I have to fully 100% be dedicated exercise and serious diet or weight doesn't budge. I think my metabolism is as slow as molasses. Everyone is different though.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,566
7/23/13 8:50 P

If I ate 2000 calories a day I would gain weight

7/23/13 7:21 P

Here is more on reference man and woman, height, weight, calorie needs, and activity level:

EEJAYBEE Posts: 261
7/23/13 6:20 P

Thanks for an interesting discussion, everyone!

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
7/23/13 12:09 P

I average 1650-1800 or so to maintain (132, 5ft 6, 45 years). I jog a few times a week. (maybe burn about 750-800 total calories all week jogging)

I need less calories now that I am older.

People are a lot less active then when I was growing up. My mom used to walk everywhere-to the store, post office, bank. Back then, you even had to get up to change the tv channel. Now, there are even drive thru pharmacies. Overweight is the new average.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/23/13 11:47 A

If you are cutting 500 calories to lose 1 lb a week, then when you hit goal weight, you would start to consume those 500 to stop losing that. So you would start eating 2050 a week.

Even 1/2 a lb a week is 250 calories, so you would be up to 1800. Is 2000 calories on maintenance really that much of a stretch? You should already be slowing down your weight loss so you don't shoot past your goal weight, which means adding calories usually.

7/23/13 11:09 A

At 175 pounds and 26% body fat, I am quite active (15,000+ steps per day) and burn 2600-2700 calories per day. I bet I would lose weight eating 2000 calories per day.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
7/23/13 10:23 A

In maintenance I eat close to 2000 average with no exercise, so it does work. I'm 5'3" and 31, and I've never had kids (I really think that adds to it, having kids messes with your hormones) But, I think that's just a coincidence. Like another poster said, there's really no such thing as the average woman. Well, there is, but these days, the "average" person is overweight. I think if my circumstances were different (like if I was older), the 2000 would be too much.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 7/23/2013 (10:25)
KARA623 Posts: 727
7/23/13 8:37 A

I'm very active and have a lot of muscle mass, too. For me, 2000 is too much for an average day. I occasionally get there on a weekend day, but typically I stay in the range of 1400-1500 during the week and 1600-1800 on the weekends. I'm on maintenance, by the way. I eat what I consider to be very clean foods; I just don't have the appetite for more.

And I agree that there are many factors. I'm 5'2 and at the highest end of the healthy weight range for my height but pretty muscular. I think it's a pretty individual thing, and your body will tell you.

7/23/13 8:10 A

I eat +/- 2000 calories a day. I don't run marathons but I am very active and I do have a lot of muscle mass.

There are many factors weight, height, muscle mass, exercise type and duration and type of food consumed to name just a few.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but can't calorie counts on foods be as much as 25% off +/- the actual calories in that food?

NIRERIN Posts: 14,325
7/23/13 6:21 A

it's not so much a myth as outdated data. when they started figuring out the nutritional info in foods and how many calories people needed most people weren't working desk jobs, playing on the internet and watching tv for sixteen hours or so a day. and they haven't quite gotten around to updating the info. i'm not sure if you have ever looked for weird laws still on the books in your area [in my area trains aren't supposed to pass through town faster than a man can walk. that does not happen, but the law still happens to be on the books], but this is the same thing. it once was the standard, but nobody has bothered to go back and update the info.
that being said most women have bmrs in the 1000-1600 range, depending on their age and height. add in basic daily activities [20% of bmr] and you're looking in the 1200-2000 range. the 1200 side is going to be for those shorter or older and the 2000 side is for the younger and taller.
your spark ranges are loss ranges, so comparing those to that 2000 cals isn't accounting for the fact that that gap between 1550 and 2000 cals is what is making you lose weight and burn the excess fat that's in your body instead of getting the energy from food. in other words, if you are set to lose a pound a week and you're getting a 1550 number, that means that to maintain your weight it would take 500 cals more than the numbers provided, or right about that 2000 cal number.
and that 2000 number is an average. not everyone burns the exact same amount of calories. which means that the more active women are burning closer to 2500 a day and the more sedentary are burning more like 1500 a day. whichever side you are on, it still averages out to 2000. or at least somewhere close. 2000 cals seems like a much rounder, nicer number than 1879 or something else that might put people off from doing any calculations on the topic.

SUSAN_FOSTER Posts: 1,229
7/23/13 5:27 A

It's funny that your range went lower as you got closer to goal; a lot of people's go higher! Are your settings set for a reasonable weight loss per week? (Yes, I know that's not the question, but I am wondering).

For 2000, yes, I do believe there are women who eat that much and don't gain weight. Don't forget - your range is for weight loss. Maintenance calories will be higher.

KIRSTENCO SparkPoints: (11,539)
Fitness Minutes: (10,000)
Posts: 214
7/23/13 5:25 A

I can't tell you where that figure comes from, but as far as I'm aware, there's no such thing as an "average" woman. We are all extraordinary and unique, which is why your eating plan should be tailored to you!!!!
Congrats on your progress and carry on being awesome!

EEJAYBEE Posts: 261
7/23/13 4:15 A

I've been reading the nutritional info on the back of packets, and was thinking about the bit where it always says something like "based on average consumption for a woman of 2000 calories a day".
When I started Sparkpeople, I was allowed around 1750 calories. Now that I'm 7 pounds off my BMI range, the SparkPeople recommendation is 1550 calories. So does anyone actually consume 2000 calories a day without putting weight on? (I'm assuming that if you do eat that much because you're running marathons, then you presumably wouldn't count as "average"?)
Where has this figure come from?

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