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ANARIE Posts: 13,199
5/6/09 10:32 A

I've hear the body weight x 10 formula, but my understanding is that it's old, old, OLD information, like from the 1960s and 70s when no one had really done any research to figure out how you could lose weight without hurting yourself. It's from the same time period when doctors routinely gave women amphetamines for weight loss, combined with Valium to calm them down from the speed. People died from that kind of diet advice, so scientists decided to look closer at safer, evidence-based ways of estimating calorie needs. They came up with a more sophisticated formula that takes more things into account, and that's what calculators like the one here at SparkPeople use. It's still not perfect, especially for very large or very small people, but for most of us it's safer and more effective.

That doesn't mean the info they were giving out on the show is totally useless. If you have NO clue what you should be eating and no access to better information, it's an easy way to get started. It's going to work for average-sized women who are significantly overweight but not really obese. It's like saying that the best way to calculate tips is by doubling the sales tax-- in more than half of all cases, it'll come pretty close, but if you live in a place where the sales tax is particularly high or low, or if you're eating at a buffet or a very upscale restaurant, you're going to tip way too much or way too little using that formula.

By the way, as someone else has said, the 1200-calorie "rule" isn't about the number of calories you need to be healthy; it's about the amount of food required to provide enough nutrients. Being small doesn't really change the minimum amount of vitamins and minerals you need, and you just can't get enough calcium, iron, vitamins, etc out of less than 1200 calories. Not even an expert dietitian can come up with a plan that's under 1200 calories but still meets all the minimum nutrient requirements. And most of us can't do it even at 1200. If you're eating any empty calories at all, you need some extra. That's why Spark gives the range of 1200-1500 even for the smallest women. If you dip down below 1200 calories for any extended period of time, even if you're eating all healthy food, you're going to end up with some sort of nutritional deficiency. Since for most people that's more dangerous than being slightly overweight, the shorties among us need to eat for health and let our exercise take care of the weight loss.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,296
5/5/09 8:01 P

1200 cals is the minimum to get the nutrients you need in a day. most people need more than that [even the shorties]. and it is possible to get all the nutrients you need in less than that, but you have to really, really plan it out exactly, and you should probably be talking to a dr.

the only time i have ever seen the bodyweight [current bodyweight, not ideal though] by ten number work is for the very obese, and it's generally for weight loss, not maintenance. and it's really off if you are active and not sedentary.

SARAH616 Posts: 199
5/5/09 5:25 P

Well put MUNKOS...

MUNKOS Posts: 1,007
5/5/09 2:31 P

To have an RMR below 1200, with sedentary activity - you'd need to be 5'0 (or less) and 70 pounds. Very few people lay in bed all day and don't do one thing all day, every single day - so a slight activity level needs to be taken into account.

For MOST adult women, this is impossible or at the very least incredibly unhealthy. Of course there are circumstances and such that may lead to someone needing less calories - but for the majority of the population of women it is unhealthy to eat less than 1200 calories. Period.

SARAH616 Posts: 199
5/5/09 1:45 P

LB1019...I guess Dr. Oz is wrong then??? He was on Oprah and said that no one should consistently consume less than 1200 calories per day. I think I'll take his advice, considering he is a world renowned cardiac surgeon and health professional! Not to mention less than just don't seem to be enough..especially if you are working out.

LEISIE Posts: 374
5/5/09 12:35 A

Gosh this is interesting, i think there is that point that it does not take exercise into consideration. Im only 5ft (IF that) and eating under 1000 calories (to meet my goal wait) does not seem right, gosh im up to that just after lunch hehe.

SA2002NG Posts: 423
5/5/09 12:25 A


5/4/09 11:39 P

i say forget the rules, eat when u're hungry, stop eating when u're not. ur body is the ur best guide on this.

LB4HEALTH Posts: 1,769
5/4/09 11:36 P

SARAH616, it is inaccurate to say that you "need 1200 calories a day to be healthy". That is not true. Every body has a resting metabolic rate, and that is the true caloric requirement to maintain body weight without sacrificing body tissue, etc. It is certainly not 1200 for everyone, so your stmt is not true. A 5'0 tall person who weighs a healthy 95 pounds does not require a minimum of 1200 calories a day to maintain good health. Just thought I would clarify that it depends on an individual, activity level, resting metabolic rate, etc. You can't just pick a # like "1200" and say it's required to maintain health.

ROSAKOMIYA SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (3,060)
Posts: 148
5/4/09 11:29 P

I can see how it might approximate some people's basal metabolic rate, but this doesn't account for exercise and varying nutritional needs.

KALORIE-KILLAH SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (19,921)
Posts: 5,261
5/4/09 10:07 P

Yep, I understand that; I was just trying to see if anyone's ever heard of this "ideal weight x 10" rule and if it even comes close to making sense! Haha.

GMCTERRAIN Posts: 4,455
5/4/09 10:05 P

SP has a calorie calculator formula over in Nutrition section of Healthy Lifestyles. I've plugged it into an excel spreadsheet and find it works great. Some of the variables are age, height, and exercise calories burned per day.

KALORIE-KILLAH SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (19,921)
Posts: 5,261
5/4/09 9:50 P

SARAH616 -- Yeah, this is exactly my point. Plus, for men, why would they use the same rule as stated on the show, too? Men need a minimum of 1500 (for the same reasons why women need 1200) and I don't thin it's accurate if my friend who is 5'7" wants to weigh 140 pounds means he should eat 1400 Calories/day!

SARAH616 Posts: 199
5/4/09 9:47 P

Well considering that your body needs a minimum of 1200 calories regularly (going under occasionally is okay)to be healthy, I don't think that this is accurate.

CLIMBERCHICK14 Posts: 11,246
5/4/09 9:01 P

I don't think that works. For one, it doesn't account for exercise either.

KALORIE-KILLAH SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (19,921)
Posts: 5,261
5/4/09 8:36 P

So, I'm watching Lifetime's new show "Cook Yourself Thin". So far I think it's really awesome (using zucchini instead of butter in cupcakes! awesome!) but I"m confused at one thing:

They just told a woman to find her ideal Calorie intake she should multiply her ideal weight by 10. Her ideal weight was 140... x10... is 1400.

But what about people who are 5'2" and can be healthy at 100 pounds? Should they really be eating 1000 Calories (100 x 10 = 1000)?

That doesn't seem right to me. What do you think?

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