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KRISZTA11 SparkPoints: (116,686)
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12/8/11 5:17 P

I don't think you will gain weight, maybe you stop losing because of starvation mode.
But if you eat too little, you will not find your diet satisfactory in the long run, instead you will hate it, be unhappy and drop out.
So eventually you will gain weight.

Be sure, you are allowed to eat at the high end of your nutrition plan calorie range, and still lose weight, at a reasonable pace of 1-2 pounds a week,
and be happy with your food all the time.
I lost weight on 1500-1800 calories, and that allows quite a flexible and enjoyable diet.

AEROGERS129 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 558
12/8/11 2:49 P

I eat 1700-2100 calories a day and I'm a 120lb female, 5'7" with 15% body fat.

You NEED to eat enough to fuel your body especially if you're working out. If you're not, you're doing a disservice to your body and your health!

People are always afraid of calories, but especially if you're an active person, you need calories just to perform bodily functions such as metabolism. If you don't give yourself the correct amount of calories, you WILL gain weight because your metabolism will slow and your body will 'hold onto' what it can (thank evolution and ancient times when your body had to be smart to account for times when there wasn't ample food!)

If you're scared, try increasing slowly over time. You may notice as bloat as your body re-adjusts to eating the correct amount, but this WILL go away in time!

SHYBEAR11 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 20
12/8/11 1:00 P

I thought that the less u eat the more u gain more.and that good 2 hear.

FITCHALLENGER SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 349
12/8/11 12:58 P

@Mustaffanasser: When you bodybuild you gain fat as well as muscle tissue, just the way as when you lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle. The quality of your nutrients will determine the amount you might gain of each. High protein percentages help gain lean muscle mass.

If you are "very slim", then you might well be very close to your maintenance calories, so the extra calories you eat and don't burn are stored as fat.

Also, it is normal for budybuilders to "bulk-up" during the off-season and then shred the extra fat during the active season. That is just the way it goes.

PARICARP SparkPoints: (15,777)
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12/8/11 12:42 P

You won't "gain" weight, but eating too little slows your metabolism, and makes your body think it should be in starvation mode. This, in turn, slows the weight loss progress.

MUSTAFANASSER SparkPoints: (0)
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12/8/11 11:28 A

I'm a 29 years old male, trying to exercise bodybuilding 5 days a week. I'm very slim but the problem is that if I eat more than 1200 calories or so for maybe one week I start seeing fat over my belly and chest, it is so frustrating and I don't know what to do about it. I need calories to try and grow some muscles and I'm also worried about restricting my calories forever.


MICRODEB Posts: 11
8/14/11 9:54 A

I'm on week two and have GAINED 3 lbs!! I exercise at least 3 times a week and I have tried to stay close to my lower end of my 1200-1500 calories. Most days I am slightly under 1200 and 1 or 2 times I was close to 1500. It's so depressing I think I'm going to throw my scales in the garbage!!

LILONENY25 Posts: 268
4/8/11 6:40 P

Before i found sparkpeople i was eating less then 1200 calories a day. I was not losing weight.Then i found sparkpeople and since then i have been eating between 1200-1550 calories a day. Most days i try to stick to the lower range and i have been losing 2-3 lbs a week. So from personal experience im going to say eating under 1200 calories is not a smart idea.

ANARIE Posts: 13,200
4/8/11 6:21 P


What you're saying is true for someone like you, a MAN who weighs over 200 pounds. The question here is from a woman who only has a few pounds to lose; she might literally weigh 100 pounds less than you. 1200 calories would definitely be ridiculous for you, but it's probably close to appropriate for her. Many women do eat four 300-calorie meals, as hard as that might be for guys to imagine. Someone who's trying to lose the last few pounds has to really cut close to that fine line between too little to be healthy and too much to lose weight.

My *maintenance* calories are around 1500. To me, 1800 would be ridiculous. That's what I eat on Christmas when I completely let myself go. If I ate that much every day, I'd gain weight fast no matter how "clean" it was. You have to take a person's size and gender into account before you start handing out advice, and certainly before throwing out the word "ridiculous."

Edited by: ANARIE at: 4/8/2011 (18:26)
PANDAS10 SparkPoints: (16,949)
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Posts: 408
4/8/11 5:45 P

I'm really surprised that you're in here trying to dictate what someone else should be doing with their eating plan.
4-6 meals per day may work for you; but some people can't eat that often d/t the nature of their job or because eating that often will trigger a binge.
Healthy meals probably ought to range from 300-500 calories.
The number of calories one should consume depends on their current size and activity level. 1200 calories can be very appropriate for many people.
I don't believe in starvation mode (but that's a debate for another day).
Every person's body operates a bit differently; which means that there is no one size fits all definition for calorie ranges and nutrient levels. And you shouldn't be in here trying to bring people down for how many calories they choose to consume.

40ISHHUBBY SparkPoints: (21,745)
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4/8/11 3:12 P

1200 calories is crazy. First of all you're supposed to eat 4-6 meals a day to ignite your metabolism. Starting with a good breakfast. There's no way you're eating 4 meals on just 1200 calories. Starvation mode is very real it causes your body's metabolism to drastically slow down and it stores the fat it does recieve. 1700-1800 calories is more realistic. Every nutrician label you read is based on a 2000 calorie diet. People who are active and exercise 3 days a week need more than that. If you're exercising and eating clean you will have a calorie deficit each day. That's how you lose weight. 1200 calories a day is counterproductive and just plain rediculous.

JJRUTT SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 2:18 P

I don't think you will gain weight but your body will go into starvation mode. You will not burn as many calories and you resting metabolism will go down. You want to make sure you are getting enough fuel for your body for everyday activities including when you work out. Drinking lots of water.

ANARIE Posts: 13,200
4/8/11 1:31 P

It's not really about the calories; it's about the nutrients that go along with those calories. The reason you shouldn't go below 1200 calories is that, no matter how careful you are in your choices, it's almost impossible to come up with a menu under 1200 calories that gives you enough protein, calcium, iron, fiber, vitamins, and so on. It's not clear that "starvation mode" exists, but malnutrition definitely does, and malnourished people tend not to lose fat. They might lose weight, but it's coming from muscle and bone while the body hangs on to the fat in case the starvation emergency continues.

That's not why you gained a pound, though. One week isn't enough to cause malnutrition. It's a coincidence; as others have said, your weight can fluctuate by several pounds for reasons that have nothing to do with what you're eating.

If you've been recording your weight for a while, count back at 4-week intervals and compare your weight now to your weight 28 and 56 days ago. For women, that explains most unexpected weight fluctuations.

RISSAFILMORE SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 1:03 P

When you don't eat enough claories, it slows your metabolism. That is one reason why extremely low calorie fad diets are so bad for your health.

CATHM26 Posts: 568
4/8/11 12:48 P

Hi - I agree with everyone else. Curious about who your employer is though that has a tracker recommending under 1200 calories...

KAYLORRAINE44 SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 12:27 P

I was watching the Dr. Oz show last week and he said that at a minimum people should eat 1200 calories so under 1200 is not going to be enough for your body.

ANEWMCD SparkPoints: (0)
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4/8/11 12:17 P

That's a good point on patience Coach Jen, thank you. It's just a little disappointing when I've been maintaining my current weight while eating what I want (including daily chocolate, yum) on a daily basis; then when I start to take control and practice more moderation the scale moves in the wrong direction!

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,898
4/8/11 11:59 A

I'd recommend setting your calories burned goal to reflect the amount of cardio you're doing, and then eat in the calorie range SP suggests. Also keep in mind that changes take time- it could be weeks before you see progress, so try to be patient.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

TWISTEDSOUL1230 Posts: 185
4/8/11 11:28 A

And welcome to sparkpeople btw!

MEGANO1225 SparkPoints: (1,469)
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Posts: 26
4/8/11 11:28 A

I would definitely eat more than 1200 calories! That's my range too, but I have I don't have enough energy when I do that. What really helps is eating the right things before and after you work out so you have energy throughout your days and for the NEXT workout. Here's a link that helped me!

TWISTEDSOUL1230 Posts: 185
4/8/11 11:27 A

A couple things to keep in mind..... one, the body weight fluctuates constantly, so a one pound weight gain might be a fluke. Or perhaps it could be in increase in muscle mass from the walking and jogging you do, since muscle does weigh more than fat. But yes, eating too little can cause weight gain. If too few calories are consumed, your body can go into "starvation mode" and all the calories it takes in, it stores and can store it as fat (if I have done my research correctly). But your best bet would be to try to consume more than 1200 calories... perhaps ranging from 1200 to 1500, to compensate for your athletic lifestyle. Hope I was helpful.

ANEWMCD SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 16
4/8/11 11:20 A

Hi all, I'm brand new!

I would like to lose 8-10 pounds. I started off with a calorie & exercise tracker my employer provides, and it told me to eat less than 1200 calories. I did so, and ended up gaining a pound this week.

Sparkpeople gives me a calorie range of 1220-1500 calories. I'm going to try that for this week.

I should mention I "power walk" 3-4 days per week for 25 minutes (my lunch break) and I jog 3 times per week (just completing C25K).

What do you think? Will too few calories make me gain, or just not lose? Was this past week a fluke?

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