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UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
5/28/13 1:40 A

Are you disabled? Are you extremely petite?

Those are the kinds of figures where I would first think of a pattern of undereating that needs to be resolved. Nobody should maintain at 1200 - that is way lower than the lowest BMR figures for extremely small people. So that's the kind of figures that would make me question the long-termyness of that situation.

Have you been checked out by a doctor?

5/28/13 1:14 A

I for one, lose weight at 1000 kcal, maintain at 1200 kcal and gain at 1400 kcal. go figure. However that is for a sedentary lifestyle which perpetuates itself.

When I exercise regularly I can still lose weight at 1200. So for the projections, I had to lower mine in order to lose weight even at 1 pound per week.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
5/28/13 1:06 A

Every person is a unique and special snowflake. The ranges may suit more than 80% of people, but that's still 1 in 5 for whom they just don't work.

However, what can also be going on is a repeated pattern of under-eating affecting the metabolism. IF (I'm not saying that's the case, just describing a possibility) you have been consistently eating a very low amount of calories, your body will have adjusted your metabolism down so that you burn very few calories in day to day activities. Therefore if you increase calories in back to a 'normal' level, you start gaining weight because that's higher than what you're burning.

However, if that is the case, it is normally temporary. It can reflect in an immediate gain on the scale when you attempt to eat at a level everyone else tells you is 'normal' or 'should still be weight loss', so it can seem scary. But give it 8 weeks and see if you're still gaining. I know that sounds scary - 8 potential weeks of gain(!), but it can take that long for that effect to wear off.

This would only be the case if your increase and resultant weight gain was at a figure that most people pretty much generally recommend is very low. Eg if you gain weight on less than, say, 1500 calories, that could be the case. If you are recommended 1900-2200 but you find you gain on 1800, that may just be your unique and special body doing its own thing.

JOMADSEN47 SparkPoints: (4,664)
Fitness Minutes: (5,054)
Posts: 31
5/27/13 5:26 P

Is it possible that a person can need less than the charts. I have never lost at those amounts and in fact gain?

AERWIN77 SparkPoints: (7,527)
Fitness Minutes: (15,899)
Posts: 145
1/16/13 2:37 P

The dinner on the 13th had veggies mixed in the recipe, which I entered the whole recipe into the calculator and had the system transfer those numbers to my tracker, so the peas & carrots in that recipe were already included in the total.

As for the turkey in the salads, I looked up the nutrition info and it says that a serving size is 2 oz (approx 6 slices of deli meat) with 50 calories per serving - I have been adding 1/2 a serving to my salad at lunch and when I enter 1/2 a serving the system is adding it as 23 calories. If that is wrong, then that may be part of my problem.

Thank you for looking this over for me. I was getting frustrated because I am eating the right types of foods, I'm just not hitting the numbers, I stop eating something when I feel full and I don't really snack much because I feel that a lot of the time snacks are eating from boredom, etc.

Today I am adding a hard boiled egg to my salad as well, to add both calories as well as protein. Small steps, right?

LIMERCIER SparkPoints: (661)
Fitness Minutes: (90)
Posts: 28
1/16/13 1:44 P

Thanks UNIDENT! Makes perfect sense!

I see why I was confused! I was thinking the goal of 660 calories burned was the recommended calories burned PER DAY! Not per week. So I was thinking I've been eating 600+ too many calories each day. Whew! That is a relief. 660 cals per week isn't much at all per day, and I probably have been burning them anyway by taking the 12 flights of stairs at work instead of the elevator.


UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
1/16/13 1:34 P

LIMERCIER Spark's suggested calorie intake range is calculated based on the given calories to burn goal as well. So if your weekly calories burned goal is 660, yes, that is factored in.

However, over 7 days that makes a difference of less than 100 calories per day, and as you point out, 1200-1550 is the lowest range anyway.

Every spark range is 350 calories, so you won't get an increase in the upper range only.

You can go ahead and go to your exercise goals and set the calories burned to 0 and untick any days for exercise to indicate that you're not doing any.

NILBOGGER SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (34,249)
Posts: 260
1/16/13 1:18 P

You won't go into "starvation mode" and you certainly won't GAIN weight with too few calories... but for the average person eating fewer thatn 1200 calories a day is not very healthy. Doing it once in awhile won't kill you, but regularly going under may make you feel sluggish and irritable. You may also end up lacking in nutrietns.

None of us got to be overweight by not eating enough calories, so eating more than 1200 shouldn't be a stuggle.

LIMERCIER SparkPoints: (661)
Fitness Minutes: (90)
Posts: 28
1/16/13 1:16 P


I think it makes sense to me now :) The only thing I'm trying to figure out now is whether Spark is assuming that I'm fairly sedentary (basic calories needed to live and small daily activities) or if it is factoring in the calories they recommend that I burn each week (660).

I hope its not the latter, because I'm not doing any exercise the first couple weeks while I just focus my attention on improving my eating habits first. So hopefully they aren't adding those calories to my recommended intake. The low end of my cal range is already at 1200 anyway and I know they don't go any lower than that, so I guess it doesn't matter! But maybe my higher end would be different. (Its 1550 now).


UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
1/16/13 1:09 P


On the 15th there are no vegetables. Eat some veggies with your meals for a small boost in calories and a massive boost in vitamins.

On the 14th there are no snacks and no fruit. Don't be afraid to eat small snacks between meals - heck you need it! :) Your meals aren't too bad, how about just increasing your sizes? Instead of 1 serving of cereal have 1.5. It's okay to do that - you really do need the extra food. A 'serving' of meat at dinnertime is typically 3oz, not 2oz.

I'm concerned at the meat listing in the salad for lunch. It claims it was three slices of meat, but with only 23 calories. Given protein is 4 calories per gram, that's only 6 grams of meat in three slices! That cannot be right. Three slices of meat should be at least 30-40g, which if it were pure protein (and it's not) would be over 100 calories.

The 13th was good totals but what was dinner? Chicken and potatoes? Does that come with other vegies that aren't labelled? There are no vegetables shown in that dish, again, add more! :)

Hope this helps somewhat. You're very close to your goals, so it's just about having one more piece of fruit or a slightly bigger serving of meat, dairy or carbs, or adding more vegies, to get you into range.

AERWIN77 SparkPoints: (7,527)
Fitness Minutes: (15,899)
Posts: 145
1/16/13 9:44 A

UNIDENT I just changed the settings on my page to share my nutrition and fitness tracker, I wasn't aware that I could share that information on there.

I ended up drinking a glass of milk with some of my daughter's Nesquik in it to boost my calories, as well as my calcium, last night after dinner.

Thanks for any advice/help you can give. I'm just frustrated because I feel like I am making (mostly) smart decisions in my eating habits, but I just don't ever seem to be hitting the numbers I am supposed to be hitting without having to add something toward the end of the night, like a yogurt, a glass of milk or something sweet.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
1/16/13 1:00 A

AERWIN77 You could share your food tracker on your Spark Page for more exact advice.

But you said "I'm eating healthy amounts". Clearly you're not. If you were, you wouldn't have a problem meeting your ranges.

You need to increase how much you eat. But it can be as simple as having 40g of something instead of 30g of it, an egg plus an egg white instead of just an egg, or drinking a glass of juice and a glass of milk daily for the fruit/dairy benefits as well as the couple hundred calories they'll add.

Check out these Calorie Boosting Tips:

As for "why eat when I'm not hungry" would you tell an over-eater that it would be okay to "keep eating because I'm still hungry"? Not everyone gets their hunger signals right. If you're habitually under or over a healthy amount, you can NOT just "listen to your body". Your body lies to you.

Yes, you need to eat when not hungry. Because your body isn't telling you it's hungry even when it needs the food. It lies, and you cannot listen to it.

Edited by: UNIDENT at: 1/16/2013 (01:01)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
1/16/13 12:43 A

LIMERCIER: This article should explain how your ranges are calculated. :) They take into account your exercise, and no, you do not eat your exercise calories back.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
1/16/13 12:41 A

While it IS okay to go under now and again, making a regular habit of it can absolutely sabotage you and put you at greater health risk. I know, we are taught we shouldn't eat when we're not hungry, but when you are at dangerously low calories levels (such as 2-300 under your minimum or less) this can be unwise advice to follow. You can easily boost your calories without adding bulk or overfilling yourself. Even a tablespoon of peanut butter can go a long way to providing extra nutrition and calories without overstuffing yourself.

SP has some great tips here:

SPAQUEEN2012 SparkPoints: (11,647)
Fitness Minutes: (6,313)
Posts: 104
1/15/13 8:59 P

Be careful eating less than the recommended calories - - you will slow your metabolism. This is a "for life" thing and not just a diet.

MARITIMER3 SparkPoints: (212,753)
Fitness Minutes: (120,381)
Posts: 9,442
1/15/13 8:51 P

Yes, it's important to eat the minimum calories that SP recommends for you. If you find you're down a little bit in the evening, have a glass of milk, a piece of fruit, or some lean protein.

MILLISMA Posts: 36,489
1/15/13 8:47 P

I'm glad to read I'm not the only one having this problem. I usually mange to meet most of my nutrient requirements except for calories.

JIM2104 SparkPoints: (1,225)
Fitness Minutes: (340)
Posts: 16
1/15/13 8:02 P

i have been struggling to hit my calorie intake so usually end up having a bowl of cereal in the evening, gets me up around the mark but wondering if its worth it as eating late and probably not burning off. Most of my diet i make up with fruit and veg , i dont feel hungry at all.
I am considering nuts, I know they are meant to be fattening but im yet to see an obese squirrel

AERWIN77 SparkPoints: (7,527)
Fitness Minutes: (15,899)
Posts: 145
1/15/13 3:27 P

I seem to be having a problem with this some days as well. For instance today, even with what I have planned for dinner I'll still only be at 983 calories, 105 carbs, 48 grams of fat and 40 grams of protein. I could add a yogurt for a snack, but that feels counterproductive to me, when I eat something when I am not hungry.

I'm eating healthy amounts, I just don't know what to do at this point to get my body what it needs. I made banana pancakes for myself and my daughter this morning, I'm having brown sugar garlic chicken with rice and salad for dinner. I even caved and made grilled cheese for lunch and had 3/4 of an ounce of m&ms with my daughter - and I'm STILL under my recommended calories. It's frustrating! emoticon

Any suggestions?

NOBLEEQUESTRIAN SparkPoints: (5,640)
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Posts: 247
1/15/13 2:50 P

Eating a fewer calories than the recommended goal is ok. However when it hits the 100-200 mark than you may need to eat something extra. The same is with going over the calorie count. Eating 35 extra calories is no big deal, but when you start to hit 100 or 200 than you may want to cut down a bit.

LIMERCIER SparkPoints: (661)
Fitness Minutes: (90)
Posts: 28
1/15/13 2:49 P

I have had a couple days where I didn't meet my calorie range and was wondering about it too. (Which I never imagined would ever happen!!)

One thing I don't quite get, and would love someone to educate me, is what about the calories you burn when you work out? Does that subtract from the number of calories you ate?

For me, at this point in my program, I haven't included much exercise yet and am focusing on the food aspect for a couple weeks first.

So lets say I just meet my calorie requirement, but then I work out and burn 400 calories. Am I now 400 calories UNDER my calorie requirement?
I guess I just don't see how that is any different than if I end up eating 400 fewer calories than recommended and don't exercise. What's the difference?

CLRWILLIAMS25 SparkPoints: (34,625)
Fitness Minutes: (35,554)
Posts: 1,091
1/15/13 2:17 P

A few almonds, a cube/slice of cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter usually do the trick to get you back into your range. I am also usually on the lower end for fat, so those items work well for that as well.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
1/15/13 1:16 P

It's also important to hit that minimum with 'real food nutrition'. If you're at 1000 and you eat a 200 calorie chocolate bar, technically you made your range. But you really only got 1000 calories of "nutrition" that day as the chocolate bar really offers nothing.

So ensure you hit your minimums from the healthy food choices you make, and if you include a treat at all, that's what the other 350 calories of your range are for - let it fit into that part.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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Posts: 9,717
1/15/13 12:51 P

It's very difficult to meet your body's basic nutritional needs on less than 1200 calories per day. It's okay to undereat occasionally, but a habit of eating too little will slow your metabolism and ultimately sabotage your weight loss. It's just like having a car on E! You can ride a little way on the fumes, but it's going to eventually stop. It's important to try and hit at least your minimum to ensure your body has the fuel it needs to function at its best.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (81,670)
Fitness Minutes: (47,978)
Posts: 5,092
1/15/13 12:23 P

Eating a little less on one day won't hurt, but try to eat at the very least 1200 calories. Anything lower than that will cause your body to go into starvation mode, which will stall your weight loss and do more harm than good.

KYLIAK Posts: 253
1/15/13 12:19 P

a few less can happen, but remember eating too few will put your body into starvation mode causing you to gain weight and your body to hold onto every calorie it gets. Its best to stay in your rage.

POETICA7 SparkPoints: (9,026)
Fitness Minutes: (1,713)
Posts: 727
1/15/13 12:09 P

Yesterday was my first day at SP and I got 1165 calories rather than the 1200 I should have. Is eating fewer calories a problem?
I like the idea of portioning out snacks so when the snack attacks come I don't have to think about it. Just grab and go. Thanks for good idea.

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