For members who have a greater amount of weight to lose, our Sparkpeople formula for weight loss can give you a too high calorie range. And this has happened to you.
I often help members in establishing a more appropriate range. I assume that you are comfortable on the 1200-1300 calories daily, feeling good, no excessive hunger, etc. If this is true and you also report having little activity currently...then I would suggest that you use our lowest calorie range at Sparkpeople. You can enter these numbers manually in your program:
As you lose weight, you may find that your body will allow for more exercise and daily activity---this can increase your calorie needs slightly; so the upper end of the calorie range may be more appropriate at that time.
Hope this helps Becky SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Your calorie range sounds pretty close to what mine was when I first started, and I had no problem with losing weight at that range. It is entirely possible that your metabolism has slowed to try to compensate for the much lower amount that you are eating. Since you seem to have hit a plateau, trying an increased range for a few weeks might be helpful in getting things happening again. Don't panic if a couple of extra pounds seem to add on in the first week or so --- it can take time for bodies to respond to changes!
Good for you for not wanting to go back to eating junk! It is, however, entirely possible to increase your calorie intake without resorting to that, and without feeling over-stuffed, or eating when you are not hungry. Hopefully the tips in the attached article will be helpful in giving you some ideas on how to healthfully increase your calories:
If you have 200 pounds to lose, you're right that the computer will give you too high a range. Any computer program will; they're all based on mathematical formulas, and the formulas assume that every pound of body weight uses the same number of calories. They don't take into account the fact that muscle tissue uses a lot more than fat tissue, so the further your body composition is from average, the less accurate the formula. If the BMR you're quoting was calculated, rather than being measured in an oxygen chamber, it's almost certainly a lot higher than your real BMR.
There are two fairly easy, sensible work-arounds. The easiest is to look up what your maintenance needs will be when you get to goal, and use that as your range now. In other words, if it's going to take 1700 calories to maintain your goal weight, set your tracker for 1500-1800, for example. (Be a little conservative, because people who have been obese tend to burn less even when they reach goal.) This has two advantages; it's pretty sure to be healthy, and it also teaches you how you'll have to eat once you get where you're going. When you get within about 50 pounds of goal, you'll have to lower that amount to lose the rest, but you can make a lot of progress now by using your goal maintenance range as your target.
Another method is to forget about your lower calorie limit and focus on other nutrients. The reason we have a minimum anyway is to make sure we get enough nutrients to stay healthy. If you focus on making sure you get *enough* fiber, calcium, protein, and one or two other nutrients that matter to you, and be sure to get at least 5 servings of fruit and veggies, you'll get enough calories by default. (Only counting what you get from food; don't count supplements if you're doing this method.) It will also help you cut out sugar and junk food, because after you eat all the healthy food you need, you probably won't have room for junk. In a lot of cases, obesity is actually a form of malnutrition. If your food isn't meeting your nutritional needs, your body keeps demanding food regardless of how many calories you've had.
If I were your mommy and I got to choose for you, I would recommend the second version for now. Since you're hungrier at mealtimes, focus on three classically healthy meals with plenty of veggies and protein and calcium sources, and use snacks ONLY as a way to fill in whatever nutrients you haven't squeezed into your meals. This will probably push your weight loss back on track, and even if it doesn't, it'll make you healthier all on its own, which is the ultimate goal anyway.
If you have had the same calorie goals set since you started, and have lost weight since, you might try going back and changing your current weight, and how far off you want to reach your goal. This would be a good thing to do every time you lose 15-20 lbs, just because your calorie needs are less the smaller you are. If the calories stay the same, that means they are correct for how much weight you want to lose with in a certain amount of time.
Since you say your stuck by only eating the 12 or 13 hundred calories, try eating closer to your goal, it may be that your metabolism is dive bombing by eating too little. Make sure you space your calories evenly through out the day, so your energy stays up. Try three satisfying meals and two snacks, or 5 equally caloric small meals.
Basically, using the preset nutrition tracker, puts me at (in my opinion) an awfully high daily calorie range. ( 1960 to 2310per day) Simply put, since changing my overall diet, I don't eat that much. I don't generally skip meals (kinda spotty on tracking most of them lately) I generally eat between 1200 and 1300 a day, but my BRM is (supposedly) around 2240 or so a day, with little activity.
I know eating less can make me stop losing weight, however... how do I change / should I change how much I eat?
I don't want to go back to eating junk food, and I'm generally just not hungry throughout the day very often, only closer to meal times.
Normally I'd think nothing of it, but my weight is kinda.. stuck? right now, and has been for a while (couple of months). I've increased activity slightly but should I be more worried about changing my diet at this point?
I've tried googling it, and most of what comes up is information for women much smaller than I am, and it's fairly difficult to translate a 15lb goal weight loss, into a 200lb one.
Any help, motivation or just support would be appreciated. I've become quite discouraged with the whole thing at this point, but I don't want to give up yet!