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Old 01-06-2011, 04:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default How many calories you consume is only part of the weight loss equation

How many calories you consume is only part of the equation when it comes to weight loss. Base Metabolic Rate (BMR), Exercise/Activity and the Calories Eaten are all used to determine your Caloric deficit or surplus. The equation is:
BMR + Exercise/Activity - Calories Eaten = Caloric deficit.

Since 1 pound of body weight equates to apprx. 3500 calories then if you maintain a 500 calorie deficit daily you would lose about 1 pound per week. (500calories X 7days = 3500)

On the surface it would appear that the greater the deficit the greater the weight loss. However the body has a built in preservation mode that actually reduces BMR once it feels it is being starved (this is referred to as starvation mode). Your optimal calorie deficit may take some experimentation to find. Michael (mecompco) and Cassie are a great example of the individual differences. Michael can eat 1000 calories a day and lose weight but Cassie (who is much smaller) needs to eat 1300 to avoid going into starvation mode.

Use the Fitday tools to find your BMR then try to acheive a deficit to match your goals. If your deficit is high and you aren't seeing results in two weeks adjust.
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Mini-Goal......................220 Achieved 10/26/2012
Current.........................216.2 lbs. (-53.8 lbs)
Mini-Goal.......................215
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default The fewer calories you take in, the harder it may be to sustain

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Originally Posted by kristimdavies View Post
I started with this site just last week and was amazed at how many calories I took in on a normal basis so I immediately started to cut back. Now I am paying attention to everything I put in my mouth. The bad thing is that after a few days I am finding myself getting by on 900-1000 calories a day.

I am not hungry and I don't feel deprived, so is this a bad thing? I filled my fridge with lots of good food that had plenty of protein and fiber. At this point I would find it hard to increase my calories. I have lost 3 pounds in a week. This seems reasonable. I need opinions?

Hi there! I'm glad to hear that logging your food was so helpful. It really is an eye-opener, isn't it?!

My thoughts on your questions: generally, doctors say that a 1-2 pound loss per week is the safest and most likely to last. However, if you are just starting, or if your weight is pretty significant to begin with, your weekly losses will naturally be bigger.

About the calories, everyone is different. Some say that under 1200 or so, your body starts to slow down the metabolism to conserve, making it harder to lose. Others say that is not true. There are people on this site who are examples of both, so it is not an absolute. If it works for you, do it, as long as your nutrition is okay.

I will say, though, that the fewer calories you take in, the harder it may be to sustain. You want to look at this as a lifestyle change, not a diet to go on and off, and whatever you change to should be something you can keep up forever.

And a big thumbs up on the protein and fiber!!!!!!!!

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-08-2012 at 04:56 PM. Reason: added quote, title
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Understanding "Calorie Deficit"

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Originally Posted by SuzayLogan View Post
Okay.. I've heard that you need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. So say I have a 1200 calories a day diet. How do I burn more than 1200 in a day? At the gym I burn 240 or just under or just above. That's in 30 minutes, I don't really know how to burn even 1000.. I'm so stuck. Will I still lose weight if I only burn that much?

I usually don't have 1200 calories, I have below. If I decide "Oh I need to add a few more calories" I end up snacking on something fattening because they have the most..

Just, some help please? I can't burn more calories than I intake but can I still lose weight quickly and healthily?

I'm not going to say my weight, but I'm not overweight or anything. I'm a healthy weight, I just want to lose belly/thigh fat.

I'm 18 and 5'1.


Suzay, you first need to figure out your basal metabolism. This is how many calories you body burns daily just to survive, given your height, current weight, age and "lifestyle".

Once you have this number, and it is an estimate, you can then decide how many calories per day you can eat to meet your weekly weight loss goal. Any exercise, in addition to your basal metabolism number will either increase the amount of weight you lose or allow you to eat more.

This is called the "Calorie Deficit". Since we know it takes about 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat one can easily estimate the amount of weight one will lose in a given time period.

Example (me):

Basal metabolism w/1 mile walk per day: 3,100 calorie burn
Amount I eat per day: 1,500
Average daily calorie deficit: 1,600

Now to figure estimated weekly weight loss:
Weekly calorie burn: 3,100 x 7 = 21,700
Weekly calorie intake: 1,500 x 7 = 10,500
Weekly calorie deficit: 1,600 x 7 = 11,200
Calculated weekly weight loss: 11,200 / 3,500 = 3.2 pounds

Now, if you overestimate your burn, and/or underestimate your intake, your calculations won't be accurate and could result in no loss, or even a gain.

Do you weigh/measure your portions? From your list, I estimate that is more than 1200 calories. Also, there seems to be some processed items there, as well as simple carbs. You might consider trying to get some more protein in there, as well as fresh fruits and veggies and reducing the white bread and pasta.

What you ideally want to do is find a calorie level at which you can stay comfortable and that provides you with enough of a calorie deficit to lose weight.

If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Regards,
Michael

PS My daughter is your height and is 17. She, too, struggles with weight issues--it is a challenge but I know you can meet your goal if you put your mind to it!

PPS Other than by physically removing body parts (liposuction), it is biologically impossible to lose weight if you take in more calories than you burn--sorry.
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Last edited by VitoVino; 02-08-2012 at 09:59 PM. Reason: included condensed quote, title
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Healthy weight, wanting to lose belly/thigh fat

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzayLogan View Post
Okay.. I've heard that you need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. So say I have a 1200 calories a day diet. How do I burn more than 1200 in a day? At the gym I burn 240 or just under or just above. That's in 30 minutes, I don't really know how to burn even 1000.. I'm so stuck. Will I still lose weight if I only burn that much? I go 3 days a week. 20 minutes on the treadmill 20 minutes on the bike. When I come home I do 3 sets of 12 arm curls, 2 sets of 12 push ups, 2 sets of 12 situps.

I generally eat on a daily basis; Kelloggs Special K, lentil Soup, boiled Chicken, red pepper, onion, canned peas, canned carrots, canned sweetcorn (Good) Pasta with tomato sauce, baked chips, curry sauce, subway sandwich (white italian bread, hot chilli sauce, lettuce, chicken), cheese and ham toastie with white bread, gravy sauce (Moderate/Unhealthy?)

I don't like most vegetables or healthy sauces. I also don't have the money/time/patience to prepare lots of foods for a dinner or lunch, I don't like most of the things anyway.

I wouldn't mind eating the ready meals from Tesco/Asda but I've heard they're bad for losing weight.

That's sort of my diet and food plan I have. I usually don't have 1200 calories, I have below. If I decide "Oh I need to add a few more calories" I end up snacking on something fattening because they have the most..

Just, some help please? I can't burn more calories than I intake but can I still lose weight quickly and healthily?

I'm not going to say my weight, but I'm not overweight or anything. I'm a healthy weight, I just want to lose belly/thigh fat.

I'm 18 and 5'1.


Maybe you're forgetting the number of calories you're burning though daily activity. FitDay has a tool to calculate this. This is calculated by taking your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which describes how many calories your body needs for basic function (think: sitting on the couch doing nothing but breathing, pumping blood, etc.) and using a "lifestyle" multiplier (the more active you are at school, work, chores or whatever, the higher it will be) to get a base amount of calories you need to do daily activities without exercise. For me (5'3", 135 lbs, 27yo female with an active job) itís about 1800 calories. So I need 1800 calories to go about my life as usual -- your workout generally should not be figured into this equation, and is more "icing on the cake".

To lose weight you would need to create a calorie deficit. Hereís how:

Using my own example, letís say I ate 1600 calories on a given day through a calorie-restricted diet and worked out hard enough to burn 300 calories. I'd take that base number of 1800 (based on caloric need for bodily function and active lifestyle) and subtract the 500 calories of deficit that I created with my diet and exercise efforts. My total net calories for the day would then be 1300 (which is 1800-500). Doing this for about a week should create a one pound weight loss (because you need create a 3500 calorie deficit to lose one pound). In theory. Itís different for everyone and the 3500 calories is really just a guideline. My example is also pretty simplified.

Also, be aware that FitDay's estimates for calories needed tend to be a little high. I'd recommend cross-checking it with a few different sites to get a more accurate estimate. Also, remember this is really all a big experiment with yourself -- if what you're doing isn't working, change up your routine! Give your body time to see if your strategy is actually having an effect. If not, tighten up your diet, hit the gym harder, and/or be honest with yourself about your goals and expectations. Be ready and willing to tweak things Ė the take home point is that while FitDay seems numbers-oriented and scientific, its just an educated estimate of what you can expect. No computer program can compete with personal dedication, honesty, and a willingness to adapt!

You mentioned that your goal is to lose body fat since you're already at a healthy weight. This can be tricky. Losing body fat is not the same as losing body weight. There's a saying that washboard abs are made in the kitchen, and that's where I'd start. I'd recommend taking a really close look at your diet. Make sure you're eating healthy, whole foods (the less processed, the better). The list you mentioned in your post seems pretty highly processed to me. Learning to like certain foods and how to cook them might be worth the rockin' body awaiting you.

Also, I would hit the weights a lot harder. Weightlifting burns way more body fat than most traditional steady state cardio. Focus on ďbigĒ movements like squats, lunges, push-ups (which youíve got under control), and pulls, all of which use multiple muscle groups. This is discussed in many other posts here on FitDay. You can compliment your strength routine with short sessions of high intensity cardio (HIIT) to get the most bang for your buck. You may also need to increase the number of calories you're eating, helping you get a great workout through increased energy and really stoking the fire that is (or will be) your metabolism.

Keep tweaking your routine and you can do it!


EDIT: Sorry for the repeated info -- Michael got to the reply while I was typing that wall 'o' text. Good info in his post!!

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-08-2012 at 10:11 PM. Reason: added condensed quote, title
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default To be safe, run your calculations for 1-2 pounds/week loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen2swt View Post
Ok...Having a hard time grasping this

Starting off, I want to lose 3pds in one week

3*3500 = 10,500 calories to burn per week

I take the 10,500/7 days a week = 1500 calories to consume per day

This is where I get confused..

My daily need is 2002 - 1500 = 502...What is the 502? Is that the number I would need to eat less of? SO in reality I would need to eat 1000 calories per day?


Hi Jen,

The 502 calories you have calculated is the number of calories you would be allowed to eat in 1 day, if you wanted 3 pounds in a week. Not much is it???

The 1500 calorie number is the number of excess calories you need to burn every day, not consume.

For most women 1 to 2 pounds lost is about all your body can accomplish in a week. For one thing, 500 calories is really not enough food to keep you functioning without going into serious mental, emotional, and physical slump. Secondly, most bodies will go into a metabolic protective mode where the body just won't release the energy reserves in fat because the body is trying to protect you from starvation. (Thousands of years of adaptation has taught our bodies all sorts of survival techniques, and this is one of them).

So, you might want to run the calculations again for 1 or 2 pounds. A 500 calorie deficit (1 pound per week) would put your daily consumption at 1500 calories, which if you are just starting out will be challenging enough.

1000 calories a day will give you an approximately 2 lbs/week loss. But as you will surely see from reading the posts, 1000 calories requires very careful planning. A couple of crackers, or handful of nuts can put you way over.

Sorry to be the barer of bad news, but losing weight is not for sissies! It takes dedication and patience. But it is totally do-able, as you will surely see by the posts from all these folks who have succeeded.

Post back if you have other questions. There is tons of experience and knowledge here.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default How low can I go?

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Originally Posted by taleynet View Post
I have been getting mixed answers. I want to know what the absolute lowest number of calories I can eat a day without sending my body into starvation mode. I work out six days a week, burning a mimimum of 500 cals per workout. Right now I am on a 1200 cal diet, but I have heard that as a female, I should go no lower than 1000, 1200, 1300 and 1500.

What's the magic number here? How low can I go?

Stats are in my sig... Thoughts???
Hi there! I don't think there really is a magic number. It's best to just listen to your body...when you begin to feel your energy levels drop, you'll know your caloric intake is too low. And when trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to happen is for your metabolism to slow down and eating too few calories will do just that.

I'm no professional but I wouldn't recommend going below 1200, maybe 1000 calories at most. That's pretty low as it is and you don't wanna cause any harm to yourself. Ultimately though, it depends on how you feel. If you can eat 1000 calories a day and still function through work and working out just fine, then you're good. Just break up your meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism going.

BTW... Based on your stats, you seem to be doing just fine at 1200 calories. Be patient and keep up the good work.

Shaun

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Old 02-11-2011, 04:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default There's no "magic number" so... experiment

Quote:
Originally Posted by taleynet View Post
I have been getting mixed answers. I want to know what the absolute lowest number of calories I can eat a day without sending my body into starvation mode. I work out six days a week, burning a minimum of 500 cals per workout. Right now I am on a 1200 cal diet, but I have heard that as a female, I should go no lower than 1000, 1200, 1300 and 1500.

What's the magic number here? How low can I go?

Stats are in my sig... Thoughts???


I'll have to agree--there is no magic number and everybody responds differently. Personally, in the past I've dropped weight like crazy on 0 calories (for 30 days) and at 1,000 cals (for nine months) and now since last May at 1500 calories.

Fully admitting that I'm no expert, I think the whole "starvation mode" thing is, at best, misunderstood. I don't deny that the body may, at a certain level, burn fat more slowly. But, as long as you take in less calories than you expend, you WILL lose weight. The body is not a perpetual motion machine. You either live off the food you eat or what's stored (or some of both).

So, I say experiment. You may find it easier to stick to more that the absolute survival calories, thus weight loss will over time improve. Some have found that they actually lose faster with more calories (up to a point, of course). It's really up to you.

Regards,
Michael

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Old 03-25-2011, 12:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Everyone loses at a different rate and your body knows what is best for you

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Originally Posted by kag123 View Post
Hi everyone I keep reading these post and keep seeing how many of you are loosing 3-5lbs a week and would love to know what you are doing...I have been keep my calories to 1200-1400, Protein is around 30 %, Carbs 45% and Fat 25%.

Zumba 30-60 min 6 days a week, curves circuit 3-4 days a week and then doing additional core or lower body strength training. (Zumba however has only been the last two weeks)

Protein in the AM followed up by some good old fashion oatmeal...and try to keep the carbs I am eating the "good" carbs. I am down 20lbs since Jan.1st which is good I know but if it was at your rate it would be more like 36-60....

Which at that point I would just be maintaining...Help if you can
Quote:
Originally Posted by mecompco View Post
You don't give your weight, but if you'd be "maintaining" with another 20 to 50 pounds off one assumes you're not currently really heavy. The heavier you are, the more calories your body burns just keeping you alive (probably one of the only benefits of being more overweight).

I really don't do much different that you--I eat around 1500 cals a day (40/30/30 on average), walk every day and drink around 1 gallon of water daily. That's it--no big secret .
I totally agree with Michael. I am 139lbs over the healthy weight for my height. That allows me to burn more calories doing the same activities as someone closer to their goal weight would. So yeah twice in the last month I lost over 6 lbs in a week but the other two weeks (TOTM ) I only lost about 2 lbs. It all evens out and as long as it is loss...I will take it!

Everyone loses at a different rate and your body knows what is best for you. Just keep up the hard work because it is obviously paying off for you since you have lost 20 lbs so far. And they say (I have no true experience) that slow weight loss is healthier and easier to maintain in the long run anyway.

So what I do is try to stick to 1500-1600 calories daily. Go for 30-45 min walks that equal about 1-1/2 miles on my lunch break and 3-4 times a week work out on our home gym while the other 2-3 times a week I do some leg strengthening and increased balance and flexibility exercises that I found in a magazine. Some day I may buy some DVDs to work out with but for now this is working for me. I have also stopped eating most bread, no more sodas (even diet) ... (well sometimes one glass of diet with dinner), and eat salad every weekday for lunch with no meats on it unless it is tuna.

Good luck! It isn't an easy road but it is a rewarding one!!
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Log everything and drink lots of water

I lost 4 pounds this week (first week) but I have pretty much been killing myself. I've been charting everything (and I mean EVERYthing) I eat and trying to keep my calories around 1200. I've been doing cardio...either elliptical or recumbent bike every single day hard for at least 30 minutes. I'm drenched with sweat by the time I'm done. Oh, and lots of water!

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Old 04-01-2011, 09:54 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Followed FitDay member's recommendations and increased calories

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Originally Posted by kag123 View Post
So I still need help...I am a Female, 5'5" and 180. Was trying to keep calories to around 1200, doing 45-60 min Zumba, 30 min Curves, 20 core training and then all the normal day to day activities. I think I am loosing inches but dang pounds haven't moved for a while. Carb 45%, Protein 30% and Fat 25 % Average. Yesterday I started upping my protein, lowering my carbs and upping my calories to 1400 or so because everyone was telling me 1200 was not enough for the exercise I am doing. So we shall see how this goes...your thoughts on this being a good plan or not?? Also I drink tons of water!!!
That sounds good to me--give it a week or two and see how it goes. I bet the added protein will help but don't give up if it takes a couple of weeks to see results.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a race and that I spent many years putting the weight on so it's not going to go away over night.

Regards,
Michael

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