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not eating enough calories

I'm on a 2000 calorie a day limit and so far, along with exercise, its proven to be pretty successful. I do eat enough meals a day because I do get full, but sometimes I don't reach 2000 calories. For example, on a work day I eat oatmeal for breakfast (150 cal)/ salami and cheese (446 cal), 2 clementines (70 cal), 10 almonds (70 cal), 1/2 cup of applesauce (110 cal), and strawberries (28 cal) for a total of 724 cal/ and for dinner about a cup of vegetables (like broccoli- 54 cal) and 4 oz. of catfish (200 cal) for a total of 254 cal. My dessert, if I have any, can range from 80 cal- 105 cal. All I drink all day is water and green tea, which doesn't have any calories, and occasionally I will drink a cup of sprite (100 cal). For example, one day I ate only 1390 calories, but I assure you I am full. Is eating less than 2000 calories dangerous. Should I fill up on food and reach the 2000 calorie goal?

Mon. Aug 16, 11:28am

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Wow, you're like one of the few people I know who are taking the slow route with weight loss instead of eating as little as possible. I mean, I see people on here who feel bad about eating 1600 calories and say it's "high"! And I'm also doing your same approach...not treating weight loss as a restriction, but a lifestyle change. Rather take the slow approach than do it fast and feel so restrictive (and gain the weight back). Anyway, going back to your question, I say just listen to your body. If you're hungry, eat. If you're not, don't. But I would add more nutrients to your diet...add more veggies...add more healthy fats like nuts and avocados and olive oil...add dairy for calcium...whole grains. Besides that, you have the right approach down! Best of luck to you the rest of the way.

Monday, August 16, 2010, 9:17 PM

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thanks! i feel so much better now! I'll eat more almonds a day and incorporate olive oil (although the amount of calories scare me, lol)

Monday, August 16, 2010, 10:31 PM

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not eating enough calories

This topic really struck a chord w/me because whenever I start eating right, my calorie intake goes way down, which for a lot of people would be great. But as heavy as I am, I've never been a big eater - except for junk which really adds the calories. So when I cut down on the junk, I can't eat enough of the good stuff to get my calorie intake where it should be for a woman of my size. I'm eating more fruits and veggies, which are not calorie dense and I eat until I'm full and can't eat anymore, but it's not a lot of food.

I haven't read Dr. Furhman's book, but did increase my fruit & veggie intake and I'm not eating a lot of meat, but am eating fish and hardly any junk food. I would like to think that as long I'm eating till I'm full and it's good stuff, the calories don't matter as much. I would appreciate feedback. Thanks

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 2:58 PM

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To the 9:17 poster- my calories to maintain are 1500, so for me trying to lose weight a 1600 calorie day isn't horrible, but it's not going to help me lose weight unless I'm getting a really good workout in also.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 3:30 PM

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2:58 - you probably don't want to eat the number of calories needed for a person your size given that you apparently want to be a person of a smaller size! Doing so would maintain your weight!

If you're eating well (whole, fresh, etc.) and you're listening to your internal cues regarding hunger (vs. eating what's in front of you, maxing out a calorie total for the day, etc.) you'll be fine and much better of in the long run, I imagine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 3:57 PM

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I have the same problem. I'm really big, and my calculated basal metabolic rate is a lot higher than I really want to eat. I feel full anywhere from 1000 to 1400 calories on any given day. Even accounting for a three pound a week weight loss, my daily intake is supposed to be about 1850 calories a day. But I eat so much high quality food and so little crappy food that my body is happy with what it's getting.

I think it is really important to pay close attention to your body. If it's really hungry, feed it. If you're really satisfied, stop eating. Don't force yourself to eat a lot more than you really need.

That said, I gradually bumped up my daily calories to about 1400 or so and I'm losing weight. I exercise for an hour six days a week, and on those days I'll eat a little more than on my day off. Either way, I know that I have some wiggle room in case I DO get hungry. (Hungry for real, not just a desire to eat.) So far, it's working well.

This is a hugely confusing subject, especially for those of us who are a lot bigger. If you can afford it or can get insurance to pay for it I think it's a good idea to meed with a registered dietitian to evaluate your specific needs. I cant afford it so I'm muddling through on my own. My sneaking suspicion is that people with high weights get a higher BMR via the formula, but in reality we don't need quite that many calories. I think maybe the formula is a little skewed. That's my personal opinion and certainly not scientific fact!

Good luck! I share your concern and confusion.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 7:33 PM

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7:33p - sounds like you are doing a great. Quality foods and really paying attention to actual hunger is always a winning combo!

And, I don't think it's that the BMR calculation is skewed - it's simply a calculation to figure out about how many calories are needed to exist at a certain weight. People who weigh more need more calories to exist and maintain their weight - it takes more calories to maintain 300 pounds than it does to maintain 115 pounds. Now, it's not exact b/c a 300 pound person who is 55% fat and a 300 pound who is 15% fat have very different calorie needs, but for the general population, who aren't muscled, elite athletes - it can be a good guideline.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 7:53 PM

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Hi to the 7:53, I'm the 7:33p... I think you have a good point. It's important to consider body fat vs lean muscle when thinking of BMR.

I am a rather fat 300lb --and the best I can do in a day is 1600cal... and that's really pushing it on a day when I have a "free choice lunch".... usually the highest I can get to is 1400 or so. A typical day without really making an effort is more like 11100-1200. When you eat really high quality food, it gets difficult to pack calories into the day. I actually had to start eating pasta again (eye roll) just to get to where I need to be. The most surprising thing? I'm really losing weight. 1400 calories and an hour of exercise a day and life is AWESOME.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 9:30 PM

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Take advantage of those times when you don't want to consume a lot of calories, and don't do it! I don't know any women who want to weigh as much as a 2,000 calorie/diet will make them weigh. Don't eat just to bring up your number of calories for the day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 11:35 PM

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