Scared to UP my calories

So I was diligently staying around 1200 calories, not losing weight. I read the forums and took the advice "you need to UP" your calories. So, I did. To almost 1400. And I gained weight. So I looked at the forums again and they say to UP you calories to 1600. Are they kidding me?!? I am so scared to up my calories! It just doesn't compute in my head. My whole life I've been told "less is best". How do I know what's right for me? And sticking to a 1400-1600 cal diet for a week with the possibility of gaining more weight is just so scary! All I know is 1200 doesn't work, 1400 doesn't work, how is 1600 gonna work?

FYI-I record everything and walk an hour a day/5 days a week.


  • kjw1031
    kjw1031 Posts: 300 Member
    When I increased my calories from 1200 to 1500, I gained about 4 pounds in 2 weeks.

    I read a lot of threads about it here and decided to give it a month. The third week, I started losing and I've lost every week since then.

    It did work for me and this amount of calories is much more liveable and sustainable.

    Please give it time! Your body needs a chance to adjust to the increased amount.
  • KaydeForce
    KaydeForce Posts: 96 Member
    I just did the exact same thing today. It scares me too. I don't want to gain. I'm now up to 1,410 (from 1,200 previously). I didn't lose anything for over two weeks and I've only lost 1lb over the past month. So I knew something had to change and I can't go any lower than 1,200. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but I really hope this will help me lose more weight.

    Katharita: Just doing the math here, but 300 additional calories per day can NOT be the reason why you gained 4lbs in 2 weeks. Maybe it was water? Because 1lb is 3,500 extra calories. So that's just not possible. It definitely was NOT fat that you gained.

    Pamperedpengu: I hope it's okay if I send you a friend request. We're going through the same thing here. Maybe we can help each other stay on track and don't quit before we really tested this out. I don't want to hurt my body be eating too few calories...
  • AVinmill
    AVinmill Posts: 88 Member
    I was somewhat stuck so I upped mine to 2500 and the scale is moving again.
  • palmerig88
    palmerig88 Posts: 623 Member
    How long have you been eating 1200 calories? Sometimes even though your body won't allow you to lose weight at that number, you have to suffer a weight gain during the initial calorie increase. Then you will lose that weight, plus more. It's worth a try. 1200 and 1400 are not working and you know less won't work so there isn't really a question here.
  • rose_mortem
    rose_mortem Posts: 147 Member
    I was at 1200 forever, and recently upped to 1400 -- I know your fear. This week, I went food-crazy and reached 2000 3 days in a row... went back to ~1400, and immediately dropped a pound after being stuck at a plateau. Just give it time, or try a calorie zig-zag
  • californiagirl2012
    californiagirl2012 Posts: 2,625 Member
    Well how do you feel? Listen to your body. Do you get sick? Are you fatigued? Do you have strong workouts? Are you building muscle? YOU DECIDE your calories. No one here. YOU. You own your body.

    Only you can decide calories, base it on how you feel and what the scale trend is doing, not what anyone here tells you to do. You can always gradually notch your calories up or down by 100 and see how you do. It takes some experimentation to find what works for YOU. What worked for the next person may not work for you just because it did for them. For the most part, if you have fat reserves eating more to lose weight is just plain silly, think about it.

    If you have a lot of body fat reserves you would be surprised at how little you can eat (unless you have emotional eating issues or disorders). The leaner you get the less your body has to draw from and then you have to taper up your calories. There is no such thing as starvation mode for women over 12% body fat or men over 6% body fat. I am a living breathing example of that. I went from obese to now under 12% BF and I've maintained for one year and built muscle the whole time. You don't BUILD muscle in starvation mode, so I proved everyone wrong.

    Your body loses weight in chunks, not linear. I have found that you can do everything right and your weight loss seems to plateau but you are patient and keep exercising and eating at a deficit (however slight) you will lose it, it will suddenly "whoosh". There are so many variables for the scale though: water retention, digestion, allergies, sodium, carbs, water intake, DOMS, inflammation, the list goes on. People mistakenly think they lose or gain weight when they eat more or less because of these fluctuations.

    My diary is open. I've been at or under 1200 calories and in maintenance. I'm small so I don't need much. The most I ever eat is 1500-1600 calories and that is only on special occasions or splurge days.

    Do I look like I'm in starvation mode?
  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,571 Member
    What does MFP tell you to eat in terms of calories? Just go with it.

    If you're not losing weight and are eating less than you were, I would look to your diary. If you're older and heavier you probably tends towards insulin resistance, so watching your glycemic index may help you. It helped me a lot.

    It was really helpful to me to:

    - lower my carbs to as close to 40% as I could get them (I know people do low carbs, but I can't and eat normally with my family).
    - get rid of processed starches like white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc. etc. It's the fast digestion of sugars that spikes your insulin and tells you body to store fat and not burn it
    - eat lots of veggies
    - eat more meat. Now, this surprised me, but lean meat is low fat and high protein

    Good luck.

    P.S. I found this book really helpful: They probably have it at your library.
  • kuger4119
    kuger4119 Posts: 213 Member
    As others have said....give it time and don't worry about a couple pounds in the short term. I hit my goal weight and went from 1500 net to 2000 net. In the two weeks since I've switched it up I'm only up 1.5 lbs and that includes a weekend where I let things go and drank 16 beers over two days. If I really stuck to the 2000 calories, I'd probably be only up a 1/2 lb at most.

    For the vast majority of people, the calorie math works if they are really honest with themselves about portion sizes and how many calories that they are burning. Oh.......and start lifting weights. It makes the biggest difference in the long term. People get impatient and want to lose the weight right away but fail to realize that they most likely gained a pound a month for 10 years to get where they are so it is unreasonable to expect to lose it in six months.
  • Remember, when you are increasing your calories you are usually consuming a higher volume (and weight) of food. This isn't the only explanation for gains when increasing intake, but it is a pretty common-sense idea: More food in your digestive tract at one time = a temporarily higher weight until your losses counteract this. When your body has more fuel it is then able to burn more, and this is what will eventually balance out the scale. I too went from about 1,200 to 1,400 and lost weight in the third week after a temporary 2 week increase. I'm now experimenting with alternate day fasting to see if it works for me, but I can say that after the initial freak-out period upping calories did a world of good for me! I was more satisfied and less cranky as well. Good luck =)
  • x_JT_x
    x_JT_x Posts: 364
    I can relate. A lot of days I struggle to even reach 1200 cals. I just wasn't hungry/was already feeling full. But, I am overweight. So something is very wrong here. I read Banks' post yesterday about 'Starvation Mode' and it made a lot of sense to me, especially since I'm seeing a lot of what he described in myself. So I'm working to up my calories. I'm going to check the scale once a week for weigh in but I'm not going to stress about the number. The body isn't going to straighten itself out in a few days. It took time to muck up it's proper functioning and it's going to take time to straighten it out.

    Hang in there!!
  • Nerdy_Rose
    Nerdy_Rose Posts: 1,277 Member
    I was really scared too, so I went super slow, over about 6 months.
    I started at 1,200/day
    then 1330
    then 1460
    then 1600

    I maintained roughly throughout this process, and once I hit 1600 dropped 2 more pounds. I know we think of things in terms of daily, weekly, but our bodies adjust to changes much slower than that. Just take it slow until you hit your sweet spot.
  • ftellstrom
    ftellstrom Posts: 28 Member
    I can lose on 1200 calories a day...but i become some psycho crazy beast and then i just quit out of misery. I am eating around 1800 and losing slowly and im happy and i actually have to get creative sometimes to use all my calories. It just seems so much easier when i ease myself down instead of a sharp drop in calories. I have it set to lose 1 lb a week but i notice that i may not be losing much but i have added in strength and lots of walking and my measurements have dropped so i get satisfaction even though the scale isn't showing big numbers.
  • dragonflyjen
    dragonflyjen Posts: 64 Member
    Hi there,

    I am doing this right now with a couple of other people and we are sharing experiences on a private fb group. (If you want to join the group message me and I will tell you the page. ) I'm currently a guinea pig for a number of people who are too scared to do it.

    I used to eat 1200cals and stalled for 6 wks, then my weight started increasing. I'm just starting week 3 of eating ALOT more calories (over 1700, 5ft 6, 154lbs).

    My weight increased in the first week, the 2nd it levelled out and then started to fall. I'm not back to my original starting weight yet, but I'm pretty sure this is working. I have a tonne more energy for my workouts too. You've got to feed your body to function properly. Burning fat is one of the last functions the body does - by the sounds if it, at your current calorie intake it doesn't have the fuel to do it - so it won't. It really is that simple.

    Jen :)
  • kjw1031
    kjw1031 Posts: 300 Member

    Katharita: Just doing the math here, but 300 additional calories per day can NOT be the reason why you gained 4lbs in 2 weeks. Maybe it was water? Because 1lb is 3,500 extra calories. So that's just not possible. It definitely was NOT fat that you gained.

    No, of course it wasn't.

    I guess the point of my post was to tell the OP my experience. It did help me a lot when I increased my calories and saw the scale to initially go up to read other peoples' posts here and know that a gain for a week or two after increasing calories is to be expected and to keep at it for at least a month to see if it's going to work for you. I think that some people might see that gain after 1 day or 1 week and not give it enough time to let the body adjust.
  • FlaxMilk
    FlaxMilk Posts: 3,452 Member
    What are your stats and what does MFP tell you to eat?
  • RedBullLiz
    RedBullLiz Posts: 469 Member
    I eat super healthy, but never work out. The amount of calories I ate was 3000-4000 a day!!
    Yeah, gained weight quick. But it was all healthy food.
    I don't wanna gain more!! So I just went with what MFP suggested.
    1200 a day. Yet, reading what everyone says here, it's scaring me to gain even more.
  • jlgregory13
    jlgregory13 Posts: 83 Member
    I was really scared to up my calories just like you, but after my first gain in the 2 months i've been on here i decided to take the leap. So far it was the best thing i ever did. In just this first week I lost the 2 i gained and an additional 2 1/2 lbs as well. Plus, i'm happier getting to eat more calories and i don't get quite as nervous when i go over my goal slightly. Only thing is i don't eat back any of my exercise calories now. I think you should try 1600 for a week or two and see what happens. Good Luck!!