Help with my teenage sister? Calories/TDEE/maintaining...?

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Hi!
So my teenager sister (she's 16) has an issue, she came to me recently about how she's been eating 1200 calories for a few months and it broke my heart because I went through the same thing and am also wanting to get better. She brought up the point that she read that she could be eating a lot more and maintaining, and so could I, but we're both a little scared of the weight gain that upping calories to maintenance would bring (?). I haven't had my period (TMI?) in months, I don't know if she's had hers. I'm really worried about her because I keep reading that girls her age need 1800-2000 calories, but she's so scared of gaining weight that she's only eating 1200 calories a day. I eat 1300 calories and am also afraid to up intake to maintenance for my weight (1500 cals, 94 pounds, I'm 5ft). My sister doesn't know her maintenance because of her age. She is 90 pounds, 4"11.

We are both curious about TDEE, especially maintenance for teenage girls her height and weight, because figuring mine out is much simpler (adult female=1500 cals for my height/weight). Our mom is setting up a consultation with a nutritionist in January, but my sister is so stressed and worried that I need some reassurance for her NOW. Will upping calories to maintenance cause either of us to gain weight? Also, should I just up my calories for my amenhorrea anyway? :/
Thanks....

Replies

  • AJ_G
    AJ_G Posts: 4,158 Member
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    By definition, increasing your calorie intake to maintenance will not cause you to gain weight. If you are at maintenance, your body is using every single calorie you are taking in and therefore there is no excess for fat storage. Please increase your calorie intake immediately, especially if you haven't had your period for a while (due most likely to low dietary fat intake). Your sister especially needs to increase her calories. She's 16 and her body is still growing, 1200 calories a day is horrible for her. I'm no expert on calorie intakes for people under 18, but I do know that if she is not an adult, and she's still growing, she needs to eat way more than 1200 calories a day.
  • colortheworld
    colortheworld Posts: 374 Member
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    http://www.fitnessfrog.com/calculators/tdee-calculator.html

    Using the above TDEE calculator, both you and your sister's TDEE is around 1500, if you are sedentary. Since I seriously doubt both of you do nothing but sit on the couch all day, both of you should be eating more to maintain.
  • kagevf
    kagevf Posts: 509 Member
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    First calculate your BMI here ... http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm

    once you figured out your normal range, calculate your BMR here ... http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

    then, adjust your settings and goals on MFP.

    hope this helps.

    EAT!!!
  • Zenjaeie
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    By definition, increasing your calorie intake to maintenance will not cause you to gain weight. If you are at maintenance, your body is using every single calorie you are taking in and therefore there is no excess for fat storage. Please increase your calorie intake immediately, especially if you haven't had your period for a while (due most likely to low dietary fat intake). Your sister especially needs to increase her calories. She's 16 and her body is still growing, 1200 calories a day is horrible for her. I'm no expert on calorie intakes for people under 18, but I do know that if she is not an adult, and she's still growing, she needs to eat way more than 1200 calories a day.

    This is what I thought, I just need to convince her this. Especially because she does gymnastics, she's very active, and I hope this thread can help convince her.... Also, yes about the fat intake, I need to fix that. Thank you.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
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    if you want to have kids in the future you may want to sort out why you dont have your period....
  • littleburgy
    littleburgy Posts: 570 Member
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    Amenorrhea also decreases bone density. Nobody wants to end up with brittle bones of an elderly woman when one should be in their prime!
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
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    A couple of points you and your sister need to understand.

    Bring worried or scared of gaining weight is a bad mental situation that you should avoid (easier said than done) but some major points:

    Weight fluctuates - over a period of a day or a month your weight will vary quite a bit. This is due to undigested food, water, hormones, etc... You can have quite a large variance and it might seem like you are gaining weight but you are not. Yet, it will still lead to bad decisions such as eating too little, getting really hungry and bingeing.

    When you eat at maintenance, yes, your weight will go up temporarily due to food in bell, water, etc. it's a passing moment as things settle in. Maintenance is the level at which the amount of food you eat meets your energy needs.

    If you are concerned about it, just raise your calories by 100 or 200 a week. That little raise will not create a significant change in weight. It can't. Remember you need close to 3500 calories of extra, unused energy to create a lb of a fat. Any quick changes overnight are not fat.

    If the two of you are missing your periods, this is not good. Highly unhealthy over time as it means you are not getting enough nutrition to function normally.
  • Zenjaeie
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    bump.
  • Zenjaeie
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    If I up my calories quickly, will the initial weight gain drop off after a few weeks? it's a little late to ease into a higher calorie range, I guess my body got tired of the starvation, so I started binging up to maintenance by accident...
  • GothyFaery
    GothyFaery Posts: 762 Member
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    When I first started here, I started with 1200cal/day. After about a week or so, I realized that was just not going to cut it for me. I researched TDEE and found out I should have been at about 1700 and still would be losing weight. That big of a jump scared me so I only went to 1550. I did not gain an ounce, in fact I have been steadily losing at this for almost 3 months now. I'm 5'5 and get very little exersice as I have a desk job. If you are only trying to maintain, take the leap. You will be fine.

    Keep track of your weight and remember that weight fluctuates. If by some chance you gain a little weight when you up your calorie intake, it should go away within a couple of weeks. If it doesn't drop your intake SLIGHTLY. Don't be afraid to increase your intake. Missing your period is a huge sign that something is very wrong. As for your sister, if she is doing gymnastics regularly, she needs to be eating so much more! Calculate her TDEE at higher activity level and she needs to stick to that.
  • gigglesinthesun
    gigglesinthesun Posts: 860 Member
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    it's not just your sister who has a problem, you too struggle with the very same mind set. Have you thought about getting help for yourself to deal with your disproportionate fear of gaining weight? Gaining weight is not the end of the world, you know. You could gain nearly 30lbs and still be considered 'normal'.

    The thing is weight fluctuates in life. Very few women keep their teenage figures as they age. My mother was horribly afraid, and that fear drove her to yoyo diets and fads and not eating and exercising, but it was not sustainable and she still got bigger as she aged and she has been miserable for at least the last 30 years. I bet you she is looking back at the time when she weighed 100lbs and wondered why she wasn't happy then (she was your weight before she had kids, but obviously I don't remember that time).

    I would start with just talking to someone about your issues and perhaps see whether you could include your sister in it. Perhaps the roots are within your family and the issues need to be addressed there eventually, but again they may not. Good luck :flowerforyou:
  • BrainyBurro
    BrainyBurro Posts: 6,129 Member
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    By definition, increasing your calorie intake to maintenance will not cause you to gain weight. If you are at maintenance, your body is using every single calorie you are taking in and therefore there is no excess for fat storage. Please increase your calorie intake immediately, especially if you haven't had your period for a while (due most likely to low dietary fat intake). Your sister especially needs to increase her calories. She's 16 and her body is still growing, 1200 calories a day is horrible for her. I'm no expert on calorie intakes for people under 18, but I do know that if she is not an adult, and she's still growing, she needs to eat way more than 1200 calories a day.

    This is what I thought, I just need to convince her this. Especially because she does gymnastics, she's very active, and I hope this thread can help convince her.... Also, yes about the fat intake, I need to fix that. Thank you.

    your daily fat intake goal should be 0.35g/lb of bodyweight. your sister weighs 90lbs, so she should be getting a MINIMUM of 32g of fat per day. in reality, she's probably a bit underweight (her "healthy" BMI weight is about ~25lbs more than she what she weighs), so her fat intake should be a little higher... at least 40g of fat per day.

    dietary fat is very important. a single serving (2tbsp) spoonful of peanut butter includes roughly 15g-16g of fat and can help her meet her daily goals without any trouble. stress to her how important this is for her health.