Endrocronologist said to eat less than 1200 calories

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I am totally confused. I went in because I had a low T3 reading. My thyroid is fine but I am still not losing weight, even after only eating 1400 calories. We went over my weight for the last 3 years and it just keeps bouncing from 139-180. Most of the time it is in the 165-175 range. When I eat less than 1200 calories I can lose about half a pound a week but when I eat 1400-1500 calories I gain. I am so frustrated. Over the summer I gained 20 lbs just eating normally (1800 calories). I am 5'4", 40 years old and in surgical menopause. He told me to eat between 900-1000 calories a day. Can I really eat less than 1200 calories and be ok?
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Replies

  • Branstin
    Branstin Posts: 2,320 Member
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    If you trust him then follow his advice and ask to see a qualified dietitian to help you create a weight loss plan with those amounts of calories which will help you reach your body's required level of nutrients as much as possible.
  • kshadows
    kshadows Posts: 1,315 Member
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    It doesn't look like you track your macros in your diary. Carbs, Fat and Protein are all very important components of a healthy and varied diet.

    It also looks like you eat a lot of processed or pre-packaged stuff. You might want to try and go a little fresher by preparing your own. You'll save money, calories and tons of sodium.

    Finally, are you weighing all of your food with a scale and measuring any liquids to be sure your intake is accurate? It's unlikely you'd gain 20 pounds eating 1800 a day in that short of a period. Inaccurate counting could be a big contribution. There are also several days of incomplete entries. This is another clue that your intake might be more than you think.

    ETA - also try using the MFP entried with no "*" so you're getting official info, not user created because some of your entries seem a bit off.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 3,053 Member
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    Your question is a good one. Did you ask him?

    When reading your post, I found myself wondering if you were counting accurately. Maybe the doc was wondering the same thing, and rather than getting into an argument about accuracy, he just said to eat less. That's speculation on my part.

    FWIW, I routinely get >100g protein and >25g fiber in ~1000kcal (33-33-34 macronutrient distribution) by eating lots of legumes, nuts & vegetables with a little meat. I'm maintaining so I will eat something else in addition, but it is possible to get the nutrition you need if you focus exclusively on nutritionally dense foods.
  • kshadows
    kshadows Posts: 1,315 Member
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    Your question is a good one. Did you ask him?

    When reading your post, I found myself wondering if you were counting accurately. Maybe the doc was wondering the same thing, and rather than getting into an argument about accuracy, he just said to eat less. That's speculation on my part.

    FWIW, I routinely get >100g protein and >25g fiber in ~1000kcal (33-33-34 macronutrient distribution) by eating lots of legumes, nuts & vegetables with a little meat. I'm maintaining so I will eat something else in addition, but it is possible to get the nutrition you need if you focus exclusively on nutritionally dense foods.

    You're maintaining on barely over 1000 calories? I find that hard to believe. Protein and fiber are great but what about your fats and carbs??
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,576 Member
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    If you trust him then follow his advice and ask to see a qualified dietitian to help you create a weight loss plan with those amounts of calories which will help you reach your body's required level of nutrients as much as possible.

    This ^^

    A doctor is going to know what is safe more than any stranger on the internet. If you trust the doctor, follow the advise. If you do not trust the doctor, get a second opinion.

    I would also recommend discussing exercise options with the doctor.
  • geneticsteacher
    geneticsteacher Posts: 623 Member
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    Of the 3 doctors I know that are personal friends, only ONE had ONE class in Nutrition in med school. I would ask for a consultation with a dietician.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 3,053 Member
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    Your question is a good one. Did you ask him?

    When reading your post, I found myself wondering if you were counting accurately. Maybe the doc was wondering the same thing, and rather than getting into an argument about accuracy, he just said to eat less. That's speculation on my part.

    FWIW, I routinely get >100g protein and >25g fiber in ~1000kcal (33-33-34 macronutrient distribution) by eating lots of legumes, nuts & vegetables with a little meat. I'm maintaining so I will eat something else in addition, but it is possible to get the nutrition you need if you focus exclusively on nutritionally dense foods.

    You're maintaining on barely over 1000 calories? I find that hard to believe. Protein and fiber are great but what about your fats and carbs??

    Clarification: When I log meals for the day, my first pass is usually ~1000-1200 kcal with those characteristics. Then I'll add a treat or a snack to boost calories while maintaining roughly equal macros. I allow calories for wine on weekends, too. Since maintaining, by observed TDEE is around 1700kcal @113lb.
  • parkscs
    parkscs Posts: 1,639 Member
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    As an unqualified nameless bro on the Internet, his advice sounds reasonable to me given the circumstances. Speaking with a dietitian to ensure you're getting sufficient nutrients is also a good idea.
  • WalkingAlong
    WalkingAlong Posts: 4,926 Member
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    Can I really eat less than 1200 calories and be ok?
    Yes. Doctor-supervised diets have people eating 800-1200 all the time. There is not one, correct floor value for calories for everyone. If you gain at 1400 (or what 1400 is for you), then the usual blanket statements don't apply to you.

    The reason MFP uses 1200 as a floor is probably because it's 50% over what is really considered to be getting into dangerously low intake-- 800 calories. So it's fairly conservative, from a 'danger' standpoint.
  • SeattleJill
    SeattleJill Posts: 73 Member
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    Of the 3 doctors I know that are personal friends, only ONE had ONE class in Nutrition in med school. I would ask for a consultation with a dietician.

    I agree with above. I work in graduate medical education. Our doctors get a 2 hour 'lecture' on nutrition and nothing else unless then go into a specialty after they graduate. And 99.9% of those specialties don't actually require extra nutrition training. The newer classes being brought in are trying to change that, but it's still pretty bad.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
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    Edited
    Can I really eat less than 1200 calories and be ok?

    Yes. Focus on protein and fats and oils.
  • maidentl
    maidentl Posts: 3,203 Member
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    When I eat less than 1200 calories I can lose about half a pound a week but when I eat 1400-1500 calories I gain.

    What happens when you eat between 1200 and 1400?
  • vismal
    vismal Posts: 2,463 Member
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    My opinion on doctors putting patients on very low calorie diets: Patient tells doc I can't lose weight on 1200 calories. Doc knows that people are horrible at counting calories. They know most people don't weigh their food, they know people have cheat days/meals all the time. They know people lie or forget about what they eat. To them the number of calories you eat is virtually irrelevant because the accuracy of that number is extremely questionable. The doctor also knows that if you have been maintaining weight, you are most likely eating maintenance calories. Therefore eat less is the correct answer. If you think you eat 1200 then you need to eat what you think is maybe 1000 or 800. In reality what you thought was 1200 was really 2000 and since you cut to 1000 or 800 you really cut to about 14-1500. If the doctor has ruled out other metabolic issues they must assume you are simply eating too much.

    If you are actually a meticulous calorie counter, who never eats out, never cheats, never forgets, weighs 100% of everything then you must let the doctor know this because it is not the norm! Most people are not that good at calorie counting, even people who have lots of experience with it.
  • JojoW8183
    JojoW8183 Posts: 540 Member
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    Amy, I'm not a doctor and most folks on here aren't either but anything less than 1200 is bad. There are a lot of other factors that could be causing you to retain the weight, suggesting that you eat that much below your BMR is insane. My endocrinologist told me to eat AT LEAST 100 g of carbohydrates everyday...I smiled and nodded. Seek a second opinion, the help of a registered dietician, and take a good look at what you're eating. Do you have a lot of carbs in your diet? Where are they coming from? Are you eating enough fats? You can't lose fat if you don't eat fat. The body will store whatever nutrients it's not getting. Perhaps you have a sensitivity to certain foods (not as severe as an allergy, usual causes weight issues). Seek additional advice from medical professionals specializing in each field. You wouldn't get a pap smear from a cardiologist, so why take dietary advice from an endocrinologist?
  • Azurite27
    Azurite27 Posts: 554 Member
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    I am totally confused. I went in because I had a low T3 reading. My thyroid is fine but I am still not losing weight, even after only eating 1400 calories. We went over my weight for the last 3 years and it just keeps bouncing from 139-180. Most of the time it is in the 165-175 range. When I eat less than 1200 calories I can lose about half a pound a week but when I eat 1400-1500 calories I gain. I am so frustrated. Over the summer I gained 20 lbs just eating normally (1800 calories). I am 5'4", 40 years old and in surgical menopause. He told me to eat between 900-1000 calories a day. Can I really eat less than 1200 calories and be ok?

    You say you had a low T3 reading but your thyroid is fine. Did the endo put you on an medication to bring up your T3? If not I would get a second opinion from another endo or an ENT. Low T3 can lower your metabolism by 200-300 calories.
  • WalkingAlong
    WalkingAlong Posts: 4,926 Member
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    My opinion on doctors putting patients on very low calorie diets: Patient tells doc I can't lose weight on 1200 calories. Doc knows that people are horrible at counting calories. They know most people don't weigh their food, they know people have cheat days/meals all the time. They know people lie or forget about what they eat. To them the number of calories you eat is virtually irrelevant because the accuracy of that number is extremely questionable. The doctor also knows that if you have been maintaining weight, you are most likely eating maintenance calories. Therefore eat less is the correct answer. If you think you eat 1200 then you need to eat what you think is maybe 1000 or 800. In reality what you thought was 1200 was really 2000 and since you cut to 1000 or 800 you really cut to about 14-1500. If the doctor has ruled out other metabolic issues they must assume you are simply eating too much.

    If you are actually a meticulous calorie counter, who never eats out, never cheats, never forgets, weighs 100% of everything then you must let the doctor know this because it is not the norm! Most people are not that good at calorie counting, even people who have lots of experience with it.
    I tend to agree but I think that they won't even care if you're a perfect logger because if you truly don't lose above 1200, 1000 isn't going to hurt you during a weight loss phase.

    I also wonder if maybe doctors get a course in nutrition because that's all it takes. I think 99% of 'how food affects human health in the developed world' comes down to 'people eat too much'.
  • VBnotbitter
    VBnotbitter Posts: 820 Member
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    Of the 3 doctors I know that are personal friends, only ONE had ONE class in Nutrition in med school. I would ask for a consultation with a dietician.

    I agree with above. I work in graduate medical education. Our doctors get a 2 hour 'lecture' on nutrition and nothing else unless then go into a specialty after they graduate. And 99.9% of those specialties don't actually require extra nutrition training. The newer classes being brought in are trying to change that, but it's still pretty bad.

    That's true of medical education at undergraduate level. Doctors don't stop studying once they qualify, add at least another ten years of intense study to become specialists. Whether nutrition is part of it depends on the speciality. Emergency medicine for example would never cover it at all but others such as endocrinology or gastroenterology would cover it because it's intrinsic within the conditions they specialise in.
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
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    If the doctor says it's okay and every single person on the Internet says it's not, you should still do what the doctor says. He knows more than they do.

    If you feel dizzy or weak, give them a call. Otherwise, use the range he gave you.
  • go2grrl
    go2grrl Posts: 190 Member
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    The vast majority of patients that endos treat are diabetics. In my experience they are woefully unprepared to deal with thyroid patients. And they certainly aren't nutritionists. See if you can find a nutritionist and have them test your Resting Metabolic Rate and go from there. They will probably recommend something low, but not ridiculously low. After I lost my thyroid gland I had one tell me to eat around 1400 despite my never having eaten that low. Ever. I average around 2400 now and can still lose. The lower you go, the lower you're gonna have to keep going. Super low calorie diets are metabolism killers and with a low T3 you need to be on top of your metabolism and take care of it.

    Best of luck to you!
  • lindsey1979
    lindsey1979 Posts: 2,395 Member
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    I am totally confused. I went in because I had a low T3 reading. My thyroid is fine but I am still not losing weight, even after only eating 1400 calories. We went over my weight for the last 3 years and it just keeps bouncing from 139-180. Most of the time it is in the 165-175 range. When I eat less than 1200 calories I can lose about half a pound a week but when I eat 1400-1500 calories I gain. I am so frustrated. Over the summer I gained 20 lbs just eating normally (1800 calories). I am 5'4", 40 years old and in surgical menopause. He told me to eat between 900-1000 calories a day. Can I really eat less than 1200 calories and be ok?

    You say you had a low T3 reading but your thyroid is fine. Did the endo put you on an medication to bring up your T3? If not I would get a second opinion from another endo or an ENT. Low T3 can lower your metabolism by 200-300 calories.

    I'd have this checked again too. Do you know what your Free T3 and Free T4 levels are? Your TSH? Your antibodies (Tg and TPO)? If not, I'd have all those checked since you already know your T3 was low. Especially if you have any other common hypo symptoms besides the weight (cold, especially in hands and feet, fatigue, dry skin/hair, brittle nails, constipation, difficulty sleeping, etc.).

    There are TONS of doctors that are not good with thyroid issues -- I went to 4 (including two endos) before I finally shelled out the out-of-pocket dough for the specialist. Some rely solely on TSH or old lab values or don't test for the antibodies at all (which are indicative for Hashi's -- the most common thyroid disorder). I know for me personally, my symptoms don't subside unless I'm in the upper 1/3 of the normal range. If I'm mid-range or low, I'll have symptoms. And if I'm below normal, I'm crushed.

    Also, do you notice better results if you restrict carbs? Many of us with thyroid conditions that went untreated for a long time developed insulin resistance. And that can really make a difference in the balance of our macros (many find greater success with higher calories if their carbs are lower).