So... Does The Average Woman Maintain On 2000 calories?

I replied to a topic about 2000 calories on another forum, where I said that the majority of females, other than those who are older, shorter or have medical conditions, can maintain their weight on 2000 calories a day (which seems to be the common recommendation on nutritional labels etc) to which another poster replied with :
This is not correct. The average woman on a 2000-Kcal/day diet will gain weight, especially if she is minimally active. Smaller women can maintain weight at 1200 kcal/day if they're not active.

So...are there any studies that have proved or disproven the 2000 calories a day being correct for the majority?

How many other women here maintain their weight on 2000 calories a day?

For me, personally, I maintain on 2000 or so, when not very active.


  • SamLD88
    SamLD88 Posts: 111 Member
    I'm currently losing, but if I had been eating 2k cal a day in the first place, I probably wouldn't have needed to lose. According to my Jawbone UP, my daily calorie expenditure is ~ 2200, and it used to be closer to 2500 ~30 lbs ago. So yes, I think it's reasonable, if you have a normal level of activity, to maintain on 2000 a day.

    Then again, older or disabled or extremely sedentary people might have an issue with it. Also, consider that we underestimate what we put in our mouths :)

    For reference, I'm 5'5", started at 213, down to 184. 26 years old.
  • LeonCX
    LeonCX Posts: 862 Member
    edited November 2014
    Waiting for the "I'm gaining on 1200 calories" comments...
  • Liftng4Lis
    Liftng4Lis Posts: 15,150 Member
    Sigh....not there yet and old :( I'm gonna guess, I'll be around 2k on maintenance, due to the amount I exercise.
  • missbirrell
    missbirrell Posts: 133
    edited November 2014
    I am 5ft 4, 26 and only active due to exercise, usually 3x a week. If I ate 2000 calories a day, I'd gain. I am losing on 1200-1400. Maintain is about 1750 for me.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 9,031 Member
    I think it is silly to debate what the average woman needs.

    Average is just the middle point - women are a variety of ages, weights, heights, activity levels - maitenance calories will vary widely with many below and many above the middle point.

    Any calculation, to have any usefulness, needs to be individualised.

    Myself, I maintain on 1700.
  • FitFitzy331
    FitFitzy331 Posts: 308 Member
    I thought the 2000 calories was supposed to be an average between a man and a woman, I thought I read somewhere that the average woman (I believe falling within average body fat and weight at height 5'5"-5'6") maintains at 1800 and the average man (don't remember the stats) maintains at 2200 while being minimally active. Personally my TDEE is calculated around 2100-2200 (5'4" lifting mostly a little cardio and yoga as well) though I'm still trying to lose right now.
  • MelanieMamaof5
    MelanieMamaof5 Posts: 75 Member
    I'm 5'8'' with a medium build. When I am at my goal weight of 150lbs (6lbs to go) and am fit (aka lifting weights (aka lean muscle)) and am exercising 4-5 hours a week, I can maintain at around 2000 a day. Of course, that takes into account that I am moving almost all day long (I have 5 kids, 4 of which are boys) as well.
  • WildOkapi
    According to IIFYM, once I hit my goal weight, I'm only looking at 1800 or so calories to maintain my weight even with exercise. On MFP, it'll be around 2080 without any exercise. According to several other calculators, my TDEE will vary from 1500 to 2100 depending on activity level. I think everyone has to work to find exactly what their TDEE is. As others have said, 2000 is just an average.
  • Qskim
    Qskim Posts: 1,145 Member

    Average is just the middle point - women are a variety of ages, weights, heights, activity levels - maitenance calories will vary widely with many below and many above the middle point.

    Any calculation, to have any usefulness, needs to be individualised.

    This is what I thought too.

    2000 is an average, a median worked out across all variables. It's general.
  • spirit095
    spirit095 Posts: 1,017 Member
    I'm working my way up to maintenance calories now. I really hope I can maintain on 2000 or even more calories lol. I'm short though, so who knows.
  • mamafelfleh
    mamafelfleh Posts: 17 Member
    I'm losing at 1900! I think 2000 is a reasonable AVERAGE but 1200 really?! I mean my one year old needs 1000 calories a day
  • malibu927
    malibu927 Posts: 17,565 Member
    My maintenance right now would be about 2280, and going lower, past 2000 once I reach my goal weight. So probably no.
  • Fruitylicious03
    Uh... I'm 5'2 and I LOSE on 1200. I maintain on 1650 if I'm sedentary, and on 1800 if I'm active.
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,692 Member
    Graelwyn75 wrote: »

    How many other women here maintain their weight on 2000 calories a day?

    I'm 5'4.5"
    This morning's weigh in was 171.2lbs
    I've been averaging about 1.1lb per week loss while eating 1800-2000 calories per day on average. So 2000 calories would still have me losing weight. Based on my intake vs loss, I would currently maintain on somewhere around 2500 calories.
    MFP says if I'm sedentary (no exercise) I should maintain on about 1900 calories. I'm not sedentary though, so I don't know how true that would be for me.

  • SnuggleSmacks
    SnuggleSmacks Posts: 3,732 Member
    5' 3 1/2" and 150 lbs and I maintain on 1900 calories with a very sedentary job, as measured by my Bodymedia Fit (which tends to be accurate, per my gains/losses). When I'm as active as I should be (10,000 steps, 30 minutes of activity, 15 minutes strenuous activity) that goes up to around 2200 calories.
  • Aemely
    Aemely Posts: 694 Member
    Scooby says my TDEE is 1,750. I'm losing on 1,450 including light exercise, although MFP gives me a baseline of 1,250 to lose 1 lb. a week (Sedentary). At roughly a 200-300 cal. deficit per day, I'm losing about 1 lb. every 12 days instead, which seems very reasonable.

    I have considered changing my loss to .5 lb. per week to be more realistic now that I'm halfway to GW, but since I don't stick to the baseline anyway, I'm afraid that will give me too much fudge factor, and I'll stop losing weight. :confused:

  • PokeyBug
    PokeyBug Posts: 482 Member
    I looked at the 2,000 number and scoffed, thinking my maintenance calories will be much less than that. But, cognizant that I have been known to be wrong on occasion, I did some checking and figuring for my base TDEE and my exercise levels. I'll actually need around 1,700 calories a day for maintenance. Because I'm short, so I'll blame my parents that I can't eat as much as I'd like. ;) One size does not fit all, definitely. I'd gain 30 pounds in a year from eating that much!
  • hortensehildegarde
    hortensehildegarde Posts: 592 Member
    I haven't gotten there again yet but expect to maintain on 2000/day at goal weight, as I did before (actually I maintained before at a bit above that). I lose on 2000/day presently but I am still obese. I am sedentary.
  • Grace215lbs
    Grace215lbs Posts: 129 Member
    There's more to it than the average.. I mean.. Like i'm not average height. And if i was having a lazy week there's no way i'd maintain on 2000+. I'm 5'3 and i try to work out 3 times a week some times more. I also have a large frame and weigh more than most my height.

    So i can easily maintain 2000 on a good week. 1800 on an okay week.
  • neandermagnon
    neandermagnon Posts: 7,436 Member
    edited November 2014
    the numbers vary wildly depending on the amount of exercise you do.

    the figures 2000 for women and 2500 for men imply that the person is fairly active. nowadays, people are more sedentary, so burn less. Most sedentary women will gain weight on 2000 calories/day. However, back in the day when people actually walked everywhere and had jobs that had them on their feet all day instead of sitting down, most women would maintain on around 2000 calories a day, or even a little more than that.

    I'm 5'1" and female, and I maintain on 2100 cals/day with a reasonably active lifestyle which involves walking up and down stairs rather than taking the lift. I currently walk to work and back, and burn even more than that.

    The moral of the story is that a major part of the obesity crisis is due to the fact that people are sedentary. If modern people were to eat what people in the 1950s ate, they'd still be obese, because people in the 1950s were a lot more active. (and all the people who blame the obesity crisis on wheat, HFCS and other demonised ingredients need to realise that).