1200 calories, or 2000 calories?

Hey guys, firstly I don't want any backlash or negative comments. Only genuine HELPFUL advice and opinions...

I'll keep it brief - I suffer with binge eating disorder, and have done for a few years. The lowest weight I've been is 133lbs, which I maintained through starving myself at 600-900 calories for six days of the week and then allowing myself a cheat day once a week.. obviously not realistic or sustainable as within 12 months I managed to gain 89lbs and in January 2013 weighed in at 222lbs.

Since then I've lost a bit, and now weigh 185lbs. But I've been at 185lbs for 20 months....

I initially shifted the first 37lbs through going back to eating very little six days of the week and then having a cheat meal once a week.. but this just triggered my BED where a cheat meal would turn into a cheat day then a cheat week...

So literally the last 20 months have consisted of - using my fitness pal & aiming for 1200 calories a day, managing to hit my calorie goal for 2 or 3 days, then feeling deprived and restricted and miserable & craving something.. The craving takes head and I then binge, excessively, for a day or two, before repeating the pattern and trying to restrict back to 1200 again.

I have seen a GP and counsellor for my BED, and I understand my reasons for it and due to the years of restrictive dieting.. so what I'm asking is.

Will I lose weight consuming 1800-2000 calories a day??? This just seems a sensible amount of calories to me, because it's not as restrictive and I'll be able to eat a healthy breakfast lunch and dinner daily and incorporate snacks or a treat if I want too. I think allowing myself a higher amount of calories will take the ease off the pressure and in turn I'll feel less restricted and it could put an end to my binge eating.

I don't want to spend another 20 months following the same pattern and end up still stuck at 185lbs through binging/starving.

Also, I'm 5ft 3, female and 25. Currently sedentary I'd say as a full time job, college and single mum duties occupy a lot of my time.

I am lucky enough to have access to a treadmill and weights at home which I plan on making the time for. So I'd estimate exercise at 3 times a week soon.. by soon I mean the next week I'll try making the time for it.


  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,615 Member
    Why not try eating and logging 1800-2000 calories a day for a while, maybe a month, just to see how you feel and how the scale moves. I think less restriction is good when trying to overcome binge eating. Too much restriction seems to be a trigger.
  • PurplePogoPunk
    PurplePogoPunk Posts: 14 Member
    edited January 2015
    I'm 5'2 and 188lbs and just over 1800 calories a day is my maintenance so if you want to lose you probably need to eat less. Unfortunately us shorties just can't have as many calories.

    Have you set your goals as recommended by MFP?

    You could go for half a pound a week so you can eat more and then any exercise you manage to fit in can help speed things up
  • Capt_Apollo
    Capt_Apollo Posts: 9,026 Member
    if you've seen a counselor and a GP, is it possible to see a nutritionist or a dietician to help you with your goals?
  • joneallen
    joneallen Posts: 217 Member
    I'm 5'8" at 200lbs. and I lose weight at 2,200 calories a day.

    You need to find a safe range where you can steadily lose weight (.5 to 1lbs.) every week and still feel good. If you want to up your calories, then try and be more active.

    Honestly though, you need to focus on your willpower and your craving habits. How I started was just to not keep any of it in the house, except for healthier options of food.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
    I agree, 1800-2000 may be fairly close to your maintenance, but the only way you'll find out is to try it.
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,179 Member
    Keep going to counselling and ask the help of a specialist in nutrition. From the pattern you describe, it sounds like you are still at the beginning of treating your eating disorder. The advice you will get from strangers or the generic advice you will find on the internet, it might not be what works for you.
  • Want2bthin135
    Want2bthin135 Posts: 30 Member
    Why not try eating and logging 1800-2000 calories a day for a while, maybe a month, just to see how you feel and how the scale moves. I think less restriction is good when trying to overcome binge eating. Too much restriction seems to be a trigger.


  • sk1nnyf0rm3
    sk1nnyf0rm3 Posts: 110 Member
    I would try it and see if it works. I can only speak for myself. But for me personally, at 5'4 and my current weight, 1500 cals is what I need to maintain, so at 1800 I'd be gaining. But, as others have said, it all depends on you and how your body works. The only way to find out is to test it for a bit and see
  • her4g63
    her4g63 Posts: 284 Member
    I'm 5'2" and 130lbs, have a fairly sedentary lifestyle (though I do climb 14 flights of stairs a day at work), and I consume no less than 2500 calories a day and still lose.

    I agree with DancingMoosie -- try eating and logging 1800-2000 calories and see where that takes you. Buy a food scale and weigh your foods to help get some accuracy. Keep going to counseling and getting this all under control.

    Good luck! (:
  • Michka43
    Michka43 Posts: 1 Member
    edited January 2015
    First off congratulations for reaching out!!

    Here is my opinion.... My trainer has been trying to push me to eat 1800 calories as well but I never get to it, not hungry, although every now and then I hit it... I would say right now I'm consistently losing at 1600-1700 calories per day. You need to ensure you aren't eating empty calories and making sure you are eating the right kinds of food and liquids... what does your food intake look like today? If you are eating grains at every meal and drinking soda like crazy, then the problem may be balancing the types of food you eat. I recently gave up eating grains/carbs (well no grains at all and keeping the carbs below 100g per day and ensuring I eat 3-4 oz. protein with every meal with healthy fats.

    I don't think a diet is universal, as not everyone eats the same way, after all we are not all built the same. Write down your food intake for one week and then look at your numbers, fitness pal is awesome for that as you can print a report at the end of the week.... always keep a diary of fatigue levels and when you feel energized... for example, after you eat pasta all you want to do is sleep, etc... this will give you an idea of what is triggering your sugar levels to spike/drop. Of course these are just suggestions, I'm by no way a dietician, but I finally found what is working for me and since I removed (grains) from my daily intake about 3 weeks ago, the weight is starting to finally come off without effort; I got this way because I ate a lot of grains and after monitoring my intake for a week or two, it looks like grains and wheat make my sugar levels peak. I seem to have lots of energy all day long now. All I really did was change out my breakfast from cereal / oatmeal / toast or bagels to eggs or a protein shake.

    Good Luck to you!!!
  • lioness2307
    lioness2307 Posts: 16 Member
    Hi there,
    I hear you. :) I suffered from BED for years (in my 20s). It has calmed down a lot, but I know *exactly* what you are going through!

    As for your question: I am 1,65m and was starting out at 75 kg (I'm EU, so sorry about the metric ;) ). I have been consuming between 1800 and 2200 (on exercise days) for about 6 months now and I have lost a total of 8 kg, down to 67 kg - which for me is already sufficient (I like my curves). The last 2 kg can go, but I am not in a hurry right now.
    I have recently gone back to having one cheat day a week - I am not gaining because of it, but I feel there is something going on there so am investigating that...

    So YES, you will lose weight especially if you relax your body by not cutting too drastically. Easy does it. Reduce gently, and your body will let go of the weight. At least give it a try and see what happens. Also, if you notice that you are carb-sensitive, maybe reduce the amount of carbs and see what happens. I consume around 100-150 g of carbs per day which works very well and keeps the blood sugar stable.

    Most importantly, continue to take good care of yourself. Great if you're working with a counsellor and know what's going on in terms of the BED. It's not easy - I've been there myself and to this day need to make sure I take good care of myself. As we all should.

    Good luck!
  • Liftng4Lis
    Liftng4Lis Posts: 15,150 Member
    You have a lot of time invested in here, so another month of "playing with your numbers", is a drop in the bucket. Try the 1800 for a month and see where it gets you, then raise or lower accordingly.
  • Docbanana2002
    Docbanana2002 Posts: 357 Member
    I agree, play with the numbers and try to maintain or lose slowly. Focus on healing your eating disorder and addressing whatever triggers it as your top priority. Otherwise your weight will just keep being a struggle, because it is a symptom of your disorder. So fix the disorder and you might find that you more easily will reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • evileen99
    evileen99 Posts: 1,564 Member
    It's certainly possible to lose weight eating 1800-2000 calories. I'm a 56 year old woman and I ate 2200 calories yesterday and still managed to have a deficit of 200 calories per my Body Media Fit. You don't have to starve to lose weight.
  • avskk
    avskk Posts: 1,789 Member
    edited January 2015
    I'm doing this myself, actually. I struggle with ED-NOS -- I go through intense periods of anorexia nervosa (restricting to 600kcal or less per day) followed by intense periods of binge eating and occasional purging. I was making myself crazy setting my calories to TDEE-20%; I was either starving myself to stay "safely" far below my goal or I was giving up and binging and hating myself. I was obsessing all the time, I was spending hours planning "meals" to be 200 calories or less... I was a mess.

    So I set my calories just slightly below maintenance. My maintenance if I'm totally sedentary is ~2150, so I set my goal as 2000. (I do also make it a point to get in some good, gentle exercise every day -- usually nice long walks.) I still log everything and I still measure by weight, but I no longer have to worry about what I "can" have or what will fit into a miniscule allotment. I have freedom this way to eat fairly intuitively, which means I don't have to obsess all week about the cheese I "can't fit in" and then eat a pound of it on the weekend. I'm also finding that when I eat what I'm actually hungry for, I naturally end up about 1500-1800 calories... which is a reasonable deficit for me, plus it gives me the psychological boost of seeing a lot of "leftover" calories, which reassures my anxious over-restrictive side.

    I really think it's worth giving this a try if you're struggling with an eating disorder. It's just relaxing, it makes the whole process easier, and it's healthier for you in the long run. It's okay to approach this gently; it's okay not to be a super-weight-loser bodybuilder marathon-runner hero. Take care of your whole self.
  • mumblemagic
    mumblemagic Posts: 1,090 Member
    Try doing some extra exercise to increase the number of calories you can eat but still maintain the calorie deficit.

    MFP puts me on 1450 and there's no way I could do that without exercise.