Short older women and calories

I'm 5'0" and at age 45 with at least 30 pounds gained over the last three decades I've finally come to terms with the fact that I can't eat like the other people around me do. I've cut back to 3 moderately sized balanced meals a day (no snacks, no beverages besides water) and while it's not always fun it's more do-able than I thought. I am seeing a downward weight trend and feel healthy (all of those low calorie veggies help!)

Here's the thing: I'd like to lose a pound a week but canot make the numbers work. MFP limits to 1200 but the calorie calculators I've seen indicate that I would need around 1300 just to maintain, and I know that a pound a week means cutting 500 calories a day, which doesn't seem advisable.

I also think about the future. When I'm 65 even maintaining will be pushing past 1200. I don't know what I'll be eating the older I get.

Am I doomed to slow weight loss, inevitable weight gain, and/or drastically low calories just to maintain?

What are the most accurate calculators for someone in my situation?

Replies

  • annette_15
    annette_15 Posts: 1,657 Member
    Is there any way you can up your activity level to earn some more calories?
  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    I forgot to mention, I do exercise but I've only been able to steal 30 minutes a day to go jogging. It knocks off about 200 calories which isn't nothing but it only goes so far
  • macgurlnet
    macgurlnet Posts: 1,946 Member
    What's your current weight and goal weight, if you don't mind sharing? Those, as well as your activity level & exercise all play a part in how many calories you burn.

    I'm your height, but 28 and ~114 pounds. If I get in less than 3k steps a day, I maintain around 1400 calories. All it takes is a few walks and I get 1500-1800 pretty easily.

    If memory serves, the amount of calories you need as you get older doesn't fall off a cliff, but it does go down.

    It's very likely you'll have to lose half a pound, maybe a touch more, per week and it'll take a while. Us shorties often can't safely create the bigger deficit.

    Make sure you're weighing as much of your food as possible to help keep your intake accurate.

    I'm going to mention @middlehaitch here and see if she can pop in with some advice. She's a fellow shortie maintaining on low-ish cals and may have some pointers for you :)

    ~Lyssa
  • Verdenal
    Verdenal Posts: 625 Member
    edited January 2016
    dupe
  • Verdenal
    Verdenal Posts: 625 Member
    edited January 2016
    dupe
  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    Thanks! I weighed 110 in college but my doctor thought 115-120 would be healthy for me now. Even 125 would keep me at a healthy BMI. But right now I'm at 155 - way too much! I would like to exercise more but my job and commute keep me sedentary and I feel lucky to even steal the 30 minutes I have.
  • macgurlnet
    macgurlnet Posts: 1,946 Member
    Okay, so similar to me...other than the age factor :) I was 140 when I started losing weight last year.

    Assuming you don't get a whole lot of moving in, your maintenance calories are 1493 according to this calculator: https://tdeecalculator.net/

    The numbers that one has given me seem to be pretty good, but calculators estimate based on averages - you'll just have to see how things go.

    That being said, you can't safely loose 1lb/week with those numbers. That would require a 500 cal/day deficit, leaving you with 993 net calories, which isn't quite enough for proper nutrition.

    For 0.5lb/week, you're looking at 1243 calories.

    That's before exercise. If you get in a 30 minute walk, then you can log the walk and eat a bit more - 50%-75% of the estimated burn to compensate for an overestimate.

    Try to get in some activity at work if you can - take the longer route to the bathroom, do a lap around the floor to stretch, etc. Doing those sorts of things gets me ~15 minutes of activity throughout the day (I wear a fitbit to track my steps).

    You're not doomed - it just might take longer to get the weight off is all. :)

    ~Lyssa
  • Verdenal
    Verdenal Posts: 625 Member
    edited January 2016
    macgurlnet wrote: »
    Okay, so similar to me...other than the age factor :) I was 140 when I started losing weight last year.

    A

    That's before exercise. If you get in a 30 minute walk, then you can log the walk and eat a bit more - 50%-75% of the estimated burn to compensate for an overestimate.

    Try to get in some activity at work if you can - take the longer route to the bathroom, do a lap around the floor to stretch, etc. Doing those sorts of things gets me ~15 minutes of activity throughout the day (I wear a fitbit to track my steps).

    You're not doomed - it just might take longer to get the weight off is all. :)

    ~Lyssa

    I walk EVERYWHERE. Walking does not burn a lot of calories. I walk because it's good for my legs, lungs, and heart, not to lose weight.
  • macgurlnet
    macgurlnet Posts: 1,946 Member
    Verdenal wrote: »
    macgurlnet wrote: »
    Okay, so similar to me...other than the age factor :) I was 140 when I started losing weight last year.

    A

    That's before exercise. If you get in a 30 minute walk, then you can log the walk and eat a bit more - 50%-75% of the estimated burn to compensate for an overestimate.

    Try to get in some activity at work if you can - take the longer route to the bathroom, do a lap around the floor to stretch, etc. Doing those sorts of things gets me ~15 minutes of activity throughout the day (I wear a fitbit to track my steps).

    You're not doomed - it just might take longer to get the weight off is all. :)

    ~Lyssa

    I walk EVERYWHERE. Walking does not burn a lot of calories. I walk because it's good for my legs, lungs, and heart, not to lose weight.

    Everyone will be different. You're correct - not a whole lot of calories for walking. On average, I get 50 calories for every 1000 steps I take, and I need to get in about 2000 before my Fitbit gives me a positive adjustment and I can eat more during the day. But if I get in 8k steps, I have 300 extra calories, and those extra calories help me stick with my plan.

    I didn't say that walking is for losing weight. I gave a suggestion for increasing activity, and, in turn, calories burned, which in turn means more weight loss and/or more calories to be consumed - either of which is beneficial.

    ~Lyssa
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,483 Member
    Hi as @macgurlnet requested I have popped in.

    The difference in our BMR with almost 2 decades in our age difference is a bit less than 100 calories.

    Please ignore any advice that advocates you need to eat under 1200 calories to lose weight.
    Nor do you have to stick to any way of eating (WOE) unless it is your preferred style, or recommended by your doctor to help with a medical condition.

    It really does come down to calories.
    I am 62yo, 5'1 and have maintained my goal weight of 100-105 lbs for 6 years.
    (Avitar is me at 60, 105lbs)

    Through inactivity in my early 50's I put on 30 lbs without noticing the insidious creep up the scale. ( check the pic in my profile page)

    I decided to lose it through menopause eating 1200 plus a good percentage of my exercise calories.
    My average burn for 60 min exercise is just under 200 cals.

    At 130 I lost at about 1lbs a week
    At 120 I lost at about .5 lbs a week
    At 110 I lost at about .25 a week
    The last vanity pounds took months of watching the scale barely move.

    All the time eating 1200 + 125-175 of my exercise calories.
    Overall it took close enough to a year to lose it.

    I ate everything I always ate, just smaller portions, no longer gulping down the huge pice of cheesecake washed down with a bottle of wine; instead a romantic treat for 2. Half the calories in a lovely atmosphere, with the prospect of a horizontal dance later. A win all around!

    It is slower going when you are petite and have relatively little to lose, but it is doable.
    Input your goals into MFP. Just staying at 1200 did my whole loss, so I didn't have to recalculate as I didn't want to eat less. ( Mfp wouldnt have allotted less either)
    If you get more than 1200 for 1lbs a week recalculate at the 10lbs loss. Your calories will be adjusted to your new weight. I would also drop to .5 lbs.

    Log everything!!!

    Use a digital scale and the appropriate cups and spoons for liquids. These tools are so important. The odd 5, 10, 50 cals missed, over time, means we don't lose.

    Exercise is important for health rather than weight loss, so eat back 50-75% of your calories. You really do need them for good health. It is no use exercising if you are too tired and bad tempered to carry on with your regular life. It defeats the purpose of exercise.

    Any kind of exercise is good, but do try to get in some type of resistance work. It is good for your bones and helps retain a little more of your muscles as you lose. More muscle also means more calories.

    6 years later and 1200 is still my basic sedentary calorie allotment. I generally eat closer to 1400 because of my exercise and daily activity, and now I am at about 1500-1550 through doing a daily exercise challenge as an extra. I don't log or weigh at the moment, so all cal levels are estimates.

    Sorry this has been so long, I tried to cover anything and everything in one post.
    I don't do friends on MFP well but of you want a bit of encouragement just PM me.

    Cheers, h.
  • macgurlnet
    macgurlnet Posts: 1,946 Member
    @middlehaitch thanks a million for contributing! Really appreciate you taking the time to chime in here. Have a lovely night.

    :)

    ~Lyssa
  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    Thank you so much for the advice and words of encouragement! This gives me so much hope. And wow, well done!
  • Sumiblue
    Sumiblue Posts: 1,597 Member
    I'm 46 (almost 47) & 5'2". I maintain at 1800, lose on 1450. I started 16:8 Intermittent Fasting & went from 130-118. I'd lost 7 lbs before IF so down a total of 19 lbs. IF is just so I stay on my deficit. My activity can fluctuate a lot. On days I work from home I don't walk as much and my TDEE is lower. I lift weights, primarily & that really doesn't burn much. But I move a lot between sets & get my step count up. I don't think you are doomed. Try to find ways to get more activity into your day. It's the little things that add up.
  • spzjlb
    spzjlb Posts: 599 Member
    For what it is worth: I turned 50 last year and lost 30 lbs (I am 5 ft 4 inches). I also aimed for 1200 cals per day. I ALWAYS get in 30 min intense exercise per day, which lets me have that glass of wine or other extra bit that I always just took for granted. In maintenance, I still aim for under 1400 cals per day (excluding my precious, earned exercise calories).

    Like @middlehaitch, my portion sizes have dropped considerably. She eats a half slice of cheesecake as a special treat with her hubby. Another example is just something as simple as a sandwich - use only have a slice of bread. Or, even when I feel a bit hungry now, instead of eating a protein bar, I'll just eat 1/4 of it. I try to remember that most "servings" are intended for people much bigger than me.

    Good luck! There are lots of us like you out here, and you need to find us, because I know that it just SUCKS seeing that so many other people need many more calories than we do!
  • Verdenal
    Verdenal Posts: 625 Member
    edited January 2016
    macgurlnet wrote: »
    Verdenal wrote: »
    macgurlnet wrote: »
    Okay, so similar to me...other than the age factor :) I was 140 when I started losing weight last year.

    A

    That's before exercise. If you get in a 30 minute walk, then you can log the walk and eat a bit more - 50%-75% of the estimated burn to compensate for an overestimate.

    Try to get in some activity at work if you can - take the longer route to the bathroom, do a lap around the floor to stretch, etc. Doing those sorts of things gets me ~15 minutes of activity throughout the day (I wear a fitbit to track my steps).

    You're not doomed - it just might take longer to get the weight off is all. :)

    ~Lyssa

    I walk EVERYWHERE. Walking does not burn a lot of calories. I walk because it's good for my legs, lungs, and heart, not to lose weight.

    Everyone will be different. You're correct - not a whole lot of calories for walking. On average, I get 50 calories for every 1000 steps I take, and I need to get in about 2000 before my Fitbit gives me a positive adjustment and I can eat more during the day. But if I get in 8k steps, I have 300 extra calories, and those extra calories help me stick with my plan.

    I didn't say that walking is for losing weight. I gave a suggestion for increasing activity, and, in turn, calories burned, which in turn means more weight loss and/or more calories to be consumed - either of which is beneficial.

    ~Lyssa

    Activity is good for general health, but in the end it doesn't burn that many calories unless you are extraordinarily active. I hate to see people lose the focus on their diet. I've had two Fitbits, a Polar, and have a Basis Peak. I never paid any attention to the calorie burn estimates in regard to weight loss because they are inaccurate. The only way to get an accurate reading is to be tested in a lab and even then no one burns the same number of calories every day. In fact, some scientists now think that the old formula for the calorie deficit required to lose a pound is wrong.
  • Whitezombiegirl
    Whitezombiegirl Posts: 1,042 Member
    Hi, I'm 40 this year and 5ft 0. I lost 32lbs last year on an average of 1100 cals a day with not much exercise. I maintain at about 1300 without exercise. I've had high days (birthdays, holidays etc.) and low days (sick etc.) over the year but I lost 1lb a week almost steadily.

    I eat lots of snack, chocolate daily and drink tea constantly (I'm English!) but I don't really eat bread, pasta, rice, pulses or potatoes etc. as they make my stomach feel bloated- so that cuts down the calories of my meals. I've not really felt deprived- but then, food really isn't a big deal to me.
  • suziecue20
    suziecue20 Posts: 567 Member
    I'm 67 and 5ft 0in. SW 161lbs CW 131lbs GW 119lbs. I started with MFP doing CICO last September on 1200 calories a day and to date I have lost 30lbs. My diet [that is my way of eating] is as varied as I can make it and I haven't cut out any foods I like, I just eat smaller portions than the sizes that lead to me gaining. eg Whereas I would have had 300g baked potato, now I have a 175g one. Some days I have say 30 calories left and some days 100 calories left and some a few cals over but it all evens out.

    As weight loss isn't linear I have had 1lb, 2lb, 0.5lbs, 0lbs weekly losses but mainly 1lb a week. I'm not going to lower my calories and know that as I get nearer to goal there will be a lot of 0.5lb and probably 0.25lb a week losses. I also know that maintenance for me will probably be 1350 - 1450cals, which I know I can happily live with

    Your metabolism doesn't slow down with age as much as people think!

    Good luck :)
  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    Thanks all! Glad to see I'm in good company :)