Does Counting Calories ACTUALLY work

I have always had the mindset that you can't lose UNLESS you eat 1000 or below. I set myself up for failure when doing MORE calories. Can I really lose weight by doing the 1300 calories it is telling me to eat AND adding back some of my calories burned? Just doesn't seem right lol....
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Replies

  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    How many calories do you need to maintain your current weight? (Yes, it's a thinking question.)
  • krystenmlee34
    krystenmlee34 Posts: 24 Member
    How many calories do you need to maintain your current weight? (Yes, it's a thinking question.)

    No clue.
  • krystenmlee34
    krystenmlee34 Posts: 24 Member
    What if I messed up my metabolism by doing low cal diets before?! Twice I have done 800 calories or below for months at a time. I over time increased calories.
  • MichelleSilverleaf
    MichelleSilverleaf Posts: 2,029 Member
    Yes you can lose on 1300 if that's a deficit for you (might be an overly aggressive one though). We tend to over-complicate weight loss but so long as you are eating less calories than your body needs, you will lose weight. If you eat more, you'll gain. Start having meals that keep you satisfied and keep you at the number MFP gives you. Your body still needs the fuel after all.
  • krystenmlee34
    krystenmlee34 Posts: 24 Member
    Yes you can lose on 1300 if that's a deficit for you (might be an overly aggressive one though). We tend to over-complicate weight loss but so long as you are eating less calories than your body needs, you will lose weight. If you eat more, you'll gain. Start having meals that keep you satisfied and keep you at the number MFP gives you. Your body still needs the fuel after all.

    IN which way might it be "overly aggressive"? You mean as in too little or too many? I apologize as I really am trying to do this RIGHT.
  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,320 Member
    I lose weight on 1860 calories per day. 5'9", 179 lbs, 43 year old female.

    I maintain weight on about 2350 calories per day.

    You can use scoobysworkshop.com to find your maintenance calories. You want the TDEE calculator.
  • latentspring
    latentspring Posts: 27 Member
    overly aggressive - too low. you're going to have to put some work into figuring out where you need to be to maintain so you know where you need to be to lose. mfp guesses, but it doesn't have all the facts. you need to figure out your bmr / tdee, so you can cut from your tdee. and how much weight are you trying to lose? the closer you are to goal, the less you need to cut as weight loss slows.
  • ocnldy
    ocnldy Posts: 123 Member
    MFP sets a minimum calorie of 1000 to avoid dangerous under eating. I did the HCG diet at one point, which was extremely successful but also left me with some odd issues I didn't have before. Because of lack of proper nutrients, even though I took a good multi vitamin, my toenails got brittle and cracked. It was the oddest thing. I like to sit between 1200 and 1500 calories. Through plant based eating and regular exercise I was even more successful and came out of the experience healthier. Good luck
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    First of all, arm yourself with knowledge. Input your stats in to MFP and set your weight loss target to one pound a week. MFP will tell you what your target daily calories are, and you will lose if you stick with that target.

    The absolute minimum for women is 1,200 calories a day to prevent undesired side effects including hair loss and worse things.

    When you log your meals, weigh your portions to find out really how much you are eating every day.
  • laur357
    laur357 Posts: 896 Member
    To get adequate nutrition, you shouldn't eat fewer than 1200 calories per day. Unless you are a short, sedentary, and likely older woman, you can lose weight eating more than 1200. In many instances, you can eat a lot more and still lose weight.

    Overly aggressive weight loss is more than two pounds per week for overweight and obese people. But if you're closer to a healthy weight to begin with, you should only try to lose one pound or half of a pound. Losing more likely means you're compromising nutrition (not getting enough essential vitamins, minerals, fats, etc. for a properly functioning body) or losing lean muscle mass at a higher rate.

  • ladyhusker39
    ladyhusker39 Posts: 1,408 Member
    I have always had the mindset that you can't lose UNLESS you eat 1000 or below. I set myself up for failure when doing MORE calories. Can I really lose weight by doing the 1300 calories it is telling me to eat AND adding back some of my calories burned? Just doesn't seem right lol....

    If you've never counted calories before then the reality is that you have no idea how many calories you really eat. So this statement makes no sense.
  • krystenmlee34
    krystenmlee34 Posts: 24 Member
    ocnldy wrote: »
    MFP sets a minimum calorie of 1000 to avoid dangerous under eating. I did the HCG diet at one point, which was extremely successful but also left me with some odd issues I didn't have before. Because of lack of proper nutrients, even though I took a good multi vitamin, my toenails got brittle and cracked. It was the oddest thing. I like to sit between 1200 and 1500 calories. Through plant based eating and regular exercise I was even more successful and came out of the experience healthier. Good luck

    Are you losing between the 1200 - 1500?

  • krystenmlee34
    krystenmlee34 Posts: 24 Member
    lutzsher wrote: »
    You defiantly need to change that mindset. I had the same one for a long time, decades, and that is what kept me fat. When you eat too low you ALWAYS will end up bingeing because you just can't sustain that. It is not healthy, and you are correct, will mess with your metabolism.
    You should NEVER eat less than 1200 calories per day, and that is on a sedentary day. I don't eat back my exercise calories but if I have been really active or had an intensive exercise session I do bump up my calories by 100 to 150 that day.
    I started out 15 months ago at 220 lbs at only 5'4", so obese. By maintaining my calories at 1350 I lost weight each week. Im now consuming approx 1250 calories per day typically but have lost over 80 lbs and am 138 as of this morning, so 8 lbs away from my goal weight. So YES, counting calories works!!!

    I did this by weighing and measuring EVERY MORSEL and logging it BEFORE I ate it, drinking my 8 glasses of water (at least) per day, and moving more. I actually blew my knee out badly so didn't exercise much until half way through my journey. The weight loss was purely as a result of my calorie deficit. This was perfect actually as it gave me the chance to get used to the calorie deficit before I added in exercise as that will make you hungrier so good to get that in check first anyway.
    The journey to lose weight is mostly in the kitchen and not in the gym in fact. You do need exercise to get your heart and lungs healthy, and steady state cardio is the BEST for that and fat loss, but adding in some strength training will only assist your metabolism to help you burn your fuel (food) much more efficiently so help keep you lean and strong for life. In women this also assists with warding off osteoporosis as we age so a very important part of living healthy and injury free.

    I needed your response. I greatly appreciate it and hope you don't mind if I follow your journey.
  • krystenmlee34
    krystenmlee34 Posts: 24 Member
    I have always had the mindset that you can't lose UNLESS you eat 1000 or below. I set myself up for failure when doing MORE calories. Can I really lose weight by doing the 1300 calories it is telling me to eat AND adding back some of my calories burned? Just doesn't seem right lol....

    If you've never counted calories before then the reality is that you have no idea how many calories you really eat. So this statement makes no sense.

    I never said I didn't count calories before... I have counted calories, but up to 1000 NEVER over and many years before.
  • hannahsharratt27
    hannahsharratt27 Posts: 19 Member
    To lose a pound a week you need a 500 calorie deficit per day. I have MFP set as that and keep as close to it as I can. My daily calories are 1340 calories to lose that. I rarely eat back my exercise calories, aside from steps (which I link from my iPhone steps, not fitbit as fitbit tends to dramatically overestimate calories burned from steps). I always make sure to eat at least 1200 calories. It's really as simple as that! I was still in 'healthy' range of BMI but just not happy with my body, so have lost almost a stone and only two pounds shy of my journey. Some people said it would be harder to lose the weight as I was pretty small (5'5 and weighing 135 pounds) but it was literally as simple as eating 500 calories less than I needed to maintain. I've just been using the MFP estimates, however a lot of weeks I've lost more than one pound, so play around a bit but I do feel that the estimates are close enough to use as an initial basis. There are plenty of myths as to why many factors will hinder the weight loss, but they are simply myths in my opinion.

    So long story short, I feel it should definitely work for you. Good luck, but be patient!
  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
    edited March 2018
    I have always had the mindset that you can't lose UNLESS you eat 1000 or below. I set myself up for failure when doing MORE calories. Can I really lose weight by doing the 1300 calories it is telling me to eat AND adding back some of my calories burned? Just doesn't seem right lol....

    If you've never counted calories before then the reality is that you have no idea how many calories you really eat. So this statement makes no sense.

    I never said I didn't count calories before... I have counted calories, but up to 1000 NEVER over and many years before.

    Once upon a time a one-size-fits-all approach may have been the thing to do, but we've learned much more about nutrition since then. Remember when trans-fats were fine and saturated fat was the devil?

    This is a new century. MFP does work.
  • MichelleSilverleaf
    MichelleSilverleaf Posts: 2,029 Member
    Yes you can lose on 1300 if that's a deficit for you (might be an overly aggressive one though). We tend to over-complicate weight loss but so long as you are eating less calories than your body needs, you will lose weight. If you eat more, you'll gain. Start having meals that keep you satisfied and keep you at the number MFP gives you. Your body still needs the fuel after all.

    IN which way might it be "overly aggressive"? You mean as in too little or too many? I apologize as I really am trying to do this RIGHT.

    Meaning choosing too steep of a deficit. A lot of people will try to aim for 2lbs/week which isn't always feasible or necessary. I'm currently set to 1lb/week and am losing on 2070cal/day. With the exception of the odd random week my loss has been pretty steady and consistent. Big deficits can often set people up for failure especially if they don't lose at the rate they want and then they do things like try and cut calories further. It's a long game, you don't win by trying to speed through it. MFP's formula is pretty solid and works for the vast majority of people, and plenty of people here can and are attesting that it does work. Eat well to the 1300 MFP gave you, use a food scale for everything you eat and make sure the entries you pick are accurate, and eat a bit of your exercise calories back. Stick to it for a month and see where you're at.