BMR Calories/Nutrition Needs AT REST

geiznekcm Posts: 1,357 Member

Can someone please put my typical full day of eating into perspective for me?
To be brief, I need some guidance on what the minimal caloric requirement is for a sedentary woman. While I do not aim to be sedentary, the reality is that I am right now (as I am healing an injury for an extended period of time, which I will spare you the details about -- my first concern is what I know I can control -- my diet), and until I can resume an active lifestyle, I want to make sure that my diet is only complimenting my goal of fat loss and muscle maintenance, and not inhibiting my healing process.

I consider myself a "volume eater", meaning I eat large quantities of less calorie-dense foods (but I know everything, even fruits and vegetables, contain calories. Especially in the large amounts I eat them daily).
This is what I consumed today (and every day is similar; sometimes I opt for a can of tuna/salmon (in water), or chicken/turkey breast instead of egg whites; or opt for several cups of grapes/berries in favor of apples; or have an entire ~12 ounce frozen package of different vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers)).
**Side note: I do not have three standard meals; instead, I usually eat within a time window of eight hours or less. I don't know if I really follow an intermittent fasting routine, but I practice something similar to it, at least in terms of when I consume the following.**
A large "dinner" salad consisting of:
- ~16 ounces (1 pound) of leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.)
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup of egg whites
- 2-4 stalks of celery
- large cucumber
- pickles
On the "side":
- three large apples
- one-quarter to one half watermelon (yes, a whole melon).

I want to assure you all that I am meeting with my physician, but I do not currently have a personal nutritionist. I wanted to reach out here for a general unbiased opinion on what I typically eat on a daily basis, and to apply that to a human's basal physiological needs over an extended period of time. I know I am not offering many personal details; I don't mean to make it difficult to help me. I didn't think the personal details would be relevant in relation to what I am asking: Is what I am eating too much (calorie, nutrient, etc.-wise) for someone to maintain their weight and general health via a sedentary lifestyle?

Again, I apologize for my lack of concision and for asking a very ambiguous, broad question. I also don't mean to sound like a kook. (: There are just so many voices and ideas (some scholarly and well-intended, others confused and misguided) in this world when it comes to proper nutrition. I am trying to do as much research as I can.

Thank you.


  • geiznekcm
    geiznekcm Posts: 1,357 Member
    edited August 2019
    Set your Goals.

    Log your food.

    No, you aren't eating enough.
    Very little food (calories) in general. No fats. Very low protein. Fat and protein are very important.

    Have you previously been diagnosed with an eating disorder?

    Thank you for responding. I was hesitant to post in the first place. I really appreciate your consideration, and you being kind. The way I phrased my concerns might alarm some people (though I hope it doesn't).

    I don't weigh my food on a scale, so I am one of the folk who "log" according to rough cup measurements or serving sizes and "net weights" on containers.

    According to that very loose logging, my caloric intake exceeds 1200 calories every day -- and often reaches 1600 calories. I don't see how that is possible to not be adequate -- even for someone who does do light exercise. I am curious as to how this diet relates to a sedentary person (emphasis on minimal movement and steps per day). Even if the calories weren't accounted for, just looking at the sheer volume of the food (it is A LOT of food!! -- circling back to the "whole melon" and entire packages of "Steam Fresh" vegetables) I would assume that full day of eating as I described would meet (if not exceed) human basal metabolic requirements.

    I am sorry to pester you more. I really do appreciate your advice. Thank you.
  • corinasue1143
    corinasue1143 Posts: 7,467 Member
    The minimum needed for a sedentary woman is sort of like how high does the wind blow today. We need a lot more information to judge. Like your height, age, weight, goals. Then we can plug it in and get a good average number. Or you could just do that yourself. We would also want to know what kind of injury to better guess how that would affect your calories needed. Also, your list of food is vague. How many calories are you eating each day, and what are the macros for what you are actually eating?
  • geiznekcm
    geiznekcm Posts: 1,357 Member
    edited August 2019
    Thank you for continuing to help me. I wanted to spare you the details about my injury (partially not to complain, but also because I know my original post was very lengthy), but if elongating my personal situation and condition is the only way to make your help possible, I'll try to deliver adequate information.

    I am interested in physiology and nutrition in general, but I am also here due to pressing personal concerns: I am suffering two stress fractures,
    the first: left pubic ramus (as of last year, October 2018). It is healing, but I esteem it should be entirely healed (it has surpassed a year since diagnosis!)
    the second: left hemisacrum (as of this month, August 2019).
    Since my first stress fracture of the pubic ramus, my only form of physical activity was walking no more than four miles three to four times per week. (And even that I didn't personally consider adequate physical activity nor "exercise".)
    Now, I am sidelined from even walking.

    I expressed my concerns about my diet to my physician; we didn't discuss it extraneously, but I did give him the vague layout of what I eat (with the variety between items depending on the day), and he approved of my current intake. All I know is that something is out of balance, else I wouldn't be injured, and if one of those things is my diet (either due to too many calories, or other imbalances), I want to change that now. My concern about being too inactive even during this recovery stage is another urgent concern, but I didn't think this was the appropriate forum to address that.

    Height: around 5 feet, 4 inches
    Weight: I don't monitor my weight. I know that is rare within this community, as we all are here out of concern for our composition in one way or another. But I do not need to lose weight. However, I do not want to gain fat-- especially because the weight will likely only stress my already-weakened bones.

    Job/School: Online for now.

    I resent to admit that I am feeling pretty defeated right now, and at loss at what I CAN do.
    While there are multiple other factors contributing to my condition, I want to rule out my diet and nutrition as one that might be inhibiting my healing time and recovery. I need to find a balance in what I can do to improve my physical fitness while having stress fractures (I welcome any insight on that as well -- especially constructive exercises); but I know that fitness is also achieved in the kitchen. I don't want to adhere to either extreme -- under-eating nor over-eating.
  • corinasue1143
    corinasue1143 Posts: 7,467 Member
    I did a quick estimate of what you are eating according to the list you gave.
    The list came up to about 850 calories, of which 83% is carb, 4% is fat, and 13% is protein.
    I believe MFP recommends at least 30% fat and 20% protein.
    That puts you way below the recommendation for fat, and quite a bit below for protein.
  • geiznekcm
    geiznekcm Posts: 1,357 Member
    edited August 2019
    Thank you All again for reaching back. And thank you for offering support despite my scant provided personal information.

    @corinasumaway ,thank you for making that extra effort. I know I was not very specific. I do not weigh my food on a scale, like many avid Pals do, so my measurements are likely somewhat erroneous-- I use measuring cups, and the "net weights" and "servings per container" to calculate my intake. From what I gathered online, a half watermelon (which I have consumed frequently, on a daily basis, especially during the summer months) provides about seven hundred (700) calories. And that is only a fraction of what else I consume -- in addition to the other daily fruits and vegetables, as well at the lean protein source (either one cup of egg whites, or one can of tuna/salmon, chicken/turkey breast), my "logging" totals from 1200 to 1600 calories per day -- and usually on the upper extreme of the range.

    From what I have read, Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy the human body uses (or burns) when at total rest. Am I correct to translate this to BMR being "the amount of calories you burn doing absolutely nothing but sitting down all day", just breathing and blinking your eyes? I also gathered that the BMR comprises a good amount of the
    daily total calories a person needs,
    beyond just sitting and breathing, and even WITHOUT any exercise. Am I incorrect?

    I am having a difficult time accepting that the human body needs as much food and as many calories as I am providing my own, at a sedentary level. I don't mean to sound ignorant-- I am only being honest. After all that I am consuming day after day, and sitting for the majority of the day, I don't feel like my body is transforming and expending that energy. I don't see how it could be anything but stored. Please correct me if I am misinformed. I need clarity.

    As per macronutrients, I realize that nutrition profile of my typical full day of eating is imbalanced according to guidelines. Thank you for informing me more about that, too.

    I have another very hypothetical question, and I really appreciate your insight -- but I don't expect it. Granted that macro-and micro-nutrients are balanced accordingly, but all within the same daily caloric intake of 1200 to 1600 calories, what is the likelihood that a sedentary woman (who is otherwise healthy, and putting aside the effects menstruation might have on body weight) would gain fat over a prolonged timespan?

    I am sorry if my questions are silly and otherwise common knowledge. I don't intend to drag out this conversation nor my concerns more than necessary. I don't want to harass any of my fellow Pals. I am here because of my lack in knowledge and skepticism about my own understanding of the basics and fundamentals of nutrition and fitness. I want to clarify my confusion and collect as much fundamental truths to set me on the best path.

    Thank you All. Happy Wednesday. And thank you, again, for you support.
  • sunfastrose
    sunfastrose Posts: 543 Member
    • 1200 calories is weight loss calories for a sedentary person; you claim to want to maintain
    • You are healing and need more protein and fat to assist the healing process
    • You are healing from two stress fractures and avoiding the question of whether you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder which does tend to lean towards not wanting to answer the question

    No one here is going to give you the answer you want - that what you are doing is okay. Work with a doctor and a registered dietician to learn to eat to heal.
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,829 Member

    geiznekcm just deactivated. She's gone from the site. She was still here this morning, ten minutes ago.

    I guess we can stop answering now.