Advice on Fat (Over)Consumption and Calorie Deficits

I have tried to log my food intake for several days. I thought I was choosing healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, olives, eggs. But for several days my caloric intake has been under 1,000 and my fat intake has made up more than 50% of my diet. How will this affect my weight loss over time? On the one hand, caloric deficits are good for weight loss, but on the other hand the over-consumption of fats might be harmful.

Also, myfitnesspal will not allow me to submit food journals with a calorie intake under 1,000. I'm sure I'm not starving myself because I usually eat until I'm full. If I weren't trying to lose weight I would probably be eating more unhealthy snacks throughout the day, like chips, cookies, and cakes.

The other thing is that whenever I cook I tend to use olive oil to sautee things like onions and peppers. But one tablespoon of olive oil allegedly contains 1/4 of my recommended fat intake.

I need help and advice for future healthy eating and weight loss.
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Replies

  • britcoleman1
    britcoleman1 Posts: 7 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    The minimum you should be eating is 1200 calories a day.
    Eating so little is dangerous and unhealthy.

    Yes, I'm coming to understand that. But actually I don't feel hungry beyond what I've been eating. I tend to eat lots of rich things like avocado, olives, tuna, eggs, etc. But I also eat vegetables like spinach, celery, tomato, and cucumber. Honestly I don't feel hungry. I would hate to just start eating more for the hell of it.
  • britcoleman1
    britcoleman1 Posts: 7 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Calories are what determine weight loss, especially in the short run.

    (In the longer run, truly awful nutrition may result in fatigue, so less movement; or suboptimal eating vs. personal needs may result in poor compliance with calorie goal. In that sense, food choice can indirectly affect weight loss. Any direct, short-term effects tend to be arithmetically trivial).

    So, eating "too much" fat, but within calorie goal, shouldn't be a problem. However, if eating that much fat means you're seriously undercutting your protein goal, that underconsumption of protein can be a problem. One possible result is losing more than the minimum of muscle tissue while losing fat. So, try to at least hit your MFP protein goal, maybe even exceed it.

    Also, you need a certain amount of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) and fiber, for adequate nutrition, thus best odds of continuing good health. It won't affect weight loss noticeably if you don't get those, but most of us want to be healthy, not just thinner, right? The best source for micronutrients is plenty of varied, colorful fruits and veggies, and those will bring good fiber, usually, too. Just taking vitamins/supplements is not a substitute for nutrients from foods: At best, it's an insurance policy backup.

    No matter how full a person feels, undereating is a health risk. I don't know whether you're undereating, but 1000 calories is a very dangerous sign. I ate 1200 calories plus all exercise calories at the start, and it turned out to be too few (MFP underestimated my calorie needs, I didn't do it on purpose). I felt full and great, until suddenly, I didn't. I was weak and fatigued, and it took several weeks to recover normal strength and energy. No one wants that!

    I was lucky. Consider the experience reported by the young, healthy woman in this thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10761904/under-1200-for-weight-loss/p1

    Fast weight loss may feel rewarding at first, but can potentially lead to noncompliance in the longer run . . . and can be a health risk. Unless you're very petite and inactive, I'd strongly suggest you set up MFP to lose no more than 1% of your current body weight per week (less than that if within 50 pounds of goal), and eat at least that number of calories.

    Best wishes for much success at weight loss and good health!

    Thanks for the input. I will try to do more research and figure out what's going on. But I already eat fruits and vegetables, so I think I should be good there. The main problem is that my carb and protein intake are too low. So maybe I will need to learn some new recipes.
  • britcoleman1
    britcoleman1 Posts: 7 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    harper16 wrote: »
    The minimum you should be eating is 1200 calories a day.
    Eating so little is dangerous and unhealthy.

    Yes, I'm coming to understand that. But actually I don't feel hungry beyond what I've been eating. I tend to eat lots of rich things like avocado, olives, tuna, eggs, etc. But I also eat vegetables like spinach, celery, tomato, and cucumber. Honestly I don't feel hungry. I would hate to just start eating more for the hell of it.

    Your heart is a muscle eating so little is damaging your body. I developed an eating disorder, by eating so little. It lead to my suffering from blackouts, and my periods stopped. I blacked out in a target, and once in my shower. I fell out, and hit my head on the bathroom floor. You know what's not fun being found naked and unconscious.

    Ok. Thanks for your advice. And so sorry that happened to you. It's been a little over a week of me making a sincere effort to lose weight. And that under calorie thing happened three times. So I will start looking for new recipes to raise my protein and carb levels. And then hopefully lower my fat intake and meet the recommended caloric intake. Whew!
  • britcoleman1
    britcoleman1 Posts: 7 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    How long have you been doing this?

    What is your current height/weight/approximate age? Are you at home, or moving around? How many hours a day are you non sedentary at a guess?

    Your (actual) total calories absorbed vs total calories expended will determine your long term weight trend trajectory.

    In the shorter term, non fat weight fluctuations (also known as water weight fluctuations) are more likely to sharply influence your scale readings.

    The above is true regardless of whether 1% or 100% of your diet consists of drinking olive oil or eating potato chips. Obviously either of these two extremes would probably result in other longer term health problems that would have little to do with your actual weight.

    There are national food guides that can describe what is considered a healthy mix of food to intake. You don't have to be 100% on point in order to, overall, maintain a healthy diet.

    50% of calories from fats is a little bit high, but not necessarily egregiously so if your fats are considered healthy and if you are also eating sufficient protein and a variety of vegetables and fruits. Otherwise the higher fat intake may be crowding out other nutrients.

    People on keto type diets do eat a higher percentage of their calories from fats, often even more than 50%. That said, I've personally not chosen to eat a keto type diet and have found that the regular amount of fats I regularly intake through daily eating generally come up to more to any minimums that I would have considered. Long term I've consistently eaten close to 30% of my calories from fat, and this has been with me making efforts to decrease my fat intake-- not making efforts to increase it! I averaged about 32% when losing faster, and about 27-28% during slower losses and at maintenance.

    Very few people need to only eat 1000 Cal a day to lose weight. Eating only this much and creating a larger than necessary deficit will, sooner or later, impact your energy levels and general health. You may feel satiated with a certain way of eating... ask yourself what other types of eating you could be exploring and whether the totality of your diet right now is optimally healthy and satisfying -- i.e. also plan for the occasional indulgence within your reasonable caloric budgets unless you are seriously proposing that you're going to spend, literally, the rest of your life never again ever having any of these indulgences. The time to learn to incorporate them in reasonable amounts (or decide to consciously and truly and permanently avoid and eliminate them)... is while losing. Not by re-introducing them in a free for all when you declare maintenance.

    Also please note that a scale is, generally speaking, more consistent in measuring than your eyeball and measuring cups or spoons. A tablespoon of oil (the 120Cal stuff) ranges in weight from about 13 to 14g). I generally consider 13.5g to be one tbsp (varies by temperature, but most homes are probably close enough to ~20C)

    A tablespoon of ice cream or whipped cream is even less than 13g as they contain both fat and are whipped. So these items (oil, whipped items, ice cream) are instances where 1ml does not equal 1g -- something that remains close enough to true for most other items one weighs.

    I only just started to make a sincere effort at losing weight a little over a week ago. Before I was not one to track my eating or even weigh myself. I've known for at least a year now that I have put on weight, since I've had to buy bigger clothes. I must have gained 30 pounds (14kgs) over the past three years, due to some life stressors. And I moved back to America almost a year ago. I mention that last bit only because I've lived in several different countries and have always put on weight whenever I move back to America. So I'm inclined to believe the preservatives and other things in the food are sabotaging. And we have a lot of cultural practices centered around food and overeating. It's hard to say how long my caloric intake has been this low, since I wasn't tracking it before. But then again, this is me trying to eat healthy. I must have had higher calories before when I was eating more chips and sweets with reckless abandon.

    I have a desk job, but walk a lot and take public transit. I will usually walk ~2 miles a day for transportation purposes. And I also work in a large park, so I take 30 minute walks on my lunch break. Of course these days I'm working from home. So I'm not as active. But I do home workouts for like 25 minutes a day--usually cardio circuits, belly dancing, toning, etc. I am about 5'6'' (168cm). I currently weigh 181 lbs (82 kgs) according to my scale... And I'm in my late 20's.

    I'm making an effort to stay hydrated, drinking 8-10 cups a day. Hoping that my body will let go of any excess water retention it's been doing.

    Thanks for the tip about using a food scale. It's not something I'm considering now, but maybe in the future.!




  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,673 Member
    Thanks for the tip about using a food scale. It's not something I'm considering now, but maybe in the future.!

    The reason I mentioned it is because fats are easy to add up. So there does exist a chance that you may actually be eating more than you think at times... hence the scale comment.

    I would be more worried about low protein than anything as sufficient protein (think 0.8g to 1g per lb of bodyweight at the top of the normal weight range, standing in as proxy for about 0.6g to 0.8g per lb of lean mass at the top of the normal weight range) would be protective of lean mass especially while you're in a caloric deficit. (and so would strength training)

    You may want to start using a weight trend web site or application (happy scale, libra, trendweight, weightgrapher) -- you can use them all without special scales, though a free account with them or a third party may be necessary for some).

    Weigh trend apps highlight your weigh trend over time and reduce the changes you see due to a one or two day water retention event. they are still affected by menstrual cycle or strength training, but do help you see past sort term day to day fluctuations.

    Drinking water to manage water weight... is a bit of a diminishing returns game. our bodies are quite good at regulating water retention depending on our needs, and if healthy a day of excess sodium or two will move along without much help!

  • sugaraddict4321
    sugaraddict4321 Posts: 15,072 MFP Moderator
    FYI @harper16 when a post goes to the spam queue, it only takes that post. Any quotes remain. So as @AnnPT77 says, go ahead and flag, and if it's really prolific you can send a report as well. :) I'll leave this up for a few minutes so you can see it but then delete it too. ;)
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,859 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    The minimum you should be eating is 1200 calories a day.
    Eating so little is dangerous and unhealthy.

    Yes, I'm coming to understand that. But actually I don't feel hungry beyond what I've been eating. I tend to eat lots of rich things like avocado, olives, tuna, eggs, etc. But I also eat vegetables like spinach, celery, tomato, and cucumber. Honestly I don't feel hungry. I would hate to just start eating more for the hell of it.

    Part of healthy eating is providing your body with appropriate calories (energy). You wouldn't be eating more just for the hell of it...you would be eating more because what you're currently doing isn't healthy. 1200 is the rock bottom minimum for a sedentary female not under medical supervision. My guess would also be that your protein is inadequate from the foods you describe as well. Protein deficiency is a thing as well.
  • britcoleman1
    britcoleman1 Posts: 7 Member
    Thanks all for the input. Right now the consensus seems to be:

    1) taking my rudimentary food measuring with a grain of salt,
    2) increasing my protein, carb, and overall calorie intake, and
    3) possible reducing my fat intake.

    I will try to find some different recipes with more protein. I'm not a big meat eater, but will occasionally make chicken or salmon. Then I eat lots of chopped nuts like almonds and cashews, but I worry these are just as high in fat :(

    More research to follow!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,673 Member
    Thanks all for the input. Right now the consensus seems to be:

    1) taking my rudimentary food measuring with a grain of salt,
    2) increasing my protein, carb, and overall calorie intake, and
    3) possible reducing my fat intake.

    I will try to find some different recipes with more protein. I'm not a big meat eater, but will occasionally make chicken or salmon. Then I eat lots of chopped nuts like almonds and cashews, but I worry these are just as high in fat :(

    More research to follow!

    You can increase protein by eating or drinking yogurt, milk and similar. Nuts ARE high in fats and calories. Not sure again how you measure them... but weighing them would not be a terrible idea--as with most high cal items.

    BTW beans, lentils, and rice or cracked wheat or bread or.... would also form complete proteins and may or may not better fit your eating style.

    In spite of the emphasis on weighing your food for accuracy, doing so is not necessary, many people get by fine with approximate measurements. I enjoyed doing it because it allowed me to eat the maximum amount of goodies while still meeting my (reasonably defined and appropriate) weight loss goals. And I still do it... because hey, I like knowing and not wondering, and it takes me less long than trying to guess my cups :wink:

    So #1 for sure.
    #2 increasing protein for sure. Carbs are really your own preference in terms of satiation and energy levels--there exist no universal minimum or maximums. Overall caloric intake increase? That does depend on a lot more. How close is #1 to reality? How fast are you losing? How fast SHOULD you be losing? If you're obese anything above a 25% caloric deficit when compared to your TDEE is probably quite aggressive. If you're overweight/normal weight going above 20% is definitely being very aggressive. Your weight trend over several weeks shows you your "real" numbers (1lb weight change = approximately 3500 Cal)
    #3 is again, a preference :smile:
  • karahm78
    karahm78 Posts: 491 Member
    Are you weighing/measuring things? Avocado and olive oil, in addition to being fatty they are also calorie dense (but nutritious and yummy!!). I eat both daily, nearly impossible to eat them and fill full after they use such a large proportion of your low daily allowance IMO.
  • britcoleman1
    britcoleman1 Posts: 7 Member
    karahm78 wrote: »
    Are you weighing/measuring things? Avocado and olive oil, in addition to being fatty they are also calorie dense (but nutritious and yummy!!). I eat both daily, nearly impossible to eat them and fill full after they use such a large proportion of your low daily allowance IMO.

    Someone else mentioned I should start weighing things too. Since it's just my first week of trying, I will focus on low fat, high protein recipes for next week instead. In the future, if I become seriously committed I will consider making that kind of purchase