Time to up my calories?

I've finally shed enough weight to become 'overweight' as opposed to 'obese', which I'm thrilled about. :)

For me, it was all about reducing my risk of Covid complications. Apparently it's 70% higher if you're obese and 40% higher if you're overweight. So, there's still an unacceptable level of risk, but I've made a good dent in it, and feel a bit more relaxed.

When I started, I had about 57lb to go. Now, I have about 30lb left, so it feels like a good time to review what I'm doing and if I should make any changes.

I feel perfectly OK at my allowance of 1,200 calories, but I wondered if I should put it up anyway? People often talk about losing weight at a lower rate because they don't want to feel miserable, but I feel fine, so that's not a reason for me. I also don't think I'm losing weight more quickly than my skin can handle.

MFP reckons my maintenance level is around 1,850 calories. In theory, that should put me at a 650 calorie deficit, but I estimate (with a fitness tracker) it's more around 800 calories.

I would estimate weekly loss with my 1,200 calorie allowance has actually been around 2lb.

Any thoughts on whether it would be healthier to slow down the weight loss or to stay at 1,200 for longer, given I don't feel deprived on that amount? Incidentally, I've recently started eating better (so more protein, more fruit, more veg) so it's been turning into a 'good' 1,200 calories as opposed to any old rubbish that fits that number.

I'm torn between staying at 1,200 calories or upping to, say, 1,350 calories. I don't feel like I need the extra calories, but I also know how irrational people can be about their own weight loss, so I thought I'd ask for your objectivity as I start to aim for my next milestone. :)

Replies

  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,575 MFP Moderator
    fk1bvcf2gvxr.png

    This picture does a good job covering the main points about setting your rate of loss.
  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,443 Member
    It is healthier to slow down the rate of loss, as you lose less muscle. Maintaining muscle is important to your overall physical abilities.
  • DanaDark
    DanaDark Posts: 2,186 Member
    I'd say go ahead and reduce the speed of loss. You'll want to basically ease into your ideal rate rather than hit it like a brick wall. Easing into it will help you better maintain it as well.

    Since you're at 1200 calories a day, up to 1450 instead and see how that goes. Do remember water weight may be a factor due to a little extra food and possibly a little extra sodium. So, don't freak out at the scale over 250 extra calories.
  • thelastnightingale
    thelastnightingale Posts: 724 Member
    Thanks for all the comments. :) I'm not entirely sure I have any muscles, but based on the feedback, I've decided to up my allowance gradually and reassess on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

    I'm going to do 1,300 this week and reassess after that - if I'm still losing weight too quickly, I'll try upping to say, 1,400 and see how I get on. I think the new plan to keep playing with my calories until I get to a point of losing somewhere between 1lb and 1.7lb on a weekly basis.

    I guess I hadn't really thought about the learning how to live at maintenance part - I'm not going to hit my goal weight until next year, so it felt quite far off.

    Thanks as always. :)
  • upoffthemat
    upoffthemat Posts: 679 Member
    sounds like a nice problem to have to start thinking about though! Keep it going.
  • thelastnightingale
    thelastnightingale Posts: 724 Member
    lgfrie wrote: »
    I've increased my calories three times over the last 14 months, after starting with a 2 lb/week goal (and 100+ pounds to lose). I increased twice by 100 calories and once by 50. Honestly, each time was a totally cathartic, positive breath of fresh air that injected new energy and determination into my diet project. The calorie increases plus the slower burn rate due to weight bounced me down from 2 lb/week to around 1.1 but I gotta say, this more moderate pace has been the thing that saved my diet. I highly recommend increasing the calories.

    Ohh, that's really encouraging, thank you for the personal insight, @lgfrie. :) Today I ended up eating an extra 100 calories of wonderful fresh fruit rather than junk. If I can use the extra calories to eat things that are good for me, this could be very positive indeed... I mean, if I'm happy at 1,200 calories and don't need the extra calories, I should be able to spend the excess on things like fruit juice that I might not have otherwise felt worth working in. Maybe I'll look at it that way: I still have 1,200 calories to spend how I see fit, and the extra whatever it is is something I should spend on something vaguely healthy (but still nice).

    I'm a little bit apprehensive, but also aware it will take time for any new trend to show and taking @DanaDark's advice not to panic and just ride it out.

    Really appreciate the support. Sounds almost daft, but I feel like I'm re-learning to approach food with every new day...
  • sakurablossoms82
    sakurablossoms82 Posts: 62 Member
    edited August 2020
    When I started MFP it gave me 1500 kcal a day which was fine the first 2 weeks but then after reading a lot more about weight loss and keeping it off in a healthy way I decided to go for 1700 kcal. With 1500 I had the feeling I would limit myself to much so in the end it wouldn't have been sustainable for me. With 1700 I have room for the foods I love but have a bit more calories and it's better for my nutrition intake as well. Yes the weight loss goes slower but I rather having it go slow then not being able to stick to it and lose to much musclemass.
  • RepswithRyan
    RepswithRyan Posts: 171 Member
    When I started MFP it gave me 1500 kcal a day which was fine the first 2 weeks but then after reading a lot more about weight loss and keeping it off in a healthy way I decided to go for 1700 kcal. With 1500 I had the feeling I would limit myself to much so in the end it wouldn't have been sustainable for me. With 1700 I have room for the foods I love but have a bit more calories and it's better for my nutrition intake as well. Yes the weight loss goes slower but I rather having it go slow then not being able to stick to it and lose to much musclemass.

    I have recently been having 1500 calories but I upped it to 1800 calories yesterday and I felt more energetic, I felt less tired. If I can continue to lose weight while having a few more hundred calories a day, I will go with 1700 calories.
  • thelastnightingale
    thelastnightingale Posts: 724 Member
    Maybe it's a coincidence, but having upped my calories very slightly, I've put put on a small amount of weight every day for the last 4 days... :'(

    I'm still eating below my BMR let alone my calorie burn, I haven't gone crazy with my salt intake or any macros... I do feel heavier though, which is what is leading to the mild panic. It's not that there's a disconnect between what the scales say and how I feel, I actually feel like the number is accurate. I feel heavier. Not so much bloated, but heavier.

    Looking at my diary, I've been eating more fruit than normal, but I haven't been overeating carbs, so it's not that.

    It's the week after my period, so it's not period related (I get the weight gain just before/during, not after).

    Is this sort of gain normal after upping calories, or is something else going on? I can't think of any other factor that could have impacted on my weight, other than the extreme temperatures we've had lately. (And I'm trying to drink more water to compensate for the dehydration - although, if anything, being dehydrated would surely make me lighter rather than heavier.)

    Is it possible that my body's got so used to 1,200 calories it's not processing the extra calories quickly enough and will adapt soon...? <clutches at straws>

    Sigh. Just having a bad day.
  • Strudders67
    Strudders67 Posts: 975 Member
    It's very likely (and perfectly normal) that the increase in calories is leading to an increase in water weight. If you're still in a deficit, give it a few weeks to see how you're doing then.
  • thelastnightingale
    thelastnightingale Posts: 724 Member
    It's very likely (and perfectly normal) that the increase in calories is leading to an increase in water weight. If you're still in a deficit, give it a few weeks to see how you're doing then.

    I'm definitely still in a deficit - I weigh and log religiously so I know I'm not eating more than I think I am. Thanks for the sanity check, I really needed it today.