1270 calories per day?

Hi!

I've been at this for 12 weeks now, and after reading another thread about the dangers of heart failure and too low of calories, it made me realize how important it is to get this right. With that, I thought I'd run my current program by the MFP "hive mind" for input.

Here's my stats:
* 47 year old woman, in the thick of perimenopause (and all the water retention that goes with it!)
* 5' 7"
* starting weight ~170 lbs. (BMI 26.6)
* current weight ~164 lbs. (BMI 25.7 - yay, progress!)
* goal weight ~145 lbs. (BMI 22.7)
* currently very sedentary outside of purposeful exercise (Seriously. I'm working at a computer from home.)
* exercise: 30 minutes at a walking pace on elliptical 5-6 days per week; hatha yoga for 30-50 minutes once per week (going slow so I don't hurt some old injuries... I'll increase as I get stronger)
* MFP set me up at 1270 calories per week. Looking back through my history, I've been eating that on most days, and eating some to all of my exercise calories back (they aren't much and yoga calories are hard to calculate, so I'm conservative)
* Regardless of calories, I am absolutely sure to hit my protein target each day (currently set by MFP at 64g/day) . If I slip and miss some on a day, I eat more protein to make up for it on the next day.
* I eat all (usually more) of the fat target each day (currently set by MFP at 42g/day).
* I don't pay attention to the carb target at all. I'm not doing "low carb" or "keto", I just eat what I like, with hitting the protein and calorie targets as my focus. (And I likes me some cheese. And avocados. :wink:)
* I also take a "women's" multivitamin and a magnesium supplement daily.

I've been averaging about 0.5 lbs. lost per week. I wasn't worried about anything since the weight loss has been painfully, glacially slow, but y'all freaked me out with that heart failure thread! :smiley:

Thanks for any input you care to give.

Replies

  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 327 Member
    Thanks @paperpudding! I appreciate the input. It's been 3 months, so I'll just keep going.

    Half a pound a week is painfully slow, but it's progress. Keep on keepin on..... :smiley:
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,633 Member
    i wouldnt worry about heart issues with your calorie intake and exercise levels. i think your fine.

    the calories seem low for your height, to me, for that rate of loss. i didnt run the numbers myself, but it seems on the low side.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 327 Member
    Agreed that it seemed low. I set MFP to lose 1 pound/week and that's what it gave me. In practice, I'm only losing 0.5 pounds per week. :/ BUT, I'm losing, and managing well with the calorie restriction, so I'll take it.

    I'm weighing everything, so I'm reasonably confident that my calories are accurate. *shrug*
  • qwertybird
    qwertybird Posts: 11 Member
    Hi, we are in similar lanes! 1250 seems low to me. I had success with 1500 cal/day and added with exercise. Strength training, varying exercise, adding protein and improving hydration has really helped me. I ignore the weight loss pace and watch for the signs of improving health.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,736 Member
    Actual results mean more than MFP (or other calculator/tracker) estimates, which in turn mean more than other people's experiences (who may be logging a bit looser/tighter, and who certainly have different genetics).

    If an average of half a pound a week is not requiring annoying strategies to achieve, and it keeps happening, you're in a pretty sweet spot, I think. Little to lose makes slow loss more sensible IMO, for a variety of reasons. Obviously, any weird health complication to happen to most anyone for any reason at any time, but you're not in a zone where you're creating obvious extra risk, if generally healthy to start.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 327 Member
    Other than the week-long "plateaus" and "gains" that are really just hormone-induced water retention (seriously, perimenopause is a beast!), it's been reasonably smooth sailing. Trendweight.com has been helpful during those menstrual weeks to keep me encouraged that I'm on still on the right track. Thanks to whoever suggested that site in another thread. :smile:

    When I've lost weight in the past, I was typically given ~1500 calories, but I think my current low level of baseline activity is why the calories are on the low side this time. When I go back to my physical workplace in a couple of months, I'll likely have to reassess everything, as I'm typically on my feet for hours at a time.

    Anyway, thanks everyone! I really appreciate the input.

    Happy Halloween! :smiley:
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,633 Member
    You could be an anomaly, like me, with a metabolism on the really low side. Mine is due to a huge amount of weight loss (almost 230 pounds). Others can can have a slow one for various reasons, so its certainly possible. There are outliers, both on high ends (like my husband) and myself on the low end. That's why there are laws of averages. Actual results are what tell the truth in real world situations. Just keep monitoring and adjust if and when necessary.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,596 Member


    Good to hear you are doing so well.

    yes I think 0.5 lb per week is right pace when you get down to last 10 - 15 lb.

    However if MFP is giving you 1470 to do that, then it would give you 1820 for maitenance (1470 + 250) not a little over 1500.
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 327 Member

    Good to hear you are doing so well.

    yes I think 0.5 lb per week is right pace when you get down to last 10 - 15 lb.

    However if MFP is giving you 1470 to do that, then it would give you 1820 for maitenance (1470 + 250) not a little over 1500.

    For sure... I just meant maintenance at my goal weight (not current weight), based on the calculations from https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/. Those numbers are a little different from MFP, so I'll see how it goes. I have this plan of trying to slowly increase my calories in this last phase of weight loss. I'm hoping that will make the transition from loss to maintenance a little easier. The downside is that I will really have to be patient in this last phase of loss as it will likely be super slow. Now that I can fit into my work clothes again (my main goal), I'm shifting my focus to continue working on stamping out bad food habits and to increase physical fitness. I'll just let the weight fall off when it wants to. Again, we'll see how it goes. It's hard to know how accurate all these calorie calculations are, so I'll just have to give it time and adjust as needed.

    Thanks for the encouragement!
  • nanastaci2020
    nanastaci2020 Posts: 1,041 Member
    If you'd like a 'friend' here - our stats are similar. I'm 47, desk job but make the effort to walk some each day. (My target is 5k steps daily, but I really should increase it!) I'm around 140 and aiming for 130, at 5'5". I have similar views on carbs. I make an effort (usually) to get protein in, am cautious to not cut fat too low, and carbs fall where they fall. My general target is about 1400-1500 calories, which should mean 2-3 pounds per month weight loss. My diary is set to maintenance - so my calories 'left' is actually my 'deficit'. This works for me.

    I lost ~50 back in 2014, maintained that for a while but for the past 2-3 years have been on again/off again to lose the pounds I put back on.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,736 Member
    If you've been losing weight for a while, you should have a pretty good indication of "how accurate these calorie calculations are", for you. (Really, IMO, it's more about how average each of us is, and how that plays into our particular logging practices.) If you've been losing weight at around the rate you'd expect given your actual logged intake, the calculations are useful.

    I'm sure you know that Sailrabbit is a TDEE calculator (I think a pretty good one, of those available free on the web), vs. MFP which is a NEAT calculator. For other people who aren't as experienced as you: TDEE averages in one's expected exercise, yielding an average number of calories that one applies every day. MFP expects one to set activity level excluding intentional exercise, then log exercise when it happens and eat those calories too. That means that MFP gives a base level of calories, with weight loss deficit built in, and exercise means eating more calories on some days than others.

    MFP's estimate will be lower than the TDEE calculators, if both are used as designed.

    The thing is, MFP uses different activity multipliers than most TDEE calculators, so even if a person sets MFP activity level including their exercise plans, the results will be different than what a TDEE calculator will say for the same-labeled activity level: MFP typically will be lower.

    In terms of estimating accurate loss or maintenance calories, I think it's more likely to be accurate if one uses any of these so-called calculators (really estimators) in the way they're designed to be used. That's going to give a more solid basis for adjustment, and a more useful maintenance estimate long term.

    Even so, IMO the calculator estimate is just a starting point, if one wants to get the most useful insights from calorie counting. Count with reasonable care for a month or two at the start, figure out how average one is, dial in calories accordingly.

    If following the logic of a particular approach (TDEE or NEAT) to start, that can also give insight into more than just average-ness. For example, I found that MFP was way off in base calories for me, but that (for me) the MFP approach of adding exercise calories separately worked really well (my exercise changes seasonally, depends on whether in-season, as an aging person I've had to take multiple exercise breaks for things like cataract surgery). I just adjusted my MFP base calories using the first few months' experience, and have been able to predict my weight outcomes quite accurately since, under varied exercise conditions.

    FWIW, in case you haven't seen it, there's a thread in the Maintaining Weight stickies about various methods of finding your maintenance calories, with lots of good tips from various experienced MFP-ers, plus comments of pros and cons of various ways of transitioning from deficit to maintenance:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10638211/how-to-find-your-maintenance-calorie-level/p1

    I liked the slow phase-in of additional calories for myself, too, in the way you're proposing doing it. In the thread linked above, you'll find that some other people think very differently.

    On the other point: Slower loss should help with hunger, but some of us find we need to shift food choices, macro allocations, food volume (at consistent calories), and/or timing of eating at some point(s) during loss or maintenance, in order to feel sated. Don't be afraid to experiment; it can lead to useful insights (even if something doesn't work).

    If nothing else, pay attention to which days you feel more hungry or less hungry vs. others: What was different? It may be food/eating related, but it could also be sleep quality/quantity, timing or type of exercise, stress level, or some other non-food factor. In some subtle cases, there can even be a one-day lag . . . like one day's strength exercise making me hungrier the day after (resolved by timing some snacks around the workout, in my case).

    Best wishes!
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 327 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm sure you know that Sailrabbit is a TDEE calculator (I think a pretty good one, of those available free on the web), vs. MFP which is a NEAT calculator....... MFP's estimate will be lower than the TDEE calculators, if both are used as designed.

    You know what's weird? Sailrabbit gives me a lower number than MFP by about 70 calories. Maybe I don't have it set correctly, but I figured those were "close enough". I've got them both set to sedentary because, like you, my activity level can vary and I like to add the exercise calories in.

    With respect to the munchies: I think it is probably hormonal. I have been having some perimenopause insomnia and that always makes me hungry the next day. Despite this, I think it's time to up the numbers anyway, just so I'm less likely to rebound while on this hormonal roller coaster.

    As always, thanks for all the tips. I'll checkout the maintenance thread.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,736 Member
    That's wonderful: Thanks for coming back with an update!
  • onyxgirl17
    onyxgirl17 Posts: 1,711 Member
    I don’t really lose any faster than .5 pounds a week. The largest amount I’ve lost is like 0.75 pounds a week and that was when I had more to lose. I don’t like being hungry and just choose more nutrient dense foods now. It takes time to put it on and takes time to take it off. Good luck on your journey!
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,596 Member
    Well done!

    you sound about same as me - I lost on 1460, 10kg in 10 months.

    Welcome to Maitenance!