Monday, November 7, 2011

Figure out how many calories you need to maintain, lose, or gain...and are you effed up like me?

The Harris-Benedict Formula helps you here.

I went and did this, cause I've been pretty sedentary for 1.5 weeks to rest my sprained ankle. For my age/height/weight, these formulas say my maintenance level calories as a sedentary dame = 1794. (This is for a normal person, I assume.)

At goal weight it would be 1700 cals.

Now, that's sedentary. However, I found that when I was more active recently at a similar weight, 1700 was maintenance for me--and that's walking 4 to 5 days, 2 hour long trainer led Pilates sessions. Clearly, I am metabolically challenged. The calculator says 2300 cals would be maintenance. Um..right. Thank you effed up thyroid and post-morbid-obesity metabolic slowdown. Thanks oodles.

It is consistent with what I've read about being able to take in LESS after huge weight loss.

At 1400 calories, with minimal exercise at home, I still can lose a bit. I refuse to go back down to 1200 calories, as I want my metabolism to heal, and my reading on the matter is not cheering about those who stay at low cals long-term. I've intentionally increased my intake to 1400 to  (some days ) 1600, to let my body understand the famine is over. I'll take losing in tiny increments over more metabolic damage.

I know not everyone agrees on the caloric issues, but I've read enough to be convinced that I don't want to stay at the lower safe dieting range. I'd rather stay at the upper range and hope it stimulates things. (Fingers crossed.)

I wish I could eat 2300 and maintain. Hah. Then I could lose weight at 1800 calories. One pound a week eating that. Nice, huh?

It also says that at goal weight (160) at my previous level of moderate activity (consistently exercising), I would maintain 160 lbs with roughly 2200 calories.



Excuse me while I laugh so hard my teeth rattle.

Yeah. Dream on. Perhaps metabolic healing will occur with continued sound eating and time. Perhaps. But I know for a fact that's not what I see happening even with, say, TBL folks. Previous female losers (and younger than me, at that), had to exercise like mad and stick to about 1400-1500 calories or fewer to maintain those losses. Yes, that calculator isn't taking into account the metabolically screwed.

More than 2000 cals at moderate exercise activity at goal weight. Hmmm. It's hard to envision such a thing. That's not how this body rolls. Not even when I was morbidly obese. I was always below those calculations for burn-off.

Anyway, do the calculations. See where you fall.

Let me know what numbers you get for your current and goal maintenance level. I'm curious if it jives with your nutrition tracking. If you've lost oodles of weight, are you now showing the slowed metabolism, too?

Happy Monday. Enjoy this new week. We got a gorgeous day in Miami and I was thanking God for it. So nice here.....

Be well...


Anonymous said...

I am in exactly the same boat you are. (Actually, we started at similar weights, according to your history, and weigh similarly now! We're shaped quite differently, though, and I must say I'm a bit envious of your smaller size!) At my current weight of 180, my BMR is supposedly 1583. If I call myself lightly active (most of my exercise is walking, but I walk a LOT), I get 2176 calories/day; if I call myself completely sedentary, I get 1900. I will unquestionably gain weight at 1900 calories per day, never mind 2176.

I don't have a very strong opinion about a goal weight, but at 165 and lightly active I'd supposedly be stable at 2087 calories a day. RIGHT. I can be reasonably happy around 1500-1600, but I think I'm going to be settling for whatever weight that ends up supporting for me. And it's not likely to be any 120 pounds, no matter what the equations say.

Julie said...

Mir, I not so sure about all of this because we are all so different how can one formula figure it all out? I know that I've got to get my head in the game a bit better then it has been. I'm doing fine if I want to stay right here but I'd really like to just get to 170 and live.
Thanks for the information though, it really is interesting.
I'm so tired I'm just heading to bed and will worry about tomorrow when it gets here. It's daddy's consulation day.
Take care Mir and have a blessed evening!

Rachellabelle said...

I feel for you. I suffer from endocrine issues, as well as having lost/gained weight several times, so my metabolism is royally messed up. I'm barely losing on 1200 calories a day with 4-5 days of heavy exercise. I've done those calculations, and I would be back in morbid obese territory if I ate the calories they said I could eat.

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I'm definitely effed up. I can't eat nearly as many calories as the formula allows. Sorry I can't give you the numbers. I'm just too tired.

Beth said...

This seems like a very high calculator, when I maintained at 140, I had 1500 calories a day and this says that I could have 1668 at sedentary to maintain 140. I don't think that is true.

It says that at my current weight, sedentary I would need 2008 calories a day to maintain. Well I seem to be gaining quite rapidly but I'm probably eating much more than that most days.

I do think that the conventional calories in and calories out is true, however I do agree that there are endocrine and hormonal problems that affect metabolism.

Is there actually scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that metabolism is permanently altered by restriced caloric intake? I've never seen any convincing evidence to support this. I've always been sceptical about the idea that metabolisms can be permanently altered by caloric variances.

Princess Dieter said...

Beth, the most recent one in the news about this is this one:

Princess Dieter said...

My sister used to maintain eating 2000+ calories, even in middle age. Now, with illness and seniority, they are chunking up (partly due to meds, partly to less activity). But they were able to be lean and eat 2000 + calories.

I can't.

There is a difference.

Princess Dieter said...

Here's one done on TBL contestants: