Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eating Too FEW Calories to Lose Weight?

So remember HERE and HERE...when I was way bummed I lost next to NOTHING for nearly two weeks, even though I felt like I was doing mostly everything right?  Eating healthy, working out everyday and such?

Well, my sis in Colorado...the one who gave me THIS fun stuff to help me on my journey...and one who was successful at losing a lot of weight in a really healthy way, working with a nutritionist and trainer the whole time...called me up after reading my last weight check-in post.  She had seen me recording the food I was eating in the sidebar for a week or so and said "Holly, I don't think you are eating ENOUGH calories to lose weight."  Say what?  Isn't it a 'calories in, calories out' formula?  Well, yes - to a point.  There is a certain amount of calories our bodies need to function at an optimal level.  If our body is getting less than that amount of calories on an on-going goes into 'conservation-mode', hanging onto weight in anticipation of prolonged calorie depletion.  So as I talked through it with Michelle, I told her I wasn't counting calories, but I had kept track a couple of times over the first 3 weeks and those times recorded a caloric intake of an average of1400 calories.  On Monday when I kept track of my calories I only ended up with just over 1200 calories for the day.  My workouts typically burn about 300 calories a day sooo....that was giving me a daily average of 900 to 1100 a day...which for a 280 pound body is too little for optimal weight loss.

Counter-intuitive, isn't it?  

So my sis suggested eating a few more calories each day...probably falling between 1700-2200 would be safe and still allow for steady weight loss.  After every 20 or so pounds down I can re-evaluate and readjust as needed...because as I get smaller, my body will need less.  I used the weight-loss calculator at Calories Per Hour (a LiveStrong website).  It told me that to maintain my current weight at my current activity level (moderate) I should consume 3,666 calories a day!

BUT since I DON'T want to maintain my current weight, but would rather lose 2 pounds a week, in order to do that at my current moderate activity level, I should consume 2,666 calories a day instead!

That doesn't factor in the subtraction of calories burned.  So clearly my 1200 to 1400 calories a day were too few before.  SO I'm trying to eat a bit more, but still keep my choices healthy and as natural as possible.  Yesterday I managed to get in just over 2,000 calories...but it was hard!  Kinda funny that I found it hard to eat 2000 calories when a month ago that was no problem at all!

I hope this resets my body to let go of the weight it's been holding onto and hopefully the scale reflects that next week!

So...what do you think?  Can eating TOO FEW calories sabatoge weight loss efforts too?

PS - Here is a bonus pic for ya...

Just finished the Last Chance Workout w/Jillian last Sunday.
Yep I survived.  Barely. 


  1. I think I am in the too few calories region. I get to about 1200 a day and I think more like 1400 or 1600 would get me losing again, but I have to count them!!

    I really want to get the last chance DVD! I love workout DVD's on days I don't want to leave the house :)

    Good job! Keep up the hard work!

  2. Absolutely true! Think of metabolism as a fire burning....if you throw too little fuel on the fire, what happens? The fire smolders and goes out. Too little food tells our bodies to hang on to what we as it turns out, its a bit more scientific than calories in calories out. This makes me happy {the scientific part} cuz I am a geek and this feeds my analytical tendencies. ;)

    It seems shocking doesn't it? I'm right here with you, tho. And, here I thought all this time I knew how to eat!

  3. Sean Anderson at Diary of a Winning Loser just wrote a post on this. I too, have upped my calories this week, because I think my metabolism needs a swift kick in the butt. Weight watchers says it all the time too...the body hangs on if you're starving it.

    I am making sure that my additional calories are good calories and not wasted calories.

    Between the both of us, let's hope it brings results! Amazing ones...

  4. Absolutely! I think that may have been part of my problem the last couple of weeks. The Biggest Loser contestants get called for eating too few calories from time to time.

  5. I have heard of this too!! If you don't eat enough your body won't lose, and if you eat too much your body won't lose... oy!! ;) Such a balance huh?? What a beautiful sister to be so intune and share with you!

    Love you pic!! You are adorable!

  6. Thanks for the comment love everyone! And the encouragement. Yesterday I got 2,046 calories in. Today 1, doing much better than 1200-1400. Hopefully it will pay off on the scale! It is weird though...I didn't feel deprived when I was eating less - or hungry all the time...but perhaps my body was just compensating. So hopefully I'll find that right balance between too much and too little...and I'll see the scale move next week!

  7. I was looking for an email, but didn't find one, so I will answer here. First, thanks for the compliment, I get more excited about getting to goal by the day.

    I have found Arnold Sandwich thins a few places: Walmart, Harmon's(a local grocery store), and a whole food market. They are in the bread aisle and they don't look like a loaf of bread. They are stacked(5 high 2 wide)in a plastic type container and wrapped with regular bread plastic wrap. Does that make sense, or did I just confuse you? I confused myself haha!

    As far as water, I have heard a few different "tips" to drinking the adequate amount. I heard it is half of your body weight so if you are 280 you should drink 140 oz a day. It's common knowledge that a person should drink at least 64 oz a day. For me personally, I am training for a half marathon and before I started, I would drink about 64-80 ounces a day. Now that I am training, I have to replace the sweat and stay extremely hydrated. So, I shoot to drink a gallon a day. I really do try to listen to my body, especially when distinguishing between hunger and thirst. I have found, usually I am just thirsty. I wake up in the middle of the night on days I don't quite reach a gallon and have to get some water because I am that thirsty. So, if I were you, I would experiment a little with this. I don't think that anything is EXACTLY correct, I really think it just depends on the person and knowing how your body feels. :)

  8. I guess you need to find the right combination between intake and output. I think you are on the right track though.

  9. Thanks for the info "Continuous Changes" - that is helpful...and now that I've got 8-10 glasses of H20 down pretty well, I think I'll try to up it just a bit more to get closer to that 1/2 of your body weight in oz. idea. I'm gonna look for those sandwich thins next time I'm at Wal-Mart too...I think I know what you are talking about.

    Thanks "Weighting Around"...I feel like I'm on the right track most days. We WILL get there!