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Calorie Intake on Paleo - is my deficit too low? - how can I increase it?

Commented on September 08, 2013
Created January 31, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Hello,

I started the Paleo diet roughly 30 days ago. I am doing it to lose weight to try improve my PCOS symptoms. I am aiming to eat 1200-1300 Cals a day - which is 200/300 less than my calorie intake to stay the same weight. I am finding unless I cook with coconut milk I stay at the 800-1000 mark most days.

I am not eating dairy, legumes, drinking alcohol, starchy foods or wheat. I am also not eating nuts (they prevent me from losing weight)

I am concerned I am not eating enough if I'm at minus 500-700 cals a day and that it will inhibit my weight loss, and I will start storing.

Is there anything you can recommend to boost my calorie intake? Only thing I can think of is cooking with more oil or fat. Or am I okay to continue as I am?

Thanks.

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on September 08, 2013
at 07:30 AM

You first wrote, "I am aiming to eat 1200-1300 cals a day," and expressed concern about not eating enough. Yet the comment above indicates you're fine with that level of calories. Which is it? Am I missing something here?

And yes (and as others have noted), 1200 calories are very few calories. Many people (including me) tend to eat too little when trying to lose weight, and the body does not want to let the weight go.

Also, one of the best ways to lose weight is to increase your muscle mass through weight lifting (even if you only did body-weight exercises).

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 24, 2013
at 03:53 AM

You can always add a half an avocado to any salad to up your calories. And do a refeed every week to boost your metabolism.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 09:29 PM

I don't eat 1200 cals a day. I eat 1200 calories *some* days on which I get adequate nutrients and feel just fine. Sometimes my cals will be as high as 2500.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 08:40 PM

You are bordering on starvation at 1200 kcal per day, and your metabolism will slow down for self preservation.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 01, 2013
at 11:08 AM

OK, but just so you know non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, etc) should not be thought of as calories since they contain so little (5 cups is about 150kcals). The reason for white rice is that most of the toxins are in the bran which is removed, and more are removed during cook. See: http://bit.ly/WjdG8B

39185d0f0773cee76a113aaef0b8d382

(25)

on February 01, 2013
at 09:23 AM

At this point in time I could not really add more vegetables/meats etc to my food as I already find it very filling as I have it now. Is cooking brown rice okay to introduce or for some reason must it be white? I am doing this diet for weight loss to be in turn health as with PCOS with the weight I cannot achieve the healthy goal. I want to loose weight healthily which is why i chose to try this. I feel good, i've not been sick, only tired in first week, I am always cold but that is just me :) Thanks for the advise!

39185d0f0773cee76a113aaef0b8d382

(25)

on February 01, 2013
at 09:19 AM

Sorry I totally over looked that. I am 5 foot 4 1/2 - I weigh 167 now - I started at 176. My build is 'small' - wrists measure less then 6 inch. I am female(obviously) and I am 27.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 31, 2013
at 05:40 PM

Agree with Michael -- can you give us some stats? Height, weight, and even age would help us get a better idea of where you are at the moment and what changes might better help you reach your goals.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on January 31, 2013
at 01:47 PM

Height/weight would help. Also if you are concerned, just eat more, or different things, or more of different things. Fattier cuts of meat, avocadoes, creamed coconut (smoothies?), add more fat to your cooking like you said.

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4 Answers

0
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 08:31 PM

On the days I don't eat chocolate or other raw deserts, I average about 1200 calories (coming mainly from meat, veg and berries). I feel good, I have plenty of energy and mental clarity and I'm not hungry. I reckon that's a pretty good metric for success. In my opinion, calories are overrated. Aim for nutrient-density instead. If you eat 'til you're satisfied and you feel good, there should be no need for you to eat any more. For some people this can mean eating 2500 cals, for some as low as 1200.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on August 09, 2013
at 08:40 PM

You are bordering on starvation at 1200 kcal per day, and your metabolism will slow down for self preservation.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on August 09, 2013
at 09:29 PM

I don't eat 1200 cals a day. I eat 1200 calories *some* days on which I get adequate nutrients and feel just fine. Sometimes my cals will be as high as 2500.

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on September 08, 2013
at 07:30 AM

You first wrote, "I am aiming to eat 1200-1300 cals a day," and expressed concern about not eating enough. Yet the comment above indicates you're fine with that level of calories. Which is it? Am I missing something here?

And yes (and as others have noted), 1200 calories are very few calories. Many people (including me) tend to eat too little when trying to lose weight, and the body does not want to let the weight go.

Also, one of the best ways to lose weight is to increase your muscle mass through weight lifting (even if you only did body-weight exercises).

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on June 13, 2013
at 10:21 PM

I think being that restrictive could end up biting you in the butt on the weight loss front, in addition to amping up your stress hormones. One of my favorite concepts about being overweight is from Paul Jaminet, and that it is a sign of malnourishment. Our temptation when dieting is to drastically restrict food intake, which just leads to further malnourishment thus compounding the problem.

That doesn't mean you can eat 1000's of calories over what you'd need in a day and still lose weight, but it does mean that focusing on nutrient density and eating to satiety are probably your best bet in creating a sustainable plan that will actually improve your health in the end. You can starve yourself if you really want to, but you don't need to.

PCOS is more about deficiencies than about being overweight, figure out what you are missing, and the rest will start to fall into place. For me that has meant eating more organ meat, root vegetables, and fish. I've spent years studying the most common deficiencies in PCOS, one of the ones that keeps popping up is inositol (B8), which you can either supplement (usually derived from rice), or get a decent dose of it straight from your food if you eat beef or lamb heart (I think chicken heart too, but I can't remember if it is as rich in it), which are awesome meats to cook on a skewer, and make kebobs with some onion, pepper, and mushrooms. If organ meats ick you out, there is a supplement called Simplex F, that is great for PCOS that will at least get you some supplemental organ tissues.

You probably already know this, but getting enough magnesium, sunlight, and exercise is also super important with PCOS.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 28, 2013
at 07:54 PM

A couple of ideas based on my experience 6 years ago. BMI is a crude tool, but at 28 you'd still be classed as overweight. At that point I was adding as much exercise as possible to generate deficit. This made me hungry, so I couldn't limit food as successfully as I did when I was obese. I could never lose weight on small deficits either, because my counting wasn't that accurate. I'd recommend adding activity as much as you can. It doesn't have to be crunches and heavy weights, just something you can keep at daily, like walking or biking.

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 31, 2013
at 02:17 PM

Siobhan,

I assume you are using a tool to track your calorie intake which provided you those numbers.

My opinion (which counts for little of course) is to look at a few of you most common meals, and then tweak those up. It's probably slightly harder to do without diary (and on a budget) but perhaps something like coconut oil may be useful. You could of course be very liberal with a good olive oil, or aim for more fattier fish and cuts of meat.

I am not entirely sure why you want to or need to leave out starchy foods altogether, especially if you are combining this with a lower calorie intake. Are aiming for a ketogenic diet specifically or really just thinking in terms of weightloss? If the latter then I would be careful you are not doing more then is actually required.

I cannot imagine there is much issue with eating lower calorie short-term, but check yourself (cold, irritability, patience, etc) as you go. Keep the aim for health in mind rather than weightloss and you will get both. There are lot of people around who are losing weight and health at the same time.

Here's some further ketogenic diet related info:

The safest and healthiest way to eat a ketogenic diet is by: Restricting carbohydrate consumption to 200 calories per day from “safe starches” like rice, taro, and sweet potatoes. 70 grams of cooked white rice, 150 grams of taro, and 300 grams of sweet potato are an appropriate daily ration. Eating massive amounts of coconut oil. The short-chain fats in coconut oil are the most “ketogenic” of foods, i.e. the most readily turned into ketone bodies. 6 to 8 fluid ounces (12 to 14 tablespoons) per day of coconut oil is an appropriate daily ration. Supplements with vitamin C and selenium should also be increased on a ketogenic diet. - http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/09/migraine-sufferers-should-try-a-ketogenic-diet/

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/02/ketogenic-diets-i-ways-to-make-a-diet-ketogenic/
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/ketogenic-diets-2-preventing-muscle-and-bone-loss-on-ketogenic-diets/

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 01, 2013
at 11:08 AM

OK, but just so you know non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, etc) should not be thought of as calories since they contain so little (5 cups is about 150kcals). The reason for white rice is that most of the toxins are in the bran which is removed, and more are removed during cook. See: http://bit.ly/WjdG8B

39185d0f0773cee76a113aaef0b8d382

(25)

on February 01, 2013
at 09:23 AM

At this point in time I could not really add more vegetables/meats etc to my food as I already find it very filling as I have it now. Is cooking brown rice okay to introduce or for some reason must it be white? I am doing this diet for weight loss to be in turn health as with PCOS with the weight I cannot achieve the healthy goal. I want to loose weight healthily which is why i chose to try this. I feel good, i've not been sick, only tired in first week, I am always cold but that is just me :) Thanks for the advise!

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