10

votes

Calories, calories, calories...

Answered on November 10, 2014
Created July 04, 2012 at 4:40 AM

I see a lot of posts by very active people (women) eating less than 1600 calories per day, and I am at a loss to understand it.

I am 5'7, and when I was at my most active and weighed 130 lbs, if I tried to eat less than 1800 calories a day, I felt like I would die from starvation and I lost weight like crazy.

15 years later, I am about 150 lbs and not very active (right now) at all. I am still eating over 2000 calories and not losing, not gaining.

I don't get how any active female can be alive and functioning eating less than 2000 calories??

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on October 17, 2012
at 12:43 PM

Not really. She does not work out either.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 12, 2012
at 04:01 AM

When I was on Weight Watchers, calories/points were awarded with height as a factor. A woman who was my same weight and age who happened to be three inches shorter than me would get fewer calories than me.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on October 11, 2012
at 10:01 AM

Does she fidget?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on October 11, 2012
at 09:59 AM

I saw something about this once, I think you've nailed it. People who move all the time - fidget etc are almost always naturally thinner than those who don't.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on October 11, 2012
at 04:13 AM

Yes. I love hearing furious 20 year old males rail against calorie restriction. I would love, LOVE to eat as much as I wanted, or even just a few hundred calories more than about 1400 (for maintenance) but I GET FAT. And as a woman, you become an entirely different person to society when you're chunky. Entirely. Different. "Insanely jealous" is my feeling in a nutshell. And I have no sympathy for people who are angered by people who have to cut calories to not have love-handles. Gee, must be so sad to be naturally thin and not have to worry about food. JEALOUS. Metabolism rehab FTW.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on July 27, 2012
at 09:02 PM

It is kind of a pain in the ass, but if I eat anything lower I begin to lose to much weight.

06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on July 27, 2012
at 01:34 AM

...tl;dr-- have similar stats and also feel best eating a relatively high-calorie diet.

06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on July 27, 2012
at 01:32 AM

I'm 5'6 and 153 lbs and I eat between 2000 and 3000 calories a day. I play soccer or volleyball ~5 days out of the week but wouldn't say I'm extremely active. I have to eat some non-paleo foods just to keep the calories up or I would be crazy tired. I'd love to lose 15-20 lbs (of fat, if that needs to be specified) but even on pure paleo days I wind up eating the same amount of calories, I'm just more uncomfortably full.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 27, 2012
at 12:43 AM

That's pretty high. I'm at 3100 daily now and it's not easy getting it in! It's kinda fun yeah but after a while it's just kind of a pain. 3500. Man. Hardcore.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1

on July 05, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Sarah-mae: If you're full and happy on a daily basis, that's all that matters. Chinaeskimo: Thank you very much, ma'am. It was my own doing though, as I all but intravenously injected coffee while spending 30 some ought hours in the library--I forgot food was a thing.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 04, 2012
at 11:06 PM

I'm 47 and female and probably sub-clinical hypothyroid all my life and never thin in my whole life but I can eat over 2000 cals a day and maintain 135lbs. I am 5'3", so I'm short, old and female. I should be a whale and pre-paleo I was, even being fairly active. Now, eating mostly meat I am normal weight and getting stronger every day. I can over eat and nothing happens. All that happens is I can't eat as much the next meal. I'm totally self-regulating now, no calorie tracking needed.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on July 04, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Same here. Also, the less you weigh, the fewer calories you need.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 10:03 PM

No food for a whole day at a time! :-/ I wish I had known you, I would have fed you!

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on July 04, 2012
at 09:52 PM

Ahh, I understand what you are saying now.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 09:25 PM

^ Nice answer. Terry Wahls writes about this.

C0d63e15a4e21b29c49d0380d87894b3

(303)

on July 04, 2012
at 08:30 PM

I'm generally hitting about 150g but do increase it to around 250g when I'm racing or doing speed work. I don't find my body needs a ton of carb for my everyday run, perhaps I've become adapted/efficient?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 04, 2012
at 08:06 PM

It has to do with how well your mitochondria function. If they are firing on all cylinders, you will eat more to fuel them. To continue the car metaphor, higher octane fuel is preferred. Sorry, ex-Michagander here. The obese, pre-obese and post obese have fewer mitochondria - and many broken mitochondria. Since calories are burned in the engine (mitochodria is where ATP is generated from the Krebs cycle), an underperforming engine means you can't eat as much without weight gain.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on July 04, 2012
at 06:06 PM

as a marathon runner how many grams of carbs do you average daily?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Lol that's awesome. Anecdotally not a fidgeter. Used to be, but not anymore.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:59 PM

No prob! :-)

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:57 PM

I wonder about CR people and their increased life span. Although I don't think life would be worth living on a CR diet.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:52 PM

Could it be something to do with height? I am noticing that the taller women seem to eat more? This is, of course VERY unscientific, just a general observation from the comments here.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:52 PM

...That's probably the button you pushed. Sorry, wish I could have warned you in advance :/

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:49 PM

That's probably the button you pushed. Sorry, wish I could have warned you in advance about how vehemently opposed to active calorie restriction I am. I am only human and like to forgive and forget, but this is something that's hard to forget.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:45 PM

That's probably the button you pushed. Sorry, wish I could have warned you.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:44 PM

...I have two parents who actively restrict their calories and have been doing it for so long that neither one of them eats more than 1000 a day. 1 is paleo and IFs. It is actually depressing to watch and I actually hate seeing them. You can tell it runs and has ruined their lives, yet one is still functional as a highly regarded and world renowned physician- the other just plays tennis at country clubs and aside from that is far from functional.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Yeah that's awesome and I agreee. I don't think 1600 cals is low at all for a woman your age etc. I bet that's on the high end! What I am trying to say is this 1) actively restricting your calories to lose weight is not healthy in the long run- so if you need to restrict your calories to maintain your weight, that's not your set point. 2) having more muscle mass requires a higher metabolism than having less, and generally having more muscle mass and lower body fat in the absence of calorie restriction means you're athletic and relatively healthy- it doesn't mean you have bad gut flora.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:36 PM

Obese people probably do have a high BMR because they have a lot of metabolically active (fat) tissue. However, if given an excess of calories, they will not utilize them in proper way that a lean, athletic person would- they'd just get fatter.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Yes, n=1. My point is that you *can't* extrapolate your n=1 to EVERYONE. I assume from your profile pic that you are a 20-something male. I am an active, fit 49 year old female. Completely different hormone profiles, gut biota, activity level, muscle mass, yada yada. I've never been obese or dieted in my life and still my n=1 is that I only need ~1600 calories to maintain. And I only counted the calories out of curiosity to see what I was eating when I eat to satiety.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:22 PM

I have seen a number of sources indicating that weight stable obese people generally have a higher metabolic rate than lean ones. Stephan Guyenet has occasionally stated this to be the case.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:54 PM

and 2000 calories a day isn't really little. I'm talking about the lower ends of 1000 as beginning to calorie restrict. Most mildly active people can maintain good health on 2000 calories.

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:49 PM

I am similar, but around 1700 I start to gain unless super active. Makes you wonder how deranged our metabolisms are. We need metabolism rehab.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:42 PM

as some anecdotal evidence/n=1, I intermittent fasted and calorie restricted too, and I weighed a whopping 58lbs and lost virtually life in me. That's what happens when you chronically cut calories to meet your weight loss goals (however irrational they may be)- your metabolism slows and you have to restrict more and more.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:30 PM

as some anecdotal evidence/n=1, I intermittent fasted and calorie restricted too, and I weighed a whopping 58lbs and lost virtually life in me. That's what happens when you cut calories- your metabolism slows and you have to restrict more and more to reach your goal (however irrational it may be).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I'm not an anomaly and neither are my friends- most of which rowed crew with me. we ate the dining hall together three times a day 6 days a week for 3 years together. We had one kid on our team who who would go into anaphylactic shock if he ate within 4 hours of exercise, so he would have to eat once a day. Needless to say he ate the fewest calories, had the slowest times, and, despite being 6'0" and 150lbs, had hardly any muscle and probably 20% body fat. He sure made good lever though in second seat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:18 PM

he damaged his self control centers from being obese and the reason he advocates IFing and calorie restriction to get lean is because he literally lost his will power from years of abuse. HE says so in his blog.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:16 PM

OH. Sorry guilty of judging a book by it's cover but a name "Lean Saloon" and a slogan that includes "get lean, stay lean" I guess gave me a false impression.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:13 PM

foreveryoung- if you take the time to thoroughly read Johnny's blog (the one I linked to) you will see that he is definitely not all about vanity.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:11 PM

I am not saying you cannot lose weight on a reduced calorie diet at all. I am saying that it's not healthy in the long term to live off one. Just because I responded with a coherent argument does not mean you presided a button- it means I disagree.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:08 PM

Just because I responded with a coherent argument does not mean you presided a button- it means I disagree.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:00 PM

I didn't say reducing calories makes obese. It is an effective way to lose weight, it's just not healthy though. You will inevitably lose lean body mass, decrease your bone density, and reduce your anabolic hormone production. Sam Knox posted a link that athletes eating the fewest calories had the highest body fat percentage. The guy you linked to is obviously all about vanity. It's fine to be vein and take pride in your physique, but having the sole goal of "getting lean" at all costs is stupid- it's the same as someone with an eating disorder wanting to "lose weight" at all costs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:56 PM

I didn't say reducing calories makes obese. It is an effective way to lose weight, it's just not healthy though. You will inevitably lose lean body mass, decrease your bone density, and reduce your anabolic hormone production. Sam Knox posted a link that athletes eating the fewest calories had the highest body fat percentage. The guy is obviously all about vanity. He's not an athlete, so he does perform like one. Being lean does not mean being healthy.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:44 PM

http://thesimplesaloon.com/on-becoming-lean/ This guy eats 1500-2000 calories a day. Yes, he is 5'4", but strangely, not obese. It's not quite as simple as you are describing.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:30 PM

Looks like I pressed a button here. I'm not advocating eating fewer calories, foreveryoung. Simply pointing out some basic biology. Take a chill pill.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:19 PM

Nice. Yeah me too. I eat mostly beef, lamb, bison, seafood, shellfish, eggs, caviar, vegetables and root vegetables, and some fruit (mostly just bananas though..and cherries). Leaner and stronger than I ever have been in my life. ...and I eat foie gras about 1x per month at a French bistro :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Nice. Yeah me too. I eat mostly beef, lamb, bison, seafood, shellfish, vegetables and root vegetables, and some fruit (mostly just bananas though:)). Leaner and stronger than I ever have been in my life.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Wow, this totally explains my experience. I am eating so much more than I ever did. I have more defined muscles than I ever did before. I eat real food like real meat, organ meat and don't waste my time on primal baby food like smoothies, fruit and yogurt. I sometimes eat way too much but I don't gain. I just keep getting more muscular. With my more muscular body and so much food, I actually WANT to exercise.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:12 PM

I find it quite contradictory and ironic when paleo advocates disparage reduced calorie, low fat diets advocated by the mainstream for losing weight, and then defend their own low calorie diets. Full of contradictions this movement is.

C0d63e15a4e21b29c49d0380d87894b3

(303)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:04 PM

If I ate 3,000 calories a day I would suffer! Ha, for me that's a butt load of food! I'm happy and full on ~2,000 cal a day; generally if I'm eating more then that I am really stuffing myself to the point of feeling turkey dinner full!!!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:53 PM

old people require less calories because they have slower metabolic rates because of the aging process and losing muscle tone and mass. Having a slow metabolism in your youth is a sign of sickness, not health IMHO.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:51 PM

Someone eating 800 calories a day? No leaky gut but friggin anorexic.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:51 PM

You can often test the validity of a hypothesis by taking it to the extreme. AN extreme example would be someone like Rob Riches, who is basically all muscle and sub 5% body fat He CUTS on 3000 calories a day. Lolo JOnes, Michael Phelps, NFL footballers- all leaky gut?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:47 PM

So pretty much every athlete on the planet has leaky gut then? I doubt it. IF you have a higher metabolism you need more food. I know what having a slow metabolism feels like and it sucks- it is a marker of poor health. Sorry, but it's the truth.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:45 PM

every athlete on the planet has leaky gut then, right?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:44 PM

I doubt that's the truth. If you have a higher metabolism you need more calories.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:27 PM

^ why not eat more nourishing calories? Food is good for you and nourishes you so long as it's the right food, ULH.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:14 PM

If you lose weight by calorie restricting your metabolism slows. When calorie restricting you lose muscle and your metabolism slows even more. Before you know it you're weak and frail with the body composition of a grandpa/grandma. Calorie restriction is horrible method to improve your body in the long run. I don't care if calorie restriction is correlated with longevity, i'd rather still be able to take care of myself and get hard on than die at 106 years old in wheel chair.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:12 PM

If you lose weight by calorie restricting your metabolism slows. When calorie restricting you lose muscle and your metabolism slows even more. Before you know it you're weak and frail with the body composition of a grandpa/grandma. Calorie restriction is horrible method to improve your body.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Right. The focus on calorie restriction for weight loss is a red herring. That's because weight loss is stupid. You want fat loss and lean muscle accumulation. You need to eat calories to build muscle and burn fat, and you need to eat even more to maintain it.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 01:51 PM

yeah, I've dated a couple anorexic girls in the past, and it was not very fun on many levels. You're bf is lucky he's got a girl who can eat :)

2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

(328)

on July 04, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Yes! This explains me perfectly. I need to eat a lot, and sometimes I feel like a freakish bottomless pitt. I wouldn't say I'm "lean" as I don't have visible musculature, but I'm very densely muscled. I weigh more than most women I know (and some men) while being the same size or smaller. My boyfriend is one of those skinny eat like a bird types. It's pretty hilarious when we go out to eat.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 04, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Yes because I eat less and feel great even after working out 3-4x per week. Eating empty calories actually made me hungrier, hence fatter.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:28 AM

Do you think decreased appetite is a good thing?

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:20 AM

It's like we are exact opposites.

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21 Answers

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:39 PM

If your digestion/gut flora are golden, you will need fewer calories than someone who has impaired digestion, simply because you will be absorbing more.

If you eat nutrient dense foods like liver, organ meats & seafood, you may need fewer calories.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:16 PM

OH. Sorry guilty of judging a book by it's cover but a name "Lean Saloon" and a slogan that includes "get lean, stay lean" I guess gave me a false impression.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:53 PM

old people require less calories because they have slower metabolic rates because of the aging process and losing muscle tone and mass. Having a slow metabolism in your youth is a sign of sickness, not health IMHO.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:30 PM

as some anecdotal evidence/n=1, I intermittent fasted and calorie restricted too, and I weighed a whopping 58lbs and lost virtually life in me. That's what happens when you cut calories- your metabolism slows and you have to restrict more and more to reach your goal (however irrational it may be).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:00 PM

I didn't say reducing calories makes obese. It is an effective way to lose weight, it's just not healthy though. You will inevitably lose lean body mass, decrease your bone density, and reduce your anabolic hormone production. Sam Knox posted a link that athletes eating the fewest calories had the highest body fat percentage. The guy you linked to is obviously all about vanity. It's fine to be vein and take pride in your physique, but having the sole goal of "getting lean" at all costs is stupid- it's the same as someone with an eating disorder wanting to "lose weight" at all costs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:44 PM

...I have two parents who actively restrict their calories and have been doing it for so long that neither one of them eats more than 1000 a day. 1 is paleo and IFs. It is actually depressing to watch and I actually hate seeing them. You can tell it runs and has ruined their lives, yet one is still functional as a highly regarded and world renowned physician- the other just plays tennis at country clubs and aside from that is far from functional.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Yeah that's awesome and I agreee. I don't think 1600 cals is low at all for a woman your age etc. I bet that's on the high end! What I am trying to say is this 1) actively restricting your calories to lose weight is not healthy in the long run- so if you need to restrict your calories to maintain your weight, that's not your set point. 2) having more muscle mass requires a higher metabolism than having less, and generally having more muscle mass and lower body fat in the absence of calorie restriction means you're athletic and relatively healthy- it doesn't mean you have bad gut flora.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:45 PM

every athlete on the planet has leaky gut then, right?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:44 PM

I doubt that's the truth. If you have a higher metabolism you need more calories.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:42 PM

as some anecdotal evidence/n=1, I intermittent fasted and calorie restricted too, and I weighed a whopping 58lbs and lost virtually life in me. That's what happens when you chronically cut calories to meet your weight loss goals (however irrational they may be)- your metabolism slows and you have to restrict more and more.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:12 PM

I find it quite contradictory and ironic when paleo advocates disparage reduced calorie, low fat diets advocated by the mainstream for losing weight, and then defend their own low calorie diets. Full of contradictions this movement is.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:45 PM

That's probably the button you pushed. Sorry, wish I could have warned you.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:18 PM

he damaged his self control centers from being obese and the reason he advocates IFing and calorie restriction to get lean is because he literally lost his will power from years of abuse. HE says so in his blog.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:30 PM

Looks like I pressed a button here. I'm not advocating eating fewer calories, foreveryoung. Simply pointing out some basic biology. Take a chill pill.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:51 PM

Someone eating 800 calories a day? No leaky gut but friggin anorexic.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:11 PM

I am not saying you cannot lose weight on a reduced calorie diet at all. I am saying that it's not healthy in the long term to live off one. Just because I responded with a coherent argument does not mean you presided a button- it means I disagree.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I'm not an anomaly and neither are my friends- most of which rowed crew with me. we ate the dining hall together three times a day 6 days a week for 3 years together. We had one kid on our team who who would go into anaphylactic shock if he ate within 4 hours of exercise, so he would have to eat once a day. Needless to say he ate the fewest calories, had the slowest times, and, despite being 6'0" and 150lbs, had hardly any muscle and probably 20% body fat. He sure made good lever though in second seat.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:59 PM

No prob! :-)

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:13 PM

foreveryoung- if you take the time to thoroughly read Johnny's blog (the one I linked to) you will see that he is definitely not all about vanity.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:52 PM

...That's probably the button you pushed. Sorry, wish I could have warned you in advance :/

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:51 PM

You can often test the validity of a hypothesis by taking it to the extreme. AN extreme example would be someone like Rob Riches, who is basically all muscle and sub 5% body fat He CUTS on 3000 calories a day. Lolo JOnes, Michael Phelps, NFL footballers- all leaky gut?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:08 PM

Just because I responded with a coherent argument does not mean you presided a button- it means I disagree.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 04, 2012
at 11:06 PM

I'm 47 and female and probably sub-clinical hypothyroid all my life and never thin in my whole life but I can eat over 2000 cals a day and maintain 135lbs. I am 5'3", so I'm short, old and female. I should be a whale and pre-paleo I was, even being fairly active. Now, eating mostly meat I am normal weight and getting stronger every day. I can over eat and nothing happens. All that happens is I can't eat as much the next meal. I'm totally self-regulating now, no calorie tracking needed.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:49 PM

That's probably the button you pushed. Sorry, wish I could have warned you in advance about how vehemently opposed to active calorie restriction I am. I am only human and like to forgive and forget, but this is something that's hard to forget.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:47 PM

So pretty much every athlete on the planet has leaky gut then? I doubt it. IF you have a higher metabolism you need more food. I know what having a slow metabolism feels like and it sucks- it is a marker of poor health. Sorry, but it's the truth.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Yes, n=1. My point is that you *can't* extrapolate your n=1 to EVERYONE. I assume from your profile pic that you are a 20-something male. I am an active, fit 49 year old female. Completely different hormone profiles, gut biota, activity level, muscle mass, yada yada. I've never been obese or dieted in my life and still my n=1 is that I only need ~1600 calories to maintain. And I only counted the calories out of curiosity to see what I was eating when I eat to satiety.

4
D5a52362ba91628833829a52acf1c227

on July 04, 2012
at 02:01 PM

Even if I'm pure paleo, if I eat more than 1500 cals I gain weight. 1500 and 1400 and I stay the same. I'm insanely jealous of anyone who can eat that many calories and not gain weight. I love food.

60af23519906aa54b742ffc17477c3d3

(1186)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:49 PM

I am similar, but around 1700 I start to gain unless super active. Makes you wonder how deranged our metabolisms are. We need metabolism rehab.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on October 11, 2012
at 04:13 AM

Yes. I love hearing furious 20 year old males rail against calorie restriction. I would love, LOVE to eat as much as I wanted, or even just a few hundred calories more than about 1400 (for maintenance) but I GET FAT. And as a woman, you become an entirely different person to society when you're chunky. Entirely. Different. "Insanely jealous" is my feeling in a nutshell. And I have no sympathy for people who are angered by people who have to cut calories to not have love-handles. Gee, must be so sad to be naturally thin and not have to worry about food. JEALOUS. Metabolism rehab FTW.

4
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 04, 2012
at 04:44 AM

When i first went paleo, i was 6' and about 228 lbs. the paleo diet decreased my appetite and i was eating about 1200-1400 calories a day. I lost about 20 pounds but then plateaued.

I have a sedentary job and at the time was running about 12-14 miles per week. I counted the calories pretty carefully using fitday.com.

If i ate 1800-2000 calories per day i would gain weight. I have never understood people that say they can easily eat 2000 calories per day without gaining weight, that just would never work for me.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:28 AM

Do you think decreased appetite is a good thing?

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:20 AM

It's like we are exact opposites.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:27 PM

^ why not eat more nourishing calories? Food is good for you and nourishes you so long as it's the right food, ULH.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on July 04, 2012
at 10:27 PM

Same here. Also, the less you weigh, the fewer calories you need.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:57 PM

I wonder about CR people and their increased life span. Although I don't think life would be worth living on a CR diet.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 04, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Yes because I eat less and feel great even after working out 3-4x per week. Eating empty calories actually made me hungrier, hence fatter.

3
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on July 04, 2012
at 01:37 PM

I need to eat a lot of calories too, and actually, the leaner a person is, the more calories they need. This reasons are manifold, but there are two primary ones. First, muscle burns more energy than fat, so the leaner you are, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be. This means that if you're a young (wo)man who is skinny-fat and 150lbs with 25% bodyfat, your BRM will be lower than your twin who is also 150lbs, but only 7% body fat. Additionally, the leaner you are, the more calories you need to consume to do work. This is because you have little reserve energy (adipose tissue), so you must get your energy endogenously in order to keep moving if you do not want to start breaking down your internal organs and muscle for energy. So, long story short, it's a misconception that the bigger you are, the more calories you need. The truth is the LEANER you are and the less stored energy you have (body fat) the more calories you need, ceteris paribus.

Anecdotally, I have a few friends who are out of shape and not obese, but definitely fat. They literally all eat like birds. Literally they'll get up, drink coffee until noon, and then eat like a cobb salad or a club sandwich at lunch. Wait till dinner, and have something like steak frites or another salad. If I ate that little I'd literally waste away and get skinny fat, which is the last thing I want.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:56 PM

I didn't say reducing calories makes obese. It is an effective way to lose weight, it's just not healthy though. You will inevitably lose lean body mass, decrease your bone density, and reduce your anabolic hormone production. Sam Knox posted a link that athletes eating the fewest calories had the highest body fat percentage. The guy is obviously all about vanity. He's not an athlete, so he does perform like one. Being lean does not mean being healthy.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:19 PM

Nice. Yeah me too. I eat mostly beef, lamb, bison, seafood, shellfish, eggs, caviar, vegetables and root vegetables, and some fruit (mostly just bananas though..and cherries). Leaner and stronger than I ever have been in my life. ...and I eat foie gras about 1x per month at a French bistro :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:54 PM

and 2000 calories a day isn't really little. I'm talking about the lower ends of 1000 as beginning to calorie restrict. Most mildly active people can maintain good health on 2000 calories.

2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

(328)

on July 04, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Yes! This explains me perfectly. I need to eat a lot, and sometimes I feel like a freakish bottomless pitt. I wouldn't say I'm "lean" as I don't have visible musculature, but I'm very densely muscled. I weigh more than most women I know (and some men) while being the same size or smaller. My boyfriend is one of those skinny eat like a bird types. It's pretty hilarious when we go out to eat.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:44 PM

http://thesimplesaloon.com/on-becoming-lean/ This guy eats 1500-2000 calories a day. Yes, he is 5'4", but strangely, not obese. It's not quite as simple as you are describing.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 01:51 PM

yeah, I've dated a couple anorexic girls in the past, and it was not very fun on many levels. You're bf is lucky he's got a girl who can eat :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:36 PM

Obese people probably do have a high BMR because they have a lot of metabolically active (fat) tissue. However, if given an excess of calories, they will not utilize them in proper way that a lean, athletic person would- they'd just get fatter.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on July 04, 2012
at 09:52 PM

Ahh, I understand what you are saying now.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Right. The focus on calorie restriction for weight loss is a red herring. That's because weight loss is stupid. You want fat loss and lean muscle accumulation. You need to eat calories to build muscle and burn fat, and you need to eat even more to maintain it.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Wow, this totally explains my experience. I am eating so much more than I ever did. I have more defined muscles than I ever did before. I eat real food like real meat, organ meat and don't waste my time on primal baby food like smoothies, fruit and yogurt. I sometimes eat way too much but I don't gain. I just keep getting more muscular. With my more muscular body and so much food, I actually WANT to exercise.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:12 PM

If you lose weight by calorie restricting your metabolism slows. When calorie restricting you lose muscle and your metabolism slows even more. Before you know it you're weak and frail with the body composition of a grandpa/grandma. Calorie restriction is horrible method to improve your body.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:14 PM

If you lose weight by calorie restricting your metabolism slows. When calorie restricting you lose muscle and your metabolism slows even more. Before you know it you're weak and frail with the body composition of a grandpa/grandma. Calorie restriction is horrible method to improve your body in the long run. I don't care if calorie restriction is correlated with longevity, i'd rather still be able to take care of myself and get hard on than die at 106 years old in wheel chair.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Nice. Yeah me too. I eat mostly beef, lamb, bison, seafood, shellfish, vegetables and root vegetables, and some fruit (mostly just bananas though:)). Leaner and stronger than I ever have been in my life.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:22 PM

I have seen a number of sources indicating that weight stable obese people generally have a higher metabolic rate than lean ones. Stephan Guyenet has occasionally stated this to be the case.

2
03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

on July 04, 2012
at 05:55 PM

I've been thinking about this a lot, and decided to post this as an answer, since I couldn't figure out where in the comments to leave it.

I think I fidget a lot. All the time. I am always moving. Even when I am falling asleep, one arm is petting the dog. In fact, since starting chemo, it has slowed me down to the point where I can actually sit through a movie, or just sit and relax and not feel the need to move, which is kinda nice :-)

So maybe that's where all the extra calories go, and why I need to eat so much? Anyone else a fidgeter?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 04, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Lol that's awesome. Anecdotally not a fidgeter. Used to be, but not anymore.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on October 11, 2012
at 09:59 AM

I saw something about this once, I think you've nailed it. People who move all the time - fidget etc are almost always naturally thinner than those who don't.

1
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on October 11, 2012
at 02:00 AM

I about starved when Weight Watchers had me on 1400 cal/day.

I'm 5'7", 150 lbs (22% body fat), meso-endo frame. I teach Zumba twice a week, lift heavy weights when I feel like it, and I have an active job. I eat 2000-2200 calories a day on a normal day. If I were to try to lose weight, 1800 is about a low an average as I could probably manage these days without gnawing my arm off. I happen to have a lot of lean body mass naturally, so I imagine that is largely responsible for my higher metabolism. I also spent my entire teenage years, and most my pre-teen years, within 5 lbs of 150 lbs (at a higher bf % and a few inches shorter). So I'm sure there's a set-point quality to it as well.

1
7ea823478f97dcc7b39a9cad85c4e4de

on July 26, 2012
at 10:30 PM

I think most people undershoot what they are really taking in. I think they lose track of the little snacks they have here and there. I take in about 3000 calories when I tally up absolutely everything and don't leave anything out, I'm 5'10 and 168 pounds last time I checked.

Either that or they are very sedentary.

1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:33 PM

Heyo, I'm shorter than you, weigh less, and eat the same amount of calories when I am tracking with HONESTY (not forgetting to put in butter, snacks etc) even though I don't track anymore. Metabolism and activity level are going to vary wildly between people, even down to what time you are eating in the context of the day or the month (I eat like nothing when I'm ovulating, opposite when I'm menstruating). It sounds like you are in a good place of weight maintenance, keep it up and worry about yourself before others!

1
C0d63e15a4e21b29c49d0380d87894b3

on July 04, 2012
at 03:00 PM

Female, 5'5", 120lbs, 3:23 marathon runner (approx. 50 miles per week) plus an active lifestyle, eating 2000 calories a day for the past three years. I lost weight in the first six months (was an inactive SAD eater of 140lbs before) but have maintained ~120lbs with no hunger pains or feelings of weakness!

Just my stats for comparison!

C0d63e15a4e21b29c49d0380d87894b3

(303)

on July 04, 2012
at 08:30 PM

I'm generally hitting about 150g but do increase it to around 250g when I'm racing or doing speed work. I don't find my body needs a ton of carb for my everyday run, perhaps I've become adapted/efficient?

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on July 04, 2012
at 06:06 PM

as a marathon runner how many grams of carbs do you average daily?

1
1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1

on July 04, 2012
at 01:29 PM

People are really good at self-mediated suffering. . . . I need 3,000-3,400 cals/day in order to maintain my weight and run around lean, but there were points during my first year at university in which I didn't get any food for over a day at a time. Sucks, but individuals will do whatever they feel is necessary in order to drop fat.

C0d63e15a4e21b29c49d0380d87894b3

(303)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:04 PM

If I ate 3,000 calories a day I would suffer! Ha, for me that's a butt load of food! I'm happy and full on ~2,000 cal a day; generally if I'm eating more then that I am really stuffing myself to the point of feeling turkey dinner full!!!

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1

on July 05, 2012
at 12:18 AM

Sarah-mae: If you're full and happy on a daily basis, that's all that matters. Chinaeskimo: Thank you very much, ma'am. It was my own doing though, as I all but intravenously injected coffee while spending 30 some ought hours in the library--I forgot food was a thing.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 10:03 PM

No food for a whole day at a time! :-/ I wish I had known you, I would have fed you!

1
A7925ab8ea44e6d4d5d7c6f202632c6c

(404)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:27 AM

eating one meal a day on a regular basis allows you to consume much-much less calories overall than what is required by medical CW: with usual meal frequency most of the energy derived from digestion is spent on... digestion itself...

1
19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:54 AM

I eat 1600 a day as a 5'1 female. I also eat 65% of my calories from fat. I feel great! Seriously, uts the fat (and no starchy carbs or sugar).

When I start exercising again (unlucky foot injury) I will naturally up my calories as my body demands.

When I did regular western diet I'd gain weight over 1800 calories.

0
236891f9544bb45e10f1c4bc2bc166bd

on November 10, 2014
at 10:13 PM

I'm 5'3, and currently around 200lbs. I've been on a diet of some kind or another for 32 years, and nothing, but nothing, worked long term. I was only able to lose weight in the short term, and always felt deprived, and obsessed about food - even on a low carb diet. Found Paleo, gave up grain and most dairy, cut right down on processed food, upped the saturated fat levels - health improved massively, energy levels are slowly picking up from zero, depression has disappeared, and I'm losing weight slowly but consistently, at about a pound a month. I'm not skinny by any means but I'm down from around 217lbs at my highest, and feel a load better for it.

But tracking my calories on MyFitnessPal, I'm taking in between 2500 and 3000 calories a day. Every time I try to cut that down, I start feeling deprived and my energy levels sink again. So I figure - conventional wisdom did very little for my health/weight for years, there's no reason to believe that it's right about calories! It ain't broken so I won't try to fix it anymore...

0
Medium avatar

on April 13, 2014
at 04:51 AM

@Chinaeskimo I don't understand it, either. How anyone can eat so little is beyond me. I'm 27, 5' 4", 126 pounds (hourglass figure) and I eat well over 2300 calories a day, sometimes 3000. I've been feeling bad about it because everything I'm reading says I'm eating too much. I love to cook, and I make very creative food using a lot of ingredients (all paleo, of course). When I try to restrict my calories I get cranky and lose energy. Not sure what to do. But I do workout every morning (either 30-40 minutes of my power sculpt DVD or attending powercore yoga classes), I walk everywhere (I don't drive) and walk at around 4 miles per hour, I work as a waitress/bartender so am always on my feet at work, and generally I am on my feet all day...wondering if that's why I eat so many calories. Then again I also go through jars of almond butter on a daily basis and those tend to be calorie dense. But when I try to go without it I don't feel as good. I eat a lot of avocados and coconut cream, too. I think I just need more fat in my diet than most people or something

0
742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on July 27, 2012
at 12:19 AM

I just can't survive under 3500 calories, but I am a soccer player and I have a very active job.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 27, 2012
at 12:43 AM

That's pretty high. I'm at 3100 daily now and it's not easy getting it in! It's kinda fun yeah but after a while it's just kind of a pain. 3500. Man. Hardcore.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on July 27, 2012
at 09:02 PM

It is kind of a pain in the ass, but if I eat anything lower I begin to lose to much weight.

0
Eead82aa93bbcdada0bcd817d0952e58

(214)

on July 26, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Maybe an obvious answer...but it also depends on your dieting history and, of course, hormones. I am hypothyroid and have a 12 year history of disordered eating/overexercising so my metabolism is screwed three ways to sunday even on T3/T4. I am extremely active (re: 8-12 hours of kayaking a week now, 3x 40 min kettleball, 2 x 45 min swim workout) and have to eat between 1200-1500 calories to maintain and the majority of it has to come from protein. Why...don't know, but I have done enough n=1 to know what works although it is always a work in progress. FYI I am 5'7" 155# mesomorphic female who has never weighed less than 145# and that was during my competitive swimming days so I am not skinny fat- just softer than I'd like thanks to extremely even fat distribution on my body (thanks, 15 years of distance swimming) even at those calories and activity levels.

0
A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on July 04, 2012
at 09:47 PM

I am 5'6 and usually weigh somewhere between 118 - 125. I do a ton of walking and do a fair amount of incidental exercise (because I don't have a car, not because I have willpower). I have no idea what my body fat is. I have muscles but a few pinches of midsection extra that I don't really care about losing anymore. Calories consumed? Good grief. 1100 some days, 3000 some days. I am horribly inattentive about many things, so many times I am not doing things consciously. Some days I am absolutely starving, some days I am completely uninterested in food. I am kind of drifting towards just listening to my body (the sane messages, not the Drink Seven Guinnesses and eat a pizza messages).

I notice that I am healthier and happier the less thought I put into all this. And by God, I even get liver urges these days. Way to go, body!

0
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on July 04, 2012
at 03:58 PM

It's very interesting to read about everyone's different dietary intakes and needs. I'm 5'3", about 115 lbs, and 10% bf. Usually, I eat about 1500 to 1700 calories per day (just guessing because I don't often count) and maintain my weight.

I haven't been sleeping well and have been trying different things to see what works. My trainer has told me that I need to eat more (and more protein) but my appetite just isn't that great. Sometimes the thought of eating more makes me feel a little nauseous. But I have tried eating almond butter in the evening to increase my caloric intake with mixed results.

Yesterday, I decided to track my calories and increase my protein to see how I slept. Got in just over 2000 calories, about 50% fat, and the rest split evenly between protein and carbs. I slept the best that I have in a while, even with the noisy water sprinkler system going during the night. Don't know whether it was a fluke or not. Guess that I will have to keep doing this and see if it continues to work.

0
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 04, 2012
at 03:45 PM

5'7/125, strength training and CrossFit. I eat probably between 2000-2500 a day and have been able to gain, and maintain, the weight with these numbers. I typically prescribe to "eat when hungry stop when full", which most of the time is twice a day, so the caloric numbers may fluctuate a bit but for the most part stay the same. I counted calories when I started strength training and CrossFit but stopped when I could identify by looking what I was taking in.

IMO metabolism/body type are definitely key players in the scheme of things. I fit just about in the middle of ectomorph and mesomorph, a bit more to ecto, which when trying to maintain and build is a bit of a challenge but that's cool, I like N=1. When I figured out my body type, hallo lightbulb!, then I was finally able to dial the right calories in and get extremely positive results.

No weakness here - strong and fast, float like a butterfly sting like a bee :)

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:52 PM

Could it be something to do with height? I am noticing that the taller women seem to eat more? This is, of course VERY unscientific, just a general observation from the comments here.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 12, 2012
at 04:01 AM

When I was on Weight Watchers, calories/points were awarded with height as a factor. A woman who was my same weight and age who happened to be three inches shorter than me would get fewer calories than me.

0
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on July 04, 2012
at 06:46 AM

When I track my food, which is rare, I am ususally eating under 1500. I don't know what to tell you, as I'm not trying for that. I eat when I'm hungry, I eat until I'm full. I am losing weight, so I guess that's how I'm making up the difference? I don't know how to tell how much that is, though.

I am very active, but I find the activity actually decreases my apetite while I am exercising and usually for a time afterwards.

0
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:15 AM

I don't know how many calories I ate per day. But when I ate anything less then 1,600 in my counting calories days, I would be starving the next day. I found that about 1,800 worked for me. I guess it is different for everybody depending on their metabolism.

I know one girl - she eats at least 2,500 calories per day, and NEVER gains any weight. Maybe because she eats a lot of meat? Not sure.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on October 11, 2012
at 10:01 AM

Does she fidget?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on October 17, 2012
at 12:43 PM

Not really. She does not work out either.

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