2

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Deprogramming Calorie Needs

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 06, 2011 at 5:36 PM

So we've all heard you need a minimum of "so many calories" (based on age, sex, activity level, etc.)... So here's my question... I've noticed my food journal (fitday) showing I'm getting about 1000 calories (avg) a day... Some days I'll get maybe 700, others I'll be super hungry & get 1600 or more. But most days I get right around 1000 cal's (ie, kcal).

Is it my "programming" that tells me "oh no! I didn't have my min.1200 cals today!" ? I do have a little weight to lose (10 lbs, maybe 15-ish)... so I'm not starving myself. I'm just less hungry than I used to be, eat when hungry, drink my water... blah blah blah.

OR should I try to get my baseline in daily due to potential issues?

thanks in advance.

7cbdd4e8eedba06368d4766e6c0ef015

(320)

on January 29, 2012
at 05:57 PM

It is a lot of carbs. It depends on what I'm doing. I'm actually all over the place with macros and I struggle to eat less calories, even with IF. I'm exercising a lot, mostly weight training and Pilates, so I'll eat more carbs before training (not a lot though) and have protein afterward. On days off from training, very low carbs. My weight loss is slow (I'm 51, menopausal, PCOS) and my weight drops in chunks about once a month. But inches are definitely shrinking!

80da9f79e2d79978130925702d4c6092

(105)

on January 29, 2012
at 07:53 AM

Georgia, do you follow those guidelines - i.e. do you try to get 120g of carbs per day while dieting? That seems like a lot to me when restricting calories. I am 5'8" and to lose weight I'm doing IF and averaging around 900 calories/day, and try to even out carbs/protein/fat. I nearly always hit 54 g of protein, but I don't ever hit 120g of carbs. So far I've been OK - sometimes I get fuzzy-headed and then I eat a small does of some faster carbs to feed my brain.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 07, 2011
at 12:54 AM

That 10 lbs holds 35,000 kcals...trying to hit a kcal target makes no sense while you're carrying that around and trying to get rid of it.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I don't know how to answer your first question. I know I have my cuppa w/cream in the morning, then lunch I'll have a cup worth (or more) of protein with fat & some leafy veg & I won't be hungry until 8 or 9pm - if at all.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:16 PM

Very good point, where I may be lacking in something I'm unaware. Usually I'll get oddball cravings - but I do know not all things create a noticeable "crave". Thanks.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:15 PM

thank you for commenting. :)

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:14 PM

Thx for responding. I'm not super lean, so I was sort of banking on using fat stores. I have noticed your point a) re: carbs (when I've fallen off the wagon)... it's not a fun experience. Again, many thanks!

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Average figures are unfortunately almost entirely meaningless.

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4 Answers

3
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on December 06, 2011
at 08:00 PM

Go with your hunger levels. Eat when you're hungry, don't when you're not. Be sure to get some protein to spare gluconeogenesis, but other wise, don't worry about it.

No worries, you'll either get ravenously hungry, or you'll burn from your own fat stores (assuming you're not super lean, if you are, the danger is you'll burn protein from your muscles, but by that point you'll notice the hunger.)

There are exceptions that I've found:

a) The only thing that will break your hunger is too many carbs (i.e. crap in a box, pure sugar, etc.), then you'll get hungry when you don't need the calories because insulin has already flushed all the glucose out of your bloodstream via spikes, and at that point, you can't rely on hunger as a good indicator.

b) If you're suppressing hunger via loads of coconut oil (or other MCT oils), or fasting for too long, you'll notice a very fast heart beat and some anxiety. If that happens, eat something, preferably grassfed meat, or pastured eggs.

c) if your hair starts to fall out (this is more of a worse case of b), and you feel stressed, add in enough carbs to still do what you want, but get over the cortisol spikes from too low carb.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:14 PM

Thx for responding. I'm not super lean, so I was sort of banking on using fat stores. I have noticed your point a) re: carbs (when I've fallen off the wagon)... it's not a fun experience. Again, many thanks!

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 06, 2011
at 07:33 PM

An important question is, are you not hungry because your needs were met, or are you not hungry because you're in deep ketosis?

When I IF, I've noticed at times that my appetite just goes away. I don't panic over that, but I do have a rule that if I haven't gotten hungry by evening I eat a meal anyhow. And what I've found is that the process of cutting up a salad, fixing a skillet meal with meat, veggies and bone broth, etc., stimulates my appetite and I happily eat the food. So that's okay.

When I'm not IF-ing, which usually means I split my food into 2 meals, if I'm not hungry after the first meal I skip the second because I know I'm not in ketosis and I probably don't need the food.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I don't know how to answer your first question. I know I have my cuppa w/cream in the morning, then lunch I'll have a cup worth (or more) of protein with fat & some leafy veg & I won't be hungry until 8 or 9pm - if at all.

1
7cbdd4e8eedba06368d4766e6c0ef015

(320)

on December 06, 2011
at 07:27 PM

I have read (the CDC website) that there's a minimum of macro nutrients (mainly protein and carbohydrates) that we humans need for good brain function and basic performance. I don't know what it is for men, but for the average woman, the minimum is 54 gm protein and 120 gm carbs. That's just under 700 cal. Personally, I don't go below that, but I still make Paleo (as much as I can) my choice of foods. That means I eat a lot of veggies and some raw tree nuts every day along with my proteins. (I'm not all that into fruit, but I probably could benefit from an apple a day.)

I'm quite tall for a woman (nearly 6') and when I drop calories below 1100, I get a little nutty. I have a lot of weight to lose, but I've lost nearly 60 lbs so far using various methods. By far, the easiest way to maintain a steady loss rate was calorie cutting while eating Paleo.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Average figures are unfortunately almost entirely meaningless.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:15 PM

thank you for commenting. :)

80da9f79e2d79978130925702d4c6092

(105)

on January 29, 2012
at 07:53 AM

Georgia, do you follow those guidelines - i.e. do you try to get 120g of carbs per day while dieting? That seems like a lot to me when restricting calories. I am 5'8" and to lose weight I'm doing IF and averaging around 900 calories/day, and try to even out carbs/protein/fat. I nearly always hit 54 g of protein, but I don't ever hit 120g of carbs. So far I've been OK - sometimes I get fuzzy-headed and then I eat a small does of some faster carbs to feed my brain.

7cbdd4e8eedba06368d4766e6c0ef015

(320)

on January 29, 2012
at 05:57 PM

It is a lot of carbs. It depends on what I'm doing. I'm actually all over the place with macros and I struggle to eat less calories, even with IF. I'm exercising a lot, mostly weight training and Pilates, so I'll eat more carbs before training (not a lot though) and have protein afterward. On days off from training, very low carbs. My weight loss is slow (I'm 51, menopausal, PCOS) and my weight drops in chunks about once a month. But inches are definitely shrinking!

1
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 06, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I don't know of any issues that could arise from failing to meet an arbitrary 'baseline'. Everybody is different, and everybody is constantly changing. The only tool available to keep up with measuring your body's needs is your body.

If you're using good whole paleo food sources with good variety then you should be fine. There's a slight risk of assuming you're not really hungry because you have some fat stored, when you could genuinely be deficient in some micronutrient, but simply adding extra calories won't affect that if you aren't eating widely anyway. You might overeat at times, and will likely undereat at other times, and it may not maximise your performance if you're an elite athlete. But you can console yourself with the fact that you should be able to escape a lion if things get desperate.

164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 06, 2011
at 09:16 PM

Very good point, where I may be lacking in something I'm unaware. Usually I'll get oddball cravings - but I do know not all things create a noticeable "crave". Thanks.

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