1

votes

Should I up my calories?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 29, 2013 at 5:44 PM

I am a 25 year old woman, 5'7 and currently weighing about 185. I've lost about 40 pounds and 35 inches since having my son in August of 2011.

I had my body fat tested in a dunk tank on Saturday. According to the test, I am 134.5lbs of lean mass and 52.05 pounds of fat for a BF% of 27.9%. The guy who did my test said he typically sees someone of my weight range and age at about 105-110 pounds of lean mass so I'm doing something right there (if he wasn't blowing smoke).

I would like to get to about 20% body fat. My goal is to add another 5-10 pounds of muscle if possible through lifting, which should mean about 10lbs of weight loss to bring me to that goal

I am lowering my cardio from 1 hour to about 30 minutes per day (typically running). I also practice yoga to help with an old injury for about 1 hour 3 times a week. According to my HRM I am burning about 500-800 calories per workout, 5-6 days a week.

I eat paleo, and track my calories and nutrients online. I'm currently trying to eat about 1600 calories a day with a 40/40/20 fat/protein/carb breakdown.

According to the calulations they gave me this weekend, my BMR is 1855 + 30% (555) for normal daily activities. So, I ask Paleohacks, should I up my calories even more? I am truthfully struggling to eat 1600 calories without relying on nuts and nut butters to get me there. Am I overthinking it?

Thanks in advance, everyone!

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on May 01, 2013
at 01:54 AM

Haha well that Doogie Houser comment was pretty funny. Matt's point is just that thermodynamics works out fine as a model in the human body if you can account for the fact that people generally suck at estimating their own calorie consumption.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 03:03 PM

Good, I'm glad you have a better idea on where to go from here. Good luck!

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:02 PM

"Metabolic ward"? Who are you, Doogie Howser, MD? I've been in medicine for 30 years and have never heard of a metabolic ward. I am approaching Ashley from a medical standpoint, you are obviously coming in from some Haitian weird science bent. To each his own. Again, however, the human body is not a closed internal engine. Thermodynamics do not work out quite so well in an uncontrolled environment of such design. In any event, I hope I do not run into you in the psychiatric, er, "metabolic" ward.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:57 AM

I think based on the responses in this thread and other things I've seen, I'm going to up my calories to 1800 and see where that takes me for a few weeks.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:56 AM

I had no idea about the wrist measurement thing. That's interesting. I appreciate your imput, AstrumMortis. It's not so much a product of losing what I'm comfortable with, rather am I even able to do it! I've always struggled with losing weight but I feel like at this point in my life I know (more) what I'm doing and I might actually be able to achieve whatever goals I set.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:04 AM

@Jess, there's no magic, CICO works, stick anybody in a metabolic ward, they will lose weight on any macronutrient ratio, as long as CI

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:40 AM

waist up* .

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:37 AM

...You feel best. :) I'm still 2 inches away from your waist size, 13 lbs lighter! Also, your wrist circ. points to large body type (over 6.5 inches is the usual requirement) but your neck is thinner than average, but I'd go by wrist since I *think* it'll be more accurate since you don't gain much from the pelvis up.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Huh. By that picture I'd say you're probably good at 15-20 lbs away from final goal. I'd focus on 15 first and see how you feel, I have no idea what a 15 lb loss would look like on your body type. That's pretty impressive, actually, for 180! We're totally different body shapes, but I looked like this at 180--well, 175: http://tinypic.com/r/2i27vxx/5 I gain my weight in my stomach, so I think its more... obviously 'wow, you could lose 30 more pounds.' My real answer to you? LOSE AS MUCH AS YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH. You don't hold your weight in the most dangerous area, so stop when...

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:47 AM

I'm solidly in a size 10 jeans and a small top, though America's vanity sizing doesn't make that an easy quantifier.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:44 AM

http://sovv.smugmug.com/photos/i-vT9wNkC/0/X2/i-vT9wNkC-X2.jpg This is from this morning. 20-25 is still a better (easier) number for me to understand and work towards. I have a 33 inch bust, 30 inch waist, 6.9 wrist, 13 in neck, 44 hips etc. I'm pretty pear shaped, a previous coach going so far to mark "unusual weight disbursement" on his notes about me.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:35 AM

Post a picture if you want, though! I'll post my own. We can trade- LOL. Kidding. Not about yours, though. At my current weight people keep acting like I've begun starving myself, which is just plain silly- there's at least 5 lbs of fat in my gut alone, not the mention the cumulative #s from other parts of my body. But like I said, I don't weight train beyond the most basic body weight exercises.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:31 AM

You easily couldn't have 40 lbs to lose. I'd think, like I said for myself, 150 is a reasonable goal. There is, of course, no seriously accurate way to know, because it's either hard to tell with simpler measurements like wrist size or neck circ., elbow width is more accurate, I've heard... but it's difficult to measure. I can never do it, but I have an average wrist size and neck circ. (6.3" wrist, 13.5" neck) But, anyway, maybe you just have 20-25 to lose, and that'd be sweet! Still a bit more than 10, I'd think, though.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:11 AM

Jess this morning was the first I've tried the bulletproof coffee. I am trying intermittent fasting and it was my understanding the coffee was fine for those hours before eating.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:04 AM

I am a medium/large frame. I hesitate to just say large because I really don't know. I do know that no one ever guesses my weight correctly, and I do think looking at a picture of myself it doesn't look like I have 40 pounds to lose. I can link a photo if that's not completely frowned upon/if it even matters.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:02 AM

Is being "high for a woman" biologically a bad idea? A bad idea for any other reason? Is there any reason not to try for a "high" lean mass # and reasonable BF% if the tradeoff is a high overall weight?

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:27 PM

I first read compilations of research by Taubes in 2006...hardly a "honeymoon" period. I'll not be bothered if you choose to discount or dismiss him; he is clear that what works for some does not extend to working for others. However, to give CICO advice to a dieter is evidence of pure ignorance.

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:24 PM

Ashley - Is the bullet-proof coffee the only component of your breakfast? If so, it is not nearly enough food. I will refer to to articles by Dr. Jack Kruse. Please review his website at your leisure. Given your goals and activity level, I would encourage you to add a high protein source to your breakfast, such as 2-3 scoops of whey isolate.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:22 PM

ah jess, you're in that "i just read gary" honeymoon period. savor it while it lasts, before the laws of thermodynamics coming knocking...

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:20 PM

Matt - I would direct you to two excellent books by Gary Taubes, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat", both based upon an empirical amount of evidence that CICO has been long debunked. To give CICO advice in this day and age does a tremendous disservice to people who are interested in weight-loss or body-type optimization.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:01 PM

If you dropped to 20% without gaining/losing lean mass, you'd stop at 167 pounds which is high for a woman (I'm a guy, a couple inches taller and my weight is 15-20 pounds under that even.)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:59 PM

A normal weight for a woman your height is going to be closer to 130-140 pounds. And conserving that 130 pounds lean, you'd be at a BF level of 0-8%, too low for a woman. 20% BF @ 135 pounds is 108 pounds lean. So if you lost 45 pounds weight, you'd have to lose around 26 pounds of lean mass along with it. That sounds crappy, particularly when folks work so hard for their lean.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:50 PM

I'm sorry, I know I sound dense here. I don't want to be carrying around 50lbs of fat. My ultimate goal would be to lose fat and bring my weight down with it. Are you saying I should expect my lean mass to drop as I drop weight too?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:20 PM

Counting calories is lacking? CICO is scientifically bankrupt?! Could you be more wrong?

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 29, 2013
at 06:46 PM

In general my carbs come from fruit or sweet potatos. I usually have a single apple and nut butter for a snack or to add more volume to a meal. Today for example looks like: Bulletproof coffee 8 chicken/turkey home made meatballs with a side salad Beef short ribs, braised collards, mushrooms cooked in clarified butter And I'm still short nearly 400 calories. I would love to stop counting but every time I have I have an even harder time eating enough. Eating to satiation for me has always put me at ~1200 or less when I've checked.

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3 Answers

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:24 PM

You have a large amount of lean mass because you used to haul around quite a bit of extra weight, and at 180+ pounds, you still are hanging onto 50 extra pounds or so. It's unreasonable to expect to maintain high lean mass when you're significantly overweight. You will lose lean mass as you get down to a health weight, that's simply reality (not crazy bodybuilder math).

Congrats on the weight loss, but you don't need to haul around 50 pounds of fat, even if you're down to 20% body fat levels.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:02 AM

Is being "high for a woman" biologically a bad idea? A bad idea for any other reason? Is there any reason not to try for a "high" lean mass # and reasonable BF% if the tradeoff is a high overall weight?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:59 PM

A normal weight for a woman your height is going to be closer to 130-140 pounds. And conserving that 130 pounds lean, you'd be at a BF level of 0-8%, too low for a woman. 20% BF @ 135 pounds is 108 pounds lean. So if you lost 45 pounds weight, you'd have to lose around 26 pounds of lean mass along with it. That sounds crappy, particularly when folks work so hard for their lean.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:50 PM

I'm sorry, I know I sound dense here. I don't want to be carrying around 50lbs of fat. My ultimate goal would be to lose fat and bring my weight down with it. Are you saying I should expect my lean mass to drop as I drop weight too?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:01 PM

If you dropped to 20% without gaining/losing lean mass, you'd stop at 167 pounds which is high for a woman (I'm a guy, a couple inches taller and my weight is 15-20 pounds under that even.)

0
Medium avatar

on April 29, 2013
at 09:31 PM

I'm predicting myself that I have about 117 lbs lean mass, or at least will by the end of my weight loss. I'm also 5'7". Right now I'm at 167lbs and frankly, I'm considering myself to be on my last 18 lbs before I start serious recomp. I'm a medium frame.

IMO, many, many women look perfectly healthy at 150 lbs and 5'7", if they have the proper body composition. Of course, have whatever weight goal you'd like, but I have a feeling you're going to need to lose at least 30 more pounds, if not 40 depending on your frame size.

I'm eating about 1500 calories a day total, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the day. I'm sure you could afford more than that, especially if you're doing weights. Honestly, 1600 sounds fine; if you're worried about preserving as much lean mass as possible, I'd say make sure your protein stays as close to 1 g/lb lean mass possible.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:37 AM

...You feel best. :) I'm still 2 inches away from your waist size, 13 lbs lighter! Also, your wrist circ. points to large body type (over 6.5 inches is the usual requirement) but your neck is thinner than average, but I'd go by wrist since I *think* it'll be more accurate since you don't gain much from the pelvis up.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:31 AM

You easily couldn't have 40 lbs to lose. I'd think, like I said for myself, 150 is a reasonable goal. There is, of course, no seriously accurate way to know, because it's either hard to tell with simpler measurements like wrist size or neck circ., elbow width is more accurate, I've heard... but it's difficult to measure. I can never do it, but I have an average wrist size and neck circ. (6.3" wrist, 13.5" neck) But, anyway, maybe you just have 20-25 to lose, and that'd be sweet! Still a bit more than 10, I'd think, though.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:40 AM

waist up* .

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:44 AM

http://sovv.smugmug.com/photos/i-vT9wNkC/0/X2/i-vT9wNkC-X2.jpg This is from this morning. 20-25 is still a better (easier) number for me to understand and work towards. I have a 33 inch bust, 30 inch waist, 6.9 wrist, 13 in neck, 44 hips etc. I'm pretty pear shaped, a previous coach going so far to mark "unusual weight disbursement" on his notes about me.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:56 AM

I had no idea about the wrist measurement thing. That's interesting. I appreciate your imput, AstrumMortis. It's not so much a product of losing what I'm comfortable with, rather am I even able to do it! I've always struggled with losing weight but I feel like at this point in my life I know (more) what I'm doing and I might actually be able to achieve whatever goals I set.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:35 AM

Post a picture if you want, though! I'll post my own. We can trade- LOL. Kidding. Not about yours, though. At my current weight people keep acting like I've begun starving myself, which is just plain silly- there's at least 5 lbs of fat in my gut alone, not the mention the cumulative #s from other parts of my body. But like I said, I don't weight train beyond the most basic body weight exercises.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Huh. By that picture I'd say you're probably good at 15-20 lbs away from final goal. I'd focus on 15 first and see how you feel, I have no idea what a 15 lb loss would look like on your body type. That's pretty impressive, actually, for 180! We're totally different body shapes, but I looked like this at 180--well, 175: http://tinypic.com/r/2i27vxx/5 I gain my weight in my stomach, so I think its more... obviously 'wow, you could lose 30 more pounds.' My real answer to you? LOSE AS MUCH AS YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH. You don't hold your weight in the most dangerous area, so stop when...

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:47 AM

I'm solidly in a size 10 jeans and a small top, though America's vanity sizing doesn't make that an easy quantifier.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:57 AM

I think based on the responses in this thread and other things I've seen, I'm going to up my calories to 1800 and see where that takes me for a few weeks.

Medium avatar

(1097)

on April 30, 2013
at 03:03 PM

Good, I'm glad you have a better idea on where to go from here. Good luck!

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:04 AM

I am a medium/large frame. I hesitate to just say large because I really don't know. I do know that no one ever guesses my weight correctly, and I do think looking at a picture of myself it doesn't look like I have 40 pounds to lose. I can link a photo if that's not completely frowned upon/if it even matters.

-2
04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

on April 29, 2013
at 06:35 PM

In general, when I see someone "counting" calories, I can conclude offhand that something in the approach will be lacking. The old "calories-in/calories-out" model is just that; it is old and scientifically bankrupt. Even from the information provided above I can conclude that you are not eating enough, nor the right kinds of foods. Further, if you are bolstering with nuts and nut butters, you are working at counter-purposes to weight loss, e.g., if your goal is weight loss, lock up the nuts and nut butters for another day. I am curious, though, as to the source of your other carbs?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 08:20 PM

Counting calories is lacking? CICO is scientifically bankrupt?! Could you be more wrong?

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:22 PM

ah jess, you're in that "i just read gary" honeymoon period. savor it while it lasts, before the laws of thermodynamics coming knocking...

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 29, 2013
at 06:46 PM

In general my carbs come from fruit or sweet potatos. I usually have a single apple and nut butter for a snack or to add more volume to a meal. Today for example looks like: Bulletproof coffee 8 chicken/turkey home made meatballs with a side salad Beef short ribs, braised collards, mushrooms cooked in clarified butter And I'm still short nearly 400 calories. I would love to stop counting but every time I have I have an even harder time eating enough. Eating to satiation for me has always put me at ~1200 or less when I've checked.

3e66b25c5a264df4b6af57d483773145

(35)

on April 30, 2013
at 12:11 AM

Jess this morning was the first I've tried the bulletproof coffee. I am trying intermittent fasting and it was my understanding the coffee was fine for those hours before eating.

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:20 PM

Matt - I would direct you to two excellent books by Gary Taubes, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat", both based upon an empirical amount of evidence that CICO has been long debunked. To give CICO advice in this day and age does a tremendous disservice to people who are interested in weight-loss or body-type optimization.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on May 01, 2013
at 01:54 AM

Haha well that Doogie Houser comment was pretty funny. Matt's point is just that thermodynamics works out fine as a model in the human body if you can account for the fact that people generally suck at estimating their own calorie consumption.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:04 AM

@Jess, there's no magic, CICO works, stick anybody in a metabolic ward, they will lose weight on any macronutrient ratio, as long as CI

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:24 PM

Ashley - Is the bullet-proof coffee the only component of your breakfast? If so, it is not nearly enough food. I will refer to to articles by Dr. Jack Kruse. Please review his website at your leisure. Given your goals and activity level, I would encourage you to add a high protein source to your breakfast, such as 2-3 scoops of whey isolate.

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 29, 2013
at 09:27 PM

I first read compilations of research by Taubes in 2006...hardly a "honeymoon" period. I'll not be bothered if you choose to discount or dismiss him; he is clear that what works for some does not extend to working for others. However, to give CICO advice to a dieter is evidence of pure ignorance.

04ccced03a4fa49c8c25efa3c9a157a3

(-4)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:02 PM

"Metabolic ward"? Who are you, Doogie Howser, MD? I've been in medicine for 30 years and have never heard of a metabolic ward. I am approaching Ashley from a medical standpoint, you are obviously coming in from some Haitian weird science bent. To each his own. Again, however, the human body is not a closed internal engine. Thermodynamics do not work out quite so well in an uncontrolled environment of such design. In any event, I hope I do not run into you in the psychiatric, er, "metabolic" ward.

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