2

votes

How many calories do I need?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 14, 2012 at 5:50 PM

I have been reading a lot about weight loss on the paleo diet, and on here it seems that most replies involving women who stall, say they don't get enough calories.

I am 29 years old, female, 5.3" and currently 158 lbs. I would like to lose weight (get leaner), gain muscle, and get healthier overall.

I started Paleo 3 days ago, and when I entered what I ate on fitness pal (not to track to calories, but I wanted to see how much of everything else I was eating), I noticed my calory intake on day 1 was 1200, and on day 2 it was 1400. I thought it would be a lot more, because I didn't pay attention to fat.

I recently started working out again, approximately 3 times a week (running, swimming, pilates), but I end up skipping sometimes because of chronic migraines. Before that I didn't do much.

A few years ago I lost a lot of weight (50 lbs) on a low fat diet, I ended up obsessing over calories, and got an eating disorder. As a result, I was waaaaay too skinny, and when I started eating like a normal person again, I gained back all the weight I lost. Obviously I don't want that to happen again now, so I want to make sure I don't eat too few calories. Does anyone have any advice on this? Am I eating enough? I have no idea what is normal for a woman my age who eat Paleo.

Edit: Here's what I ate those 2 days:

On day 1 I ate:

Breakfast: Scrambled egss (2 pcs) & black coffee Lunch: Paleo hotdog a Paleo restaurant near here, basically a large sausage in a "bun" of egg with cabbage and some mayo based dressing Dinner: Iceberg Lettuce, cherry tomatos, carrot, burger patty (150 gr), guacemole Evening snack: 2 kiwis

Day 2:

Breakfast: Bacon & Eggs Lunch: Salad with sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano and olive oil and a coconut milk - frozen blue berries smoothie Dinner: Iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, burger patty (150 gr), guacemole Snacks: Avocado & handfull of mixed nuts

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:43 AM

This was a great read.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:23 PM

usually don't eat fruit nuts, or dairy, though - add too many cals too quickly :'( little nuggets of calorific deliciousness

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 09:22 PM

I actually only found out the calories by accident. I didn't want to track them (as that's what caused the eating disorder last time), but the app I was using as a food journal just showed it to me. I definitely don't want to end up with a calorie counter in my head again like a few years ago.

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I reeeeeally hate fish unfotunately, but I will try fish oil. Tahanks for the tips!

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:29 PM

I also switched to another food journal app, that won't be throwing big signs with calorie amounts in my face :P

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:26 PM

YoungPaleoLover, On day 1 I ate: Breakfast: Scrambled egss (2 pcs) & black coffee Lunch: Paleo hotdog a Paleo restaurant near here, basically a large sausage in a "bun" of egg with cabbage and some mayo based dressing Dinner: Iceberg Lettuce, cherry tomatos, carrot, burger patty (150 gr), guacemole Evening snack: 2 kiwis Day 2: Breakfast: Bacon & Eggs Lunch: Salad with sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano and olive oil and a coconut milk - frozen blue berries smoothie Dinner: Iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, burger patty (150 gr), guacemole Snacks: Avocado & handfull of mixed nuts

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Definitely not, Scrotum. I got over that a few years ago, and because I don't want the same thing to happen again, I want to make sure I don't eat too little.

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:19 PM

Thank you for your reply! I actually wasn't tracking for the calories, I wanted to use to app to journal what I was eating (to see how many carbs, and what made me feel good/bad), and the app had this big red number telling me how many calories I ate. Not what I wanted to know, but there it was. I am not concerned it's too many either, the opposite actually, I don't want to end up with a deficit, and ruining my body and metabolism again like I did a few years ago, that's why I was wondering.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on June 14, 2012
at 05:52 PM

Please post a day of eating

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on June 14, 2012
at 05:51 PM

Is this question not just another manifestation of that same eating disorder?

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6 Answers

4
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:06 PM

I started Paleo 3 days ago, ...

You're doing fine, 'cept for the part where you are stressing out about calories. If your goal is weight loss, sure, calories factor into the equation. However, with your history of an eating disorder, maybe consider simply continuing to "just eat" as you have been these last three days. You've tracked your calories for three days -- consider your curiosity about calories sated for now. If you are really curious about intake, consider keeping a food journal -- photo or written -- instead of a caloric journal.

I've been borderline obsessive about stuff like this in the past (when I was unable to work out, and going from fit to basically drinking and eating myself to being overweight, and back again), and it only ruined my enjoyment of food and life. It's not a fun place to be.

I would strongly suggest starting and maintaining visits with a therapist, doctor, or both while you begin this journey back to health. Get your friends or family involved in enjoying awesome food. Please avoid obsession about getting healthier!

Good luck - and don't give up! :-)

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:29 PM

I also switched to another food journal app, that won't be throwing big signs with calorie amounts in my face :P

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 06:19 PM

Thank you for your reply! I actually wasn't tracking for the calories, I wanted to use to app to journal what I was eating (to see how many carbs, and what made me feel good/bad), and the app had this big red number telling me how many calories I ate. Not what I wanted to know, but there it was. I am not concerned it's too many either, the opposite actually, I don't want to end up with a deficit, and ruining my body and metabolism again like I did a few years ago, that's why I was wondering.

2
19517fe62f18800f32b6048de2cfc957

on August 26, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Your body's weight is more or less a mathematical equation. Input to output. Decreasing calories will make you loose weight but it needs to be done correctly, decreasing too much will put your body into a starvation mode and your metabolism slows.

Although what goes into your calories is essential to overall health and fitness. The reason everyone gains calories back after they "finished there diets" is simply because you stopped. Proper diet is not a time conscious event its life style. Of course you will gain the weight back when you stop. You're going back to the habits that got you into the weight predicament in the first place.

My fitness Pal is a great app I use it daily, I am a competitive athlete (water polo) and participate in various other sports on weekends as well as exercise daily. There isn't a secret formula to loose weight is a very sensitive quantity of intake versus output.

To give a basic example, a pound of body weight can roughly calculate to 3500 calories (more or less dependent upon your current size). Divide that by 7 days and you have 500 calories per day. If you consume 500 calories in excess per day you will gain 1 lb per week, 4/month, 52/yr..... again all dependent upon your current size. As your weight increase your body needs more calories to maintain that weight because it is now working harder to support it. So many people complain that "Oh I gained 10 lbs this year... I don't know why I just can't loose the weight....." Lets break that down mathematically.... 10lbs/yr = .8333 lbs/month = an excess of 2916.66 calories/month ----> broken into day is an excess of 97.22 calories per day on AVERAGE. Which is the equivalent of say 1 banana. As you can see is a veeeeery small number and asking someone to hit a number exactly is ridiculous. That's why you need to work towards a general goal, sometime you'll go over sometimes you'll be under. But its about control and understanding of total consumption vs output.

Also know that exercise and nutrient timing all effect metabolic rates (your metabolism). EAT BREAKFAST and a good one, this preps your body for the day. Exercise often, even if its for short periods of time this gets your body used to working more and will again increase your metabolism.

The fitness pal app is great, except daily values are based upon the standard american diet which consists of a lottt of carbs. Carbs are good and essential but you don't need to derive 50% of you calories from them.

I have successfully added 15 lbs over 15weeks to prep for water polo season I have also lost 10 lbs over 8 weeks when deciding to cut. I studied nutrition in college and have used various workouts and diet plans. Not all calories are made equal, the Paleo diet provides great nutrient resource and eliminates many "anti nutrients" (you can google that one for Paleo diets", personally I continued to use dairy because I find it to be a great source of protein but Paleo is about progression and knowledge of diets. The moral of the story though is that the quantity of calories intake vs put out does in fact play the biggest role in weight loss vs gain.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:43 AM

This was a great read.

1
26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on June 15, 2012
at 12:39 AM

I'm also 5'3, I'm 31 and 120 lbs. I also usually fluctuate between 1200-1400 cals per day (I don't track daily or even weekly, since I normally eat the same things on a regular basis). I work out everyday. I think you're doing fantastic! I usually don't eat fruit nuts, or dairy, though, those things are rare for me these days. Keep up the good work!

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:23 PM

usually don't eat fruit nuts, or dairy, though - add too many cals too quickly :'( little nuggets of calorific deliciousness

1
0d892cb232c3c7d59699fd10c995595a

on June 14, 2012
at 08:23 PM

I don't see enough omega 3s in the mix. Everything else is fine, let the Paleo do its magic...at least 3-4 weeks. Just add lots of fish/fish oil, perhaps some vitamin D3

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I reeeeeally hate fish unfotunately, but I will try fish oil. Tahanks for the tips!

0
3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on June 18, 2012
at 03:22 PM

yupppp did the low-fat...did the calories...got skinny...then gained it all back and then some...tried unweighed and unmeasured paleo...gained another 10kg...now have dialed it in to a net of 1200 cals a day on paleo and have lost 4kg in a month :)

0
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 14, 2012
at 08:14 PM

I did the same as you, used a calorie tracking app out of curiosity. It is hard not to let it mess with your head. It told me to aim for 1200 calories a day. So I did that. I lost absolutely no weight at all and I was hungry a lot. In fact, I have not lost any weight in about 6 months whether I have eaten 1100 calories a day or 2500 calories a day. I'm starting to think the calories don't really matter that much as long as I'm eating healthy paleo food to satiety, sprinting once a week, doing body weight exercises and getting some daily sunshine walks. I don't bother with the calorie tracking anymore.

B33c263fd0fcff8b59e63dd2179e88a7

(151)

on June 14, 2012
at 09:22 PM

I actually only found out the calories by accident. I didn't want to track them (as that's what caused the eating disorder last time), but the app I was using as a food journal just showed it to me. I definitely don't want to end up with a calorie counter in my head again like a few years ago.

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