1700 calories a day? Wait, what?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 11, 2010 5:05 AM GMT
    Now that I have much more time on my hands and am going back to the gym regularly, I'm also getting my diet back in line. 2 years of Peace Corps and then several months of working on a political campaign have severely set back my previously good dietary habits, but now that those are no longer issues I'm trying to eat well again. So, I turned to the eatingfree.com site that was mentioned in articles on this site as a source for reminding me of how I should be eating, and also as a good place to log my intake and exercise.

    After entering my goals, my activity level, etc., the site popped out a goal of the average calories I should be eating a day. The goal? 1700 calories a day. My immediate thought was "como?" But then I figured I'd take a shot at it. I've only been following the recommendations for 2 days now, but both days what I find is that I'm quite hungry, something that I suspected would be the case. I'm eating every few hours and eating the right things (whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, good fats, etc.), but by the end of the night I'm still left wanting to eat more.

    I am exercising more than the site's average daily goal for me, so perhaps that's part of it. What I actually think, however, is that 1700 calories a day is ludicrous. I just can't see how I can eat that little and manage to not be constantly hungry by the end of the day. Now, I realize that I've only been trying this for a couple days; perhaps my body just needs to adjust to it. But I still think this seems like too little. Thoughts?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 11, 2010 5:55 AM GMT
    man, you're going to lose muscle.

    you should probably increase it to 3000+ and apply some serious gym work and good cardio.
    but i'm no specialist and i'm at the opposite end of the spectrum.icon_confused.gif



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 11, 2010 5:57 AM GMT
    Yeah, 1700 seems really unhealthy. I think 2000 calories is the absolute minimum for an adult that doesn't workout. I agree with xassantex, I think you should shoot for 3000+ calories, and maybe more depending on the type of workouts you do.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 11, 2010 6:05 AM GMT
    Im recommended by my nutritionalist to eat 4000 calories a day and I don't even 'workout'. I go on a run but that is all in fun because I just like to run
    I would never go off what a website told me... they don't take into fact metabolism or any of the other factors that play into the digestive system and nutrition.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 11, 2010 6:06 AM GMT
    1700 is crazy.
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    Nov 11, 2010 6:07 AM GMT
    People have different bodies..

    I still am having a hard time gaining weight even t hough i have my protien shake in the morning with breakfast, cereal or oatmeal, egg whites, low fat turkey bacon, yogurt (non-fat did i have to say that there?) and milk

    3 hours later im doing my first snack of apple slices and a protien bar (30 grams of protien)

    2.5 hours later is lunch (but by the time i bring it back and start to eat it's 3 hours) i have a humungosaur turkey + ham sammich and steamed veggies or veggie soup and fruit (blueberries, black berries, rasp and strawberries.. i know.. i know that's too much berries etc but the cup is really small)

    2 hours later i have a protien bar or another protien shake.

    Time to work out i have my jack3d
    then i have my N.O Synthasize during my work out..

    Then after my work out i have my two muscle milk light drinks

    Then i go eat dinner which is (grilled chicken and veggies or veggie soup)

    This is usually my everyday routine...

    And still i can't fricken gain anything.
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Nov 11, 2010 6:08 AM GMT
    I did 1800 calories a day on the RJ weight loss challenge, burned fat and put on muscle. I remember reading that functionally most people can build mass even if it's just 2 egg whites and a chicken breast per day.

    I'd say hang tough and give it a couple months, youll be ripped, and don't worry about loosing muscle, it'll be 99% fat that you'll burn off.
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    Nov 11, 2010 6:11 AM GMT
    Base requirement for 152# of muscle (meaning you're 20% fat) would be 20 * 152 = 3040. Even if you lower that to 15, your base requirement is 2280.

    Add about 600kcal for every 1 hour of workout / cardio.

    Subtract 500kcal for every day if you want to lose 1 pound a week (3500 kcal).

    At 1700kcal, you'll get into famine response, and your body will become a fat-storing machine which is counter productive. You'll be catabolic, using muscle for energy, while storing fat for the impending famine.

    If you want to monitor it, get some Ketostix.
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Nov 11, 2010 6:26 AM GMT
    Samm77 saidPeople have different bodies..

    I still am having a hard time gaining weight even t hough i have my protien shake in the morning with breakfast, cereal or oatmeal, egg whites, low fat turkey bacon, yogurt (non-fat did i have to say that there?) and milk

    3 hours later im doing my first snack of apple slices and a protien bar (30 grams of protien)

    2.5 hours later is lunch (but by the time i bring it back and start to eat it's 3 hours) i have a humungosaur turkey + ham sammich and steamed veggies or veggie soup and fruit (blueberries, black berries, rasp and strawberries.. i know.. i know that's too much berries etc but the cup is really small)

    2 hours later i have a protien bar or another protien shake.

    Time to work out i have my jack3d
    then i have my N.O Synthasize during my work out..

    Then after my work out i have my two muscle milk light drinks

    Then i go eat dinner which is (grilled chicken and veggies or veggie soup)

    This is usually my everyday routine...

    And still i can't fricken gain anything.


    props to you, I can't get muscle milk down, and I gag on protien bars, instead i whip a scoop of whey protien into milk with a cup of frozen berries.

    instead of protien bars, I nosh on low fat mozzarella.

    I'm kind of a Pollen-Krishna (as in Michael Pollen, the guy who writes about food)

    1. I don't eat too much, and mostly plants.
    2. I don't eat anything anyone's great-grandmotther wouldn't recoconise as food (aside from the whey powder, but... whey is the part of the cottage cheese that gets drained off, so I think I'm OK on that one)
    3. With the exception of crystal lite (to satisfy my sweet tooth) and butter flavoured Pam spray (for the morning eggwhite omelets) I keep things words in the ingrediant list out of my diet (a goal, not an absoult)

    For me, as tempting as trying protien bars might be, the big red flag I see with that one is that they are barely food. They might be optimum fuel, but we evolved to metabolize things in natural complex combinations, not uber-refined plastic packages.

    Beware the majic box, the silver bullet, they only exist in the land of Harry Potter!

    I'd bet substuting a few onces of mozzarella for a protien bar would help - if not for any other reason to "mix it up".
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Nov 11, 2010 6:34 AM GMT
    chuckystud saidBase requirement for 152# of muscle (meaning you're 20% fat) would be 20 * 152 = 3040. Even if you lower that to 15, your base requirement is 2280.

    Add about 600kcal for every 1 hour of workout / cardio.

    Subtract 500kcal for every day if you want to lose 1 pound a week (3500 kcal).

    At 1700kcal, you'll get into famine response, and your body will become a fat-storing machine which is counter productive. You'll be catabolic, using muscle for energy, while storing fat for the impending famine.

    If you want to monitor it, get some Ketostix.


    Chucky, I like your math, but wouldn't it help to know

    1. what his current body fat is?
    2. what his goal body fat is?
    3. is the goal to just loose fat?
    4. is the goal to build muscle?
    5. or is it a bit of muscle building and fat loss.

    The two big take home points for me on the weight loss challenge were:
    1. consistantly eating 1800 callories a day AND only 800 calores burned on bike rides or at the gym equaled sustained fat loss and muscle building.
    2. giving up the epic hike/bike ride/day of snowboarding not only blew my callories burned off the scale (heart rate monitor that counted them) but not doing it made me feel like a rat on a wheel.
  • healthseeker

    Posts: 161

    Nov 11, 2010 4:08 PM GMT
    Hello Good Delt.

    Maybe it is recommending 1700 net calories?

    I am not familiar with that site but have used the myplate site for tracking calories. The calories recommended are net, so do not include calories burned through workouts. For example, with a goal of 1700 net calories, if I burn 500 working out I can consume 2200.


  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Nov 11, 2010 4:39 PM GMT
    You may be running into the same problem that I did previously.
    There are multiple methods for calculating daily caloric needs. One big difference between them is that most do not take into account body fat %.
    Therefore, if you have some muscle on you, it will assume that muscle weight is mostly fat and give you a calorie estimate accordingly. i.e. they assume that all big people are fat (A few years ago I ran into this problem, of grossly undereating, made a huge difference when I realized what was going on and corrected it. Mind you, this was a problem even before I got myself into really good shape.)

    Try this calculator (see accompanying text, don't use default options):
    http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm#
    ^^^Click on "Advanced Options", then select the "Katch-McCardle" formula, and enter a rough estimate of your body fat % (I never know mine either, but at least estimate it).

    See if that give you a different number. There's also a setting where you can put in a rough estimate of your activity level.

    That said, these things only do so much. I seem to take more calorie than these things estimate. There are a lot of variables. Don't be afraid to adjust your intake based on the results you're getting.

    Of course, being a bit hungry is also a part of caloric restriction. Though in the cases where I've done it I find it often subsides after a bit and it actually feels especially awesome. Like there's a kind of fasting clarity. =)
    Anyway, gl.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Nov 11, 2010 4:44 PM GMT
    Buffhunk64 saidWhy do people still go to websites for nutrition and exercise information. Talk with someone locally about your metabolism, how much you workout, what sort of job you do, etc. Websites like that are toys. Talk with a real human being who is an expert and you will get a better caloric intake number.


    Actually, in general not really. Most people will either guesstimate (probably less accurate) or just use the specific formulae (equations/methods) that the websites are using. There are only problems if you don't understand what methods are being used and which ones are then appropriate (see above post).

    Personally, I'd prefer to understand these things rather than have someone else (who probably has a very imperfect understanding) tell me what to do. I understand some people feel differently of course.
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Nov 11, 2010 4:57 PM GMT
    Really it depends on what your goals are. Are you looking to build muscle or lose fat? As far as I know it is very difficult to do both and better to head for one goal or the other.

    I'm currently on around ~1500 calories a day. Sure I'm hungry but that is natural. I look forward to eating. My goal is to lose just a bit more fat then turn the calories back on and hit the weights some more.

    Yes, your body does need to adjust to it. You'll notice less hunger with time.
    Just keep a record for a couple of weeks of what you eat, paying attention to the portions you normally eat. You might be surprised how many multiple portions you eat for every meal.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 11, 2010 5:10 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the responses so far; this is a lot of good information. It's good to see that I'm not just being a hungry fatty when I look at that calorie goal and think it crazy. I'm definitely worried about losing muscle, as some of you have mentioned; I gained a lot of muscle a few years ago and have mostly kept it (though alas, have added fat after the aforementioned years), and would like to continue to keep it and add on.

    That being said, I simply can't see how 3000 calories would be sensible for fat loss. I'm an easy gainer, so I both put on muscle really easily and quickly, but also put on fat easily. If I were eating 3000+ calories a day, even with exercising thrown in there, I'm absolutely certain that I would be gaining fat (even if also gaining muscle). If I lose a little bit of muscle while burning fat, so be it; I doubt it will be very much. In addition, the reason I don't think that will happen is that the last time that I was in the mode I am now, and was working out at the gym and outside a lot, plus bringing my calories down, I lost weight and increased muscle. I wish that I could remember how much I was eating at the time, but I'm almost certain it wasn't 1700 calories (and definitely not 3000).

    I think I'm going to take a bit of a few people's advice here, and up the calories to around 2000 a day, but keep it around there and just stick with that for a month or two. The one thing I'm not going to be is hungry all the time; for one I don't have the willpower to resist binging if I leave myself hungry at the end of the night, and for another I'm worried about, as Chucky mentions, putting my body into starvation mode.

    Also, thanks Neo for that site and the great advice; it definitely confirmed that I'm not eating quite enough at my activity level and (very estimated) body fat (I'm probably closer to 27% or 28% than 20%).
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    Nov 11, 2010 5:20 PM GMT
    healthseeker saidHello Good Delt.

    Maybe it is recommending 1700 net calories?

    I am not familiar with that site but have used the myplate site for tracking calories. The calories recommended are net, so do not include calories burned through workouts. For example, with a goal of 1700 net calories, if I burn 500 working out I can consume 2200.




    I'm not entirely sure. I've looked around it to see what their definition is, but have been unable to find it. That being said, to your larger point I think I'm going utilize that idea of net calories. They're creating the goal with the expectation of about a little over 3000 calories of energy expenditure a day; considering that I bike everywhere, go to the gym regularly, and run regularly, I usually burn more calories in workouts than the site expects me to burn. Since that's the case, I'll probably add the difference in those numbers to my total calorie intake, which is generally going to bring it up to about 2000 a day.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Nov 11, 2010 5:30 PM GMT
    Depends on your body. I have one friend who can barely maintain on 3000 a day, and one who gains on 1600.
  • bmw0

    Posts: 588

    Nov 11, 2010 5:37 PM GMT
    It does depend on you, something that seemed to help me when i was cutting down... When you get hungry through the day drink a bottle/glass of water. It helped me anyway...

    Its also to good to set a goal. I made the mistake of not doing that and got down to 140. Not a healthy weight for me. Once you hit that goal make sure to increase and maintain. icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 11, 2010 7:04 PM GMT
    1700 cal/day is whack. Don't count calories, it is a big waste of time and it will drive you nuts. Eat HEALTHY food (no junk) and eat only as much as you need to not feel hungry. Eat lots of healthy snacks during the day. And if you are trying to lose weight the most important thing is to go crazy with the cardio. If you have the time, one or two hours a day will help you shed the lbs.
  • KnuxNole

    Posts: 219

    Nov 11, 2010 7:48 PM GMT
    I usually eat about 2,000 cals...I could NEVER get above 3,000...icon_sad.gif
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    Nov 12, 2010 12:22 AM GMT
    Aw I feel so sorry for you lol. With exercise 1700 is ridiculous.

    For me, as soon as I do any exercise at all I will get hungry cos I've got a fast metabolism. So I try not to move so I don't have to cook as often but I still get hungry every 4 hours lol. I even have to resort to cook at midnight cos my stomach rumbles icon_sad.gif

    But good luck with your eating regime, they might be trying to kill you/..
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2010 2:02 PM GMT
    My Metabolic rate is on the high side and though I'm trying to follow a diet plan..Its hard cause of my work schedule....

    Lately I've reached a plateau on my eating habits... which is pissing me off!! I mean seriously, I'll have to widen my gullet and unhinge my jaws like a snake to get the excess calories I need to put the pounds on....

    My family believes I'm becoming obsessive... But I'm 27 and still have overall twink look



    I give kudos to the guys to were able to pack the pounds in and to look what they are today! icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2010 2:20 PM GMT
    healthseeker said
    Maybe it is recommending 1700 net calories?


    That would make sense. I can't imagine 1700 cal a day... Sounds like the Anorexic Zone Diet.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2010 2:59 PM GMT
    1700 seems reasonable if you're sedentary during the day.

    If you all can lose on 3,000 Calories/day, you're lucky. I'm young, tall (6'3") and I still drop to around 1600-2100 Calories/day when I'm cutting

    If hunger is a problem, try a keto diet. Also, stopping cardio might help. (Strenuous exercise can create a huge drive to eat in some people)
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Nov 12, 2010 3:36 PM GMT
    According to the BMI:

    http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm

    Someone who is 5'9" and 190 pounds is Overweight and is nearly in the Obese category.


    According to the link neosyllogy provided:

    http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm#

    A diet consisting of ~1700 calories a day will lead to fat loss. A diet of around an average of 1500 calories a day should allow said person to lose about two pounds per week.