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to think 1,200cals per day should only maintain your weight if you've buggered up your metabolism?

(147 Posts)
DottyboutDots Mon 06-May-13 17:45:17

My friend and I are both trying to lose weight. She does around 800cals a day on the elliptical, while I swim and play squash.

She claimed that a woman approaching 40 can only eat 1200 cal a day and stay slim. I countered with, well I ate 1500 (adjusted with eating my excercise cals) a day on and off for a year and lost 3 stone.

Her examples are a) her mother who has eaten the same exact two meals a day for 20 years with a third option that she changes and is slim and b) our two friends who have openly admitted having food issues and don't eat very much.

She then mentioned that our overweight gynae (we met having our 3rd babies) had agreed with her. I said look to the messanger on that one.

Surely, there are healthy, slim women who eat more than 1,200 a day and stay slim. Please say there are, I need hope that the rest of my life is going to be a gastronomical desert.

lljkk Mon 06-May-13 17:49:06

I think you fail to grasp how little exercise or activity even, the average middle-aged woman does.
If I drove everywhere, did minimum physical stuff, I'd probably only need 1200 kcal/day, too. If that.

I probably have around 2400/day, too, in reality I am active without doing hardly any actual aerobic exercise.

Summer I was 38 the kids never wanted to go out, so I (SAHM) just stopped eating. It was so weird. I didn't gain weight but I seemed to live on air. It was either stop eating or middle age spread, I reckon.

Restorer Mon 06-May-13 17:50:41

I l

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 17:54:16

I think physical activity comes into play too.

Logic and common sense would dictate that if you need X calories as a fit and active 20yo, but are a bit of a couch potato in your 50's, your calorific intake should drop accordingly.

toboldlygo Mon 06-May-13 17:55:22

I can well believe it if a person is totally sedentary.

Cloverer Mon 06-May-13 17:55:25

1200 a day would be my limit if I was sedentary (I am short!). Any more than 1500 and I put weight on. I am not slim either, 5'1" and a curvy size 10.

ExcuseTypos Mon 06-May-13 17:56:24

I think that's a bit low.

I recently used MFP to log my calories and was eating about 1400 a day. I'm 8st, but only 5ft 2 so I would think anyone taller than me would need more calories.

ExcuseTypos Mon 06-May-13 17:57:32

Oh and I'm 47 and do "proper" exerciseoccasionally

I do walk the dog every day though.

Restorer Mon 06-May-13 17:58:19

I lose weight if i eat less than about 2500 calories a day. I am one of those annoying people who appears to be able to eat anything without gaining.

The reasons for this are all because of exercise. I run a lot and do some yoga and pilates , which means i am high % muscle, which burns more calories than other flesh, even when resting.

On top of that i am very active, i do some gardening everyday, walk or cycle all my everyday journeys, volunteer with cubs, you get the idea.

1200 max per day is nonsense, but may true for someone very inactive

thecatneuterer Mon 06-May-13 17:58:41

I'm 51. I probably average 1900 cals a day (but to be honest I can't remember the last time that I tried to work out the calories I eat, but I eat quite a lot) and I'm a size 6 to 8 (5'5).

I used to have to watch what I ate when I was in my 20s and early 30s and gained weight very easily, but then I took up dancing as a hobby and I haven't had to think about my weight since. So I really do believe that exercise is the answer.

Rosa Mon 06-May-13 17:59:30

when I was on 1200 - I walk everywhere plus I was doing 3 watergym classes and 3 high cardio classes a week I lost ZERO ... I was not eating enough. On 1800 - 2000 I loose very very slowly and it pisses me off.. So what I am saying is everybody is different and when you find what works for you stick to it IMO....I wish I could find what works well for me .

FairPhyllis Mon 06-May-13 18:02:56

For someone in their late 30s, they would have to be totally sedentary, well under 5 feet tall and quite slight for this to be true, I think.

I'd say that is only realistic for someone a good 20-30 years older who also doesn't do any exercise. And it will be affected by height.

FairPhyllis Mon 06-May-13 18:05:59

Plus it sounds as though her concept of 'slim' is not terribly healthy if it is based on some people who sound like they have eating disorders ...

specialsubject Mon 06-May-13 18:06:31

if the woman was very short and sat on her arse all day.

if she gets off her arse and moves around, and is over 5 foot tall, then she needs more.

food issues, stick thin things etc - all abnormal.

SquinkiesRule Mon 06-May-13 18:10:27

1200 would keep my weight on if I were bed bound.
I'm 51 and 4' 11" I ate 1200 cal (with occasional cheating) plus exercise and was loosing 1-2lbs a week. This was last Autumn and Winter.
Now I've stopped counting but eat way more as I still exercise. Some weeks I still loose a pound but I'm trying not too.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 06-May-13 18:13:18

I think everyone is different! I am a size 8-10 and probably rarely eat more than 1400 calories a day to maintain my weight- but this has been the case for many years.

crashdoll Mon 06-May-13 18:13:33

I'm 25 with a fucked up metabolism thanks to years of anorexia, then bulimia and a mobility disability, I lose about 0.5kg per month on 1200 calories. It's a right bastard. sad

DottyboutDots Mon 06-May-13 18:19:16

We are both active. She thinks that active people need to eat net 1200cals a day or they'll get fat. I just can't believe that maybe I've got my head in the clouds.

For eg, I think her, incidentally, rather lovely mother can't eat anymore (very fit, works and plays golf) because she's spent decades eating so little.

ExcuseTypos Mon 06-May-13 18:23:33

Your friend really can't say "all people have to eat 1200 calories to stay slim"

She's basing her "evidence" on such a small group.

Just smile and nod at her.

DupontetDupond Mon 06-May-13 19:39:03

You need to work out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is an estimate of how many calories you use if you just sleep & then sit on your bahookey all day - you can adjust it for exercise


VivaLeBeaver Mon 06-May-13 19:43:42

Exercise is definitely the key.

Normally on holiday I put on weight. Last year I had a week in London where I stuffed myself silly all week but also walked/tubed everywhere. My feet were killing me all week. I didn't put on any weight even with all the food and drink.

Normally I drive everywhere and struggle to maintain. I really need to move to London.

ToomuchIsBackOnBootcamp Mon 06-May-13 19:49:53

I low carb. Heaps and heaps of lovely delicious food, never need to count calories or worry. Lost 20lbs initially and now happily have maintained for 5 months at a healthy BMI weight and a size 12 for being 5'8" with a large frame. Come and join us on the LC bootcamp threads, we are definitely NOT a gastronomic desert!!

BinksToEnlightenment Mon 06-May-13 19:55:10

Yabu. People are designed to be calorie efficient and store the excess. Two thousand or even fifteen hundred is too much for a great deal of people. Clearly.

lljkk Mon 06-May-13 19:59:20

My BMR is 1300 kcal/day, on Dupont's link. I imagine it'd be less if I were shorter.
Goes down to 1220 kcal/day if I were 5'4".

So with rounding & counting fudging errors, 1200 easily possible.

thenightsky Mon 06-May-13 20:00:03

I was gaining weight on 1,500 a day whilst doing bloody marathon training!!! That's when I realised exercise has very little effect.

I threw away the calorie counting books 4 months ago and stuck with low carbing instead (thanks to MN threads) and have lost 2 stone with barely a stroke of exercise.

This is the truth.

After decades of bloody calorie counting and depriving myself, I have finally, at the age 53, sussed out how to be slim, with glowing skin and loads of energy.

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