I'm trying to lose weight inside the normal BMI range. Am I eating too little?
I'm a twenty-something male who has recently started paying more attention to eating. My goal: to lose the potbelly. My problem: I'm confused about the number of calories I'm supposed to be consuming daily.
I weigh 75 kg (165 pounds) and I'm 180 cm (6 ft.) tall, so my Body Mass Index is comfortably in the range of normal. However, over the course of a few academically stressful years I have gained almost ten kilos worth of extra fat and a noticeble belly, courtesy of my family genes. I look exactly like these guys
; pretty skinny apart from the mass in the middle. Although it's not realistic to aim for the weight I had held steadily since puberty, some of this gut must go.
Estimated Basal Metabolic Rate for a guy of my size is about 1800 kcal not including calories needed for regular everyday activities. The online food diary service I'm using (and using religiously, I might add) recommends me to eat at least 2230 kcal per day. This would put me at an energy deficit of roughly 500 kcal which is pretty much the standard for sustainable weight loss, I understand.
The problem is that these figures seem pretty big to me. I have only been keeping the food diary for a few weeks but I don't think I've ever gotten as high as 2200 kcal a day. Some days I've felt completely satisfied at 1500 kcal, and I'm quite sure I'm doing my numbers right. I use a kitchen scale for my own cooking and when I have to guesstimate the amounts (such as when eating at an university cafeteria) I try to mentally round up rather than down.
So my questions are: Is it normal to feel content at 1600 to 1800 Calories per day? Should I expect uncontrollable hunger pangs to kick in eventually? Am I in starvation mode (if such a thing even exists
)? Am I harming or benefiting my weight loss in the long term by having this large a deficit? Could the recommendations simply be off in my case?
Scientific and anecdotal answers are both welcome, although the former might put my mind at ease more quickly. This mismatch between how much I feel comfortable eating and how much I'm told to eat is making me quite anxious. I don't want eating to become a stress factor for me.
Possibly relevant background info: I am a full-time university student with a pretty sedentary lifestyle, although I'm definitely picking up running again now that the spring is coming. Apart from not minding too much about saturated fat, I'm pretty much following the South Beach Diet guidelines. (Kalyn's Kitchen
is among my favourite food blogs). I'm not feeling like I'm any diet, though, but eating sensibly, watching my carb intake and preferring low GI foods.
I must note that although I have always eaten small portions, I am also susceptible to sugary cravings. My extra pounds are more likely from mindless snacking and comfort eating that portion control issues, although my memories from those awful years are hazy at best. Cutting down on carbs has helped with the sugar habit somewhat but could eating too little have an impact, too?