another weight loss question
February 8, 2013 9:36 AM Subscribe
In which I ask questions about optimizing minor weight loss (and maintaining weight loss); Very low calorie diets and exercise; Set points and starvation; Am I doin it rong?
800 calories is easy and sustainable for me (lots of raw vegetable-heavy salads and brothy soups, though not as much beer as I would like, sadly). Yes, I weigh everything on a scale and count everything—everything—I put in my mouth. I'm not grouchy or tired or obsessing, so I figure it's enough for my body to run on...right?
I am 5'2". Female. I have a fairly sturdy build and look/feel best around 115lbs. If I eat "normally", without thinking too much about it, my body seems to stick tenaciously to about 125. What with the holidays and some winter cocooning, I weigh 130 right now. I tend to eat very clean, mostly lean protein and colorful vegetables, with the occasional but not frequent meal that includes grain, legumes, or dairy. Paleo-ish, I guess. I mostly cook for myself.
I absolutely cannot lose weight without cutting to 800 calories a day. This is well below the "OMG NEVER GO BELOW" threshold, usually 1200, that people talk about. Is this a problem? At 800 calories a day, I see steady, slow loss right around two pounds a week, so that seems right. But am I hurting myself in the long run? I don't understand the science of metabolism and weight loss; it seems like it changes all the time. Can you explain to me why my caloric needs seem to be so low, and if it's a problem? If it's because my metabolism is slowed down, how do I speed it back up?
Other relevant info and questions:
If I'm not counting, I'd estimate that I "naturally" eat about 1500 calories a day. This is what keeps me around 125. If I want to maintain at 115, obviously I'd have to eat less...right?
I sit at a desk all day but am training for a May marathon (currently running about 25 miles per week, that will go up) and do at least three 90-minute bikram yoga classes each week. So far I haven't adjusted my intake for training, since I feel strong and am not having any bad workouts. I'm worried, though, about how I do this once I reach my goal weight and don't want to lose any more—last summer, when I was training for an olympic-distance triathlon and a half, I couldn't seem to find the right balance and would eat too much, then too little. It's especially hard because the weight falls as the training ramps up and your caloric needs seem to be pulled in two opposing directions. What is a sane approach to doing this?
I know this works for me, but I still feel like I'm doing it wrong. My friends express horror and concern at the numbers. Everyone else seems to be able to lose weight on several hundred more calories and several fewer hours of exercise than I seem to need. I guess I'm slightly bitter about it, but also, does this indicate that something really is wrong that should be fixed?
posted by peachfuzz to health & fitness (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite