By - msmurasaki
If you are 190 lbs and 174cm (5'8.5), you should probably be eating more than 1200 calories, even before exercise. And with exercise, I would recommend either eating back a percentage of your calories burned via exercise (ex: 50%) or raising your overall calorie target to account for your activity level.
Try calculating your TDEE [here](https://tdeecalculator.net/) and see what a says. A reasonable deficit to start with would be 500 calories below your TDEE.
The issue with the 1200 is that I don't have much to go on if I want a deficit. But just to be safe and keep my sanity, I've put it into a range of 1200-1400 so that I am allowed to vary in that range.
I've tried a bunch of calculators. With the one you gave me I got 1,781 calories per day as my TDEE. So even by removing 500 I'm back to the 1200 range at 1281.
I thought maybe it got skewed because my bodyfat could be wrong (The scale just tells me what it is). But I just measured right now and it's the same, so I *think* the results should be accurate.
That being said I [used this instead so that I get an average](https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/). Which gave me a general average of about 1850 TDEE, putting me at 1350 if I want a 500 deficit, which is probably healthier.
We have very similar stats! I am 34F, 5’8”, started about 197. And now I’m at 167. I just realized that’s 30 pounds down!
Anyway, I’m doing Noom for CICO and it starts off my day with a calorie budget of 1350. Then as I get steps in, it goes up. On a day I barely walk, like yesterday (under 2K steps) my total budget is around 1400. But on a day I walk a lot, and maybe do additional exercise like a run or snowboarding, I am more like 1600-1700 or more. I’d say average I probably eat about 1500/day. Note: Noom gives you back half of the calories you burn in exercise.
So this is all to say, I’ve lost 30 pounds in just over 3 months (started late Jan) with eating generally about 1500/day, and not really doing a huge amount of exercise. Some days I’ve gone way over calories, like yesterday I was certainly over 2K (takeout). For you, starting at 1200 and not adding in any calories due to exercise sounds like a recipe for extreme hunger to me. Do it sustainably and you’ll be much happier and more successful in the long run IMO! Just thought our similar stats might help you :)
Thank you for your advice! It was insightful and gives me a better perspective/understanding. Seeing your comments and a lot of other people I am realising that I need to start a bit more gently and realistically instead of idealistic and crazy lol.
Yes! And ultimately the last thing you want is to do it in an unsustainable way that you can’t keep up. I honestly don’t see myself ever eating the way I used to now. I was overeating and my stomach always hurt from all the grease and junk. Now I feel great, full, tons of energy etc., and nothing I’m doing is drastic. Just lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains, and of course fats and sweets and oils in moderation!
How old are you?
33 female, and bodyfat is 40 :'(
I would suggest leaving the body fat percentage field blank, and going off that TDEE instead. And then also either eat back 50% of your calories burned via exercise OR set your activity level to lightly active.
Ah ok, thanks! Maybe that's what's setting it off so crazy
Don’t subtract exercise calories, it’s notoriously inaccurate.
generally, it’s accepted that 1200 is the lower limit for short sedentary females. if you’re active/tall/etc, you should be eating more than that :) I’d recommend looking online for calculators, they’re helpful for finding a daily recommended intake !
thanks for the reply! I am a tall sedentary female (think reaaaally sedentary). According to all these calculators I apparently need to eat in the 1200-1400 range if I want to lose 0.5 kilos (1.1 lb) a week. So I thought I would eat in that range.
I do plan to start working out though, I got one of those stationary bikes. However, that's where my confusion lies.
Because it says online that if you EAT less than 1000-1200 calories you don't get enough nutrition for normal bodily function. But since I am technically still EATING those 1000+ calories, I assume I would be getting enough nutrients and vitamins and all that? Even if the "exercise" might put my calories down?
I dunno. I was hoping I could avoid logging down all my biking exercise and just jump on it here and there. But if it literally reducing and using up the calories I eat to the point of me being undernourished, I guess I would then have to increase the calories to stay in the range and be healthy.
I am 5'8 F, 180 lbs and work out on my stationary bike for 75- 80 minutes a day (40 km).
Additionally to that I walk 10000 steps a day and eat 1300-1350 kcal a day and I am still constantly losing weight and have no nutrional deficits (except I take Vitamin B12, because I eat almost no meat).
I lost 60 lbs in a year, with the workout constantly getting a bit more. In the beginning I only worked out 3 days a week for 20 minutes)
Got my bloodwork done a month ago and it looked great.
So I don't think that working out will put you in a nutritional deficit, because you are still eating enough.
To be really sure I would advise some bloodwork half a year and listening to your body (if you feel tired, eat a little more).
Ah okay! I am 86kgs (190 lbs) and around 174cm (5'7?) F so that's kinda cool to have someone on the same level talk about it.
Holy shit though, that's super impressive, but also very reassuring that you can work out so much while not having nutritional deficits.
Though wow, if I've guessed correctly, 80minutes of cycling is like 800 calories, plus no idea how much the walking would be, but that sounds like a lot too. It sounds like your calories are basically at zero???? Which I guess makes sense if all the reserves are being used for the exercise and the rest of the food is used for living or something lol.
But if it's working out so great for you, then I guess I should take that other person's advice and not micromanage too much.
And thanks for your advice, I'll try it out for a few weeks and see how it works out. :)
We have almost exact the same stats :) you would be considered 5'8 though- not 5'7. I am 173.
I started with 242 lbs.
Thank you so much for the kind words!
Yeah, theoretically my Fitbit shows that I burn the same calories, as I eat a day. (The stationary bike puts me at 700 kcal for the 80 minutes, but I am also not super fast.)
The walking I don't really count, cause I have otherwise a very sedentary lifestyle. On Sundays, where I do nothing, I reach only a little over my estimated BMR :D
I lose around 2-3 kg a month- which is a good speed for me :)
I really think the most important thing is a regular bloodwork check up at your doctor and how you personally feel.
I started my journey with only 60 minutes biking a week and very slowly got the point where I am now.
So don't push yourself too hard in the beginning and never work out with sore muscles or when you don't feel like it.
All the best for you and I hope my 'advice'maybe helps a little.
Honestly, don’t sweat trying to log the calories from your bike - they are notoriously inaccurate. Start (and track) your food to get to around 1400 calories and create a workout routine. My Fitness Pal is a free and easy app to use. Track your weight by weighing yourself 1-2 week. Adjust as necessary in terms of either less calorie and/or more cardio until you start to see the drop you want. Note that it’s likely going to be a series of adjustments over time until you find what works for your body. Good luck and don’t sweat the small stuff, it’ll drive you crazy :)
Yes, the point is that you have enough nutrients coming in. Your body can handle pulling extra energy from fat stores just fine after that and, within reasonable limits, there's no need to eat exercise calories back just to get up to 1200. And if one were so active as to be beyond those "reasonable limits," then raising the TDEE setting is still more appropriate/realistic than trying to guesstimate the burn rate of individual activities.
Actually, the only references to 1200 are in blog posts and for average height females.
I personally eat “down” to 1200. If I set my calorie intake to 1500 for instance, I can do 300 cals of exercise without eating it back. But I never allow it to go below 1200.
The only time I eat back exercise calories is if I am actually hungrier that day (which isn't often for me) or when I do an endurance sport like a long day training for a half marathon or biking 30 miles or something. I feel like I need food then physically (and probably do!). I don't do those things normally though, I do 1 50 min strength class most weeks, a 20 min HIIT weightlifting workout (each once a week), and I try to get in 10000 steps a day every day from daily activity and a walk at a moderate to fast pace. I eat and drink 1100-1400 a day usually, I am a 48 year old 5'7" or 5'8" female. For endurance sports though on long training days I do need much more, 400-750 more calories sometimes. A hunger snack I do 100-250 calories usually. Good luck!
Here is a different way to think about it. How much fat do you think you carry, total? Not difference from healthy weight but actual total body fat? 30kg? There was a study done, which estimated the maximum rate of fat loss at 31 cal/day per pound of fat.
So, if you have 66 lb fat today, that would be maximum 2,046 cal/day deficit. Anything above that would be muscle loss because you have exceeded your body's ability to convert fat to energy.
The TDEE calculator says 1940 cal/day burned. So if you consume 1200, you're at a 740 deficit, in my opinion you could exercise UP TO an additional 2046-740=1306 calories per day.
I'm not suggesting you push exercise to that extreme. I'm just doing the calculation to illustrate that there is no problem in burning an extra 300 calories beyond the sedentary TDEE calculation. As others commented, you have the minimum 1200 coming in, exercise does not subtract from that.
If using the above method, you have to note that the maximum calorie deficit changes rapidly as you lose fat. You might be losing 3+ lb/wk at first, but you have to increase consumption (or reduce exercise) over time, and rate of loss slows to 2/lb week, then 1, etc.
No. 1200 is for sedentary people only