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Reflections on 2200 vs. 2500 (or, How many calories should I eat?)

It's been about a month now since I switched from eating no more than 2500 calories a day to eating no more than 2200 calories a day. During this time I have also been fairly active, going to the Y (especially for lifting weights 3x/week, but also for some cardio on "off days") and playing sports, including fun weekly full-court basketball, which I hadn't been doing before. And I'm not eating sweets, as opposed to having had limited sweets in my 2500 days.

I've lost about one pound a week during this time -- a total of four pounds.

And I've been hungry many times, in particular I've gone to bed hungry many times, feeling that for the first time since I began all of this I've been on "a diet".

I'm really wondering what my weight loss would have been had I stayed with 2500 calories a day. The math of weight loss tells me that, since losing a pound of fat means a reduction/expenditure of an extra 3500 calories, my 300 calories/day reduction should translate into an extra 0.6 lb/week, or 2.5 pounds in four weeks. That said, I wouldn't have been surprised to lose four pounds in four weeks with 2500 calories/day plus the exercise I've been doing.

(Perhaps I've gained some muscle mass with the weight lifting I've been doing, which would affect these numbers some of course. I continue to get stronger as I continue to lift weights.)

In other words, I'm wondering if 2500/day was my personal "sweet spot" -- no hunger with fairly steady weight loss, especially with plenty of exercise. Perhaps 2200/day is too little for me, especially with the regular weight lifting I'm doing, causing me to be hungry often and causing my metabolism to slow down, thus causing my weight loss to in effect slow down as well, to what it would have been more or less had I stuck with 2500.

I'll stick with the promised 2200 and get down to 185 and then relax a bit. But I'm developing a hypothesis that many dieters, especially those who are exercising, aren't eating enough when they start eating 1800 calories/day or less (for males, I realize women's numbers are different). Perhaps maybe they'd be better off not cutting down quite so much, to instead find their own personal "sweet spot", a number definitely higher than their Basal Metabolism?

If you're going to make a promise to limit calories, be careful you don't promise too low!!

(Perhaps I should mention that I'm 37 years old, 6'1", currently weigh 201 pounds (BMI 26.5), and have pretty much been lifting weights for a year and a half (although I still have a lot of upper-body strength to build. :). Shorter, taller, stronger, weaker, older, younger, lighter, and/or heavier people (especially female) would have different caloric "sweet spots", and most likely these sweet spots would shift downward over time anyway as one loses weight.)


 

 

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