I see a lot of posts by very active people (women) eating less than 1600 calories per day, and I am at a loss to understand it.
I am 5'7, and when I was at my most active and weighed 130 lbs, if I tried to eat less than 1800 calories a day, I felt like I would die from starvation and I lost weight like crazy.
15 years later, I am about 150 lbs and not very active (right now) at all. I am still eating over 2000 calories and not losing, not gaining.
I don't get how any active female can be alive and functioning eating less than 2000 calories??
When i first went paleo, i was 6' and about 228 lbs. the paleo diet decreased my appetite and i was eating about 1200-1400 calories a day. I lost about 20 pounds but then plateaued.
I have a sedentary job and at the time was running about 12-14 miles per week. I counted the calories pretty carefully using fitday.com.
If i ate 1800-2000 calories per day i would gain weight. I have never understood people that say they can easily eat 2000 calories per day without gaining weight, that just would never work for me.
Even if I'm pure paleo, if I eat more than 1500 cals I gain weight. 1500 and 1400 and I stay the same. I'm insanely jealous of anyone who can eat that many calories and not gain weight. I love food.
If your digestion/gut flora are golden, you will need fewer calories than someone who has impaired digestion, simply because you will be absorbing more.
If you eat nutrient dense foods like liver, organ meats & seafood, you may need fewer calories.
I need to eat a lot of calories too, and actually, the leaner a person is, the more calories they need. This reasons are manifold, but there are two primary ones. First, muscle burns more energy than fat, so the leaner you are, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be. This means that if you're a young (wo)man who is skinny-fat and 150lbs with 25% bodyfat, your BRM will be lower than your twin who is also 150lbs, but only 7% body fat. Additionally, the leaner you are, the more calories you need to consume to do work. This is because you have little reserve energy (adipose tissue), so you must get your energy endogenously in order to keep moving if you do not want to start breaking down your internal organs and muscle for energy. So, long story short, it's a misconception that the bigger you are, the more calories you need. The truth is the LEANER you are and the less stored energy you have (body fat) the more calories you need, ceteris paribus.
Anecdotally, I have a few friends who are out of shape and not obese, but definitely fat. They literally all eat like birds. Literally they'll get up, drink coffee until noon, and then eat like a cobb salad or a club sandwich at lunch. Wait till dinner, and have something like steak frites or another salad. If I ate that little I'd literally waste away and get skinny fat, which is the last thing I want.
I've been thinking about this a lot, and decided to post this as an answer, since I couldn't figure out where in the comments to leave it.
I think I fidget a lot. All the time. I am always moving. Even when I am falling asleep, one arm is petting the dog. In fact, since starting chemo, it has slowed me down to the point where I can actually sit through a movie, or just sit and relax and not feel the need to move, which is kinda nice :-)
So maybe that's where all the extra calories go, and why I need to eat so much? Anyone else a fidgeter?
I eat 1600 a day as a 5'1 female. I also eat 65% of my calories from fat. I feel great! Seriously, uts the fat (and no starchy carbs or sugar).
When I start exercising again (unlucky foot injury) I will naturally up my calories as my body demands.
When I did regular western diet I'd gain weight over 1800 calories.
eating one meal a day on a regular basis allows you to consume much-much less calories overall than what is required by medical CW: with usual meal frequency most of the energy derived from digestion is spent on... digestion itself...
People are really good at self-mediated suffering. . . . I need 3,000-3,400 cals/day in order to maintain my weight and run around lean, but there were points during my first year at university in which I didn't get any food for over a day at a time. Sucks, but individuals will do whatever they feel is necessary in order to drop fat.
Female, 5'5", 120lbs, 3:23 marathon runner (approx. 50 miles per week) plus an active lifestyle, eating 2000 calories a day for the past three years. I lost weight in the first six months (was an inactive SAD eater of 140lbs before) but have maintained ~120lbs with no hunger pains or feelings of weakness!
Just my stats for comparison!
Heyo, I'm shorter than you, weigh less, and eat the same amount of calories when I am tracking with HONESTY (not forgetting to put in butter, snacks etc) even though I don't track anymore. Metabolism and activity level are going to vary wildly between people, even down to what time you are eating in the context of the day or the month (I eat like nothing when I'm ovulating, opposite when I'm menstruating). It sounds like you are in a good place of weight maintenance, keep it up and worry about yourself before others!