Comment & Answer time

by Christine on October 20th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery

The other day I received this comment from blogger Mish. Here is her comment to me, along with my response. The only reason why I call this particular comment out is because I often receive comments about the low number of calories I eat per day. I wanted not only to address Mish’s concern, but to share the response with all of you, too.

> Mish wrote:
> I came to your blog through your Exposed link. I have to say that I am a bit saddened by your calorie counting regime. I don’t know how or if I could function on eating as little calories as your doing. I realise that you’re on a mission to lose weight and you’ve had GBS. I appreciate all that you’ve accomplished, but having a healthy relationship with food, enjoying it, and honoring your bodies caloric intake is vital. I really hope that you’re taking care of yourself, because you’ve got me incredibly worried.

My response was this:

Hi Mish!
Thank you very much for visiting my blog and for commenting on my “exposed” post! I appreciate the support!

I wanted to write and address your concern about my calorie levels. I know you are new to my blog, so you probably haven’t read all the backstory involved with my weight loss journey. As you probably read, I eat about 800 calories a day on average.  I also got the gastric banding surgery a year and a half ago.

I really started gaining weight in 2001 (through 2009). The gain was slow and steady, and I did everything that I could to prevent the weight gain. I saw numerous doctors and nutritionists and followed plan after plan. I went to the gym 2 times a day, 6 days a week; I had personal trainers, gym “buddies,” etc. Most of these medical professionals followed some kind of standardized weight loss chart; they just looked on their wall or wheel-of-numbers to magically determine that I need 1500-1700 calories per day to maintain my weight at my activity level. However, when I followed this diet plan–even meticulously eating healthy, balanced meals…NO cheating at all…but 1500-1700 calories per day–I gained weight even faster than before. Another doctor recommended that I try eating 1200 calories a day–again, another pigeon-holed number not based on ME and MY BODY, but on some standardized number that “most women” might fall within.  Again, I gained weight, albiet a little slower.

What I discovered with gastric banding surgery is that my “calorie setpoint” (my term I’ve coined) is really 1000 calories; that’s the amount of calories that my body seems to need to maintain its current weight. I believe this number is lower than most people because I am hypothyroid, overweight genetics on both sides of the family, as well as after-effects from a recent health concern (lyme disease, malaria, and mono all at once). If 1000 calories is where my body maintains its weight, then 800 calories has allowed me to lose weight very slowly but consistently, approximately 1-2 pounds per week for the last 1.5 years. So far I’ve lost 95 pounds.  800 calories per day still allows me to have energy, be healthy, and maintain an active lifestyle.

I would also like to add that my General Physician as well as my bariatric surgeon are aware of how much I eat and have approved of this number. It is safe to say that this is a medically-approved number for me.

All that being said, I don’t believe that anyone losing weight should follow my lead and eat 800 calories a day. On the contrary; I’m adamant that every person has their own unique “calorie setpoint:” that amount of calories needed to maintain their weight. Following standardized medical charts, USDA recommendations, BMR/RMR calculators….might work for some people, but none of those things take in account your metabolism, genetics, and underlying medical issues. Consequently, I believe this number is different for everyone. In order to lose weight, people need to find what their unique calorie setpoint is; then, to lose weight, drop the calories consumed by 10-15%.  I would never advocate that someone eat 800 calories; I’ve never said that on my blog or encouraged someone to eat an unhealthy amount of calories. Instead, I advocate finding your own calorie setpoint and going from there.

You said, “I don’t know how or if I could function on eating as little calories as your doing.” I agree–many people couldn’t and shouldn’t follow a diet with so few calories. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not appropriate for me.

I hope that explains a little bit about why I eat fewer calories than most people. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! I appreciate the concern and was touched that you took the time to write.

By the way, I looked at your website and I was very impressed with your own weight loss journey. Congrats on losing all your weight!!


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  • Shane G.

    And Christine and Mish give us the perfect example of how adults communicate.

  • Claynlesia

    yep I got the same concern with my eating. smile.