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Requesting feedback on daily calorie target


jeyoor
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Hello,
 
First and foremost *thank you* for creating and contributing to the amazing resources here.
 
I recently increased my daily calorie target from around 1450 kcal to 1600 kcal.
I am looking for feedback.
 
See below for some additional details:
 
Age bracket: 28-33
Height: 170 cm , just under 5 ft 7 in
Weight: 114 lbs / 51.8 kg
BMI: 17.9
Ancestry: Half South Indian and half North American Caucasian
Diet: Vegan plus calorie restriction
Daily calorie target: 1600 kcal
Daily protein target: 55g
Daily net carbs minimum target: 185g
Current body fat from skinfold calipers: ~7%
Cronometer Basal Metabolic Rate = 1431 kcal
Cronometer Activity Level = Sedentary (BMR * 0.2)
Cronometer Total Energy Burned (TDEE) = 1717 kcal  + Exercise
NOTE: I currently am not sure if my TDEE is accurate... I feel like this could move me from sedentary to lightly active.
 
 
 
Common daily diet:
  • Three or more cups of leafy green vegetables
  • Half cup or more of fruit
  • One or more cups of other vegetables
  • One - two cups of black or pinto beans
  • Tablespoon of flax seed
  • One - three cups of oatmeal, rice, or barley
  • B12 supplement (500 mcg)
  • Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D supplement
 
Weekly exercise:
  • Jog about 2 - 3 mi two or three times per week
  • Stretches / yoga four times per week
  • Twelve pushups twice a week
 
I have purchased and read The Longevity Diet book by Brian Delaney and Lisa Walford.
I started tracking calorie restriction via Cronometer around Dec 19.
I weighed approx 123 lbs / 55.8 kg
At this point I'm around 114 lbs / 51.8 kg
 
My main question is, "What is an appropriate number of calories for me to eat daily to stay at a reasonable/healthy weight while still practicing calorie restriction and improving longevity?"
 
I respect the fact that there is no easy/straightforward answer.
 
It sounds like there may be a tradeoff with osteoporosis and other low body weight risks starting to express themselves below BMI of 15 or so.
It seems like carrying a BMI above 21 starts to increase risk of aging, metabolic disease, etc.
 
UPDATE: Found this helpful thread with a recent post of a Dr. Greger video from Dean Pomerleau

Looks like there's quite a bit more for me to study and learn. I may need to update the paragraph below accordingly.
I am now considering the possibility that my calorie target / weight target is too low.

 
My instinct at this point is to attempt to keep my BMI between 16 and 18 and daily calorie intake around 1600 for about six months (or until mid to late June 2022) and then request bloodwork and labs to see if my biomarkers are indicating successful calorie restriction.
 
I welcome your feedback.
 
Thank you,
Jeyan
Edited by jeyoor
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Jeyan, I would try and keep a higher BMI, in the range of 18-20, that's closer to the optimal values we've discussed so many times in this forum. Your diet is very healthy, I assume you check all micronutrients in cronometer. I'd also do some more pushups , dips and pullups, increasing a little the caloric intake. LAst, I'd suggest a reading of Luigi Fontana's book, the path to longevity

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@mccoy, thank you for your feedback. I am checking Cronometer micronutrients regularly and appreciate your recommendation to continue to do so. I also appreciate your recommendations on a higher BMI, additional exercises, and increased BMI/caloric intake. I am excited to hear about The Path to Longevity by Luigi Fontana and look forward to reading it once I have the opportunity. All the best to you in your health and life.

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I would like to share some updates.

First, I have been getting a lot out of The Path to Longevity recommended by mccoy. (Thanks again for the recommendation. I am deeply impressed by the breadth and research rigor of the book.)

Second, increasing my daily kcal target to 1600 definitely slowed the weight loss I was experiencing but did not halt it. I am planning to increase my daily target to 1650 for this week and re-evaluate.

My current plan is to keep nudging my daily kcal target up until I get my BMI back up above 18 and then hold for a while and re-evaluate.

All the best to you all on your longevity/health/wellness adventures.

Edited by jeyoor
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  • 2 weeks later...
Update: weighed in with weight gain of 0.8 kg and around BMI of 18.1
 
Planning to keep daily calorie intake at 1650 kcal per day and see what happens next.
 
Also ordered a food scale to help fine-tune amount of food consumption beyond just using volume-based containers (e.g. 1 and 0.5 cup measures)
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Food scale has been great for fine-tailoring what I'm eating.

Weighed myself a few days in a row and BMI is back under 18

Hypothesizing that the weight increase was water-consumption related.

I am increasing my daily kcal target up to 1700 since I'd like to ideally be solidly fluctuating in the 18 - 19 BMI range.

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I would increase up to 2000 kcals and more, wait as long as it takes to reach your target BMI, then when your bodyweight goes over the desired threshold I'd start to decrease and adjust until the target bodyweight has settled.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/19/2022 at 7:17 PM, Clinton said:

It’s going to be extremely difficult to bb bench press 225lbs at that bmi…

@Clinton, thank you for the feedback. I'll be careful to start with less weight on the barbell bench press and work my way up.

Increased kcal target up to 2000 per day on Feb 27, but weight still isn't increasing as I'd hoped.

May have to start eating more nuts and bumping kcal target even higher to get back to my desired BMI range.

 

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On 3/2/2022 at 4:47 PM, jeyoor said:

May have to start eating more nuts and bumping kcal target even higher to get back to my desired BMI range.

If you've been years in a very low BMI state, it may require pretty long to switch to an anabolic mode, patience is required.

Also, muscular hypotrophy should be reversed and the best strategy is to engage in a very progressive program of resistance exercise, very few basic exercises involving large muscle groups, like horizontal bench press, dips and pull ups , rowing movements and don't let's forget barbell squats. Luigi Fontana in his book gives an example of hypertrophy schedule.

Starting with very low weights and increasing slowly together with the increase in muscle mass. Too much aerobic exercise can burn too many calories and jeopardize muscle growth.

Clinton is a master of muscle hypertrophy and strength and can sure give better suggestion than I in this regard

Edited by mccoy
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

@mccoy thank you for the feedback and recommendations.

I haven't been low BMI for very long.

I increased kcal target to 2300 kcal per day and I'm up to 17.7 BMI now.

Dialing kcal target down to 2100 kcal per day looking for a set point.

I have been doing calisthenics based on Luigi's exercises and seeing results; thanks again for recommending The Path to Longevity.

Edited by jeyoor
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  • 2 weeks later...

Update here: looks like there's a balancing point at my current activity level somewhere between 2100 kcal / day and 2300 kcal / day

Currently have daily kcal target at 2150 kcal / day and intending to gradually increase until I hit weight maintenance/balance.

I am interested to hear from others: have you found an exact kcal "set point" that reliably maintains weight or do you find weight gently fluctuating up and down?

I am seeing fluctuations of about +1 / -1 kg that seem tied to kcal targets in a 200-300 kcal range.

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14 minutes ago, jeyoor said:

I am seeing fluctuations of about +1 / -1 kg that seem tied to kcal targets in a 200-300 kcal range.

Such fluctuations seem to be within the limits of the physiological variability of bodyweight, due to the variability in bodily fluids, excretion, unexcreted food and so on

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On 4/2/2022 at 1:27 PM, mccoy said:

Such fluctuations seem to be within the limits of the physiological variability of bodyweight, due to the variability in bodily fluids, excretion, unexcreted food and so on

Thank you for the feedback. Hydration seems to be a major portion of the fluctuation. I am intrigued by this.

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