Possibly under eating


Hi everyone I’m turnining to you for advice regarding my calories and macro calculations. I been reading lots for previous posts and I’m starting to think that I’m probably not eating enough. I haven’t stalled weight loss but it terrify me. So basically I’m 51 years old. I’m 5 foot tall and my current weight is 139 lbs. Since beginning of February I have restarted keto(again!!!) my heaviest my weight was 165 lbs so I have lost 26 lbs. I did achieve this with ketogenic diet bellow 15 total carbs and intermittent fasting with couple of longer fast. Now to my macros. Carb manager suggested 1218 calories, carbs 15.22g, fat 94.7, protein 76g.
I am now trying desperately to eat up to the allowance though some times I did bellow that.
Could you kind people advise me if this sounds fine. I like walking and don’t add more calories if I walk. Thank you all in advance.


The difficulty is that our energy need is quite individual, it’s impossible to calculate from your stats and activity level. Of course, there is some vague idea so if you are very very far from it, it may be wrong.
I only trust the guesstimation I got from my own fat-loss and fat-gain - but I gain and lose according to calories, other things don’t seem to matter much so it’s easy for me…

1200 kcal is super low but indeed, some smaller women without much activity and muscle mass may be fine with that little when losing fat… May not if their metabolism is quicher than expected from their stats…
But it’s really low and you say you don’t even eat that sometimes? Sounds little to me.

How do you feel? What is your fat-loss speed? They may help but even if they seem fine, you may eat too little. Sadly there are no clear signs. (Except if one is like me. If I eat too little, you can bet my body will complain! I can’t undereat for more than 2-3 days and even that is very rare and needs some special diet rules and a lot of other things.)

So… I don’t know but below 1200 kcal definitely seems risky even for a smaller one like you are.
I am 5’4" and I never could eat 1500 kcal for days, when I was your weight, I managed to eat super little, only 1800 a day and my fat-loss was fine. It’s not true for everyone, sure, it’s just an example and yes, I lost fat slowly but I couldn’t function well with a big deficit due to my small energy need (about 2000kcal, apparently). I was… 40 years old? Around there.
So I can imagine you need less but maybe not THAT little. Anyway, it must be harder to get all the necessary nutrients eating very little. You are doing keto so you have better chances, at least :wink:
With your small numbers you should want some cute, slowish, safe fat-loss.

Good luck!

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #3

The advice from researchers such as Dr. Phinney and Dr. Westman is that we should keep carb intake low, preferably under 20 g/day, and then eat to satiety. “Satiety” comes from the Latin satis, which means “enough.” So eat to satisfy your hunger. Without the carbs pushing up our insulin, the appetite hormones should work properly again.

People with working appetite hormones who have excess fat to shed usually find themselves eating less quite naturally, since their body is using excess stored fat as a calorie supply. However, the less extra fat we have to use up, the more our body will want us to eat, and this is how it is supposed to work.

Some people with really low metabolisms from frequent calorie restriction don’t eat enough, even when eating to satiety. It is possible to do something called “reverse dieting” to bring up the metabolic rate to a more normal level. (Search the forums on “reverse dieting” for more information.)

The gist of it all is that keeping carb intake low is the key, not cutting calories.


@Shinita thank you for your advice. I think it’s years of yo yo dieting that is causing me not to trust/ listen to my body. My carbs are really quite low and come from eggs and heavy cream( if I have it) I also will have a portion of leaf salad, radishes and some days either cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli or zucchini. I don’t have any sugar or sugar alternatives. If you advise I will try to cut the carbs from vegetables. I will try to increase listen to my body more. I’m worried that I won’t know the difference between satiated and stuffed. My glucose is between 4-5.5 mmols that’s even after eating. I’m hoping that I can try this with success. I will read past post as well regarding reversing dieting. I was always quite fit and then in my 40 s I started gaining. Started seriously yo yo dieting about 5 years ago. Thank you both.

(Marianne) #5

Like most of us here, we suffered through years of yo-yo dieting only because we didn’t know any other way. Probably combined that with exercise, too, as another way to purge calories and speed up the weight loss.

I know it’s hard, but try to relax about your new way of eating and trust that you are doing right by your body, metabolism and health. It will respond but that will be in its own time. If you can, just keep the carbs under 20, eat, do the things you love and allow your body some time to acclimate and stabilize - and trust that you are going to feed it well and regularly. My feeling is that once your body realizes that this may actually be your “permanent” new way of eating, it will let go of some of the stubborn pounds you want to drop. In the meantime, try not to fret. It took years to get here yet many of us want to get to our goal weight in a relatively short period of time, comparatively. I wouldn’t measure your glucose levels or weigh yourself often. Those things can vary significantly and mess with your head. Eat, enjoy and feel good about what you are doing for yourself.


Oh no, if you like your vegs and they work for you, that’s fine. I am better without them and yes, they contains various problematic things but some people are thriving eating plenty of them and some even feel much better on mere keto than on carnivore. Your actual ideal diet is something only you can figure out!

Eating less carbs probably wouldn’t help with your energy intake anyway… Though I don’t know if it’s hard for you to eat more… If I raise my carb intake, usually I eat more but there are other factors too, obviously. Still, carbs help eating more for many of us. If you need that…

(Robin) #7

I would say it the other way round… years of yo yo dieting makes our bodies not trust us!
So… eat up, lady! Just make it the right food and go for it!

(KM) #8

I would also say that if I understand what you’re saying, you’ve been losing nearly 3 pounds a week so far. That is a really fast weight loss for someone your (our) size! Usually this kind of loss means a significant calorie deficit, which the body starts to find threatening after a while. I know it’s awesome to just be on the right track and see the number go down week after week, but at some point a “stall” might happen, and being prepared and accepting of that might be better for your mental health than fearing it, if you can get there. :slightly_smiling_face:


Hello everyone thank you for your kind recommendations. @PaulL recommended listening to dr Paradip Jamnadas about fasting and feasting and that’s what I’m currently doing. I think if I was eating two meals a day I would managed the macros recommended by carb manager as I do today but it’s still just under 13000. So to increase my calories today I will have some butter in my evening tea as that’s the only macro that I can add to. That will make my calorific intake to just under 13000 as set by carb manager. I don’t know if it’s enough but it’s an improvement for me.


If you mean you met your protein target… No, you totally can eat more protein than 76g… Even if we have some target, it should be a range or something, not a fixed number. For example, my protein target is 130g but if I am hungry after 150g, I eat some proper food, not just fat - unless I specifically crave fat. As fat doesn’t satiate me alone but I usually want food, not just butter anyway. (I saying this while drinking coffee with cream after my elongated OMAD but I got bored of my normal food).
By the way, I as a short middle-aged female with moderate activity, shouldn’t even need 130g (and my average is way higher despite all my efforts), my old vague target was lower. But I simply failed it each and every day and accepted that my individual body refuses to get satiated below 130g. (Sometimes it happens on OMAD though.)
So if you want more protein, eat more protein. 76g sounds a nice amount already but it won’t be overly much if you eat a bit more.


Thank you Shinita but do you need to loose weight or you are At maintenance? I suppose I’ll just have to experiment and see what works.


I need to lose plenty of fat, I am 78kg/172lbs now. 5’4" and not much muscle and my belly was quite fat even when I was 62kg… I hopefully gained some muscle since then though. I was 75kg in 2022 and 2023 but then I managed to suddenly gain some and it’s odd as it’s not how my body normally works, I typically just stall all the time, no matter my efforts or lack of them. I was 69kg before a stress gain, for very many years. I want to go back to that first. It was so easy to reach that before keto, on low-carb… I easily ate 2000 kcal on most days and it happened. I got older or lost my early enthusiasm or whatever but it doesn’t happen now.

But I never had a reason to worry about eating too little so there is that :wink:


Thank you for sharing I know it was bit personal question to ask.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #14

You’ll figure it out. I have confidence in you.

And here are some thoughts from Marianne that I couldn’t have expressed better:


Thank you to everyone who responded and for your excellent advice and encouragement with it. I will continue and listen to my body.

(KCKO, KCFO) #16

Listen to your body, not your mind’s brain farts.

You can do this.


Since Febuary? It sounds like you are a super responder. Combined with IF and extended-day fasting, I think you are right that you are undereating. I would eliminate the extended-day fasts and cut back on the IF. You are essentially starving yourself to lose the most weight (fat and muscle) possible in the shortest time possible. More than likely, you have lost some muscle mass as well because you cannot maintain your protein intake when doing extended-day fasting. I would be doing longer and faster-paced walks. You also do not have a lot of weight to lose compared to many others. It is harder to maintain or increase muscle mass as we get older. I would only do extended-day fasting if I was morbidly obese or if I had a health issue that has been shown to improve by doing extended-day fasts. For me currently, the benefits of extended-day fasting are not worth the risks for me (over 50).

“The natural cycle of life. feast and fast. Not constant dieting. This allows for cell growth during eating and cellular cleansing during fasting - balance. Life is all about balance.” Dr. Jason Fung

Keep in mind Fung personally does not do extened day fasts.


Thank you @ffskier and apologies for late reply. I have now stopped doing extended fasts and only to intermittent. I feel as if I had a feast this evening meal. I made two duck legs and had almost all of it including crispy skin. All home made so real food. I feel as it really opened up my appetite. I also had good amount of full fat Greek yogurt. I been struggling a bit for the past few days as I’m still waiting for my tongue to be reviewed by oral surgery. I’m trying to keep occupied. I’m meeting my friends tomorrow for a coffee. I think I will find socialising difficult. This will be first time in months I’m going out. Nevertheless what will be will be. I always been quite active and walking good amounts though past week I must admit I was feeling weak.

(Robin) #19

You’re doing good. Hang in there…
You got this!