My diet is odd ... informed guesses plse concerning my daily calories

I'm in my early 60s. What I'd like please is guidance on my calorie intake levels and advice on how important it really is to change my diet to ensure weight loss - or whether just boosting current activity levels is likely to be sufficient.

My aim is to get back to 8 stone 12lbs (56.245 kg) in stages, I've struggled without much success to reduce from 9 stone 12lbs. I'm currently 9 stone 9lbs (61.23 kg).

My usual "diet" (over years) suits my life though I know it's not ideal (eg too much coffee and too much fat).

Breakfast is a "doorstep" of wholemeal bread with a moderate amount of marmalade (no butter or spread) plus 2 mugs of coffee (no sugar in any of my hot drinks) .

Lunch is 3 pieces of fruit (eg apple, mango half, pineapple half) plus porridge (with rounded desert spoonful of molasses) and coffee. Porridge and molasses and one piece of fruit are sometimes replaced with a banana smoothie (2 bananas in milk).

Dinner is a protein source (meat, fish, eggs, lentils or nuts) plus 2 veg and coffee. Veg may be raw, steamed or fried in vegetable oil. Meat may be stir-fried. I rarely eat potatoes, pasta or rice.

I have 2 pints full fat milk daily, mainly because I like milk and partly because I want to avoid osteoporosis.

I walk 45 minutes a day at a fairly rapid pace as a minimum. Sometimes I walk twice that far. Occasionally I walk up and down the stairs 10 - 20 times a day to top up or replace a walk but I'm wary about doing this too much for fear of damaging my knees. I belong to a weekly walking for health group (a 1 hour walk) and other walking groups that happen less often (distance covered up to 6 miles a walk).

35 Replies


    Lots of advice about calorie intake etc on this site.

    looks like your diet is pretty healthy to me. Perhaps you need to look at portion control.

    You can still get your calcium from lower fat milk for fewer calories.

    good luck

  • Thanks, I probably do need to look at portion control (sigh).

  • I agree, on the subject of milk, that calcium will be better in skimmed and semi skimmed milk. Its a fallousy that full fat is more beneficial. So, you could switch to skimmed milk for marginally greater calcium levels. You could also reduce your milk consumption and take a calcium supplement which would replace your calcium and further reduce your calorie intake. On another note, you would impact on fat content hugely by switching milk, plus as it may be less palatable, you may be less inclined to drink such a quantity. Good luck.

  • I think you meant to reply to Alsoconfused rather than me on this?

  • Yes. Sorry. I clicked the response as I was responding about the milk issue, but realise it seems as if I was giving you advice.

  • Not a problem. I am the opposite with milk. I only take 1 coffee & 1 tea a day and only eat cheese on special occasions so I have fat free Greek yoghurt to increase calcium.

  • There's an excellent free app and website called MyFitnessPal. You input your details and activity level and it will tell you how many calories you need to lose weight. Then you log every mouthful and it keeps a running total for you. That way you lose weight.

    I'm 64 and I lost three stone in six months, but I also fasted (500 calories) two non-consecutive days a week for the health benefits, and now I fast just one day a week to maintain my size 10 figure - I was a size 16.

  • Will start doing this today, thanks. Your success in losing weight at a similar age to me gives me HOPE!

  • I ran this through an analysis, and of course there is some guesswork with regard to portion sizes. You may be having over 2000 kcalories per day.

    As far as Government guidelines go, you are having too much fat, especially saturated fat, and your carbs are about right.

    Now let's look at it differently. Wholemeal bread is a fast-release sugar to your body. Molasses is sugar of course. Fruit contains sugar. Two to four portions of fruit per day is fine; a portion is a medium sized fruit such as a small apple; large bananas can contain 30g of carbohydrate.

    The calcium issue is more complicated than just calcium in; if your blood was too acidic for instance you could leech calcium from the bones still; having sufficient vegetables would redress the balance. Load-bearing exercise also creates the demand for strengthening bones.

    Man-made oils are definitely not good for you.

    I think you are active enough; it doesn't matter how active you are if you continue to take in too much food (or coffee) that causes your insulin to be elevated you won't be able to 'burn fat' for fuel. The fructose in the sugars especially affects your metabolism by forming (in the liver) fatty deposits that contribute to insulin-resistance, and potentially visceral fat/central adiposity. Then high-glycaemic wholemeal bread for instance demands high amounts of insulin. Be careful of your portion sizes. Personally, I would keep to one portion of fruit per meal, and use that as your sweetener instead of added sugars such as molasses or marmalade. Halving your milk intake would reduce your energy intake significantly too, though I would make sure you have some protein at each meal to prevent hunger :-)

  • Thanks for your input, there's a lot of information there and I think I need to work through it carefully. The immediate shock is how many calories I might be putting away.

  • Some great advice here about nutritional value and how the body utilises it. Isn't knowledge a wonderful thing? When we consider more carefully what we are taking in, the quantities & how it is used, we get a totally different perspective on eating. Lovely.

  • Hmmm. Yes.

    You could usefully go to half fat or skimmed milk. these processes don't remove the major nutrient. I hate to say that with the fruit the molasses may be a problem. Fruit acids may negate the calcium concern - nothing's ever simple is it? More veg and less fruit maybe.

    Recent research - see that link above - suggests exercise on its own doesn't work if you don't get the calorie "budget" right. As long as you burn more than you take in you should lose weight. The 2 biggest consumers of energy are digestion and thinking. This is no excuse to loll around. Exercise causes the right responses. As Concerned indicates, if your calories are right and you exercise is insufficient your bones wont demand strength and therefore wont take up calcium etc. _ neither will your muscles and ligaments take up nutrients -it will all got to stores i.e. fat.

    Shouldn't you be speaking to a health professional? Start with GP and seek a referral. If you work well in group situations it can really help.

  • My own opinion is that skimming milk does remove the major nutrient. I'd much rather have the cream (or double cream). Fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies are common in the UK today. Then they add titanium-dioxide to colour the pale remains.

  • Or it would be pink (yuk). I was given to understand there are very few nutrients removed with the fat - which we get plenty of without even knowing about it. That's an interesting comment and good point. Now i think about it child nutritionists say much the same as you. Otherwise healthy adults can well do without the fatty bits of milk, but children need it for growth.

    Of course if we were healthy we would not be on these sites :(

  • I'm healthy.

    Did you see 'The World's Best Diets' on Channel 4? Iceland came top, mainly because it is minimally processed (and they glossed over the fact it was yet another relatively high-fat diet).

  • yes. There are some interesting results on these programmes. I watch out for those that conduct their own tests with little back up and those that quote reliable surveys and research. Of course they're all made to be good tv footage.

  • Fascinating. I hadn't considered that. I've always drunk skimmed organic milk, because I thought taking out the fat would leave room for more calcium. It's obviously a lot more complicated than that!

  • I've one of the age-related "Living Well" sessions to do with a nurse at my local surgery. My weight gain was the key item on my personal agenda! Thanks.

  • The reply above was intended as a reply to fenbadger but somehow the technology didn't work! Thanks anyway fenbadger.

  • it's a function of the site and can be a bit confusing on a long thread. No problem - we're here to help each other. I've learned loads more on HU than at the Docs - though I would always defer for the really serious stuff.

  • What's your height?

  • I used to be 5 ft 2.75 inches (1.59 metres). I'm too heavy for my height AND there are clothes I'm fond of that I want to wear again comfortably.

  • Hi, to answer your original question. How many calories: approx 1,232

    Your BMI is 24.69. Healthy range is 18.5 - 25. Your BMR is 1,232. This is how many calories your body burns whilst resting. As you lose weight your BMR reduces too. So if you eat 1232kcals you will lose weight. There is a good calculator here: . Good luck x

  • There are many more ways to help prevent osteoporosis than drinking large quantities of milk. Calories drunk are often harder to regulate naturally than calories eaten. (You might also think twice about eating two bananas on the trot compared with drinking two in a smoothie)

    From my perspective there isn't enough 'interest' in your diet (although it sounds as though it is satisfying you psychologically) - it seems skewed by the large volume of milk and also skewed towards fruit rather than veg.

    You don't mention anything about your height and build! Crucial bits of information - we could be talking to someone who does not actually need to lose any weight. If your aim is overall health and you have an appetite for more activity you might find that looking in the area of strength and flexibility would round out your programme - yoga, pilates, the NHS Strength and Flexibility programme for example.

  • Unless someone has an eating disorder, I think they are entitled to make their own decision as to how much they want to weigh?

  • Of course people are (define eating disorder though - being underweight is a greater health risk than being overweight). But I feel we should have some sense of responsibility in what we say to people, even though the ultimate responsibility lies with them. We have, inevitably, had some people pop up here with some worrying situations (not saying this is one of them)

  • I tend to agree, my husband was told that he was obese and yet he was and still is complete muscle, at that time he was obliged to attend a work out before each work session. Since retirement he weighs a little less but still works out only a little less and cycles loads too. He will always be at the very top of his healthy weight range I think, I am at present over weight but prefer the way I look either at the top or just above my healthy weight range other wise I just look too bony, e.g my hip bones stick out and my collar bones too. You have to be happy in your skin!

  • You're right in what you say about my diet.

    It's driven by what I like (mainly fruit and milk), by convenience and time (time needed for shopping as well as food preparation). I don't like most of the veg I eat (it's been too long in the supermarket) so I'm trying to grow my own (which does taste much better).

    I'll look into the NHS Strength & Flexibility programme. I used to do yoga and could try to take it up again.

  • I agree on the point of diet being skewed towards fruit rather than vegetables

  • A point I think we all pretty well missed. You yourself said the diet's odd. So if you know what's wrong you are probably the best person to put it right. What do YOU think could be altered? It's all very well me giving you my favourite list but you will have to eat it. As is said above - it needs to be interesting to you.

  • You've identified yourself, your diet is 'odd'. To me it seems that you're getting too much carbs and not enough protein. You don't seem to have any protein at all except for dinner. Could you try an egg for breakfast? Protein keeps you fuller for longer whereas carbs 'spike' your blood sugar then rapidly fall away, a cause of the mid-morning hunger that many people feel. Eggs are one of the simplest ways of getting some protein.

    I like full-fat milk myself, but I couldn't drink 2 pints of it a day!

  • It's interesting and helpful to me to get other people's perspectives on my diet - I've followed it for so long without thinking about it that I've failed to analyse it. The greatest shock here was the number of kcalories I might be eating.

    Milk does contain protein, so do oats and bread.

  • A general thank you to everyone. I'm copying my question and your answers and will use them to guide the weight discussion I have at the GP surgery. I'm also going to check the various web sites suggested.

    Thanks again.

  • Dairy sources of calcium are not necessarily good. See this lecture by consultant doc: intensivedietarymanagement....

  • Thanks JImitch.

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