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Thread: Daily calories quad

  1. #1

    Daily calories quad


    I've been a C4-C5 quad (complete) for more than thirty years now and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to keep my weight under control. Although I have a BMI of 23.9 (1.81 m and 78 kg), which is considered quite normal, I have been gaining weight steadily over the past six months. I watch what I eat (3 healthy meals a day, nothing in between meals, no sweets, fast food, etc.), exercise and work full-time, but apparently my calorie intake is still too high. What would be the recommended daily intake for someone with my size and disability? I know this is a difficult question because your daily needs depend on a lot of factors, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot!



  2. #2
    Can't advise you on daily intake but just sharing my slow success. Couple of months ago started low carbohydrate meals. My sister had developed diabetes and said her condition was improved by weight loss - she shared many tips with me. I went on internet to gain more info about low carb foods, then altered the shopping list and started two weeks of no carbs. Bought a cheap paperback that lists foods and their content. I was kind of shocked at how many carbs are in various foods I like: potatoes, rice, pasta, beans. Those four I have now tried to eliminate or cut way down. I'm eating eggs, cheese, meats in moderation. Definitely getting in my veggies - again, reading package for low carb. ones.
    I have lost three pounds and my transfers are easier. I know that doesn't sound like much but I'm 5'1" and weighed about 113-114 before the low carb. plan. My goal was to make transfers easier, so I will keep up a modified plan and shoot for about 108.
    My motivation continues to be my transfers - I must keep that skill. But, everyone has a different one.
    I have a wheel-onto scale and weigh about every month to 6 weeks.
    If you wish to check carbs in food packaging, note that if there is Fiber listed, you can subtract that from Carbohydrates. Also watch "serving size". For example if I want to snack on crackers, I try to have only one half of the serving size, then maybe add cheese slice on top of the crackers, etc.
    I don't really consider this "dieting" as much as "watching".

  3. #3
    Rule of thumb for weight loss is to cut 500 calories/day from your current diet in order to loose 2 lb. week.

    BMI is notoriously inaccurate as a scale of obesity in persons with SCI. In general, we go by the Ideal Body Weight tables instead, substracting 5% for those with paraplegia, and 10% for those with tetraplegia. If you have an amputation, additional adjustments must be made.

    I would recommend that you try to get a referral to see a registered dietitian who can help you analyze your current diet, help you plan a good weight loss plan, and a maintenance diet that works for you.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Baldwinsville, N.Y.
    I was involved in a Energy Expenditure clinical trial at Kessler Institute back quite a few years ago. The test Measured (REE) which is referred to as Resting Energy Expenditures and ( BMR) Predicted Base Metabolic Rate. These tests were very acurate in determining my metabolic rate for burning calories per day. I am around 145 pounds, 5'6". The numbers came out at 1376 calories per day while resting and 1520 with basic wheeling around. If I do any type of exercise the number increases. Basically it is close to a factor of 9 for resting metabolism x your body weight will yield daily calories needed at a resting level. I stick with 1500 to 1600 calories a day and my weight hasn't changed in over four years. I count calories everyday to do this. I do splurge on holidays and vacations but not a crazy amount. A pound equals 3500 calories so you can adjust your burning Energy Expenditures up or down to loose or gain. I also stick to a 40/40/30 plan of lower carbs, equal to protein and then fat. Of course this sometimes changes but I have found this works well for me. Everyone is different. I know how hard it is as we get older to keep our weight in tact. I am 52 and I don't burn calories like a used too. But I have to say, at counting around 1500 a day give or take, it has managed my weight well. I wish you the best.

  5. #5
    I am struggling as you are egovaers. I am a 6'1" C-7 quad who now weighs in at about 165. Back when I was using a manual wheelchair and working full time I had to pack in at least 3500 calories a day to keep from wasting away. At times I was down to 140lbs. When I quit working I quickly noticed my weight going up. I cut my calories down to about 2500 a day and leveled off at about 150 lbs. That is probably a good weight for me. The big change came a little over 3 years ago when I had to go to full time use of a power chair. Again my weight started creeping upward. I am averaging 2000 calories a day now and that is still not sufficient. I am up to about 165lbs now. I have always been on a high fiber and protein, low carb diet so portion control has been my primary means of reducing calories. When I try to go lower my bowel routine starts going awry. I have jacked up my fiber supplements as much as I can without causing diarrhea. It has really affected my quality of life. Cooking and eating great food have been enjoyable hobbies. Added to that, my shoulders are totally wrecked so rigorous exercise is out of the picture. weight control has taken over my life.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @

    See my personal webpage @

  6. #6
    Thanks for all your replies. Eating great food has always been one of my favourite hobbies, but I'll try to cut down on the 'hidden' carbs and take into account your advice about the BMI and REE measures.

  7. #7
    23 kcal/kg of ideal body weight/day is the ideal daily calorie intake, adjusted for quads (-10% to -15% compared to non-SCI).

    example: 150lbs = 60kg, so 60kg x 23 kcal = 1564 calories/day.


  8. #8
    There are many factors that go into can't just go by "all quads". Someone with a C8 injury is going to need more calories that someone with a C2 injury (in general) esp. if they use a manual chair. Someone who is incomplete (such as an AIS D) is also going to have different needs than someone who is complete. Even the amount of spasticity and spasms someone has (which burn calories) makes a difference. Having diabetes may alter this, or trying to heal a wound or chronic infection may also require adjustments. I have seen that book, but we (and our dietitians that I work with) base our recommendations on a much more individualized adjusted recommendation than what is in this book.


    Quote Originally Posted by -scott- View Post
    23 kcal/kg of ideal body weight/day is the ideal daily calorie intake, adjusted for quads (-10% to -15% compared to non-SCI).

    example: 150lbs = 60kg, so 60kg x 23 kcal = 1564 calories/day.

    Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 02-09-2015 at 01:17 AM.

  9. #9
    The book is nearly 300 pages & addresses a lot of other details. Regardless, that formula can still be used to figure out if someone is in the right ballpark.

  10. #10
    something I do to lose 10 or so after the holidays for my handcycle season prep. this will likely only work if you exercise a lot. m-f keep a food log and shoot for 1500 cals daily. no booze, or sweets. keep carbs low and heavy on protein. normal dinner= 8oz chicken breast, 1 cup rice and veggies or salad(roughly 550 cal meal). then on the weekends eat drink what I want. when weather breaks and season starts my calories go up to 3-4000 per day to maintain. clean calories, not garbage. rep
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

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