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How Many Calories Should I Eat

diet on marker board

How Many Calories Do I Need?

Nearly everyone has wondered how many calories they should eat. There are calorie calculators all over the internet. Sure, they’ll spit out a number for you, but is this number really correct? Should every 35 year old female that weighs 150 pounds eat the same amount of calories? No.

Your metabolism is as unique as your personality. Everyone metabolizes fat, carbohydrates, and protein in different ways. These calorie calculators are nice for getting a general idea for what your caloric intake should be, but they shouldn’t be the last word on the subject.

In order to calculate how many calories you should eat, you need a little bit of information first. What you don’t need is your height or age. What you do need is an understanding of how many calories you burn, and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Are you trying to lose weight? How much do you want to lose? Maybe you’d like to gain weight. Set yourself a goal first, but set realistic, sustainable ones.

A swing of .5-1% body fat per week in either direction is the maximum you should aiming for. Anything more and the muscle to fat ratio on your body can take a change for the worse. You also have a higher chance of maintaining your weight loss or gain if you take it slow.

I realize everyone wants what they want, and they want it now. However, .5% body fat a week for six months equates to a reduction of 13% body fat, which will completely transform your body. That’s a lot of weight considering it probably took you a lifetime to put the weight on in the first place.

How Many Calories Do I Burn?

You might be wondering how many calories you burn during a particular exercise. Instead, you should be trying to figure out how much you burn the rest of the day. Exercise only burns a small amount of calories compared to the number of calories your body burns the rest of the day.

A typical person may burn 100 calories for every mile they run. Run 3 miles, and you’ve burned 300 calories. This is great, but the rest of the day, even while you are relaxing or sleeping, you are burning thousands of calories.

Your muscle is extremely metabolically active. It takes a lot of calories to maintain. This is why it is so important for you to build muscle if you want to efficiently burn fat.

Your workouts are great to get a few hundred extra calories burned, and for creating a favorable metabolic environment for fat loss, but the real magic happens when you focus on your nutrition. Your diet is going to be your biggest game changer.

How Many Calories to Lose Weight?

OK, OK, you understand that now, but you still need to know how much you should eat to lose weight. The most accurate way to determine your calorie intake is to follow these steps:

  • Set a goal of how much weight loss you desire each week (.5-1% body fat per week at most). You can measure with this cheap pair of body fat calipers.
  • Get yourself a food journal, or use an app like LoseIt or MyFitnessPal so you can write down every single thing you eat. You should be writing down the calories for everything.
  • Eat 10-12 times your body weight in calories per day. If you are very overweight, use the lower number. Plan your diet out in advance so that you know you are eating this much every single day. Fill your calories with healthy meals. Here are 100 healthy foods you can eat.
  • Watch the scale. Is your weight going up or down? Give it at least 2 weeks to get an accurate measurement. Be patient!
  • If you’re losing more than 1% of your body mass a week, add 100-200 calories to your diet. Remember, you don’t want to lose too much too fast. Losing more than 1% of your body mass each week means you’re losing valuable muscle mass.
  • If after adding 100-200 calories your weight is still going down too fast, add another 100-200 calories until your fat loss is inline with the .5-1% recommended loss per week. The important thing is you find the calorie amount that is going to enable you to eat as many calories as possible and still lose weight. This will keep your fat loss progress going, and ensure that the weight you lose is fat instead of muscle. Read more about why you might not be eating enough calories to lose weight.
  • If when you started off eating 10-12 times your body weight in calories you immediately started losing .5-1% body fat per week, keep your calorie intake as-is until you hit a plateau for at least 2 weeks. Once that happens you can start cutting calories again, but only 100-200 at a time. You don’t need drastic cuts to get weight loss moving forward again.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Some people may see drastic weight loss at 10 times their body weight right from the start and will be tempted to continue with this pace, but don’t. You will eventually cause metabolic damage that will be difficult to reverse. Follow the plan outlined above!

I realize some people just don’t have the patience to pull this off. Unfortunately, this is the only way to 100% (or close to it) accurately figure out how many calories you need.

The second best way? Short of estimating with calorie calculators and other generic formulas, I’d highly recommend you check out the BodyMedia FIT Armband. It can accurately determine your calorie burn to within a 10% margin of error.

One of the top reasons diets fail is because people eat too few calories. When you do this, you force your body to slow down its metabolism.

This causes all kinds of hormonal changes that work against you and your fat loss goals. Hormones such as testosterone, thyroid, and growth hormone are all negatively affected. Make sure that when you diet you are keeping your metabolism high, and you will be well on your way towards success, instead of deciding what diet you’re going to try next.

  • Lantana H.

    This is such a great idea. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when starting out to lose weight. I’ve always wondered though how a calculator could accurately tell me how much to eat. This is perfect and I bet a lot of people have great results when eating right for their metabolism. It’s amazing how much riff raff there is out there and I’m so happy to find someone who puts it to me like it is rather than blowing sunshine up my rear.

    • Coach Calorie

      Those calculators are a great starting point, but they will never be perfect. Everyone is different.

      • Jen

        Hi I have a quick question for you. Over the past 2 1/2 years I lost about 110lbs and I developed a slight eating disorder, getting too thin and having to re-evoluate things. Now I’ve been putting some weight back on for the last 2 months (I’m around 160? now I believe btw I’m an 18 year old female) and I’m currently trying to figure out the balancing act. I work out three times a week ( for a little over an hour) and then I do a little over 5 miles of cardio a day 7 days a week. Now over time, with my cardio I just used to walk (I walk pretty briskly probably at least 4.7mph if not a little faster) and then eventually I added in running up a hill near my house, and then as time went on I ended up adding more and more running into my cardio sessions…Now the problem is is that I now feel like I can’t not do the running because I’m afraid if I don’t do it I’m going to gain back weight… Thus my “walks” are more like fast walking with running intervals in them (I probably run almost at least 40% of them now) and I don’t necessarily enjoy always feeling the NEED to run like I absolutly have to do it-again I’m scared that if i don’t it’ll negativly impact my weight/body/etc… What should I do? :? I love being built and in shape and stuff but sometimes I find myself wondering if i could just walk and not run or walk as fast but i end up not doing it because I’m scared that I’m going to gain weight or loose muscle, etc… thank you for your help on this, i really appreciate it!

        • Angel

          You need to take a day off. A day where you do nothing but relax and eat right. Remember, you recover and get stronger when you’re resting, not when you’re working out. Your body needs time off, if you dont give it time off, you’re going to affect your central nervous system, adrenal glands, among many other things. Soooo, goodluck, and remember, give yourself a break every now and then!

    • denise

      unfortunately so many people who are trying to lose weight are soooo afraid of gaining more that they will never try this method…..i wear a bodymedia fit armband so i know my tdee and eat to lose 1lb a week….BUT it took me over 4 years of losing slowly almost 80lbs to get to the point where the number on the scale doesnt really matter anymore even though i’m not at my goal weight yet….just doing what i know i’m supposed to do makes it okay to keep this way of life going forever….thanks for the article/suggestion, i will be spreading it around the MFP community to help others figure out their true burns without tools/calculators…

    • Paula

      So when we are trying to calculate and start out with the 2000 calories, should we add in the fact that we worked out or not that day? For example, I use myfitnesspal, and when I workout, I add in the number to allow myself those calories to eat. I am currently at 1200 calories a day/plus what I burn in the gym.

      • Donna

        At 5’4″, 120 lbs I would definitely gain weight at 2000 calories a day. 1200-1300 I lose very slowly, 1400-1500 I gain slowly. I work out 40-60 minutes a day (combination of light weights and cardio) but have a sedentary job. This small margin is frustrating. Any insights???

        • Kay

          Thanks for sharing this. I’m in the same boat. I lost weight much easier when I had jobs that made me move around more.

  • Kathy

    Wow, this is awesome! I am going to start a food journal immediately!! This is just such a logical plan! Thank you! Kathy

    • Coach Calorie

      Let me know how the journal works out for you Kathy

  • Alison

    I have full body composition scales which tells me how many calories I can eat each day but what really does it for me is seeing my muscle mass increase and my body fat% decrease as this allows me to eat more calories every day. I just wish people would stop getting hung up about their weight and BMI and start getting hung up about their body fat% and muscle mass as these are the real drivers in terms of a healthy body, it’s the fat which causes the problems. I have decreased my body fat% by almost 20% in the last 6 months and have increased my muscle mass by 8lb and I’m only just scratching the surface and taking things slowly however 2012 is the year I will be in tip top shape which will enable me to work at my optimum level and expand my team considerably.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Alison, can you tell me more about this scale that tells you how many calories you should eat? I’ve never heard of one like that.

      Congrats on the body fat loss. It’s always good to see someone who knows the difference between weight loss and fat loss. Thanks for the comment.

      • Alison

        Hi Coach, the scales I use are Tanita body composition scales (the GP’s in the embarrassing fat bodies series in the UK use these), they measure the following:

        body fat %
        metabolic age
        water %
        visceral fat (the silent killer)
        bone mass
        muscle mass

        These scales are my most important weapon in my aim to get people healthy. Almost everyone knows what they weigh but how many people know what their visceral fat level is or their metabolic age or as your article states their BMR these scales help them to see what’s going on inside and this is real and aften quite shocking. I’m a personal wellness coach and Independent Herbalife Distributor and I have been taught so much about nutrition and health and my aim is to now share this with as many people as possible and to help as many people as possible to achieve their health goals as it’s worked so well for me so far. Pay it forward!!!!!

        • Coach Calorie

          I know of the Tanita scales, but how do they get stats like body fat %, or anything for that matter beyond weight, simply by standing on them?

          • Mick

            The Tanita scales get the readings by doing an electronic analysis of your body composition. Never use them if you have an electronic implant i.e.pacemaker.
            I’ve been using the Tanita BC543 for over 3 years and the extra analysis they give helps you to really target the areas that need attention. For those who are into body building and serious fitness regimes the BC545 is great.
            My result was to lose over 70lbs, 8 inches of my waist and I now have no trouble maintaining my new body.

            • Susan

              Where did you buy your scale?

  • Donna B.

    I wish I’d seen this a year ago when I struggled to find what I called my “resting calorie rate’? It took me a couple of months to finally work it out. This definitely would have saved me several weeks of trial and error!

    I’d be interested how the Tanita Scales give you those measurements as well, looking forward to reading the replies.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Donna, your RMR (resting metabolic rate) is what you get before you add in exercise. A calculator gives you a nice starting point, but only testing and adjusting will get you the real number. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Huguette En

    Great points, will have to try this. I need to lose a lot of weight and I’ve just started.

    • Coach Calorie

      Good luck Huguette. Be consistent, and be patient, and you’ll get there

  • Cindy Merrill

    I don’t count calories. I simply limit myself to reasonably sized meals and never take seconds.

    • Coach Calorie

      I think this is a great approach to take. However, not everyone knows what “reasonably sized” means, and the size of the meal does not always correlate to total calories. In the beginning, counting calories teaches you a lot about food. I highly recommend it before moving onto the ultimate goals of eating whole foods and controlling portions. Thanks for the comment Cindy.

  • Wendy T

    I have five of your tabs open in my browser as I try to read, reread and make sense of this and what to do. I have a feeling I’m making it more difficult than it should be.

    Appreciate the info and the free education. All I know (which is okay for today) is that my pants fit better than they did last week. So it’s getting in somehow :)

    • Coach Calorie

      It really is easy Wendy. The hard part is finding 1,351 ways to explain how to lose weight ;)

  • Carm

    I am one of those people who is so focused on my weight that eating more scares me. I work out everyday – TRX 3 times a week and running 3 times a week. I still can’t drop a pound – I eat healthy and very seldom do I indulge in anything. Whats frustrating is I can’t drop any weight. I know I must be doing something wrong – I just can’t figure it out. any suggestions?

    • Coach Calorie

      How many calories are you eating Carm? You say you aren’t dropping any weight, but what about body fat?

      • Carm Tassone

        Thank you for responding.
        I am eating 1200 calories a day. I don’t know how to measure my body fat. I am 5’5 and weigh 132 lbs and though those numbers aren’t bad I am concerned about the fact that my clothes aren’t fitting right – everything feels tighter. I try not to get on the scale but I do weigh myself at least 1/wk. I know that I shouldn’t focus on the numbers but how I feel. Right now I’m not feeling so good because I don’t understand where I am going wrong.

        • Coach Calorie

          What does a typical day look like diet wise? 1200 calories seems low based on your weight and activity level.

          • Carm Tassone

            3 egg whites and 1 whole egg with broccoli (omlet)
            snack: 1/2 blueberries with 12 cashews
            Lunch: 5 cups of salad with mixed veggies 4 oz of cheese
            Snack -greek yogurt
            dinner – protein (chicken/fish) with cooked veggies

            • Coach Calorie

              While the food choices look good, are you sure that’s 1200 calories? A quick add in my head makes it look like only 900 calories or so.

              • Carm Tassone

                WOW, I re-added my calories and your right – it came to just over 900 calories. I also did a count of what I ate yesterday and it came to almost the same amount. but shouldn’t I be losing weight if my intake is that low and I am working out? what suggestions would you make as far as adding food to my intake? there is so much information out there and it can get so confusing.

                • Coach Calorie

                  You should be eating as many calories as possible and still lose weight. Eating too few can have a negative impact on your metabolism. It can slow it down to a crawl, lowering thyroid hormone, and stopping fat loss in its tracks. I would add 500 calories to your diet and see what happens. Don’t be afraid if the scale jumps up the next day. Keep your calories at that level for 2 weeks and see what happens – then reassess.

    • debsxx

      hi there carm tassone,
      Yes i`m the same … i use the gym 4 times a week And get
      weighed there 1 time that`s on sundays,and i`m always watching my
      weight :( , i have been told i don`t eat enough by lots of people.
      Food scares me and i stopped eating burgers etc a long time ago
      unless i made myself.I`ve been trying to follow slimming world
      diet(they don`t call it a diet though).My partner and myself have
      just got bikes but my cardio side is rubbish :( … we was on a
      bike ride and we were both shatterd the wind was taking my breath
      and i knew i needed to do more.i`m 41 this year i`m 11 stone
      want to be around 9 1/2 stone,i`m 5ft 3inch.and a day for me
      following the sw diet is something like this:

      breakfast:fresh fruit and fromage frais.
      break:muller light yoghurt.
      dinner:tuna salad with extra light mayo.
      tea:spagetti bolognaise.
      3 coffee in day and 3 bottles containing 500ml of water.
      and maybe 2 glasses of diet coke in the evening.

      this is everything in one day nothing missed out.
      But i`m staying the same on the scales which is very disapointing.

      don`t want to do what most people do and use diet pills as i`m not sure they even work.

      • Coach Calorie

        Your diet looks like it’s less than 1000 calories. I’ve never seen someone need to go below that. In addition, I don’t see much protein in there either. I’m not positive on some of the food you’re eating – spaghetti bolognaise (is that spaghetti with meat sauce?). If so, get rid of it. Those noodles are a processed, nutrient sparse, calorie dense food. Try to keep your food choices – meat, eggs, fruit, veggies, nuts, beans, seeds, and potatoes. Consider getting rid of the diet coke too. I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners, but if you aren’t seeing improvements after changing your food choices, that will be your next step.

        • Tamara

          Hey Coach…

          I see your comment on artificial sweetners. I can not have sugar so I use Splenda, Stevia, Agave..etc. What do you recommend in place of sugar and these artificial sweetners??

  • Deb Dorrington

    This is my favorite post as it really gave me so many ideas that I must do to be successful. I plan to follow everything you’ve written. I especially like the idea of keep the food journal.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Deb, if you want to find that magic calorie number, you have to write down your food intake. Let me know your magic number once you find it ;)

  • Pingback: How to Calculate the Correct Calories and MacroNutrients | From Gastric Band to Fitness()

  • indira

    thank u for all the info , i am 23 years old 5’1 and i am right know 200 lbs. i feel depressed, but all ur articles help a lot . thank u

    • Coach Calorie

      I’m glad they help Indira. Good luck!

  • Lisa

    My concern is that if I discover that it takes me 2000 calories a day to gain weight and I want to lose 2lbs a day than I should only have a 1000 calories a day to lose 2lbs per week and if I get my body used to 2000 calories a day for two weeks, dropping it to 1000 per day would be very difficult to maintain since my body was used to 2000 calories? This would be the same if my gain weight point was 2500 calories and to lose 2lbs a week I would need to reduce it to 1500 calories. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Coach Calorie

      Yes, if you wanted to lose 2 pounds/week, that would be a calorie deficit of 1000/day. This is the max I would ever recommend, and that is only if you are working out. If you are working out, it should take much more than 2000 calories to maintain your weight. People would be surprised at how much they really have to eat to gain weight.

  • Sandy

    I am 39/ F/ 146lbs/ 162cms height., have been eating low carb for many years now (no breads, pasta, sugar or starchy stuff) I do have occasional cheat days(weekends/ birthdays) and I brisk walked on hills 3-4 days a week. I did not see much change in my weight other than my legs/thighs got toned and looked better.

    Since last month I replaced walking on hills by 1 hour of Aerobic exercises/strength training 3-4 times a week (pushing my limits!) and am trying to keep my caloric intake to 1000-1400 Cals/day. I have put on 2 lbs! I believe it’s due to forming muscles. What do I need to do to START losing weight and/or inches.

    I’m frustrated because neither the scale moves in the direction I want nor have I seen any major change in my dress size! I feel low in energy and am perpetually craving sweet and high carb food! Please HELP!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Sandy, can you show me a typical day’s diet? It is not unusual to put on some weight when you first start lifting weights. If your calorie intake is below maintenance, it could be because you are increasing muscle glycogen storage capacity and the corresponding water weight that comes with it. Have you measured your body fat levels?

      • Sandy

        Hi Coach! Thanks for responding.
        My typical diet is: B/F 1-2 eggs + Black coffee w/splenda, Snack- a handful nuts (walnuts/peanuts) + diet coke Lunch – 1 bowl lentils +veggies cooked OR I fillet Tilapia baked+ veggies Dinner – chicken + veggies OR Lentils/Beans + Veggies and plain yogurt. I sometimes also have a protien bar in between meals. Weekends are more relaxed with a slice of pizza sometimes and a couple of drinks! :( I drink plenty of water all through out the day…Offlate I have been adding more food since I dont feel full enough…..I avent measured my body fat
        levels..How’s that done? Thanks!!! :)

        • Coach Calorie

          Hey Sandy, without knowing exact portions, I’m only counting about 800 calories or so in your diet. This is way too low. I don’t know your weight, but you shouldn’t need to go below 10 times your body weight in calories to get results. If you go too low, things start working against you.

          I would also really consider dropping the artificial sweeteners. I know it can be hard, but I’ve seen those also cause problems with people trying to lose weight.

          • Sandy

            Thank you so much for taking time to respond!
            Since you mentioned, I have started using Myfitnesspal to record my food, I did notice that i might be eating very few calories earlier….I’ve eliminated diet soda for now and will try to slowly get rid of Splenda from my coffee as well….I have to stop my little treats soon too….Thank you again! I have joined your FB and G+ pages to get regular updates from you :)

            • maggie

              I weigh 92.2kg in Jan 4th 2012,body fat 42.4,bmi 33.6,.march 30th i weighed in,89.6kg,body fat 39.6,bmi 31,exercise is 5km walk/jog in atleast 4 days in a week,i try to watch my food intake but not so successful cos most days i exceed 1200 kcal intake that i ought to since my height is 5.6.Coach,can this be termed progress cos i expect faster result.

              • Coach Calorie

                Maggie, you need to be eating more calories for your body weight. Even more important, you should be adding in some form of strength training. It’s good that you are walking, but strength training is going to give you much better progress, and I think you’ll be happier with the results. If you’d like to post up your detailed diet, I can take a look at it to see if there are any problems.

          • JACQUIE mECHAM

            Hey coach I was wondering what you could tell me about the use of sweeteners. I do not consume much sugar at all but I do use up to 4 packs a day in my morning coffee? I consume about 1200-1600 calories a day and work out for about 1.5 hours most days with a combination of weights, cardio(machines) and cardio toning work(eg, burpies, sprint starts, jumping jacks —and all the toning stuff). I have noticed changes but have only lost 20 lbs and 4 % body fat in 7 months. I am sore all the time from working out so much and need a better system..but I thought maybe the sweeteners was making a difference as I was for a long time on a steady 1 to 1.5 a week loss which is what I would like to stay at. Since I restarted weights I have been up and down about 8 lbs but have not done body fat count in the past month since I gained most of it
            PLEASE HELP!

            • Coach Calorie

              I’m not a fan of sweeteners. They are empty calories. What other processed foods are in your diet? Can you lay out a typical day’s diet?

              • JACQUIE mECHAM

                Eat very little processed foods…

                Breakfast–Special K with 1/2 cup milk, few almonds/raisons or oatmeal. or egg white omelet with bit o cheese/vegis, 2 coffee with 2 French vanilla sweetener in each(figured it saved me 120 sugar calories so I can eat more good food)

                lunch-wrap w/ chicken breast or tuna or turkey(1 portion size )& spinach with low cal sauce like salsa or low fat mayo or dijon mustard(1 tsp)…serving of fruit or veg OR Smoothie(1/2 cup frozen fruit, fat free vanilla yogurt, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of almond drink or skim milk or combo, scoop of protien powder, scoop of Chia seed, water if to thick)

                Dinner-3 to 4 oz of white lean meat, salmon, or red meat maybe 2 a week ( once a week I may have a low cal burger or steak but in moderation). potato or uncle bens rice(1 serving only)..other half plate vegis/salad(low fat dressing-2 tsp max)

                Snacks are vegis, fruit, raisons, almonds fiber one bar, popcorn(not more than 200 cal worth),sunflower seeds(measured half servings)
                Occasional drinks 1 weekend per month(still gotta
                Vitamins-b complex, 1000 mg vit c, 1000 Vit D-1000
                also take CLA tablets as I heard they help with belly fat.

                I would like to think that maybe I am not eating enough with the amount of exercise i do…I would like to be able to do HIIT 3 times a week for 20 or 30, and just regular walks etc for the rest of the week…but I am scared to up my food intake and although I like this idea to start at 2000 and go from there with summer coming up I don’t want to chance a gain since I go up every time I slow the workouts and up the food at all.

                • Coach Calorie

                  I really don’t see 1200-1600 calories there. I don’t even see 1000. You might want to recheck your calculations. Do it manually from the nutrition label – not some app.

                  I would also get rid of the Special K and wrap. There are processed products and can cause problems.

                  If you still have problems, try moving your carb intake to your post-workout meal and have protein/fat meals the rest of the time.

  • Stressed

    I am trying to get down, and while I know its hard, I do want to at least lose some of it pretty fast. I need to see the progress again. I am starting from a very high number almost 393. I start everyday with dynamic resistance yoga, and do that for 30-50 minutes depending on work schedule. At night I do a 1 plus mile walk with the dog. My daily eating:
    Breakfast, Apple, Slice of Glutton Free Toast
    Lunch 5 Cups of salad, 7 oz of protein, 1 oz of sheeps milk feta, 1 fat
    Dinner 7 oz of protein, baked sweet potato, veg, salad, 1 fat
    Snacks: orange and 2oz of protein if time permits

    According to my quick calculations its about 1200-1500 a day depending on my protein and carb of choice. Its really frustrating so far to be down 5lbs in 3 weeks. Ive done 5lbs in a day before. I want it gone for good this time, but I need to get some progress going. Goal is 30lbs a month, 5 accomplishes nothing.



    In 3 weeks Ive lost

    • Coach Calorie

      There is nothing wrong with 5 pounds in 3 weeks. Sure, you are starting from a higher weight, but progress is progress. 5 pounds in a day would be mostly water loss, not fat loss. You certainly can lose 30 pounds in a month, but don’t beat yourself up if you only get 10 or so. Keep the weight loss fat, and you will be happier with the end result.

      1200-1500 calories for a 400 pound person is way too low. Try something closer to 2500 calories and go from there. You want sustainable weight loss, and you’ll never get that by eating so little. Try eating 5 full meals. The snacks are good for those who eat fewer calories, but you are going to need more food. Each meal should have protein. Aim for 1 gram per pound of lean body weight in protein and divide it up evenly into each meal. Keep your carbs around your workout and have protein/fat meals the rest of the time. Most importantly, be patient and be consistent. Try to add some strength training into your routine too. That will make a huge difference.

      Take a look at this post How to Lose 10 Pounds in a Month. You should have no problem losing more than that at the beginning following that diet.

  • Niccolette

    I love that you have been replying to people! Great article!

  • Niccolette

    I also have a few questions about my diet and exercise if you don’t mind taking the time to reply! Here is a typical week of work out for me: I usually work out 3-4 times a week, sometimes more sometimes less… I always try to do 30 min of cardio; running and stationary bike are my staples, and then push-ups, lunges, squats, followed by weights I like to focus on arms but also do abs, back, and legs about 2-3 times a week.
    My eating habits might be where I’m having troubles though: Since I’m a broke college student I eat a lot of pasta, probably 3 meals out of the week is noodles, with olive oil and tomatoes with arugula or other vegetables. I have probably 2 coffees with soy and 1/2 teasp. of sugar per day, cereal or toast with peanut butter for breakfast, and then potatoes or vegies for dinner or pasta again, for snacks I try to do apples, bananas and nuts, since I know I don’t get enough protein but meat is expensive. Anyways I want to try this 2000 calorie adjustment idea you have to see where I am gaining and loosing… I’m also 5’5″ 140lbs… thanks!

    • Coach Calorie

      There definitely seem to be quite a bit of processed food in your diet. Try to have protein with every meal, even if it’s just a little. Protein doesn’t have to be too expensive. I wrote an article on the cheapest sources of protein. It might help you out – 10 Cheap Sources of Protein for the Budget Conscious

  • Kels

    Hey! I’ve recently started working out five times a week, two lots of cardio and three lots of toning/weight exercises. I usually rest on the weekend but sometimes I’m active (walking/hiking). I’m jsut worried about my diet. Because I’m still living with my parents I have to rely on the food they buy. Today I’ve had quie a lot of food to work with but a lot of the time it’s less or more junk food. Here is what I’ve had today, would you mind giving your opinion?

    Breakfast: Smoothie (1 banana, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup strawberries, oats 1 tbs, organic coconut oil 1 tsp, 3/4 cup organic yogurt and 1/2 cup of fruit juice)

    Lunch: Small cheese sandwich with sliced apple, snack-a-jacks and an activia yogurt

    Snack: Blueberry muffin (made with 1/4 cup of oats, 1 egg, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tbs of milk and small handful of blueberries)

    Dinner: Grilled chicken breast covered in dry spices in a flour tortilla wrap, oven baked potato (medium/large) and big handful of salad on the side and some mayo

    I’m around 17st in weight and 5’8″ height wise. I still need to get some bathroom scales but as soon as I have I’ll be trying this, I don’t want to lose weight quickly I want to lose it properly :)

    • Coach Calorie

      I do see quite a bit of processed food in there. Bread, muffin (although that’s an interesting recipe), and tortillas will make it difficult for you to lose weight. Have you considered talking to your parents about buying certain food for you? I only see about 50 grams of protein in there. You’re going to want quite a bit more than that.

      • Kels

        I have tried however they are stuck in their ways and think it’s more expensive. When I try to explain how it’s not if you buy well they just ignore me because I’m only 18. I’m always scared to add more protein, not sure why but I’ll definitely be adding more, thank you for the reply :)

  • Jesie Fernandez

    Good Afternoon

    I was checking out the on-line calories calculators and they are different….every single one gave me a different number….so I just wanted to know….I am 5’6, 190lbs and 35 years old…..I am looking into loosing 35 to 40 lbs…I do work out 4 to 5 times a week, unless I get a migraine….I’m currently eating 1500 calories a day, and burning around 1200….should I continue doing this or do I have to change my calorie intake?


    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Jesie, what do you mean you are burning 1200 calories a day? If that’s all from exercise I’m afraid that’s probably a very high estimate. Unless you are running marathons, you probably burn less than half that in a typical 1 hour workout.

      If you’re saying you burn 1200 calories all day, but you’re eating 1500, then I think you can see the problem – you’re eating more than you’re burning.

      • Jesie Fernandez

        Well, I have the BodyBugg and every night I have to log in my calorie intake and then I connect the device and it downloads my activity for the day. I’m a stay home mom, so I’m usually up by 7 pm and I don’t go to bed til 12 midnight….I also walk 1 hr. in the morning, then around noon I go to the gym and work out some more (elliptical and some weights) then I walk in the evening about 1 1/2 hr. Maybe, I’m misunderstanding how to read my bodybug. Now there are times where I eat much less and burn more, currently I have been losing about 1 lbs a week….but I feel it’s to slow, and last month I maintained the same weight for 3 weeks straight and then week 4 I lost 0.6 lbs. Last week I lost .8 and this week I lost 1.0lbs. I eat very healthy, lots of green veggies and lean protein….I limit my carbs to 2x a day and it’s usually wheat carbs. I want to shock my body and get my metabolize active again.

        FYI: I do drink Intek Protein at night (made with water and PB 2)

        • Coach Calorie

          I’m not familiar with the BodyBugg. You should be burning much more than 1200 calories a day unless you are under 100 pounds.

          Why don’t you lay out your diet for me…

          • Jesie Fernandez

            1/4 cup Egg White
            3 Turkey Bacon Strips or Turkey Sausage
            1 Sara Lee Delightful whole wheat toast
            1 cup of mix fresh fruits

            protein bar

            Canned Tuna or 3 oz chicken breast…no skin or bone and I baked it in my nuwave oven
            1tsp light sour cream
            2 cups shredded lettuce
            5 cherry tomatoes
            2 Tbps low fat shredded cheese…(mozzarella)

            Plain Greek Yogurt
            2 chopped strawberries or some blueberries (both are fresh fruits)

            3 to 4 oz Protein….it can be chicken, turkey burger, lean steak, or fish
            1 cup Mix Veggies steamed
            1/2 cup cooked Quinoa or Brown Rice

            Intek Protein Shake (made with water)
            1 Tbps PB 2

            **Now through out the day I drink 10 to 12 cups of water, green tea, and deca coffee no cream or sugar. I do also take 1 day out of the week to indulge my self with something sweet…of course I make sure it’s not so high on calorie and as a pastry chef I like to bake my own sweets this way I know what I’m putting in my dessert.

            • Coach Calorie

              Your diet looks good. I’m assuming the protein shake is protein only and no added sugar? How is your body composition changing? You say you’re losing 1 pound a week, but how much fat are you losing? Are you taking body fat readings? This info can help determine if your calories are too low or too high for your goals.

              We can definitely make some tweaks to your diet, but let’s get that info first.

  • http://facebook April

    I began working out January 14 2012 and I’ve lost 30 pounds. I am currently 206 and I workout 6-7 days a week. I do RPM( stationary bike cardio circuit) Monday, step aerobics with a 6-12 inch step( high intensity cardio) then immediately after I do pump( full body strength training I uses 15-20 pounds of weights) on tuesday, RPM or a dance class ( like Zumba) on Wednesday, step and pump on Thursday, RPM on Friday, pump on Saturday and RPM Again on Sunday… Sometimes I will take Sunday or Wednesday off.
    Breakfast: 3 egg whites 1 whole egg healthy life 100% while wheat toast.
    Lunch: turkey wrap in a tomato and basil wrap with reduced fat provolone, mustard, avacado, baby spinach,and tomato.
    Dinner: typical…. Chicken breast, broccoli and cheese( single serve green giant)
    I drink 1-2 EAS carb control Protien shakes a day as well.
    If I need more Protien or calories I eat peanut butter.
    My normal daily intake is between 1200-1450 calories. I try not to eat outside of this but have had a burger along the way. I’m tryin to change my life not diet. I know I can not not have a hamburger for the rest of my life so I will not forbid myself that right now. I just choose not to eat it often.
    Here is my question….. Why am I getting stuck? I know I have a lot of bread in my diet and I try to make sure it’s the best bread but I don’t eat pasta or if I do it’s always whole grain. But I feel like I am makin decent food choices and I get plenty of exercise so why am I not losing as I should? Sometimes I wonder if I’m taking in enough calories.

    • Coach Calorie

      For your activity level, it looks like you are undereating by quite a bit. I also only added up about 1000 calories there, but you also said you eat peanut butter when you need more.

      Try increasing your calorie intake another 500 calories and see what happens. Eating too little is just as bad, if not worse than eating too many when it comes to weight loss.

  • Anne

    I eat fairly healthy & have been just maintaining my weight the past several years without doing any exercise.(I take in between 2000 & 2500 calories a day) I’d like to add an exercise routine but I have scar tissue on a tendon in my foot. I work in childcare & am on my feet all day so by the time I get home I’m already hurting & have lost my motivation. Any suggestions of exercise that won’t over stress my foot?

    • Coach Calorie

      I would definitely stay away from any running or high impact exercise. Does your foot hurt when you squat?

  • Laura C

    I recently found you through a friend. I have greatly enjoyed learning so much from you over the last couple weeks and just fell across this article which was linked in another article I was reading of yours. I’m 49 this year, 207 lbs (having lost 80+ over the last 2+ years) and my weight loss completed stalled last October. I invested in a HRM and at that time, I had upped my workout routines to do cardio 3-4 times per week in the mornings and then strength training 3 times per week in the evenings after work and was burning about a total of 400-600 calories per day and all on the “recommended” calorie intake of 1200-1500 calories per day. Needless to say, I fatigued. I stopped in late November due to an arm injury and then slowly made my way back in January and February.

    Over the last two months, I’ve developed a workout routine that is more conducive to my lifestyle and “doable” for me -I lift weights 3 times per week and do cardio 2 times per week and then one Yoga day and one rest day and I walk/sometimes jog with my dog daily but that’s just for him. LOL. I generally burn about 400-500 calories per day based on my HRM reading. After reading your posts, I’ve reincorporated some healthy grain carbs into my eating-at dinnertime after I lift weights. (Thank you for that – I notice I’ve been sleeping better!)

    My typical calorie intake was still about 1500-1600 but after reading various articles of yours I increased it to about 1700-1800. Do you think I’m still eating enough? A typical daily menu:

    Bkfst: 2 egg whites, one egg, spinach and 1/4 cup kidney beans & salsa + my beloved coffee no cream/sugar
    Snack: medium Pear w/either cottage cheese or plain lowfat yogurt -3/4 cup (can’t eat greek yogurt it bothers my stomach)
    Lunch: 3 cups salad greens, mixture of carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber + 5 ounces of chicken breast, 2 TBSP lowfat homemade ranch dressing; or leftover Chicken Satay or two Turkey Muffins
    Snack: Power Crunch Bar or Apple & 2 TBSP peanut butter (if cardio after work)
    Dinner: 5 ounces of meat, 1.5 cups of steamed asparagus or broccoli or salad, 1 small red potato steamed w/1 oz. skim mozzarella cheese.
    Snack: Casein protein shake (w/water) if it was a weight lifting day and I’m still hungry

    Thanks Coach -any suggestions? I met with a nutritionist last October and she told me I could either lower my calorie intake OR up my cardio to 1 hour instead of the 45 minutes I was doing at that time. I felt defeated and stalled. As I said, I started back up in January and have been trying to pay attention to other things rather than the scale or inches – like I can do two perfect tricep pushes now! LOL

    Thank you.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Laura, I definitely wouldn’t just keep cutting calories and adding exercise if you were already only eating 1200 calorie and doing all that exercise.

      It’s hard to say if 1700-1800 is going to be enough. Only you will be able to figure that out. If you increased your calories to that amount and nothing happened to your weight, you probably still have room to add more. If you added it and your weight loss picked back up, I would stay with it for the time being. Focus on those strength training workouts. They are going to give you the biggest return on your investment.

      • Laura C

        Coach – I have another question: I was recently told by a person at my health food store that I should not be eating grain carbs since they are “processed.” I’m not a bread eater and I usually eat eggs and spinach for breakfast but about two days per week I eat Kashi Go Lean with blueberries. I also have been having popcorn-not butter, no salt, as a snack now and then and based on your recommendations, on those days that I lift weights (3 xs per week) I eat Quinoa with my dinner after I workout. What is your recommendation? Are grains okay or are they considered to be a “processed” food?

        Also, do you have any recommendations to replace processed meats? My husband drives truck for a living and he has really long days. I make him a breakfast sandwich consisting of eggs and turkey sausage and he takes fruit with him for snacks and a sandwich-but it is deli meat. I do make him tuna twice per week. He eats his veggies with dinner since he has to drive while eating. Do you have any healthy alternatives for his sandwiches?

  • Laura C

    Thank you! One more quick question – when you describe adding in calories until you figure out – you indicate to add approximately 500 calories. Is that to your daily intake while still exercising? So if I’m at 1500, do I go up to 2000 for about two weeks while still doing the same workout routine, etc. to see if any fluctuation? Then when I reach the point where it starts to go consistently up, THEN I reduce by the 500 calories per day for weight loss? Thanks Coach!

    • Coach Calorie

      Right, just increase it by 500 calories. You can go in smaller intervals, but you can get from point A to B much quicker just going by 500 calorie jumps. Once you see your weight consistently going up, and you’ve determined your maintenance calories, then you can start creating a calorie deficit.

  • Vicky

    Thanks for this post, Coach Calorie. It’s nice to know that it might not all be in my head when I feel like I’m starving to death on calorie counter recommendations and still not dropping a pound.

    I am attempting to follow the steps you’ve outlined to find my ideal calorie goal. I’ve spent the past week eating about 2000 calories (700 calories more that what I’d been eating, thanks to what calorie counters had me thinking I needed to eat to lose weight.) I exercised every day this week and only took one day off (I thought I was coming down with something — I usually try to work out every day.) My workouts consist of one day a week of hour long cardio and strength training, two days of 45-minute cardio exercise, and four days of really high-intensity circuit training for half an hour.

    What’s been nice is that my energy level is better and I’m not nearly as cranky as I was after on 1300 calories a day. When I weighed myself today, though, I’d put on almost a pound in the past week and I’m trying not to freak out. :) It’s hard, though, when I’ve already spent months losing nothing on restricted calories.

    I’m going to make myself continue with the 2000/day for another week, as is suggested, even if it means putting on two total pounds. I’m worried that if I do gain weight another week, though, does that mean it’s going to be pretty much impossible for me to lose more than a pound a week? I wanted to try for a pound an a half, but that would have me at 1250 a day, and I was already starving on 1300… and not losing anything.

    Thanks for any advice or reassurance you can offer, Coach! I really love all the information available here.

    • Coach Calorie

      It’s been another week, how did your weight do? A lot of that pound could have been from extra glycogen storage within your muscle. It’s not something I’d worry about. Are your clothes fitting any differently? Have you measured body fat %? It’s highly doubtful that pound of weight gain was fat. For that to happen you would have had to eat over 500 calories a day above your maintenance calories. That would put maintenance cals at just 1500 calories. That is low.

      Tell me how the 2 weeks went and we can go from there.

      • Vicky

        Looks like my fears were completely unfounded! Kept up with the 2000 calories a day (and actually went over a couple of days) and I’m showing a 2.6 lb. loss! More than makes up for the weight I “gained” last week. And that’s even with knowing I’m currently retaining water like a camel.

        Lost about an inch or so, total, from my stomach and hips (though my neck gained an inch, no idea what that’s about) and my clothes have indeed felt a little looser. What is blowing my mind, though, is that my BF% that I measured last week (via a calculator — I don’t have calipers) was 42.4%, and with my new weight and measurements, it’s reading as 39.6%! Is the reading significantly off, or is it actually possible to lower body fat so much in a week?

        I also accept that this might be some water weight, though I did lose 2 lbs. of that early on and it’s stayed gone. But with how much I’ve been beating the crap out of myself in workouts, some fat loss an a little lean muscle would be nice. :)

        So I’ve proven that my maintenance calories are indeed above starving-to-death levels! I guess it’s time to creep it up a little more until I start gaining, right? I’m not sure I’m daring enough to go the full 500 — going up 250 at a time should produce the same results, right, just takes a little longer?

        Thank you so much! I shudder to think what my attitude would be like by now if I hadn’t read this. Boyfriend noticed the other day — “You’re a lot calmer and relaxed.” I replied, “Yeah, I’m eating food again.” :)

        • Coach Calorie

          Sorry it took so long to get back. You’ve probably already made your decision on what to do, but if you were happy that the weight loss started to pick back up, I would probably leave your calorie intake as is. However, it never hurts to experiment a little if you want to find what you maintenance calories actually are.

  • Denis

    Good tips for me, Coach Calorie, thank you! I will start to lose some weight like 30 pounds in 3 months, I hope I can do that lol

  • Roger Mathews

    I love this website. I have learned so much. But I have a question that relates to losing weight and how to balance that primary goal with the exercise I am doing that also needs substantial fuel. My preferred exercise is cycling. I’ve tried the gym, jogging, etc. but cycling has been a blast for me. But when I try for the LONG rides over 50-miles, I poop out. There are plenty of en-route feeding options, like drinks, bars and gels, but in the end, ideally I would want to complete my ride with a calorie deficit but have enough energy to complete the ride. Do you have any suggestions for someone trying to lose weight while also taking on sports involving large calorie losses during the event? I do use a heart monitor coupled to my Garmin-500 Edge and the calorie burn calc is generally 1100 – 2000 calories.

    Thanks for what you do!

    • Coach Calorie

      Your pre and post workout nutrition is going to be very important. Not sure when you’re cycling. If it’s in the morning, I’d try to get a post-workout meal in with carbs/protein, and then post-workout eat your next couple meals with carbs/protein. Keep those glycogen stores full. You’re going to have to play around a little bit to see how many carbs you need. If you find you keep hitting the wall, I’d keep adding more in. Set your calories at maintenance to start.

  • Raquel

    I want to start out by saying, I love your Blogs!! They are very informative, even for a person as myself. I started my journey 4 years ago @ 135# and only 5’2″. Not extreme, but I was very unhappy with my size 9 and knew I had to do something about it. I used one of the calculators you have mentioned online, cut 500 calories from that everyday, started Logging EVERYTHING I ate and began an exercise program. I still work out 5 days a week. Walking, Weights and Exercises such as crunches, push ups , pull ups Etc. AND 4 years later, I still log everything I eat, everyday. I have gotten more healthy in the foods I choose, High Fiber and Protein, Low Fat and Sugar. I am now down to 107 and I feel great again. My confidence is through the roof, and I finally feel sexy again in a swim suit! My goal was 110, and I have fallen below that, while trying to balance the calories with my active lifestyle to maintain and not lose anymore. I’m up to 1800 calories, bumping that up to 2000 for the next two weeks and see if that is enough.

  • Maya

    Hi. I have been struggling to lose weight for 15 years. I have seen a nutritionist who told me to eat 1400 calls per day. I am 5’2″ and 175 lbs. I am a vegetarian. I eat dairy, eggs if it’s already backed into products but never just like that. I eat a lot of Indian food(veggies and home made bread. We do use canola or olive oil to cook vegetables about 2 tablespoon at the most for a huge head of broccoli, or cabbage or cauliflower, ivy gourd etc. I do eat some white rice. I think I maybe shouldn’t eat much carbs but I am a vegan it’s my main food source. I stopped eating bread from the supermarket. I have also tried wt watchers and I could only have 26 points to lose weight but I wasn’t losing any weigh so I am stuck and frustrated. I have started an intense kickboxing class and run on a treadmill or outside using the interval runnig app on the iPhone so I am just not on one consistent speed. I can’t lose a single pound. Here is what I eat

    I cup cereal( honey nut Cheerios or frosted flakes I know that’s bad and loaded with sugar but it’s sometimes) oatmeal at times Quaker oat with favors already in them and I cup 2% milk

    Snack none

    Lunch used to eat sandwich with whole wheat Arnold brand bread and fat free cheese slice. , lettuce and tomatoe, 1 cup fat free popcorn no butter added, 1 banana or 2 carrot sticks

    Dinner Indian food ) whole wheat roti or another type of bread no added oil just the amount that was used to mke the dough

    Cup of vegetables cooked with oil

    White rice 1 cup and yogurt or lentil soup

    That’s all then. I’m having a hard time adding in protein and managing carbs

    • Coach Calorie

      Based on the meal plan you laid out, it looks like you are only eating 800-900 calories. Way too low. Your nutritionist recommended you eat 1400 calories, so I would at least be eating that much. Try eating a protein fruit smoothie post workout for more calories. 1 frozen banana, frozen berries, 50 grams of whey protein, a little water and blend. Drop that processed food too. Remember, being vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat – it means you eat a plant based diet.

  • Suzanne

    Hey coach, was looking for a bit of advice. I currently work out 4-5 days a week. For breakfast I have 1/2 cup oats. 2 1/2 later have 85g chicken breast with 1 cup of mixed veg, 2 1/2 hours later I have tuna, 1/2 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup cottage cheese, some almonds in the afternoon with a protein shake, and dinner is 85g chicken with 1 cup sweet potato and veg. I have ate like this for 4 weeks and not dropped an ounce. I do heavy deadlifts, pull ups, bench press, basically all weights, then some interval training for 20 mins. Do I need to up my food? At my wits end because I eat clean and have not noticed any difference. I am currently 60kgs! Would like to be a lean 57g. Any advice would be welcomed.

    • Coach Calorie

      Looks like you’re eating around 1100 calories. You could try to increase them some and see what happens. You definitely don’t want to go lower, so if you’re not losing weight, I suspect that is the problem. You could also try moving your carb intake to just around your workouts and having protein/fat/veggie meals the rest of the time. Also, since you aren’t really looking to drop that much weight, make sure you are taking body composition measurements to track your progress.

  • michelle

    hello my name is Michelle I am 130 lbs and I am 4’11 in height. How many calories can I eat a day. And what can I do to lose my hips and stomach?

    • David B

      personally i eat 1500 calories a day high protien moderate carbs, weight training and 15 min of cardio 5 days a week and i have lost 30 pounds so far!

  • Jee

    love your article coach calorie.

    I normally exercises 3 to 4 times a week, that should enough to burn those unwanted calorie. :)

  • Martha

    Hey, Coach, I’m a 53-year-old woman who recently hit menopause. In recent years it seems that my body’s need for calories has gone way down. I exercise every day–biking, swimming, walking, weights, and elliptical trainer in the winter– but still it seems that I just look at calories and gain weight. My weight has gone up to 176, far too much for my 5’4″ frame (I’d like to be 130). Five or six years ago, I exercised really hard, limited calories, lost 40 pounds, but I have gained it all back now. I’d like to lose it again, but this seems impossible given that my hormones want to hold onto every possible calorie and fat cell! I joke that if there were a famine, I’d be the last to die. :-/ know that there are other women with this problem. What can you suggest for those of us whose calorie needs have gone down, even though we’re just as active?

    FYI, I’m a lacto-ovo-vegetarian who eats mostly whole foods and a lot of beans.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Martha, there’s no getting around the calories in/calories out formula. Menopause or not, you still have to eat whole foods and get active. My guess is that over the course of a week, the quality of your nutrition is not up to par. 90% of your diet should be whole foods. Also, I’d consider adding in a form of strength training.

      • Martha

        I eat mostly whole foods, not processed foods. I exercise six days a week: Biking, walking, swimming, weight lifting. I spend about two-three hours a day (counting getting to the gym) in some form of exercise. I lift weights three days a week, swim three days a week, bike three days a week and walk every day. (On Sunday, I go hiking with the dog.) Lately, it seems like I can just look at calories and gain weight. I am wondering what I can do short of starving myself, since it seems like my body needs so few calories now compared to what I used to be able to eat..

        • Coach Calorie

          You seem to be exercising a lot. Are you eating enough calories to fuel that activity level? How is your protein intake on your vegetarian diet? Are you eating essential fatty acids?

  • Neena

    Hi, I am 5’7 and 245 pounds. I am trying to lose weight this summer and have been exercising an hour everyday now. However i am having trouble knowing what to eat everyday because I do not see any results from weight loss but i have stopped all junk food and sweets. I normally eat this:
    breakfast: oatmeal on some days and 2 hard boiled eggs on others
    lunch: indian food (roti with sabjee like cauliflower and potatoes)
    snack: ricecake (70 calories)
    dinner: carrots, broccoli, lettuce, green beans on some days or yogurt and granola bar on other days

    I know i am not eating enough calories, but doesn’t that mean I will not lose weight? Please help me because i have a wedding to attend and this losing weight is just not working!

    • Coach Calorie

      You are extremely under-eating. I only count 500 calories or so. That combined with all your exercise has probably brought your metabolism to a stand still. Eat more food. It’s about more than just calories – you need nutrients if you want to lose fat. You just can’t get enough of them with only 500 calories.

      • Neena

        I know that is a problem I have. I don’t know what to eat because then i start to think I am eating too much and gaining weight again. What exactly is a proper meal for the day that i can make sure i will lose weight?

        Thanks so much!

        • Coach Calorie

          Try eating a lean meat/protein, a veggie, and possibly a fruit/starch at each meal. Something like a spinach chicken salad with olive oil dressing. Go to my Pinterest page and you’ll find all kinds of healthy recipes –

  • Aimee

    I’m doing a 12week program for the second time (Michelle Bridges) you stick to.meal plans of 1200 cals. I work out 6 days per week and wear a HRM. I burn around 500-700 most sessions and over 1000 1 day a week. I ha previously lost 18kg On a protein diet and 6kg in first round of this. I no have stopped losing weight!!! I’m stuck at 75kgs, 169cm.
    Should I be eating more??? So confused!

    • Coach Calorie

      Aimee, get rid of your scale. Start eating whole foods and continue your exercising. Measure your body fat and forget about your weight. Have some patience and be consistent. The weight will come off. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.

  • megan

    hi! just found your article today and read it along with all the questions and responses — actually found it when i was googling about not eating enough calories preventing you from losing weight etc. which brings me to my question.. or i would really appreciate your opinion because i feel very lost and confused.

    i changed up my workout routine (started following jamie eason’s live fit trainer – i have since stopped and just lift/HIIT) about 3 or 4 months ago (feb or march i think).. i used to do cardio atleast 5 days per week (times varied from 20-45/60 min and included mostly running on treadmill or spinning). i also used to do lighter weight training with either kettle bells or i took a ‘total body’ class which used lighter weights and did curls, squats, lunges, etc. however my NEW workout for the past 3-4 mths has been weight lifting, and 2-3 days HIIT. (usually will do legs one day, chest/triceps another, back/biceps another etc) and on a few days i will add in 30 min HIIT (running on a treadmill 30 sec on/30 off, or 45 min of an occasional spin class).

    i have never been one to watch the scale as ive always thought i looked like i weighed less than i usually did — i was weighing myself in march and weighed around 140-145lbs (which i have weighed in that area for while now). however last week i got on the scale and saw that is said 150lbs (which made me worry.. logically it should be muscle, but is it?) i havent really been noticing a difference in how clothes fit so much, and if anything they feel tighter.. am i eating too much? not eating enough? training wrong? part of me isnt sure which way to turn cause its seems like mostly everything i read says i am training in a good way but im not sure. i read that perhaps i am not eating enough calories for my activity level so, this week ive started counting calories(online diary but you can find food brands etc) and tried to eat a little more to see where i am at.. this is what ive been eating:

    btw, i am 26yrs old, about 5ft 7in.. dont know my body fat %.. not sure how to do that. also i have a desk job so i am pretty much sitting all day – usually work out either early morning (trying for this but its tough) or after work

    i eat every 2-3 hours generally – sometimes the snacks are interchanged

    3 or 4 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 slice ezekial toast or 1/2 c oats
    coffee w/ 1 tbsp xylitol, splash of half and half

    1/2 c 1% cottage cheese w/ strawberries (maybe 1/2 c max?)
    or i would have nonfat greek yogurt w/ strawberries

    chicken breast (not always good at measuring amount – mb 4/6oz?)
    veges (broccolli or green beans usually)
    1/2 c brown rice or sweet potato or potato

    homemade protein bars (clean recipe – strawberries, bananas, oats, xylitol, protein powder, greek yogurt.. usually i make ones without the fruit – will use oat flour and i have been grinding it myself)

    protein shake after the gym (MRM brand- approx 87cal, 1g sugar, 18g protein)

    dinner (sometimes ends up being late at night – 8pm/9pm)
    chicken, steak, ground turkey
    salad with mixed veges and homemade oil/vinegar dressing
    sometimes w/ rice/potato (but not always)

    i will usually have a cheat meal atleast once a week if i go out to eat and will have an occasional glass of wine or beer

    when i calculated my meal yesterday it was just about at 2000 calories. so i am not sure where to go from here, stick with around 2000 for 2 wks and see what the scale says? go up? go down? any advice would be soo appreciated. i feel like im going crazy with all the contradicting stuff you read, plus i worry maybe even if i read that it worked for someone else maybe it wont work for me..? thanks soo much in advance!! :)

    • Coach Calorie

      Megan, you seem like you have a good grasp of what you’re doing. My advice would be to not be held so captive by the scale. I know your weight concerns you, but the important thing is that you are living a healthy lifestyle. Giving time doing what your current plan is, the body fat will come off. Notice I said body fat and not weight. Your calorie intake seems reasonable, and I’m confident that with a little patience and consistency, you’ll start seeing improvements. However, it’s imperative that you start tracking your progress through other means besides the scale.

      I’d recommend you read – 10 Ways to Effectively Measure Weight Loss Progress


      Don’t Use the Scale to Gauge Healthy

      • megan

        thanks so much, i really appreciate the feed back and article suggestions. as far as caloric needs.. i have been tracking on and off and it looks like i am usually somewhere in between 1500 – 2000 calories. am i just overthinking this and i should keep doing what i am doing? as you said, i am living a healthy lifestyle? i suppose those 500 calorie differences could also be the result of burning more calories one day vs another. i am having a little bit of a tough time as i want clothes to start feeling looser and it seems like thats not happening (in my mind i think they feel tighter.. although a lot of that could be in my head and they are actually the same as they have always been pretty much lol) thanks for the thoughts and tips, its good to hear if you are on the right track or what needs tweaking.. really appreciate it — great site!

  • AG


    I have been trying to lose some weight and having a hard time. I have been trying for like few years and every time I seem to be gaining weight. My scale goes up if i eat outside one day. I didn’t exercise as i was on vacation and after 4 days, scale is up by 2 pounds. Although I ate out, i have been watching what i was eating. I used to under eat and now I eat 1600-1700 calories. I weigh 208 pounds, 36 year old and 5 4″ (female). I workout with a trainer 2 days (circuit training) and 3 days of cardio. When we did the body composition in the gym, it suggested eating 1900 as bmr. I don’t know if i should try eating more. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    My typical day is like this

    BF : 2 toast + jelly or sugar free cereal + coffee with milk
    snack – 4 brazil nuts + 1 seasonal fruit
    lunch – 1 cup brown rice + 1/cup lentils + veggies
    snack – coffee with milk
    dinner – 1 egg/ bean salad + 1 cup milk

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi AG, are you vegetarian? Your diet is seriously lacking in protein. I see maybe 50 grams of protein.

      Up your calories (I only see about 500-600 calories there). That is not nearly enough nutrition to support a healthy body. Try eating a source of protein at every meal. Coffee and milk is not a snack. Head to my Pinterest page and look at the healthy recipes there. That is what you should be eating in your meals –

      • AG

        Thanks for responding. I track my calories and I try to eat around 1600 calories. Do you think I should up my calories more? I am a lacto ova vegetarian and my protein is around 70-80 gms.

        • Coach Calorie

          Here is your diet and a generous calorie allotment/meal

          BF : 2 toast + jelly or sugar free cereal + coffee with milk – about 200 calories
          snack – 4 brazil nuts + 1 seasonal fruit – about 100 calories
          lunch – 1 cup brown rice + 1/cup lentils + veggies – about 350 calories
          snack – coffee with milk – maybe 50 calories
          dinner – 1 egg/ bean salad + 1 cup milk – about 200 calories

          That is a total of 900 calories – at the most. I would be eating nearly double that, eating whole foods, and exercising, and I wouldn’t even consider changing anything until I did that for a month.

          If you’re unable to maintain that level of nutrition for a month, then you need to focus more on how to make healthy eating a part of your lifestyle, and less on how much weight your gaining/losing. Make sense? You want this to last. You don’t want weight to be a daily obsession. If you don’t change your mentality, you will still have a weight obsession – even if you are lean. Trust me.

          • AG

            Thanks! I didn’t add the fat part in my sample day I gave. I try to eat more if my ca leeks have t reached 1400 by adding a whey protein shake or handful of nuts. Also lunch and dinner 1 tbsp olive oil. Also add avocado if I am low on calories. My average intake is 1600 calories. But scale is not moving even though I am consistent with my workout

            • AG

              Also I take 2% milk. I don’t do any fat free stuff as my naturopathist suggested to get rid of all that one year back. I eat home made food other than occasional outside eating

  • Brenda

    I’ve been meaning to lose weight over the summer and I’ll lose up to 15 pounds and then gain them back. Hopefully this won’t happen on my way their .I never really contemplated or thought of calories this way , gave me a completely different perspective on wight loss and calories. Thank you !

    • Brenda

      Also I’d like to add that I have a 30% body fat and I’m hoping to lose enough weight to be comfortable. I eat around 1,000 -1,500 calories a day . I find it quite hard to eat healthy and have more calories because I’ve been eating a lot of chicken breast. Should I allow myself to eat more carbs such as a cup of noodle soup or a piece of carne asada? What is morale the biggest point of dieting the carbs and protein or counting calories?

      • Coach Calorie

        Brenda, try to get out of the dieting mentality. Diets have end dates. You want to change your lifestyle so that you can maintain your results forever.

        Why do you find it hard to eat healthy? Is it the taste? Healthy food can taste amazing.

        If you want to eat more carbs, eat more carbs. Just make sure they are healthy and not processed. Noodle soup is calorie dense and nutrient sparse. Try sweet potatoes, beans, veggies, fruit, etc

  • Danielle

    hi, im extremely cautious about my weight, i count my calories everyday (yes i know i have a problem) but i used to be chubby and i never want to bew the size i was again. im 5 ft 6 inches, 16 years old, and i weigh around 8 and a half stone. i do a lot of excersise i usually do aerobics about 4 times a week which are quite high impact workouts, then i also walk a lot as well on days i do not workout. i eat around 1,200 calories a day on average, although sometimes on weekends i binge and eat around 2,500 – 3000 calories, but then the next day i consume around 600 – 900 calories to make up for the day before so my diet is all over the place but during the week i do consume around 1,100 – 1,200 calories a day. i would like i know how many calories i SHOULD be eating as people tell me i should eat more, but all the websites have mixed opinions. what do you suggest? should i carry on as i am or start eating a bit more? i have an app on my ipod, which tells me my weekely average of calories IS 1,100 – 1,200 including the binge day as i make up for it.

    • Coach Calorie

      Are you strength training at all? If not, I’d consider adding that in.

      I would focus more on controlling your binging and eating a more level calorie intake every day. It’s not just about calories, it’s about the nutrition those calories provide. If you don’t get the nutrients your body needs, your body is not going to let go of the weight.

  • Jill


    I tried to go to your healthy recipes and got sent to pinterest. I clicked on a recipe and all I saw was a picture of the meal and comments about it. Where are the actual recipes. I don’t want to join another site. Can I just go to the recipes?

    Thanks for your help.


    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Jill. Pinterest is where I’ve been collecting all the recipes from around the web. You don’t have to join. Just keep clicking on the pictures of the meals and you’ll be taken to the website that has the recipe. Just keep clicking ;)

  • Helen

    Hi Coach,am a Nigerian and my current weight is 95kg,height 5ft 6nch,age 36yrs. I really want to lose at least 25kg in the next 3month. Pls i need your help, i dn’t have alot of money for diet but few suggestion would do. Meanwhile,gr8t job you are doing here. Am also a stay home mum,i’ll appreciate ur help.

    • Coach Calorie

      Try setting a more realistic goal. 25kg in 3 months is a lofty goal. It took time to put it on, it will take time to take it off. I would suggest you do some reading on the site. Start with the popular posts –

  • Kim

    Hi i was wondering if i’m eating enough calories? i’m 15 168lbs and 5’10 i started my diet a couple of weeks ago at 1600 calories then 1400 and 1200 calories and now at 900 calories with 900 calories a day i lose about 3-4 lbs a week, which i really like.. but i want to know if this 900 calorie diet is okay. I know people have said it will make it harder for me to lose weight but i seem to be doing just fine.

    • Coach Calorie

      In time it can cause more harm than good. 3-4 pounds a week is quite a bit of weight loss, and it’s unlikely it’s all fat. You want fat loss, not weight loss. Eat more food. Make it into a healthy lifestyle – not a diet. You should be able to eat this way for the rest of your life. If you don’t think you can, you’re doing something wrong.

  • pauline

    Okay so heres my problem. I think I have brought my metabolism to a dead stop! I started my journey to a healthier me at 5’8 250lbs. After my initial diet and exersize change I dropped 50lbs in 31/2 months. In the last month i have gotten a gym membership. I work out 6 days a week for 1/12- 2hrs doing both cardio and strength training. I have not lost any weight in 2 months, I have been stuck at 198-200lbs and cant seem to lose anymore weight. This is a problem for me because I feel that I still need to lose about 40 to 50lbs. I do know that on most days I dont eat nearly enough. based on my goals an online calculator says I need 1200 calories a day. I keep a food journal and record Everything I eat. On most days I can get close to 1200, but on others i am only consuming 600-800 calories. The site I use says I also need to consume the calories I burn off. ( is this true.) I cant eat that much food! I know a lot of my issue is psychological, I am so afraid I will put back on the lbs I have lost. So after weeks of no progress i have re evaluated my diet and decided to change it. here is my plan: 5 200-250 calorie meals a day. Do you think this is a good approach?
    Typical Day
    Breakfast: Omelette made with 1/4 cup egg whites w 1/4 cup spinach
    Snack: 1/2 medium banana or a small apple
    Lunch: Sandwich made with light wheat bread ( 45 cal per slice) 2oz of boarshead lean lunch meat.
    Dinner: Mixed greens Salad w 3oz 97/3 lean ground turkey
    I only drink water and unsweetened green tea
    I will occasionally drink a whey protein shake pre work out. I learned the hard way not to work out for 2hrs on an empty stomach!
    So do you have any advise for me on how I can re amp my weight loss?
    Thank you :)

    • Coach Calorie

      I don’t think that’s enough food. In addition, it only looks like around 60 grams of protein there. Where are your healthy fats? With the amount of exercise you do, you should be eating more carbs. Less food is not better. You need the nutrition if you want your body to rid itself of fat.

      Try eating your 5 meals, but eat 20-30 grams of protein at each meal. Eat some carbohydrates in your first few meals after your workout, and eat veggies at every meal. Throw some nuts and other healthy fats in there, and you should be good to go.

  • Sherry B.

    I was wondering if you could help me. I have just quit smoking… 6 days in. I have now started working out and trying to eat 1200 calories a day. I have for years maintained a smaller figure by eating way too little. Skipping breakfast and eating a small lunch and a large dinner… and pigging out on chocolate once a month for a few days. I am now gaining some weight which I really don’t like. I am 32, 5.7 and used to weigh 130 and now weigh 134. It’s not much, but it’s not been but a week! I have been using fitness workouts. Starting only this week. And have been upping my calories… I am trying to make them healthy ones, but I can’t help but to want to pig out… I am hungry constantly…. But am sure, that will eventually get better. I guess my question is, If I maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan, will my body catch up and figure out what is going on?? Or am I doomed to eating below what is a healthy calorie intake to maintain a weight of 130? Even being hungry constantly I am not eating but 1200 and at most 1300… and gaining…

    • Coach Calorie

      Sherry, you don’t need to be hungry to maintain a healthy body composition. If you’re hungry – eat, but eat whole foods. Also, 4 pounds in a week is not much. I fluctuate that much in a day. Are you exercising? Make sure you are strength training. My advice would be to not think too much. Eat whole foods and exercise. The weight will take care of itself.

  • Sherry B.

    PS: I just want to be healthy. I don’t want to get caught up in another unhealthy bad habit. I know that quitting smoking is great and I am proud of myself. I just don’t want to become an over eater to replace the smoking habit. I want to work out, and eat right. My health is not the greatest. I have polycystic Kidneys, although the only reason I know this is because one cyst is palpable… My kidney’s are fully functional. And I have been fighting anemia as well. I also have over the years had a problem drinking enough water. On a regular basis I would only have maybe one 8 oz. glass a day and only, if I was lucky. I would drink only coffee the rest. Which is a diuretic and is very bad to only drink that and no water to replace the water lost. So in conclusion I really want to be fit and healthy. I know weight isn’t my biggest problem. But also know that by fixing all the other unhealthy problems I will ultimately look and feel great.

  • alex

    Hi.. I have kept a food journal for 6 months.. eating anywhere between 1200 to 1500 calories a day.. some days I jump to 1700. My body will not lose a pound. I workout with a trainer doing weights 2 times a week, try to add another day on own, and vary my cardio workouts 4 days a week. 45 min to hour depending.

    I eat very clean.. no processed foods. 120grams of protein per day, 50 grams fat and aim for less than 100 g per day. I am 49, 5 foot 3 and 26 BF … trying to lose last 5 to 7 pounds..No much, but for my size its a pant size.

    If I was to follow you plan I should eat less, but thats not healthy. Should I stay at 1200 then for a little longer. Didnt want to lose muscle, and have heard you can slow metabolism by eating too low for too long. Yet, its already slow if I am doing what I am doing and not losing. When I was eating more… I was gaining.

    Any ideas? Thank you!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Alex, why do you say you would eat less if you follow my plan? Have you tried eating more and you’ve gained weight consistently over a period of time? I don’t know how much you weigh, so it’s hard to say if your calorie intake is high. Regardless, there is only one way to figure it out, and you have to not be afraid of gaining a little weight in the process. Worst case scenario, you end up putting on some extra muscle.

  • Alison

    Hi Coach,
    I’m fascinated by this not eating enough to lose weight concept! I have been doing HIIT with bodyweight exercises and I run 5k about once a week. I never eat processed foods, and my diet is primarily low carb and high protein. I do indulge sometimes in some chocolate, i try to stick to the dark version, but sometimes I do give in and have a few squares of milk chocolate with almonds. I do drink but not too much and only one night a week and only wine never ever beer. Anyway, I can never lose weight, no matter what I do, I have experimented with different daily calories intakes, 1200, 1300, 1400 and 1500 and still no change in my weight. I understand its not all about the number on the scales and I am quite lean however I only want to lose about 5lbs, and it seems no matter what I do, it makes no difference.
    An example of my daily intake is below, and I would be really delighted if you could have a look and let me know what I’m doing wrong

    B/f 2 eggs dry fried, on wholemeal toast, coffee slim milk no sugar,
    Break 50g greek yogurt with about 8 almonds, frozen raspberries and cinnamon
    Lunch Mixed leaves, roast peppers, grated carrot, half an avocado, poached salmon/ chicken/ tuna and some toasted cashews or walnuts
    Dinner veggies and lean protein

    I usually have a little bit of chocolate in the evening, I drink 2 litres of water a day, pasta about once a month, no sauces, or dressings, no rice or potatoes ever, and the bread I have in the am is the only bread I eat all day.

    I’m 35, 140lbs and 5 4

    I would be really grateful of any advice you could provide,

    Thanks a mil Coach,

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Allison, how many calories is in that meal plan you outlined? I’m counting easily less than 1000. It also looks like you’re eating around 75g of protein, 35g of fat, and maybe 30g of carbs. Not enough food at all. In addition, you can’t be going low on both fat and carbs. You need energy!

      Try upping your protein to between 100-120 grams, your carbs up closer to 100 grams, and your fat up to 50-60 grams. See how you feel after that, and we can adjust your carb intake based on how you are feeling in the gym.

  • Karen Ann

    Coach, I’m not sure how I came across your blog/site but I am soooo happy I did! I 5’1 and currently 192 pounds. My highest weight was 267 and I have no real idea how I lost the weight but now that I am consciously trying to lose the weight…NOTHING! At present I have been going back and forth between weight watchers and calorie count and I alternate between Zumba and Insanity. Calorie Count suggests that I should eat about 1300 calories a day and I have no real idea about my caloric intake with WW, just the points :o) which was 29. All that being said, I have been at a plateau for the last 2-3 months and I’m beyond frustrated. Help! My normal menu is: Breakfast = two egg whites with 2 tablespoons of cheese and two slices of pepperidge farm light bread: Snack= Mrs. Mays almond clusters: Lunch= 3 slices of turkey luncheon meat and 1 slice of light cheese; greek yogurt, a piece of fruit: Dinner= a protein, vegetables, and some starch: Snack= a mini ice cream sandwich. I know some of my selections aren’t the best but I enjoy them and they keep me from sneaking other stuff.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Karen, it looks like you have quite a bit of processed food in your diet. Try getting more of your nutrition from whole foods. In addition, many people have issues trying to lose weight with bread and dairy in their diet. You might want to try different options and see if you notice any improvement. I would also make sure you’re taking body fat measurements so that you can tell if you’re still losing fat even if the scale hasn’t moved. That will give you a lot of information that can then be used to make changes going forward.

  • rachel spalding

    hi, i have been doing weight watchers for the past week and i have uped my level of activityfro nothing to a 6.5 mile walk a day and 1 hour on the bike a daybut i am unsure of how many cals i am burning? i am 19 .6 stone and i am a 5ft11in girl can you help me work it out? as i dont want to stop doing the diet, thanks x x rachel x

    • Coach Calorie

      Most people burn an average of 100 calories for every mile they travel on foot. Could be more or less depending on a lot of factors, but it’s a good guide.

      Are you doing over 2 hours of cardio every day? If you are, I’d highly recommend you drop the walking in favor of some strength training. Strength training will give you much better fat loss results than walking can ever dream of.

  • rachel spalding

    oopps sorry i forgot to say my speed when walking is 3mph and on the bike the matchine says i am doing 5.2? i think thats right lol sorry x rachel x

  • Debbi

    Hi…thanks for the info about trying out 2000 calories. I quit smoking 2.5 years ago and have been unable to budge a single pound since the gain. I use to track my consumption @ 1200 calories/day, some days a bit more. My exercise has been sidelined by an injury, but will resume soon – power-walking and BodyPump class. I will bump it up to 2000 and see what happens. Funny thing – a few months ago, I went on a 35 day trip and didn’t care what I ate or drank nor did I exercise – when I returned, my weight was exactly the same. I was eating fried foods, drinking gallons of beer and laying on a beach like a slug! How does THAT happen? I would be interested to know if you have any other people who have quit smoking with similar problems. I belong to a chat of a whole bunch of us and no one seems to have an answer for us. The calories in/calories out theory doesn’t seem to work for us at all.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Debbie, are you taking body fat measurements? Your weight only tells part of the story, and it would be nice to know whether or not your body is changing for the better even if your weight isn’t.

      As to smoking, tobacco can cause many negative changes to your metabolism. Being that it’s also a stimulant, it’s not unheard of for it to be harder to lose weight after ceasing smoking.

      • Debbi

        My body isn’t changing at all – my clothes do not fit properly and I don’t need body fat measuements other than my own two eyes! I’m thoroughly disgusted with this gain, but keep trying.

        • Coach Calorie

          Do you know if you’ve put on any muscle? Body fat measurements tell more than just how much fat you’ve lost/gain.

          Lay out a typical day’s diet, and tell me what you’re eating when you’re not eating good.

          • Debbi

            Muscle – probably not. I can judge everything by the way my clothes fit. I normally eat very healthy as I worked for Public Health for 34 years and know all about that. I’m 5′ 2′ and try to stay around 1200-1500 calories. My typical breakfast would be a hard-boiled egg, yogurt or oatmeal with fruit and OJ. Lunch might be cottage cheese with tuna or a turkey wrap with veggies and 8 oz. of skim milk. Dinner is 4-5 oz. skinless chicken, beef, pork or fish with 1/2 c. wild rice and veggies with no butter and 8 oz. skim milk. Somewhere along the way, I will have a few 97 calorie Miller Lites or Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale. When I’m NOT eating healthy on some vacation and/or picnic days, I will have foods like breaded scallops, crabcakes, burgers and mayo based pasta salads, coleslaw and too many Miller Lites as a few examples. Either way, my weight doesn’t change. This is only since I quit smoking – I never had issues with my weight before that. Here’s the chat that I follow on that subject:

            • Coach Calorie

              Debbi, I’m sure you don’t want to hear it, but you can’t expect to make progress drinking a few beers a day. 97 calories a piece or not, it’s not just about calories. Alcohol affects your metabolism in many ways. In addition, get rid of the diet soda. Drink water.

              How many calories are you eating when you have an off day, and how often does that happen?

              • Debbi

                Please explain what 3% alcohol can do to your metabolism ONLY after one quits smoking. As I stated before, I do not over eat and changed nothing in my diet when I quit smoking – including beer.
                As for the diet soda, I bought a 12 pack for the first time in my life about 10 days ago and have had 5 cans. Not a problem.
                I could not begin to even guess how many calories I consume on an “off day” and it may happen every 12 days or so if that – and usually in the summer or on vacation.

                • Coach Calorie

                  Before I start Debbie, I ask that you keep an open mind. I’m not trying to attack you or your lifestyle. I’m only making suggestions since you asked for advice. You laid out your lifestyle, and I’m showing you the problems. It’s up to you to decide if you want to take the advice.

                  First off, alcohol has 7 calories per gram. More importantly though, your body will not metabolize protein, carbohydrates, or fat until it finishes metabolizing the alcohol. It gets priority above all other macronutrients. This fact alone can put a halt to any progress, especially when you are drinking all throughout the day.

                  I have no problem with alcohol. I drink a glass of wine every so often too, but I don’t make it a habit to have it every day. Have people lost weight drinking daily? Yes, but it is not the norm. Those calories could be used to put nutrient dense foods into your diet instead of the empty calories alcohol provides.

                  I am however very anti artificial sweetener, so you will never see me recommending diet soda to anyone. It goes beyond weight loss, as I promote a healthy lifestyle.

                  I wish you luck!

  • Mecca

    Hi Coach,

    I am hoping that you can help me. I am a 33 yr old F, 5′ 5″, and weigh 180 lbs. I have been trying for over a year to lose weight. So far I have only managed to lose 13 lbs. This is on top of quitting cigarettes last August. I work out 6 days a week & wear a HRM when I do to track the calories that I’m burning. On M,W,F I walk 3.75 mi – mainly up & down hill, am starting my 3rd week of c25k, jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, weighted hula hoop, & lift weights. On these days, my total workout time is on average around 130+ mns w/ a calorie burn of 2100 – 2300. On T, Th, & Sat I walk 3 – 5 mi, weighted hula, jumping jacks & push ups w/ a total time of around 80+ mins and a total calorie burn of 1600+. I was eating 1400 cals a day until a nutritionist told me to bump it up to 1600 – 1800. The first week of doing so, I lost 5 pounds and nothing else since. I eat a high protein, high fiber diet and 1750 cals a day and am using MyFitnessPal. I’m trying to join the Reserves & my weight is holding me back. Please, please, please help!! Thanks.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Mecca, over 2 hours of exercise in a day is unnecessary. Why not alternate strength training days with your c25k program? You need to make sure you are getting enough rest to recover from your workouts. You can’t exercise the same muscles every single day in a hypocaloric environment and expect to make progress.

      Focus on shorter, more intense strength training workouts. 1800 calories seems OK based on a reduced activity level that I’m talking about. Your diet is the key to weight loss, not exercise. Exercise creates the metabolic environment that makes it possible for your nutrition to do its job.

  • Jessi

    Hi coach…I have been dieting for the past few months, I started out at 165 lbs and cut my calories (probably too drastically) to an average of about 1200 per day after using an online calorie calculator to help determine how many calories I should be taking in. I have been doing an average of 2 hours of exercise per day (alternating between brisk walking and biking). I was doing great, at first…I got down to 150 pounds, but now I have been stuck at this weight for the past two weeks. I have increased my daily exercise and have been trying to add calories because of this, but still find myself stuck at 150. I’m wondering if increasing my calorie intake to 1500 per day (10x my body weight) would be helpful to to kickstart my weightloss again? Is 1500 calories still too low?

    Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!

    • Coach Calorie

      Jessi, if you were at 2 hours of exercise a day and you increased it even more, I’d say you are overtraining.

      Reduce the cardio and add in strength training. That is the key. If you are only eating 1200 calories with over 2 hours of exercise, you are severely undereating. Don’t be afraid to eat! Your body needs the nutrients.

  • Low Low

    I use my fitness pals and it sets my calorie goal a day to 1320 . Last month I lost 10lbs and this month im at a stand still. I workout 6 days a week burning 500 calories 5 days plus some weights then I one day of only weights. Do I need to eat more ? Why isnt my weight going down anymore ?

    • Coach Calorie

      I don’t know your body stats, but are you measuring your body fat progress at all? You need to see what’s going on beyond what the scale says.

  • clare naylor

    well i never thought u’d have to eat 2,000 calories a day to start weight loss!!, but when u read it all through, it all makes perfect sense!!, i have been cycling 2 miles and swimming every day for the past 3 weeks, but only taking in between 700 to 1300 calories a day, with not had that much weight loss, but now feel fatigued!!, now i know why, now i know what to do, i cant wait to start in the morning!!, thank you so much for helping me understand how to understand my body!!

    • Coach Calorie

      You don’t necessarily need 2000 calories, but I like to shock people to show them how much they can actually eat and still lose weight. I can tell you that unless you are under 100 pounds, your current calorie intake is way too low.

  • Deanna

    This is an interesting concept. I had a food journal for a long time but get so irritated since I have a food allergy, my calories add up really fast. I was told to only eat 1200 calories and work out to lose weight. To add weight scares me. I am not sure about this….

    • Coach Calorie

      It scares a lot of people Deanna, but what’s the worst that can happen? Do you really think adding 1-2 pounds over the course of several weeks is going to hurt you? If you’re eating whole foods and strength training, hardly any of that will be fat anyways. Give you body the nutrition it is demanding.

  • Anjana

    All this is very confusing…. I have bodymedia armband. My calorie burn is around 2300-2400 on atleast 6 days a week. I do strength and cardio workouts. I consume about 1400 cals (sometimes less). I am 5’2 and weigh 151 lbs. No matter what i do i am not losing weight. i dont eat junk food. I am vegetarian.I get atleast 70-80g protein daily. All my hormones are normal. If i increase my calories by 500, wont i gain weight? Besides, i think that is way too much food. When you eat lot of fruits and veggies, you get full with less calories. I dont know what to do. Please help.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Anjana, if your calorie burn is 2400 calories, you would need to eat more than 1000 extra calories a day to see any kind of change in your weight (higher).

      Try upping your protein to at least 100 grams a day, and do not go under 1400 cals. Less is not better, it’s worse. In fact, I would aim for 1700-1900 if your BodyMedia is correct.

      And last, take body fat measurements. Your scale measurement means nothing :)

      • Anjana

        Thanks. Should i increase the calories gradually (say 100 cals every week) or all at once? (from 1400 to 1700) I do not want to gain weight. Also, i had a question about rest days. I dont do workouts but i am not sitting also. I run errands, do other household work etc. I burn about 1900-2000 cals on rest days. Should i be taking it easy on rest day? Body fat is way high. Its 31%

        • Coach Calorie

          I would just increase it to 1700. You’re not going to gain fat if you’re exercising and eating healthy foods.

          And If that’s your only rest day for the week, then yes, I’d just take it easy.

          • Anjana

            Thanks a lot. Should i decrease the calorie intake on rest day or keep it the same (1700)?
            Also, what should be the percentage of carbs (healthy), fat and protein in a day?
            It seems in the past year, i have tried everything and cant lose weight. I have gone down to 1200 cals and upto 1500 cals with no results. I am going to increase it to 1700 now. I am currently doing Jillian’s body revolution workouts. Also, additional cardio workouts and walks outside.

            • Coach Calorie

              I’d just set it at 1700 and forget it. As to macros, aim for 1 gram/pound of lean body mass for protein, eat carbohydrates in proportion to your exercise levels, and fill the rest of your calories with healthy fats.

  • Glenna

    I have lost 192 pounds over the last 5 years. I started at 339 pounds. I lost the most weight within the first three years and the last two years i only lost 6 pounds 2 years ago and only 16 and 1/2 pounds the last year. I got down to 146 pounds but over the last couple of months have moved back up to 152 pounds. My BMI is at 23.6 % and my Body fat is 19.3% taken by a trainer at my gym. I work out in the gym almost daily. I have manitained my weight loss for 6 months or so. Some folks say I don’t eat enough and I am 52 years old. 5 feet 4 and 1/2 inches tall. I seem to have some hormone problems and lately seem tired don’t get enough rest (I don’t sleep well) I take estrdiol for hormones but still have night sweats and face breaks out so on and so forth. You know the hormone things that go on.
    I really would like to lose about 12 more pounds but I cannot seem to budge any weight loss no matter how much I work out. and have experienced this 6 pound gain over the last few months. I do spin and body pump/ walk daily and at least once a week I do 11 to 12 miles at a time. I normally have one rest day a week? I have done several half marathons and am now training for a full marathoon
    I need help and answers. I don’t take supplemnts or diet pills. I have lost the weight the right way but do not seem to be able to finish to my goal?
    And I love exercise and working out. I like going to the gym and finding new ways to exercise.
    I want to lose 12 more pounds and I would like my body fat to be about 16% I need to know how many calories should I be eating? By the way I eat very healthy food. No fried foods/ fish and whole grains (quality foods) and I eat about 6 times a day HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Advice please

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Glenna, I don’t know how many calories you should be eating. Why not try what I laid out in the article? That’s the only way to tell for sure, but I can tell you that it’s probably more than you think. The amount of exercise you do requires quite a bit of nutrition, and the fact that you feel worn down lately tells me you either aren’t eating enough, or you aren’t recovering from your workouts, or both.

      Make sure you are getting at least 1 complete rest day a week, and take a good look at your diet. I wouldn’t be surprised if you need 2000 calories a day. Create a smaller calorie deficit to lose the last pounds, not a bigger one.

  • Sandra

    Are the “Burn The Fat” by Tom Venuto and “Old School New Body” by Steve and Becky Holman really worth trying as recommended under the Calorie Calculator Tool?? Looks like another weight loss scam ad so not sure if you are also recommending these?? Thanks!!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Sandy, I’m not sure where you see those. If you are talking about the calorie calculator link in the article, I am not recommending it. In fact, the whole point in the article was to show that calorie calculators are wrong, or at least can be inaccurate for many people.

      • Sandra

        Yes, exactly, it’s the site that you posted a link to for the calorie calculator…I posted a link below….at the bottom it recommends several programs/books…just wondering if you also recommended those! Thanks!: :)

        • Coach Calorie

          I do not recommend that calculator or anything on that site. I linked to it to show an example of a calculator. Advice: stay away from the programs and diet plans. Good books are always a plus.

  • Jeanine

    Hey there! Love this article!

    I teach 3 Zumba/Zumba toning classes a week and Im still tryin to lose my last 20-30 pounds. :)

    I am gonna up my calories to 2000 and write down everything I eat and see what happens b/c right now Im at a stand still…..

    However, what about carbs? Or is it just calories?? (someone may have mentioned that already….. I didn’t read all the comments)

    Thank you!!!!!!!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Jeanine, eat a carb level that coincides with your activity level. You don’t want to go overboard with them, but you still need them to fuel high-intensity activity.

  • Sandra

    THANK YOU for your help!!! It’s greatly appreciated! :)

  • Sarah

    Can you start to gain weight if you arent giving your body enough calories? I run marathons and train for about 1.5 hrs a day (anywhere from 6-12 miles on a weekday and 15-20 on Saturday). I think I am under eating. when I track my calories Im between 1600 and 1800calories. I have a small frame (113lbs, 5’6″) and have always been lean but I feel like I am struggling to keep my weight stable lately. I cant possibly need to eat less with how much Im running right? But Im scared to eat more than what I am eating because Im sure I will gain weight. Im just not sure what my body is telling me.

    • Coach Calorie

      It’s unlikely you will gain weight eating too few calories. However, it’s possible that it can keep you from losing weight.

      Keep in mind that your weight can also fluctuate from water weight. It’s not something I would concern myself with though.

      A marathoner is going to need quite a few calories. Don’t be afraid to eat. You need the fuel for your exercise too!

  • NeNe

    Hi, I normally don’t leave a comment on any of these sites, however, in desperation I decided to because I need some answers. For the past eight years I have been in a slump with my weight. I have always exercised and watched what I ate but it seems that I have not been able to lose any weight. I have gained about 18 pounds in the past eight years. I have tried everything to lose the weight but instead of losing I have gained. I have now started the “Insanity” workout but have not noticed any changes. I have been at it going on four weeks now. I am wondering if I have the same problem as everyone else that you have replied to (not eating enough calories). I weigh from 166 pounds to 170 pounds… I am 5 ft 6. I try to eat around 1400 to 1500 calories a day. I am now taking the “Shakeology” and hoping that this will aide in weight loss (3rd day). My meals consist of: protein shake for breakfast, grill chicken, veggies, brown rice for lunch, and grill chicken, 1/2 cup pasta, asparagus (6), maranara sauce and a fruit. For snacks I usually eat 1/4 cup of almonds and 2 TBS of dried cherries (I love this snack). Now can you help me please… If you can would you please reply to my email also because I googled and got this site. I wouldn’t know how to find this again. Thanks in advance…

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi NeNe, when you say you haven’t noticed any changes, what are you gauging that by? Just weight?

      I don’t want to discourage you, but no protein shake in and of itself is going to help you lose weight. Protein is just food. Shakeology might have some additional ingredients, but they don’t take the place of good nutrition and exercise.

      My question to you is: What else are you eating besides what you showed me? Are you going off track during the week or the weekend?

      If you’ve been at this 8 years, we need to take a different approach. We need to start changing your lifestyle habits. Be honest with yourself and write down all the bad habits you have. Artificial sweeteners, sodas, anything that you think needs work. Then, focus on changing that one single thing this week.

  • James

    Hi, Just wanted to see what calorie intake you would recommend for me. I’m a 23 year old male, that lives a very sedentary lifestyle. 5 ft 8 and currently at 255lbs, lost 5lbs the last 4 weeks by limiting myself to 2000cals a day, though I’ve been having more like 1800 most days. Ideally want to lose another 60 or so pounds eventually and I’m under no illusion that this is some overnight thing and I’ve finally got the willpower and desire to kick this weight.

    I’m just looking for recommendations on what my intake should be and any other advice or tips that could help me on my journey.

    I would appreciate any insight you could give me and thank you greatly for taking the time to respond to all of us.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hey James, it’s hard to say, which is why I recommend the actions outlined in the article, but I see no reason for you to need to go below 2000 calories. When you say sedentary, are you still exercising? If not, I highly recommend that you don’t diet without strength training. It will make your job so much easier. If you are exercising intensely for an hour a day, then I’d be eating at least 2500 calories/day.

  • Ginee Scarbrough

    How can you eat 2000 calories without eating a lot of sugar and fat? If I stick to healthy foods: limiting my sugar intake to 24-30 grams a day and stay with a 40-40-30 ratio, it is so hard for me to eat that much. I am stuffed around the 1400 mark. Any suggestions?

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Ginee, it shouldn’t be that difficult to eat 2000 calories. 1400 calories is below maintenance levels for the majority of people, and you don’t want to be living in a perpetual state of calorie deficits.

      Don’t be afraid to eat healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and residual fat from eggs and meat should make it easy to hit that number. For an active female, 2000 calories should be right around maintenance levels.

  • elkie


    I’m a great fan of your blog and read all your articles… Just wanted to ask your opinion on something ! (will keep it as brief as poss!)

    last year I was at 13% BF at 109 Lbs 5″5..
    this year I suffered an injury ( I fell from the TRX) I had to take time of training (3 months) which depressed me and my eating habits went downhill from there..
    So Now I am approx 124lbs didnt bother to do BF because My trousers feel veryyy tight so I know most of the fat has gone to my middle lol

    I remembered one of your quotes in your article is aim high in calories to lose weight… last year to maintain low body fat I didnt eat very much but maintained high training/resistance/cardio levels.

    Now I am taking the opportunity to lose fat properly and to train smarter, can you look at my training schedule and a typical days worth of food?

    Mon- 20mins jog warm up, 40 mins resisitance (press ups etc etc)
    Tues 5 min jog warm up 15 min HIIT cardio 40 mins weights
    weds – Rest
    Thursday 20 mins4K run 40 mins resisitance
    Friday- Boot camp Class ( this is quite high intensity and I consider it more like a HITT class)
    Sat- Boxing Class
    Sun – Rest

    Breakfast – Oat Porridge, mixed with unsweetend Almond milk, Flax seeds cinnamon and Whey Protein
    (usually gym time now)
    Snack – oat cakes with almond butter
    Lunch – veg stir fry, with baked salmon fillet small portion of baked sweet potato
    Snack- egg whites and cucumber sticks
    Dinner – baked turkey meat balls with green salad or mixed veg

    I drink mainly green tea, water (2.5 Litres) ( I am weaning myself of the diet coke.. down to 2 cans a day now instead of 6!!)

    am I on the right track?
    I havent weighed myself… I am trying to rely on inch loss ( which I havent seen yet.. pants are still tightish)
    I used to obess with the scales before weighing myself twice a day…. so I said to myself after reading your article on scales are not your friends that I wouldnt let the scales run my life..

    many thanks

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Elkie, glad you got rid of the scale. Might I suggest you take it one step further and take some body fat measurements? Tape measurements are good too, but they still don’t tell the whole story.

      As to your program, I think it looks great. Exercise looks good, and your food choices look good too. I don’t know your portion sizes, so I can’t see the macros or calories. The only thing I’d add is to not be afraid to eat healthy fats. A whole eggs mixed in with the egg whites or some nuts could be a good addition if you find you’re low on calories.

      Good luck!

      • elkie

        Thanks for your reply I really appreciate your feedback!!

        I’m glad I am going in the right direction! I put my “before I started to eat crap” work pants on and they are not as tight as before lol

        I used to eat nuts but I became addicted to them and started to eat whole bags grrr Keeping away from processed foods is no problem for me, sugar .. white carbs etc.. but nuts have always been my downfall I cant just eat 10 almonds… so I decided to go cold turkey on them and only have them in the form of almond butter etc ( as I know I wouldnt eat the whole jar haha)

        Will try to add other good fats (other than nuts lol)

        I usually stick to around 120g-150g of meat/fish protein at meal times and and the other half of the plate is always some sort of green veg. Brekkie is 40g of oats/ 10g whey/ tbsp Flax seeds

        many thanks again

  • Chadwin Barley

    I am so confused. I keep a food journal and have set it to 1200 calories per day. I log everything I eat and exercise on “My Fitness Pal.” I work out 5-7 times per week and typically burn 400-450 calories per session (cardio/strength). I’m female 5’4″ and weigh 136.8. Since I started this program, I’ve lost inches but NO weight. I am getting more muscular and I love that, but I still think that weight # is too high. What can I do to shed more pounds?

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Chadwin, why do you think that number is too high? It’s just a number. What’s your body fat say? That’s what you should be concerned about. You’re losing inches and gaining muscle – most people would be thrilled for that kind of progress. My wife is a similar height and weight, and I can assure you, she looks very fit!

  • Ipsita

    I am female, 25 years, height 5 ft 4 inches and weigh 162 lbs. I have a broad built and so I think for me 143 lbs-150lbs should be good enough. I go to the gym 3 times a week, each session lasts for a bit more than an hour. Mostly I do cardio and some resistance training. Also I walk for 30mins at brisk pace everyday 5 days a week. My problem is that I feel I am eating too less, maybe that is why I haven’t shed any weight in the last two weeks. Also, I am having headaches these days. My diet is as follows and I have been following this for the last 3 weeks:

    Breakfast: 1 or 2 slices of bread, one peach
    Lunch: a huge bowl of salad, bread
    Snack: black coffee without sugar and milk, one apple
    Dinner: mixed vegetables cooked in olive oil

    Sometimes I have yogurt as dessert, but that’s not too often. I basically try to avoid carbohydrates, but feel that I am not eating enough protein. I drink water, but not upto the prescribed amount. On weekend, I eat more than this and perhaps some meat. But on weekdays I dont have meat often.

    Can you please suggest what my ideal diet should be? Because I am doing exercise, I feel I should eat more. I am currently working and so do not get time to prepare a proper breakfast. Therefore I have to grab a bread or two and a fruit on my way to work. Please help!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Ipsita, your diet is certainly to blame for your lack of progress. I could MAYBE 400 calories in there, and less than 10 grams of protein!

      I’m glad you seeked help :)

      If you want to eat 4 meals, that’s fine, but each one should be based around protein. That means meat, unless you are a vegetarian.

      Eat beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, potatoes, WHOLE grains, fruits, veggies, and some dairy. Try to avoid the breads for now. There’s plenty of better choices out there.

      For each meal, take 1 protein (beef, chicken, fish, egg), 1 carb (beans, potatoes, fruit, whole grain), and 1 veggie (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc).

      That is an overly simplified approach, but one that you need to get started. Drink plenty of water too. Good luck!

  • Nayantara Kar

    A friend of mine has given me your mail id and asked me to seek your help.
    I am female, age 26years , weigh around 63 kgs and am 5’3” tall,quite an over weight right!!
    I will be getting married in few months time,still approximately 3months are left.Can you just help me in reducing my weight by providing me a good diet?I seriously want your help.
    I actually eat less but still i don’t see any reduction in my weight.
    My daily routine is:
    I get up late in the morning,have 1 glass of milk with 1biscuit
    then i go for bathing then have little rice with fish,
    then i leave for my university,
    for lunch i eat generally 2 pieces of bread and fruits
    then from lunch to dinner normally i do not take anything apart from 1glass of horlics with two biscuit
    at night i eat 2 hand made bread , vegetables, one curry, and fish.
    Although sometimes i have biriyani and pizza in our university but not every week.
    i walk around 45mins everyday
    still i do not see any reduction in my weight
    please help

    Nayantara kar
    age-26 years

  • Mark

    Hello there,

    I’m 6’5″ and weigh 13st 11 lbs. In the last couple of months I have lost 1st, through the 5:2 diet. Normal 2000-2500 cal for 5 days, 600 cal a day for 2 days. I have now stopped the diet and am now cycling a lot more. Averaging 100+ miles a week. Usually a 50 mile, 2 x 20 miles then maybe another 50+ at the weekend, all at around a 16mph average. During a 50 mile ride I will typically just have a banana. But will have eaten a bowl of cereal beforehand. And the salad (see below) when I get home.
    My frustration is that I seem to have reached a sticking point as far as weight loss is concerned. I would like to lose at least another st. In the last month, through cycling and keeping to, what I think is about 2000 calories a day, I have gone 13.9/13.11/13.9/13.11.
    A typical daily diet for me is a bowl of Alpen and a banana for breakfast. A salad consisting of beetroot, prawns, croutons, houmous, green leaves. Or some days just cheese on toast (3 or 4 slices). Tea consists of pasta or fish and lots of veg.
    Having read a lot of the info on your site, which has been very helpful and interesting. Thank you. I am now wondering whether I am not eating enough for the exercise I am doing? I feel fine on the bike. I am not bonking. But cannot seem to shift anymore weight. I realise patience is key, but after a month of yo-yoing this couple of lbs, any advice or pointers would be much appreciated.



    • Coach Calorie

      Hey Mark, I’m not sure if you listed everything you’re eating, but that doesn’t look anywhere close to 2000 calories to me. You are definitely exercising a lot, and you’re going to need more nutrition to support that activity. My advice would be to create a smaller deficit. Do not eat below your BMR. Create you calorie deficit entirely through exercise. This should be easy with the amount of biking you’re doing.

  • Wilms

    Hi Coach

    About 4o weeks ago I went to a nutritionist who compiled a plan for me based on single and double training days (i.e. 1 day I do single session of CrossFit, 1 day I do 3-8 mile run plus a session of CrossFit). The thing is, first week I was shattered – no energy on the plan, 2nd week better and saw a 4lb drop in weight (which I more concerned about dropping body fat), 3rd & 4th week, weight has gone back on and I’ve keep to plan with 1 cheat day per week which meant including more healthy carbs more than anything. The plan is as follows;

    Post work out – 50 gm of dextrose 183kcal
    Breakfast – 40g Granola 170kcal
    Mid morning – 1x scoop of protein, 15gm oats blended into a drink with water 200kcal
    Lunch – Small sweet potato, flesh only no skin 160kcal/ Salad or veg to suit 50kcal/ 100g white fish 90kcal
    Mid afternoon – Mid morning – 1x scoop of protein, 15gm oats blended into a drink with water 200kcal
    Tea – or Ratatouille with 4 egg whites, or 150gm white fish. 150kcal
    Roughly about 1200 kcal and this increases slightly on my double days.

    I’m not necessarily feeling lethargic, but I’m concerned that working out up 9-10 times per week, this isn’t anywhere near what I should be having!

    Any positive advice?
    Many thanks in advance

    • Coach Calorie

      Well Wilms, I don’t really know what your stats are, but I personally would not recommend a calorie intake that low with your activity levels. I would also have much more solid food in there and would drop the dextrose. Don’t be afraid to question your nutritionist. Calculate your BMR: lean body mass (in kg) * 21.6 + 370. Don’t eat below that.

  • Emma

    Hi, I wonder if you could help me. I started dieting and working out 9 weeks ago. My weight started at 249lb, I was eating around (well I think I was)1300 cals per day and I started working out 4 times a week, by doing cardio and resistance training, also started free weights and zumba class. In 7 weeks I dropped 28lb, now the last 2 weeks I have seen no change in my weight, despite increasing the weights on resistance and free weights and now working out 5-6 days per week for 1.5 hours a time.

    My typical food diary is:
    Breakfast: 2 weetabix with skimmed milk, cup of coffee, sometime half a banana
    Lunch: wholemeal bread (2 slices) filled with ham or tuna and salad. Fat free yoghurt and a piece of fruit. I sometimes will have poached eggs or tomatoes on toast, with low fat cottage cheese on the side.
    Dinner: jacket potato or baked sweet potato with salad, filled with prawns, tuna or veggie curry. Or spag bol made with extra lean mince, chicken and veg tagliatelle, salmon and stirfry veggies with a jacket potato.
    Snacks: fresh pineapple, apple, clementines, fresh grapefruit. Sometimes in the evening I have 2 biscuits(rich tea) with a cuppa.

    Any advice would be more than welcome. Thank you :D

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Emma, my advice would be to stay off the scale. Two weeks is a small period of time in the big scheme of things. I can go over a month sometimes with my weight changing and then all of a sudden it will start moving again.

      If you’re eating the right foods and exercising, the weight will come off. Try to take less of a short-sided view. Get off the scale and realize that you’re doing your body a favor in more ways than just your weight loss.

  • janice

    I own a bodymedia link and Love it…Long story short I was on a study for a medicationand in 10 months being on study put 85 lbs on. In beginning lost 40 lbs had to take meds again put that 40 back on, Im down 20 and have the 65 to go and I hit a 2 month plateau. I did the eat to live for 2 months to just clean my body and lost 15lbs and 19 inches which I know was probably allot of my muscle because wasn’t eating animal protein. Now going back to the diet I had sucess with prior to taking meds again. I love my Bodymedia they just dont give allot of info and so glad I ran across you. I want to lose my 2 lbs a week I have started my Strenghth training on resistence machines, walk run intervals for 75 minutes a day 6 days a week as well as yoga 3 days a week. I am eating a 1500 calories I usually have a 1500 calories deficut and have not been losing any weight my question is am I burning to many calories and not eating enough.Can you give your advice as to carb, prot,fat ratio. Id really appreciate any feed back.Ive never been over weight an this is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever gone thru. PS 50 years old post menopausal to ad to stats. Just want to beback to my pre med weight HELP!!

    • Coach Calorie

      Hi Janice,

      It sounds like you might have an issue with diets. I would recommend you stop dieting and just start making better food choices. There’s no need to try all these different eating plans.

      Realize that 2lbs/week is not realistic for everyone, and whether or not you can lose at that pace will depend on a lot of factors. You’d better off having a goal of .5-1% body fat loss per week, with the lower number being more realistic.

      If you’re creating a 1500 calorie deficit, that is too much. 1,000 calorie deficit at the most per day. This isn’t a race.

  • Valerie

    Hi Coach,

    I read a few articles on the use of Splenda, but the evidence for its negative effects on health is equivocal. I consume Splenda only in small amounts, at most 1.5 – 2 tablespoons to sweeten coffee or tea, 3-4 times a week. I will occasionally bake with it. Do you think it is best to use regular sugar? If I am trying to lose weight (by tracking calories and working out regularly), can Splenda hinder my progress?

    Thank you!

  • Coach Calorie

    Hi Valerie, I avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague. I don’t think they have any purpose in a healthy lifestyle. Yes, you’d be better off with sugar or better yet, honey, but just remember that sweeteners are void of any real nutrients, so they should be limited.

  • Sherie Keene

    Hi. Just wondering if the weight * 12 is in kg or lbs? Thanks :)

    • Coach Calorie

      That is in pounds

  • Mazza

    Tony – 12 times my body weight? Is that in lbs x 12?? Daft I know but my cals come out at 1968 a day and that seems like too many but then again perhaps I don’t realise that I may be eating more than this? Whatever I am eating now I am maintaining my weight and have done for some time so at least I know this.

    • Coach Calorie

      Yes, 10-12 times lbs is the sweet spot for majority of people. I like to start high and come down as necessary.

  • Jodi

    Hi! I’m 32 y/o and have already lost a total of ALMOST 100 lbs. I went from 211 to 118 in a year. I count every calorie. My main intake consists of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, yogurts, nuts, and lean meats. I am on a 1200 cal per day diet (not that I am actually dieting, but that is about what I eat per day). Do I need to be concerned about “counding calories” if I am only eating these items?

    • Coach Calorie

      If you’re making progress without counting, you might as well not change anything.

  • Alicia

    Hi, I am 5’5 inches and 153 pounds. I do about 20 minutes of exercise 4 times a week, but maintain a very active lifestyle (2 kids, full time job, school full time) I bike and walk often as well. I have not been able to lose any weight in the last couple of weeks that I have been working out. My diet usually consists of breakfast: a peice of fruit and coffee with 2% milk and splenda, Lunch: Chicken salad and another peice of fruit, Dinner: Veggies with some chicken or steak. For a snack throughout the day I would usually have some peanuts, yogurt or some jerky. I would like to know what I should do to lose weight: change my diet; or fit more time in for exercise.

  • Alejandra

    Is this all including workouts? So.. BMR being 1467.. Is this eating 1467 including workouts or days at rest…? If not and working out.. how much more do you eat to maintain an optimal metabolism? Thanks!:)

  • Willjah Malary

    Hey, I’m 5’7 and weigh like 260 pounds. I need to lose 120 pounds to be at a normal weight.But I find it really difficult to lose weight. Actually, I don’t lose weight, I lose inches (I’m pretty sure. Whenever someone tells me I look skinnier, I go on the scale and the scale number hasn’t changed or gets higher) Is that a bad thing? You say to eat 10 times your body weight (2,600 calories), I feel like that would make be gain weight. I don’t have a problem with exercising, but my diet sucks. I have insulin resistance, crave sweets. and I’m terrible at staying with a diet. I’m really impatient when it comes to results because I’m expecting them to come a lot quicker than they really do. What should I do? I need some guidance…

  • Coach Calorie

    Add in some strength training and make sure you’re not under eating. Add up those calories.

  • Coach Calorie

    If your BMR is 1467, I wouldn’t eat below that number on any day. How much more you eat depends on how much exercise you do. You want to make sure the exercise doesn’t create too large a deficit. If it does, you’ll want to add more calories so that you are maintaining a fat loss of .5-1% a week.

  • Coach Calorie

    You’ve identified your problems. I’d suggest working on those (improving your diet and being patient).

    10-12 times body weight is a guide, but if you’re very obese, it could still be too high. Regardless, it’s a good starting point while you work on changing the quality of your diet. Once your diet is 90% whole foods, you can look to start cutting calories if necessary.

    • Danielle Bennett

      I’m in the same boat. I started at 260 and there is no way that 2600 would be an appropriate calorie goal for me everyday.

      I try to eat around 1500 calories minimum and don’t worry about going over too much if I’m legitimately hungry. I’d guess most days are between 1500-1800. Portion control and drinking more water have really been the keys to my success.

      I figure I can always reassess my method if I stop having success for a prolonged period of time, but for now, it works.

      • Kayla Paulucci

        In June of 2011 I weighed 270 pounds, I was 5’2″, 21 years old, and miserable! As of June 2012, I was down to 135 pounds and so happy! I am now 140 pounds and extremely healthy! 95% of my food is completely fresh and natural! I gained some weight due to muscle gain and loss of body fat. I lost my weight by doing only 2 things – eating healthy, unprocessed foods, and exercising!

  • Christina

    I weigh 118.8 as of today and 5’3″ (female if you havent guessed yet). I work out like a maniac…seriously. Intense Crossfit style workout for 20-25 minutes followed by 20 minutes of HIIT cardio then 10-15 minutes of steady state (HR 65-70%) cardio. One day a week I will also do Hot Yoga for an hour. This schedule is Tues-Sat. On Sundays I hit a mountain and jog/fast hike all the way up interval style then run down. The duration is 1.5-2 hours depending on the mountain. Mondays is my day off.

    I started my calories at 1420-1450 per day (that was multiplying 12 by my starting weight of 119.4). After two weeks, I dropped to 118.0. Awesome, I thought. But still only 1.4 lbs…and, surly, not all of that was fat. So, I dropped my calories to 1350-1375 keeping my exercise the same. Then that brought me to the 118.8.

    I try and keep my sodium at little to none and I get about 6 hours solid sleep every night. I drink a ton of water and eat a max of 60 carbs per day. All coming from veggies except the 12-15g right after my workout. This is usually half a protein bar which has some simple sugars in it. Lean protein, healthy fats, blah blah. I know the deal.

    I must admit, my body fat is really low already. Since I havent had my period in quite some time, I am guessing it is below 15% maybe below 14%. BUT, my arms and abs are not as defined as I would like.I want to eventually prepare for a fitness competition and document it, but I want to make sure I can do it first. It isn’t working :(

    Any recommendations?

  • Deanna Schober

    Hi Christina,
    One thing that really raised a red flag for me here when reading your comment is that you haven’t had a period in a while, which unless you know of another physiological reason for this, signals that you have too much of a negative energy balance. This means there is too much of a gap between the amount of calories you are taking in and how much you are expending. Once it starts to affect your reproductive system, it can really wreak havoc on your system: cause fertility issues, cause anxiety and depression, and also cause your body to store more fat.
    Rather than decreasing calories, I would either decrease the amount of intense exercise you are doing or increase your calories a bit. Doing so much intense exercise, your carbohydrate levels are also pretty low, you might want to think of having a “refuel” day where you eat a high amount of carbohydrates, they can be complex carbs like oats, sweet potato, potato, quinoa, etc. It really sounds to me like your body is begging you for more fuel for all of the intense demands you are putting on it. I say this from personal experience because I went through the same thing. Bodybuilders take in more calories than you might think to get that lean look!
    Good luck!

  • gogogirl

    Hi I’m 5’1 and weigh 96 lb. I eat about 1650 calories a day. No less than 1400. I walk and do a little workout routine but nothing extreme. (I do pushups, lounges, leg lifts, sit ups, and sometimes jump rope.) I eat healthy things. Breakfast: medium banana, 1 cup or more of pb toast crunch cereal, 1 cup of almond vanilla silk milk. Lunch: ham sandwitch on whole wheat bread, manderine, yoplait light yogurt, carrot sticks, crystal light. Snack: whole grain Lance pb crackers. Dinner: ham and cheese lean pocket, strawberries (7 medium), nature valley granola bar. Snack: whole grain white cheddar popcorn or apple slices with

  • Coach Calorie

    Hi Gogogirl, did you have a question? I will say that most of what you are eating is actually processed food and is not very healthy. Try eating foods from this list instead –

  • Stacey Flores

    hi im 5/2 and 202 pounds help!!!! what are the best fat burning workouts

  • Crystal

    Hello, I was doing a fitness plan, that consisted of me eating small meals throughout the day. My concern was that I was eating too much. For instance my breakfast would be 5 egg whites, 2 boiled eggs,a cup of oatmeal. Snack would be grapefruit, tuna or 4 egg whites and 2 oz meat, Lunch would be a healthy sandwhich, next snack would be a protein shake, dinner would be 5 oz meat and 1 cup of veggies and then snack would be fruit or protein shake. Basically when I calculated everything it was coming up over 2000 calories. While everything was healthy, I felt I was going to pick up weight so I stopped. When I questioned this, the response was eating this amount would help me when I reached that plateau, so I would initially increase my intake of calories. Also I the plan was not based on calorie counting, I did that on my own. So I wanted to know is that true about eating more calories? Thank You!

  • Lucia

    Coach, when you are talking about grams of carbs or proteins we should get, you are referring to the specific nutrient, not at the whole food, correct? Like, 150gr of proteins are not the same than 150grams of chicken or salmon or another source of protein food, correct?

  • mb168

    How does exercise affect this “too low” concern? I’m trying to lose a few % more bodyfat and have had success with MyFitnessPal with a 1600 calorie target to lose 1lb/week. But I’m a runner as well and log my activity on MyFitnessPal which “gives calories back,” and on a few really long run days, I’ve done some 20+ lately getting ready for a race, my net calories can be well below the dreaded 1200, and on these really long runs my net is nearly zero, even though I’m eating over 2000 that day. These days don’t happen back to back, the next day is usually an off day for running or at least a shorter distance, so my net gets back up to 1600. Should I keep eating on those big run days to get my calories up consistently near 1600, even though I’m satisfied and not hungry, or does the fact that it’s only 1 day make it a non concern and my body won’t start slowing things down after just one day?

  • Sabrina

    I’m 5’3 280lbs and am currently eating healthy (chicken breast, fruit & veg and oatmeal etc) but my activity level isn’t as high as it should be coz I get severe back pain. I would like to lose 2-3lbs a week, am I doing enough? I don’t seem to be seeing much improvement. I struggle to reach 1400cals a day, if I try to eat more I just don’t feel like it.

  • Jillian Kerins

    hi i’m 42 my height is 5’5 and weigh 12st i eat about 1,000 cals daily because i suffer from PCOD i havent done much exercise but usually go to kettle bells class once a wk go to the gym 3/4 times a wk and do a little walking. how many cals should i be having ?

  • Coach Calorie

    My recommendation is 10-12 times bodyweight and adjust from there.

  • Coach Calorie

    Try to get more healthy fats in your diet and track your body fat percentage. It’s the only way to really know what’s going on.

  • Coach Calorie

    I’m not sure what your goals are, but if you’re running that much, 2000 calories should be a minimum. Don’t worry about “eating calories back”. You can cycle your calories based on your activity levels.

  • Coach Calorie


  • Coach Calorie

    I don’t really understand your question Crystal. But there’s nothing wrong with starting your calories high and coming down as necessary. Always start high.

  • Coach Calorie
  • Flora Xia

    Hi I’m 5’4-5’5 (I’m not sure because I might still be growing) I’m 14 turning 15 in november, female and I weigh 110lbs, I eat around 600-900 calories a day, no red meat and only healthy things. I swim at least twice a week, I do 25 minutes of Harley Pasternak’s Hollywood Workout 5 times a week, and I try to run at least four times a week. My weight has been at a standstill for the longest time should I increase my intake? Actually screw weight, I don’t care about weight I’d like to get, but I would like to get some ab definition and a larger thigh gap by the end of the summer. I am actually really scared of increasing my intake to 1320 because I really don’t want to gain weight. My starting weight was 120lbs in September (I gained 20 lbs over the summer :/ last year I was 90lbs) and I would like to get it fit by the time I return to school in the fall. What do you suggest I do?

  • hailey

    I am 5’10 and 175 lbs. I weight lift with a trainer 2 x a week and do cardio 3-4 times a week. I have gone down only 2% body fat over past three months! I eat pretty healthy with no processed foods but my weight has barely changed. I think i may not be eating enough and this may be the issue. I try to stick to 1823 calories a day, but sometimes i eat less bc I am just not hungry…I’m just so frustrated and want to give up.

  • SaraV

    How often can you eat too few calories without risking ‘starvation mode’? I ask because occassionally I reach the end of the day with calories left in my ‘budget’ but no burning desire to eat anything (like tonight for example). Often I just treat myself to a few tablespoons of my fav peanut butter. Also, I try to eat larger lunches and leave a smaller ‘budget’ for evenings to avoid this situation. I’m sure it’s ok once in a whole… But I’d like to have a boundary to be aware of.

  • Karen Klarke


    I am 41 years old and have been working out on average 4 – 6 times a week and have yet to loose even a lb. My usual caloric intake is around 1330 – 1400 a daily. Should I be eating more calories? I have held out for this long and no positive results on the scale. I have been pretty active for the most part since I was in my 20’s and really enjoy working out. However I slacked off here and there and my weight went up to 163lbs, my height is 5′ 7″. My workout schedule when I am really good is as follows, otherwise, I usually skip Thursdays and Fridays:-

    Monday – les mills body step

    Tuesday – 20 minutes elliptical followed by les mills bodypump

    Wednesday – Les mills body combat followed by CX WORX

    Thursday – les mills body step followed by bodypump (every other Thursday, the other Thursday would only be 20 minutes elliptical followed by les mills bodypump)

    Friday – Les mills body combat followed by CX WORX

    Saturday – 20 minutes elliptical followed by les mills bodypump

  • angelina me

    I am 43 and been working out pretty good for about an hour and a half 5 to 6 days a week, in the early morning . I don’t like to eat before so I grap a slice of turkey and down sum water for I go. I do eat 4 to 5 times a day and try to keep it healthy, should I eat more before my workout ?
    I feel great and have lost , but I don’t get on the scale, I go by how I feel in clothes. I can’t seem to bring myself to get on the scales for fear it won’t say what I wish it would…… So I just avoid it. And I don’t want to get depressed and stop doing my workout because of a number.
    Btw I love to read coach calories !

  • Coach Calorie

    If you don’t find your energy levels lacking, you’ll be OK.

  • Coach Calorie

    Try adding 50-100 calories per week until you see the scale start moving down again. It’s not unheard of to have to eat so little to lose weight, but it’s not common. Usually 10 times body weight is the lower limit.

  • Coach Calorie

    That’s hard to say. One day is unlikely to cause you any problems. Starvation mode is more about prolonged calories restriction over the course of weeks.

  • Coach Calorie

    You should definitely be moving at a faster pace. Over the course of 3 months I would have expected to lose close to 6% body fat.

    Don’t give up though! Every action you take is making a positive impact on your health.

    Are you guys implementing any refeeds or cheat days? I would try that if you aren’t already.

  • Coach Calorie

    Forget about thigh gaps and abs for now. Focus on fixing your metabolism. 600-900 calories per day has destroyed your metabolism. Try to slowly add 50-100 calories to your diet each week over the course of months until you are up close to your BMR. If you don’t know your BMR, do a google search for a BMR calculator.

  • Muffy

    What if a person only eats 500 ca/day — and he/she isn’t dieting? Oh, but it IS possible!

  • Wendy

    Hello, my name is Wendy. I’m 5’6, I’m 20 years old, and I weigh 145lbs. I’m in desperate need of help. I am boggled as to whether I’m not eating enough or am eating too much. I’m trying to lose weight, however, the scale won’t budge, in fact it likes to go up on occasion. I have a very active job in wood assembly where I am usually running around, bending, lifting and carrying large pieces of wood. I do this job from 7-3:30 Mon-Fri (so full time 40 hrs). On top of that I was going to the gym for 1hour every day, I’ve recently cut that back to 3 days due to pure exhaustion. I eat a lot of food! (in my opinion) and yet I feel starved ALL DAY. It doesn’t matter what I eat, an hour later I feel ravenous as if I hadn’t eaten all day, even light headed and irritable a lot of the time. I haven’t kept track of my calories in the last few weeks but I’m certain they’re hitting 2000 cals a day, as I used to count them all the time and my diet has hardly changed. A quick breakdown:

    Breakfast: protein smoothie (half banana, strawberry, skim milk, flax seed, 2 eggs) + whole wheat toast w/ butter

    Snack: apple, hard boiled egg (or greek yoghurt~0% fat plain) and Quaker oats.

    Lunch: Chicken breast w/ large bowl veggies and rye crackers w/ hummus

    Snack: half grapefruit w/ 1 oz nuts

    Snack (again!): rye cracker w/ avocado + spinach and collard green

    Dinner: homeade vegetable chili w/ added bowl of veggies

    After work out: whey powder w/ skim milk.

    Even after all this I feel starved to the point of tears unless I have just eaten. I’m terrified of eating more as this seems like a lot. But I can’t imagine eating less due to my hunger level. I’m so lost I don’t know what to do and I’m not losing any weight.

    P.s I don’t have any medical conditions, I’ve already had my blood tested.

    Thank you!

  • Coach Calorie

    I actually did answer your question, at no charge I might add, just like I did the other thousands of comments on this site. Have a good day, and your welcome.

  • Coach Calorie

    Sounds like they destroyed their metabolism.

  • Coach Calorie

    Try adding more healthy fats to your diet, and if you haven’t experimented with eating more, I would. You might have a higher metabolism than most.

  • elkie

    Hi Coach,

    Love your articles, well informed !

    I wanted to ask a question on maintenance calories

    I lost the weight I initially set out to lose I am now 5″5 and 110lbs

    I am happy with where I am at now, My daily Macros are roughly 55g Fat, 255g Carbs and 130 g Protein , daily fibre is 45-50g. (approx 2050 Kcals a day)

    i am trying to work out where my maintenance Kcals are, over the course of 7 weeks I have slowly increased Kcals from 1500(from diet) to 2050 where I am now. during this time I initially dropped weight from 112lbs to 109 lbs, so for the past week I have raised my carbs by 25g per day. By the end of the week I am up 1lb but I am not sure if that is BF or extra glycogen in the muscle?

    The scales are not an accurate measurement, as I know fluctuations etc etc.

    I Ideally like to eat as much as possible and maintain my weight but I am unsure of how to tell if I have hit the maintenance kcal point.

    I currently Strength train with Free weights and hammer strength machines 5 x a week and do 4 x 20 min HIIT Cardio . Cardio in the mornings and Strength later in the day



    • Coach Calorie

      It sounds like you have your calorie intake really dialed in. I would leave it at what it is now for the next couple of weeks to see what happens. 25 grams of carbs a day does not equate to 1lb of body fat, so it is most likely extra glycogen. I suspect there won’t be much change going forward. Good job!

      • elkie

        thanks for your reply!! I will continue with the extra Carbs for the next few weeks!!

  • Drikus

    Why is my BMR 1960 (male, 5ft10″, 41yr, 207lb) but my estimated calorie intake should be 2484 (207 x 12). At which number must I aim to lose 1lb a week. I do burn 500 calories with exercise 5 times a week

    • Coach Calorie

      Your BMR doesn’t include exercise. BW x 12 is a good starting point for weight loss. Start there, and if you don’t see body fat loss results the next 2 weeks, drop your calories another 200 and repeat.

      • Drikus

        Coach, thank you for the quick reply. I have lost 23 lb over the last 6 months but just hit a plateau. I think I am not eating enough calories( not keeping a diary). Should I then eat 2500 for 2 weeks with the exercise and see what it does?

  • Coach Calorie

    Leave your calories as-is as long as it’s working and then drop them slightly 100-200 calories per week when you stall. You don’t have to go a full 500 to get results. You want to continue eating as many calories as possible that will allow you to low weight.