Weight Loss Support - Not Sure If I'm Eating Enough?

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05-28-2009, 11:50 AM
I followed a link from another post here that calculates your daily caloric needs using the Harris Benedict formula. I understand that online calculators certainly aren't accurate for everyone because we're all different but I'm sort of floundering around here on how many calories I need.

In a nutshell I usually eat around 1400 calories a day with an occasional higher day (around 2000) followed by a lower (around 1200-1300). I work out an average of 4 times a week at the gym, usually 2 days weight lifting (with a short cardio warmup) and 2 days just cardio, I'm usually there for 40 minutes to an hour. I work in a lab so I'm on my feet standing and walking around most of the day but no real physical labor.

What this all comes down to is that I'm losing at a snails pace since I started exercising 3 weeks ago (and in truth I was losing pretty darn slow before that too!), I've only lost about a pound (and then put 3 back on thanks to a Memorial Day binge! I'm crossing my fingers that it's mostly water weight).

Do you think I'm not getting enough calories? The Harris Benedict formula says I should be taking in 2578 calories to maintain my weight, so in theory to lose 1 lb. a week I should be eating 2000 or to lose 2 lbs. a week I should be eating 1500, but that's around what I'm eating! I'm pretty positive I'm not having calories "sneaking" into my diet. I drink only water and keep track of everything I eat, even when I have "just 1 bite" of something I count it in. I've also been taking my measurements and have not lost anything in inches in the past month.

This is very tough, very frustrating. I'm not in danger of stopping or giving up, I'm still committed and motivated to keep going but I just want to see things start moving in the right direction! Should I increase my calories? If so, by how much? up to 1800 maybe? That sounds so high!

05-28-2009, 12:17 PM
A couple of things may be happening here, all of which I would recommend you consult your doctor for and more accurate directions in how to lose the amount of weight you desire:

* Not accurately recording ALL intake. Bits and sips count.

*Not enough activity for your calorie needs

* Not eating enough

*A medical problem prevent weight loss

* Inconsistency

Everyone is different and there is always a wealth of MISinformation. I use mydailyplate.com to count calories and checked it with my physician, adjust it based on physical level of activity, and when I am true to the plan it comes off.

05-28-2009, 12:29 PM
If you use a tracking tool like FitDay or The Daily Plate, what is your average intake over a week's time, for the past three weeks?

That calculated amount to maintain looks too high to me. See what you get here:


I'd also suggest you increase exercise/activity to an hour and a half a day. It doesn't all have to be at the gym--you can go for a walk, do a workout video, etc.


05-28-2009, 01:36 PM
JayEll, When I used the calculator that you pointed me to it says-

2345 Calories/day
Fat Loss:
1876 Calories/day
Extreme Fat Loss:
1544 Calories/day

So a little bit lower, but not much.

I use fitday to track my calories, not sure what my weekly average is, I'll have to check that out....

I think I'm going to up my calories for a little bit, try to get in 1500 and see where it puts me.

05-28-2009, 02:36 PM
Actually, 200 calories is quite a difference. It's 1400 calories difference in a week, and that's about half a pound's worth of calories.

I think you'd be wise to increase your AVERAGE calorie intake to 1500 to start.


05-28-2009, 06:35 PM
(Note: I am NOT promoting myself. I am a trainer, but am not here to find work! I simply love to help.)

Not knowing too much about your personal stats, it's hard to guess at the ideal calorie intake. But I do think over 1,800 calories is a mistake. Your numbers make sense:

Average workout = 300 calories. Average cardio = 300 calories. (numbers can be higher if intensity is greater than average).

With your numbers, 4 x 300 = 1,200 calories, or roughly 1/3 of a pound of bodyfat (3,500 calories) per week. For 3 weeks = 3,600, or 1 pound.

If you were down about 1 pound in three weeks, it reflects that your overall three week calorie intake was averaged at maintenance level. Or (what I would personally think) your workouts & cardio averaged around 200 calories each and you had a hundred to two hundred daily calorie deficit. (There are other factors...many actually, but lets keep it simple here.)

Either way, nothing looks off to me.

At this point in your routine, it is time to step up your gym time. May I suggest 3 resistance training days and 4 to 5 cardio days? Don't spend time working your arms or inner/outer thighs...stick to the main muscle groups (back, chest and whole leg). 30-45 minutes worth.

60-70% max effort on your cardio, for 30-40 minutes.

If you change nothing but this, your weight loss should increase to half a pound per week. If so, you are at or near a calorie balance. Try dropping an additional 100.

If nothing changes, change multi-vitamins (or get on one!).

I'll stop now. Hope I was of some help.

05-29-2009, 12:19 PM
thank you all for the help and opinions! I'll see what I can tweak here and there and certainly let ya'll know how it goes!

05-30-2009, 11:03 PM
If that picture is current to reflect what you now look like, I personally think you have no real need to lose any weight. You should find out what is the ideal weight for someone of your body frame and height.