How Many Calories Should I Eat?

Should you be on a super calorie restrictive diet?

Such a loaded question. And I will start by saying – ASK YOUR DOCTOR. Hey, I may know some things from experience, but I’m not a doctor. So think for yourself, and don’t hold me accountable friends. Ok then…  If you poke around online or use your fitness app you might see a super low number like 1200-1400 calories a day to lose weight fast.  Yikes that is low!

In My Experience:  Having helped a number of clients figure out their nutrition, one thing comes up again and again.  We all hate being on a diet.  Sure we can do it for a little while, but long-term, nope, not going to happen. Do you realize how little food you get on 1200 a day?  Its torture for someone like me who loves to eat!

Because being successful with weight loss depends on reducing calories I have come up with a strategy that is a bit easier to stick to long term.   And think about it, would you rather crash diet for a week or two and fail or stick to something you can live with for life?  I’ll take the for-life plan, even if my results are just a little slower to come by.  Because hey, if I quit anyway, its not like I was going to get any results anyways!

Here is how I do a much tamer calorie cut and continue to keep it up over time:

  • First we want to find out what your MAINTENANCE calories would be for our ideal weight. You of course have to figure out your ideal weight first.  You can do that here:  IDEAL WEIGHT
  •  Then you can calculate calories to maintain that ideal weight here:  CALORIE CALCULATOR  -pick “somewhat active” for level of exercise

So now you have your calories required for your ideal goal weight without heavy workouts factored in.  I’ll bet this number is bigger than you imagined???

Here is mine – I’m 5’3″ and 118 pounds:

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 12.57.38 PM I do not let tracking apps / software adjust my calorie allotment based on my workouts!!

Every workout I do will add to my needed calorie deficit over time.   Each day will vary (as it should to trick your metabolism) and I can trust the scale will move in the right direction if I give myself enough time.  I do not need some app or tracking program telling me I can eat more just because I had a big workout. (Unless you are a pro-athlete or training for some serious hours).  At 1650 calories I already know I’m eating plenty to support my workouts.  No adjustment needed!

Some days we exercise more, sometime less.  Sticking to this static calorie allotment will give you enough food that your body doesn’t go into starvation mode on days you workout heavy but it is still low enough to not ruin progress on lighter workout days.

For example.  My week might look like this for calories in vs burned: Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 1.14.32 PMI don’t know about you… but I would rather eat 1650 calories than the 1200 calories some crash diet programs recommend any day!!!  And I know that if I just stick with it, and I’m more likely to when I’m not starving, over time I could lose about 33lbs in a year!! Sign me up!

Now everyone is different.  What we require in calories will differ from person to person. Here is where tracking and paying attention over time helps.  Once you know what your are consuming you are in control.  You can try little experiments on yourself such as more fat vs. less fat, more carbs vs. less carbs or  more protein vs. less protein.

I’ll get into macro nutrient ratios (carbs, fats, protein) in another post.  Just know that this way of calculating calories only works if you are eating 80-90% unprocessed food.  Low sugar, reasonable fat, nearly no chemicals, and lots of veggies!

If you are looking for a sustainable clean eating plan that is easy to follow feel free to message me!  I would be happy to help you make the most of your fitness journey!

-Coach Jen


Love to hear your thoughts!