Menu Planning for Success – A Short Woman’s Perspective

Today I want to write about being short and hungry.

Does an angry oompa-loompa come to mind?  It is kind of an unfair card to be dealt at times in a tall world.  I’m 5″3″.  Most kitchens are too tall, cabinets too high, counters difficult to work at.  Office chairs don’t always go high enough and I for sure need help reaching top-shelf items at the grocery store.  And the one thing that really is challenging is I get to eat WAY LESS calories than the average person.

 Luckily I’ve learned to manage my nutrition and plan a menu for success.

Lets start with how many calories I can have AND their quality.  Quality matters as much or more than quantity, but we will get to that later.  I want to walk you through an exercise that is not difficult, but not completely easy either.  Please ask questions at the end if you have them!

I start by calculating just how many calories a typical 5’3″ woman can have.
The calculator is HERE.

First I calculate where I should be if I were at my ideal weight with NO exercise. (How do you determine your ideal weight?  I’m writing that article next, and I’ll come back and link to it here soon. Here is the LINK)  Calculating calories based on ideal weight gives me a minimum number to work with (like for those rare days I skip a workout, am sick or take a rest day).

(numbers & age changed to protect the innocent…)


Next I do a second calculation based on true-weight, exercise level and goals (again this is just an example).  I plan on a safe amount of weight and select 1 lb a week:



So these two calculations mean That a 5″3″ woman weighing 140lbs, who wishes to lose 28 lbs over the span of seven months can safely eat between 1656 and 1981 calories to reach her goal.  The low-end represents lighter workout days and the high-end represents “hard-core” workout days.

The reason I do a range is that in my experience it is impossible to stick to an exact number every day. Women especially have hormonal shifts that just make it extra hard to be so exact.  At least with this range,on which you won’t feel starved and a realistic weekly goal of 1 lb, you have yourself a doable plan of attack.

As I lose weight I will recalculate the top number.  Maybe for every 5 lbs or so I’ll make this adjustment.  The high number will start to go down as my weight does.

Next we tackle quality of calories.

Here is the most important part of this puzzle.  WHAT we eat is so important!

I could easily go to fast-food places and pick items that are low in calories.  But unfortunately, that food is dead on arrival.  There are barely any nutrients still available to that overly processed food-like stuff.  See this POST about almost-real food.

I figure out the nutrients I should be eating by using THIS macro-nutrient calculator.  Manually write in the 40/40/20 ratio.  Remember the calorie calculations?  We do the same here with how we use those calories up:




Calories:   1656-1981
Protein:     165g – 198g
Fat:             36g – 44g
Carbs:        165g – 198g

g = grams listed on nutrition labels / looking up nutrients of whole foods

Now its your turn…

Get yourself a free membership to  When you set up your profile, you can list your macro-nutrient ranges to track.  If click on the edit feature of your calorie goals you will get a screen like this:

Click the Edit buttons to customize your numbers, easy!

Now the hard part,

Remember to track what you eat and read your nutrition labels!

One of my next articles will be on sample menus to help you make good, quality and filling food choices.

Love to hear your feedback!


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