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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara February 7, 2016 at 9:19 am

lol yes, I did mean 1300. Until I got sick, I measured my food with cups/spoons and then underestimated and left a calorie buffer. Since I’ve been struggling to lose, I’ve gotten a food scale and began using it. Happily, though, the last few days, I’ve been losing again and things seem to be back on track. Let’s hope this trend continues.

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Cee February 3, 2016 at 9:17 am

Hi Steve. Hoping you can help. I’m confused about the number of calories I should be eating. Stats: 51, 5’3, medium build, curvy, current weight 133, goal weight range 123-128. So I’d be fine with a weight loss of 5 lbs. I’m not sure if this is good or bad but in mid January i joined a gym, found classes I like (trx, strength training) and hired a personal trainer – who said (gulp) that I needed to at least eat 1400 calories a day given my activity – im at the gym every day, for about 1.5 hrs, except for weekends when I do yoga. Twice before I got to my goal weight (124 and 126) at 1200 calories per day but didn’t stay there – it coincided with some family stress so I was overeating so I’m not really sure whether 1200 calories was the problem, too, and was never really going to be sustainable. Either way, I’m a little nervous about increasing calories, not sure if all the rules apply since I’m older and petite; and not sure whether my gym activity is activity is sedentary ( I don’t do much outside the gym); light or moderate activity to calculate my tdee and when I do have my tdee, do I cut 10, 15, 20%??? Sooo frustrated, with these last few pounds. I want to do it the right way, that will last, but manage my expectations. Sos!! Thanks.

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Steve Troutman February 3, 2016 at 10:37 am

Hi Cee,

Firstly, good for you for going about things the right way. I can tell that you’re really wanting to succeed and you know that calories matter and you know that resistance training matters. That’s all good.

Secondly… slowdown. Breathe. This isn’t a race. You needn’t be worked up about it. Simply start experimenting and focus on the process. It’s not about making sure the process is “right.” It’s about starting with a process that meets you where you are that you can do consistently. You test it out for a block of time… say 2-4 weeks… assess… and then adjust as needed.

I’ll tell you this. At 133 lbs, knowing nothing more about you then what you shared here, I’d be starting your calories right around 1400. I don’t see much a point in going lower than that if you don’t have to and you won’t know if you have to until you test out 1400.

When it comes to fat loss, you almost always want to be eating as much food as possible while still allowing for a reasonable rate of weight loss over meaningful periods of time (read: longer than a week).

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’re just starting resistance training. With that in mind, the scale is going to be an unreliable tool to use for measuring “progress” right now. The novel stress of lifting can actually cause some concurrent body comp shifts where you’re losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. Plus the novel stress can cause some fluid retention as well.

Point is, be mindful of how you’re measuring progress in the short run here.

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cee February 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Hi, Steve! Thanks for the great response. Yeah, I know I should chillax!

Not sure why I’m getting so obsessive – well, I think I do. Been taking care of elderly parents, so i think this weigh/fat loss journey is the one thing i feel I have control over now. Sigh!

In any event, I will stick to the 1400 – altho the weight loss (on the scale) moves up some days, down some days. Two questions: 1) If I am loving the workouts, and am finding I can go a little heavier, longer, stronger – will the increased training intensity continue to mask true FAT loss because of the possible water retention – i.e. the scale doesn’t show what I am truly losing? Or at some point, am I going to have to accept that I can’t blame the scale not moving downward to my training. Just not sure when to expect that it would really show some downward movement. I will say that I keep a size 4 new pair of jeans as a “test”, and those a beginning to fit less snug than weeks ago – not there yet, but definitely less snug.

2) I am always confused by the lose fat/gain muscle at the same time. That IS doable with a calorie deficit? I know I was seeing and feeling a harder deltoid muscle that I never saw or felt before, so assuming I was “building muscle”. But then I read things where that seems impossible – with a caloric deficit/

3) Out of curiosity – and this is my non-chillax self talking. How did you get 1400? By doing one of those BMR, TDEE, activity level calculations? Or my current weight x 12, or 14 – then subtracting a percentage or number of calories. And really, would a body really know the difference between an intake of say 1200-1400 calories a day? Not sure when to use a range rather than a set target number.

4) Last question. My trainer thought I should try one day of 500 calories max. I think she was trying to show that she was listening to my scale rants and suggested that one day a week would shock my body. Worth a try or no?

Thanks!!

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Steve Troutman February 4, 2016 at 8:47 pm

1) I would consider taking monthly pictures. Same lighting, same time of day, same distance. That will be the ultimate judge of progress. The scale is a pretty shitty tool when you don’t have a lot of fat to lose. I mean, use it. It’s just part of a larger puzzle of change.

I also like using a soft tape measure like the myo tape to take measurements every couple of weeks as well.

And as for the scale, zoom out and pay attention to changes in weight over time. Like every 2 weeks. Or even every 4. I personally weigh daily, but I’m not emotionally attached to the number. And I pay attention to the weekly average. As long as that trend is moving in the desired direction month to month… I know I’m on the right path. If it’s not, I know I need to make adjustments.

2) You most certainly can gain muscle in a deficit. It happens all the time in the research. And I see it all the time in my client base. Is it optimal rates of muscle gain like those seen when eating an energy surplus? Of course not. And the chances of seeing a concurrent shift is greatest in folks who either have fat to lose or aren’t all that trained. But regardless, it happens. Reasonably often too.

3) I don’t give much of a hell about starting calorie levels so long as they aren’t stupid low. I like a range of 10-12 cals/lb for fat loss. I err on the high side of that generally as a staring point. Than every 2-4 weeks I’ll gradual adjustments as needed based on what’s actually happening in the mirror, with measurements, and with the scale. It’s a process. Not a set it and forget it decision.

And sure your body knows if if you’re chronically eating 200 calories per day more! Calories count. Most people gradually put on weight over years. They don’t get fat overnight. And it’s minor surpluses, even less than 200 per day in some cases, that gradually accumulate.

4) I think you need a new trainer.

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Cee February 6, 2016 at 12:26 am

Thanks so much. You have been super helpful. Appreciate the time and advice!

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Steve Troutman February 6, 2016 at 7:22 am

Good. You’re welcome. Don’t hesitate to come back with more questions if they arise. And you should definitely check out the BI Change Community on FB if you haven’t already.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/402656043239370/

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Tara February 2, 2016 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for such a quick reply! In all honesty, i’ve only been exercising for a week and in that week, I haven’t eaten back much of my exercise calories. The most I’ve eaten was one day at 1600 total not net. Most days, I either haven’t eaten any of them or I eat back less than 50 calories.

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Steve Troutman February 3, 2016 at 10:29 am

How active are you outside of exercise?

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Tara February 3, 2016 at 10:42 am

Pretty sedentary. I’m starting to do more activity in the day but still pretty sedentary.

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Tara February 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I should probably also add that for a period of about one to two months I was eating around13 calories total with no exercise. In those two months I lost nearly 20 pounds.

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Steve Troutman February 6, 2016 at 7:24 am

You mean 1300 I presume, lol.

How are you measuring calories? Just reading labels or are you taking it further and using a food scale?

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Tara February 1, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Hi Steve!

I’ve been losing weight consistently since September. I’m 5’7, 26 years old, female, and 179 pounds. I started at 207. I eat 1500 calories per day and eat back exercise calories. I’ve had great progress doing this…until I got sick mid December. Then I lost 5 pounds, bounced up 2 pounds, then back down 2 pounds all over the course of a week-week and a half. Since then, my weight has just bounced up and down the same 1.5 pounds. I’ve stayed consistent with my eating and have even added in exercise (I was lazy before). I walk, do Zumba, and yoga. Would you say this is normal and in x amount of time I’ll continue as I was before or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks!
Tara

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Steve Troutman February 2, 2016 at 9:29 pm

Hi Tara,

Great job so far. I bet you feel a lot better nowadays! And it’s only going to get better.

I know MFP is big on the concept of eating back your exercise calories. I assume you’re a member there and you use their tools? I’m wondering what your average total daily intake is. If you had to guess… what would you say? We know it’s 1500 + whatever you’re eating back… but what is that on average?

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Sandra July 7, 2014 at 2:27 am

Hello Steve,

first I would like to say thank you for all the effort and guidence. I know you have a lot of question but I would really appreciate some insight as I’m lost at what to do.
Here’s the thing. I read a lot and there are so many contradictory informations that I doubt myself and my desicions. Anyway, I want to losse fat. I am 31 years old woman, 33% BF and 69 kg. I had some problems with hormonal inbalance. I always liked to workout, and for the last two months I’ve been doing 4-5 times per week crossfit and some hiking or running during the weekend. I’ve been following keto diet (app 1400kcal) with (I admit) some binging when I felt too tired and cravings hit. I actually gain weight and increased my BF so I feel discouraged. Should I train less, eat different or what? Some say it’s the cortisol, some say it’s the keto…. Please help.
Regards, Sandra

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Steve Troutman July 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi Sandra,

My knee-jerk reaction is you’re doing crazy intense exercise (xfit) paired with pretty excessive dieting. The body requires fuel. The harder you’re pushing it, the more fuel it requires. And when you try jackhammering it into the ground, it tends to rebel. Some of the rebellion can be in the form of muscle loss, jacked up hunger, and even some metabolic slowdown. More often than not though you wind up holding onto all sorts of water weight given the massive amount of stress you’re throwing at your body.

Why xfit?

Why 1400?

Why keto?

Is your primary goal physique based?

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Dee March 28, 2014 at 9:13 am

Hi Steve,

Here’s one for you!

I’ve been weight training for the past 2 years and a half. I started working out with a female bodybuilder who took me through the motions of using proper form and lifting heavy for a good five months which got me hooked. It covered training four times per week (split body) and walking 30 minutes after each session, I was losing about a pound a week consistently and went from 158 but stalled at 150. I then moved on to training by myself as my trainer left the gym and I’ve been following Craig B’s Turbulence Training workouts, generally full body workouts 3 times a week and reached 10.4 by August of last year. I love the workouts as they go fast and I feel like I’ve pushed myself, plus I get to change it up every 4 weeks. I don’t do the prescribed HIIT but do walk at least 20-30 minutes everyday, sometimes up to 40 on the days I’m going to the gym.

Anyway my question is, I have started the 4HB and have been training four times per week, now reduced to 3 times per week and noticed my weights increased by 5 pounds. I’m trying to not let this worry me as I don’t look any different and my clothes still fit but I wondered what this could be. I’d say it’s slightly chipping away at my trust in the process. I’m also wary of saying I’ve put on muscle that quickly as I know women cannot build muscle , I can also add that I haven’t seen significant changes in measurements, perhaps 1 inch of my waist which is the smallest part of me anyway!

From calculating my daily intake I’m guessing I need to be eating 1400 a day to see a drop, right now I’m 1700-800, which is what I’m roughly clocking on 4HB with the cheat day – this is more than what I am used to! Granted it’s all quality food, i.e. eggs, more eggs, chicken, no dairy and plenty of vegetables and the occasional nuts.

From what I’ve read so far, I think it’s like you say down to the basics and tracking my in-take to ensure I’ve met my daily deficit but I need some solid advise on calorie intake. All I want to lose is the last 7-14 pounds (I’ll depend on how I look) but it sometimes feels like it’s impossible particularity when I’m committed to the cause. BTW I’m 5″6 (1/2), the half counts right?

Put me out of my misery please!

Thanks so much!

D.

P.S. Love your no b-s approach and admire the honesty in your writing.

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Steve Troutman March 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

Hi Dee,

So forgive my ignorance, but by 4HB are you talking about the 4 Hour Body? If so, I’ve never read the book and know little about the plan. But you’re right… it’s all going to boil down to your calorie intake. Sure, there’s other important stuff but if your weight’s not going down, focusing on calorie intake is the logical first step.

What’s your current weight? You said you “reached 10.4.” Is that to say that you are down 10.4 lbs? From 158? And that your current weight is around 148?

Thanks for the kind words!

Get back to me and I’ll offer up some advice.

-Steve

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Dee March 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply!

Sorry I was writing to you in my lunch hour and rushed through so I haven’t been very clear.

Yes the plan is 4 hour body and my weight is currently 10.9 lbs. I’ve put on 5lbs since Christmas. It’s ironic as I didn’t put on any weight over Christmas through good habits and intuitive eating. I then decided to introduce eating 5-6 meals after Christmas in an attempt to get to my goal, I also started regular weight training again as I lost my mojo before the holidays. Unfortunately I crept up to 10.7 lbs 🙁

I started 4 hour body 3 weeks ago and I’m now at my current weight, haas. Like I say I don’t feel massively different from 10.4 lbs and I’m trying not to sweat it but I do feel frustrated that I’ve bought in to something AGAIN when I should have trusted myself. I should know if it states ‘diet’ in the title then to walk in the opposite direction.

On a positive, I can say I have developed some really good habits from 4HB, it’s basically a low carb diet and it’s helped me to dial-in my diet a bit more and stopped sugar cravings.

Here’s my staple diet up until 4HB, I have ate like this for the 18 months, so you have a bit of insight. Please note I am not saying this is all I ate and there were of course other foods that crept in over time, plus when I started eating 5 meals I added in nuts or another chicken breast on top of this. Hopefully it gives you a basic understanding of my general diet when I’m trying to eat sensibly and if there’s anything you can suggest to improve it.

Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs, or porridge with unsweetened almond milk, or a PHD diet whey protein shake
Lunch: cajun chicken breast with salad and wholemeal pitta and a tablespoon of hummus
Dinner: Repeat lunch (I could eat this meal everyday as I love it)
Snack: Full fat Sage Greek Yoghurt with blueberries and a tablespoon of honey.
Milk in tea and coffee and the occasional sugar

I am currently training 3 full body workouts per week, but for the past month have been doing 4 split body workouts per week.

Hope this helps and thank you!

D

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Dee March 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Hi Steve,

Urgh just tried posting earlier but lost my reply – it was very long but I’ll keep this one short 🙁

Sorry I wasn’t very clear, yes it’s the 4 hour body and my current weight is 149lbs.

Thanks for your help!

D

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Steve Troutman March 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I can see your long reply above. Now that I see your current weight in this last post, I’m guessing you were referring to your weight in stones, right?

Either way, you’re currently eating 1800. In general, for fat loss, I find the sweet spot to be 10-12 cals/lb of total average daily intake. That puts your range at 1500ish to 1800ish.

You have to keep in mind though that what looks good on paper might not actually pan out in the real world. You must adopt a process oriented approach to this. The process should be rooted in a system of setting up a plan, being consistent with that plan, monitoring your body’s response to that plan, and then finally making the necessary adjustments based on said response.

It seems so simple but so many people mess it up. Ditch The Program mentality as it draws your attention to the results rather than the process.

With my online clients, we’re tweaking calories intake and/or exercise output every 2-4 weeks based on what’s really happening. And my long term clients have learned to not get too terribly frustrated if numbers don’t head in the desired direction simply because they know by now that the process of my coaching will iron out the wrinkles and over time things will improve.

Does this help?

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Dee March 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Hi Steve,

That really helps thank you. I’ll keep this one short 😉

Yes it’s stones sorry for confusing you over the metrics 🙂 Am I right in thinking the calorie range you have outlined 1500-1800 includes my deficit.

I think I will shoot for 1500 and not count bk calories from daily walking or weight training I do. The simplicity is key and being accountable via myfitnesspal. Plus, like you say consistency!

I’ll let you know how I get on and thanks for taking your time to listen to me!

D

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Steve Troutman March 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Yup, the 1500 – 1800 is total intake and the deficit is factored in.

Although my suggestion would be to start at the upper range and go from there. It’s a good idea to give yourself as much room for adjustment as possible. This is the exact reason why I tell people to eat as many calories as possible while still allowing for a reasonable rate of weight loss over time.

I understand the desire to drop immediately to the lower end of a range like this… the bigger the deficit the faster the loss. But this shouldn’t be about fast. I should be about sustainable and long term.

The human body will always adapt to a deficit and in doing so weight loss will get harder over time. The more wiggle room you have to make calorie adjustments, the more success you’ll have.

Maybe start at 1700. See what happens over the course of 2-4 weeks. Assuming you’re consistent… and the scale/measurements don’t do what you had hoped… then adjust downward by 10% or so. Rinse and repeat until you get things dialed in.

This would be my recommended approach.

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Dee March 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Thanks Steve,

I’ll go with your recommendation. From my experience, trying to lose the weight fast has always had the opposite results. Whilst I’ve seen positive results by taking it slowly and having trust in the process.

Plus, I get to eat more, that’s always good right? 🙂

Once again, a BIG thanks for your help, I’ll keep you posted.

D

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Steve Troutman March 31, 2014 at 7:58 pm

You’re welcome! And yes, please do keep me posted.

Don’t forget about that process either. Start eating high calories but expect having to adjust them downward after that high level is adequately tested… assuming it proves to be ineffective.

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Dee April 1, 2014 at 6:04 am

Thanks Steve!

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Erin January 2, 2014 at 12:27 am

Hi Steve! I’m reading through your nutrition manual and find it really well-written and useful- thanks!

I have a question specific to my situation. I’m a 29 year old female who weighs about 220 pounds. About four years ago, I weighed about 155 pounds, so I’ve (obviously) gained a bunch of weight.

I’m getting married in 10 months and am working to lose weight in that relatively short timeframe. In an attempt to fast track my weight loss, I’ve just lowered my calorie goal to approx 1400 per day.

I do one body pump class most weeks, occasional short runs and basketball games, and work with a trainer once per week where we do lots of HIIT and heavy weight lifting. I’m planning to add another body pump class and a yoga class to my weekly schedule this year.

I would just love to know if you think that 1400 calories will be too little to sustain this effort, or if it will help me to lose weight quickly but healthily? Additionally, should I “eat back” my exercise calories, as MFP encourages?

Really appreciate any help you can give 🙂

Erin

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Erin January 2, 2014 at 12:28 am

Forgot to add that I’m 5’9” 🙂

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Steve Troutman January 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

Hi Erin,

Congratulations on the wedding! I understand why you’d want to look your best for the special day. That’s a good “carrot” to dangle in front of yourself to keep you driven.

Your intake of 1400 definitely creates a steep deficit? Is it the end of the world? No. But nobody can say how you’re going to respond to it – mentally and physically. Obviously if you’re able to stick to that low of an intake, weight will come off over time. But again, that says nothing about how you feel – in and out of the gym.

I think it’s fine to experiment with it. You still have a lot of weight to lose and when that’s the case, your body can tolerate larger deficits. But stay as objective as possible. If you find that you’re feeling like poop, you aren’t staying consistent with the intake, and/or you can’t really perform in the gym… then you have your answer. You would need to adjust your calories up a bit.

Remember, this is a process. You need to adopt that process mentality. This means you shouldn’t put so much stock in whether a particular calorie intake or dose of exercise is right for you. Rather, you start with logical doses and then assess every 2-4 weeks to see whether it’s working for you or not.

I would assess using weight, measurements, pictures, gym performance numbers, consistency in regards to calorie intake, and overall well being. Use these metrics to tweak things as you go.

It’s worth nothing that the lower you go in calories, the more important it is to ensure proper nutrition. When you’re eating a bunch of calories from a wide array of foods, obtaining adequate nutrition is less of a concern – it tends to happen automatically assuming you’re not living on Doritos. But as you take your intake down, you leave less room for error. Obtaining adequate protein, fat, and fibrous fruits and veggies should be at the foundation of your intake.

You asked whether you should eat your exercise calories back or not. There is no right answer to this. If you don’t, obviously you’re rocking a larger deficit. If you do, you’re minimizing your weekly deficit. Maybe err on the side of caution and start by eating your exercise calories. If that’s not giving you the desired results over time, reduce it… maybe eating back half of them.

The fact remains that 1400 is a large enough deficit that, if you do decide to add 200-300 calories on your exercise days, you’d still be rocking a substantial deficit. At 220, you’re maintenance might be something like 2700 – 2800 calories. Obviously anything below that is “money”.

It’s also worth nothing that, like I said, 1400 is an aggressive deficit… so what happens after the wedding? As much as you like to believe you’re going to stick with it or maintain the loss, the facts are the facts and most people who diet aggressively wind up gaining all, if not more, of their weight back.

You want to lose 65 lbs in 10 months. That’s 6.5 lbs per month.

To put that into some perspective, generically there are 3500 calories in 1 lb of fat… which is why we always hear “you need a weekly deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 lb of fat per week.” So if you wanted to lose 6.5 lbs per month, you’d need a monthly deficit of 22,750 or a weekly deficit of 5,687.

If you’re maintenance intake really is 2700ish and you’re consuming 1400 per day, then your daily deficit is roughly 1,300 and your weekly deficit is 9,100… well above the “necessary” 5,687.

So in theory, you could stand to be a little less aggressive then you’re being… which is another vote for eating back your exercise calories.

That being said, I should note:

1. The whole 3500 calories per week deficit to lose 1 lb of fat formula is pretty much hogwash. I mean, yes… there are approximately 3500 calories in 1 lb of fat… but you don’t solely lose fat when you eat a deficit. Not to mention the fact that nobody can precisely maintain a 3500 calorie weekly deficit. Each day is slightly different based on activity, environment, bodily adaptations, etc. So again, the above was just an exercise to give you an idea of where you’re at.

2. Weight loss is not a linear process so your expectations should be aligned with that. Aggressive deficit or not, the math doesn’t dictate reality. Your body and its energy balance is a very complex system.

Hopefully that gives you some food for thought!

-Steve

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Erin January 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks so much your thoughtful response! I’m going ahead and eating back my calories (I don’t think I could keep up with quality training if I didn’t) and in my first week have seen a respectable 1.9lb loss.

I appreciate you taking the time to answer me.

Cheers
Erin

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Steve Troutman January 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Good stuff, Erin, Anytime!

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Sharon August 2, 2013 at 8:01 am

I’m also a member of MFP, and my main question is should I eat back my excercise calories as some suggest? I am middle aged and my metabolism is down to a crawl. I always thought I should be at a calorie deficit to lose weight. Eating back excercise calories seems counter-productive to me.

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Steve Troutman August 2, 2013 at 8:54 am

Firstly, why do you think your metabolism is “down to a crawl.” Yeah, sure… metabolic rate tends to decline with age… but a lot of it can be offset with muscle maintenance and exercise. And even if you don’t take precautionary measures, it’s not like it falls by 50% or anything. A “crawl” signifies a massive slowdown and I doubt that’s the case, barring some medical condition you’re facing.

Secondly, sure, you need a deficit to lose. But you’re making the assumption that eating back your exercise calories erases the deficit. MFP has a strange way of looking at calorie needs. They calculate the number of calories you need without exercise. Essentially they add up everything your body expends sans exercise calories. They subtract from this number to create a deficit.

So your deficit is already factored into the equation. Which is why they tell you to eat back your exercise calories. If you don’t eat back your exercise calories, you’re piling deficit on top of the already established deficit.

And if you do eat back your exercise calories, you’re still rocking the initial deficit they setup for you.

Granted, I do not subscribe to this method AT ALL. I keep things much simpler. Have you read my nutrition 101 manual? If not, you’ll find my method there:

http://www.body-improvements.com/resources/eat

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Chele July 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

I’m unbelievably frustrated right now and hope you can shed some light. I am 36yo, Female, 5’9″……In March I was 141-143 trying to get under 140. In April, I left MFP and stopped counting calories so diligently but I’m certain I was not over eating (if anything I was restricting more in fear of gaining). Got back to MFP the end of April and put my settings back to what they were March and previous which was 1620 cal and 35/35/30. However, I started to gain. In May I was not running as much under Doctors orders but I was still trying to walk and lift when possible keeping my HR under 130. Still gaining. In June I got the all clear to begin my runs and workout programs again. I also changed my settings and reduced my calories to just above my BMR to 1450 (BMR is 1430 I work a desk job). I work out 5-6x per week (running and/or lifting) and my burns are 350+ per workout. I’ve heard the adage Eat More to Lose More, but I seem to gain. I restrict adn I gain or maintain. I am at a loss now!!! I’m now maintaining around 146-148. My measurements have increased very slightly (waist from 27.5 to 28″, Hips the same, Thighs the same). But I still want to get back to 140 (preferably 138). Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Steve Troutman July 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Are you eating 1450 total for the day? Or are you eating that plus the 350ish you burn in exercise? I never know with the MFP folks as that platform as a very quirky way of viewing energy needs.

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Chele July 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Looking at my report in MFP….I consume between 1400-1700 calories a day. The higher caloric days are on my big burn days of 500+ cal. Overall I seem to net 1100-1300 each day. My two lifting only days I do not log a burn, but I do eat 1400-1500 those days.

I’m guessing my ‘net” is low and I need to increase. This past Sunday I increased from 1450 to 1525 (slow increase… trying to find the balance). I’m getting about 110-130g protein, 150-190g carb, 25-40g fat adn under 2500mg sodium.

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Steve Troutman August 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

Let me just throw this out there.

People are god awful at estimating energy intake and expenditure. If the most devout trackers tend to be off by large margins. You very well might be an exception to this norm…. so don’t take it personally. But if you’re familiar with Occam’s Razor… but it states, in more words or less, that the simplest explanation is normally the correct one.

I’ve been doing this a long time and more often than not, stalls like the one you’re describing have more to do with being in maintenance/suprlus than in too deep of a deficit.

Because even if you’re in too deep of a deficit… sure, there can be an “over stress” on the body and things like water retention can shoot through the roof… which will mask fat loss. But even still… fat loss will happen over time. It has no choice since you’re in this massive deficit… right?

So with this latter case… it could be what you’re contending with. You’re holding onto lots of water. And I do see this… especially in relatively small, over-thinking, high anxiety, dieting females who tend to always be on edge and subscribing to the “more is better” mantra as it pertains to exercise and the “less is better” mantra as it pertains to food.

But back to Occam’s Razor…

If I simply take what you think you’re eating on your high days… 1700. And I divide that by your average weight of 147. I’m left with 12 calories per pound rounded to the nearest whole number.

Many women I see need to aim for 10 calories per pound to see meaningful fat loss.

So is it that you’re eating too much? Or is it that you’re eating too little?

I really can’t say.

But the way out of this type of problem is experimentation and rigid tracking to ensure accuracy. If you feel in your gut that you’re eating too little… try systematically ramping calories up over the coming weeks to something that should be maintenance. Sit there for a week or two. Then cut calories into a reasonable deficit.

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