This is one of the toughest questions to answer, especially if you are trying to lose weight! It is my belief, that a lot of people UNDER EAT while workout out…then their bodies go into starvation mode and they have unintentionally sabatoged their results before they have even started.
Time after time again, while I am working with my team I ask people how many calories they are consuming on a regular basis….and the answers I get back are incredible. Some say as low as 1,200 while others say as high as 3,000. So what is the magic number?
Well, I can tell you this with 100% certainty. If you are working out with a program like Insanity, P90x, or Turbo Fire you better believe you should be eating at the minimum of around 1,500 calories-2,200+. That is the lowest number I would EVER suggest. Think of it this way, if you are taking in 1,500 calories for the day…and you burn 600 calories in a workout…that gives your body 900 calories left over to function and run its duties. That includes a large amount of calories just to keep your digestion going, heart beating, breathing, urinary output….basic bodily functions. If you over train or under eat, it can lead your metabolic rate to lower considerably. So why does that matter?
Your metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn calories. You want that to be at a higher rate obviously therefore you are burning calories throughout the day, even while you are not working out. If you starve your body of calories your body actually does the opposite of what you are trying to do. So say you are taking in 1,200 calories a day and working out…..your body is in “starvation mode”, your metabolic rate has now slowed down to compensate for the lack of calories, and you are now in fact holding on to more calories then you would if you would have fed yourself more calories in the first place! So many people don’t understand this concept!!In starvation mode your body tries to protect itself; it is a pretty amazing system. So in order to do that it “holds” onto the fat that it would normally be getting rid of…almost as a hibernation method…so if you continue to do this it will use the excess weight for energy, fuel, etc. The problem is….it never entirely burns off the excess fat…it just borrows from it when it has to, and the cycle continues.
My advice would be to listen to your body. When your are truly hungry, EAT!!! Once you figure out your total calories needed for the day, divide that by 5 for small meals throughout the day. You can work in your snacks into the equation as well.
So, how do you know if you are getting too little calories? Are you constantly hungry all the time? Are you snack happy? Are you dreaming about certain foods or waiting until the next time you can eat? These are all signs that your body is not getting enough fuel. I suggest if this is happening add simply 200 extra calories a day to your eating. And make sure these calories come from high protein but lean foods…such as fish, turkey, ham, nuts, almonds, beans, legumes, low fat dairy, and fiber filled breads [topped with peanut butter of course]!
Do yourself a favor….EAT MORE=BURN MORE. If you are hitting a plateau and don’t know why you are not losing weight this could be the reason. I have seen this happen far too often. You can look online for all types of sources on how to figure out your caloric intake, but I have found this chart to be pretty accurate. Make sure you do step #2 if you are working out…and add that to the equation.
[135x4.5] + [67x15.88] -[30x5]-161
607.5 + 1063.96-150-161=1360.46
1360.46 x .5=680.23
1360.46 + 680.23= 2041 calories!!!
So if Sarah wants to maintain her weight and workout like she is she needs this many calories-over 2,000!!!!! If she wanted to lose weight, she would minus 250-500 calories a day depending on how much she wanted to lose.
If you struggling or need help, ask me for help!!! I honestly am just a click away Check out my other blogs about healthy eating and tips on snacking!!