Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just How Much Should You Be Eating?

Diets that advocate 1200 calories a day or less will slow your metabolism. Eating enough calories spread throughout the day will help stoke your metabolism and keep your body from kicking in to starvation mode. You've heard all of this before and I have yet to read anything that proves it to be untrue.

As you know, I don't count calories. Well, I didn't until recently, but more on that later. I found that a progression of small steps was of the most benefit in order for me to start having a healthy relationship with food. If you try to change too much too fast and limit calories too drastically, two weeks later you'll find yourself in the parking lot of your local fast food joint pounding double cheese burgers. If you can last that long. Been there, done that, have the stretch marks!

I started by cleaning up the quality of my food by eliminating soda and fast food right off the bat, then slowly eliminating processed and junk foods and replacing them with whole foods. I wasn't limiting, counting, weighing or measuring anything at first. I started slowing down at meal times, paying attention to my emotions and my body's signals. Then I started learning about portion control and applying it.

Now that I'm training with the The New Rules of Lifting for Womenprogram, I started counting my calories and protein. That's because I need to eat more on the days I train. But counting calories for me now, 18 months into my healthy lifestyle, isn't going to freak me out and cause a backslide because I've worked up to this point gradually.

With that all said, just how much should you be eating? Probably more than you think. Knowing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is very useful information. Your BMR is the number of calories your body burns at rest every single day. You should be eating no less than the amount of calories suggested by your BMR! And more if you have a very active lifestyle. My current BMR 1554, that means I should be eating no less than 1554 calories per day. I eat at a higher level than that because I'm training but about 1600 calories a day of nutritious and delicious, whole foods is plenty to keep me satisfied!

Here are a couple of good sites to do your calculations.

BMR Formula
BMR on Fat2Fit Radio
Spark People is an amazing site for tracking daily calories.


  1. I'm looking forward to your work with the New Rules for Women Lifting training sessions. I've seen it around quite a bit lately and will be purchasing the book soon. After I'm satisfied that flexibility is better with the Hot Yoga Sessions, then I want to start weight training again. So far everyone loves this program.

  2. Great tips! I am on MFP (myfitnesspal) and they follow the same guidelines. You need to eat ALL of your calories, including extra if you workout or you will plateau from your metabolism slowing down. I noticed on my 3rd week of not eating as much as I should have, I binged and now i have to start all over again. Wish I would have listened!

  3. Anything but bingeing! A good binge can undo a week or more worth of calorie restriction. I did one of these calorie approximations, it says my maintenance (nor RMR) is about 2500, I imagine I eat about 2000. Weight loss has been, and still is slow, but it's okay. I like to eat, don't want to restrict any more than I have to.

  4. I have a friend that recommends that book extremely!! I still haven't gotten it. It was great hearing from someone else about the book.