How Much Should I Eat??

If you follow me on social media you saw my post regarding metabolic rate based on height and weight. If I was to sit in a room with a group of women who wanted to lose weight and ask them if they eat few calories than their BMR I bet 70% would say they eat equal or less.

By eating fewer calories than our body needs to survive, our body adapts so we don’t die! We have the gift of a very intelligent body system. Its sole design is to protect us! So when it thinks that we don’t have enough food to keep all systems running, it finds ways to slow down so we survive.

In order to adjust to low energy availability our body starts picking systems to get less energy. Our brain is one of the first to slow down. Cognitive function needs a lot of energy, so without enough we will being to feel groggy, make poor decision, increase in irritability and lack basic self-control. From there our body looks for ways to stop burning so much at rest, so we lose muscles because it takes more to keep that going than fat. Then, our body holds on to fat because it knows that without fat there is not hope for survival. Low calories lead to a slow mind, slow movement, slow metabolism and a frustrated us. Don’t you want your body to thrive and fire on all cylinders?

See, we all, for sometimes untruthful reasons, want to lose weight. What we really want, isn’t weight loss but instead a better body composition, more energy, freedom to eat food we enjoy (in moderation) and to feel good and confident in our skin. The path to this is not eating less, but eating right!

My Story

There is no quick fix. As a matter of fact, sometimes when you being to heal your body and get things to work as they should, you’ll actually go backward. When I first started to heal I gained 10 lbs, then lost 5, gained 2, and after 5-6 months settled in at 5 lbs heavier than when I started my healing journey.

The thing is, this extra 5 lbs felt like a loss of 15 lbs. The reason it felt like I lost is because by healing my body, I was able to gain muscle which burns more fat and leaves me feeling leaner and tighter. The biggest difference I saw was the change in my mind, though. Before I started to eat like I should, my focus was on my body in a negative way. Because I didn’t have enough energy to change my thoughts my body became my enemy instead of my ally. Together me and my body conquer life. No sense in hating, and by learning to listen to it and work with it – everything changed for me. I want this same transformation for all women – to love our bodies and work with them – that’s a freedom we all need!

Where Do You Start

So, where do you start? First, I strongly suggest that you find a coach. That’s how I was successful. I needed someone to reeducate me on nutrients and that food is for my good and healing. Learning why carbs, fats, and proteins all benefit me helped me to stop viewing food as an enemy. Plus, having a coach remind me of the truth on the weight gain/loss rollercoaster was of utmost importance to my mental health and ability to stick to the plan. Even if you only meet with a coach for a little bit, having them calculate the right calorie and macronutrient balance for you and your activity level will help so much!

Now, if you don’t plan on working with a coach, there are a lot of resources out there to calculate your calorie and macro needs. PLEASE remember though, that eating your basal metabolic calories or less IS NOT an option.

If going at it alone there are some key points you should have. Your body burns calories in many different ways throughout a day. First, your BMR – just laying in bed not moving, this is the amount of energy your body requires to stay alive. For 100% of adults that is above 1300 calories, just an FYI. Then we have the thermic effect of food. This is the amount of calories required for our body to digest food. Then we have exercise calories that are burned during planned exercise. Lastly, we have what’s called non-exercise activity thermogenesis which includes things like cleaning the house, doing yard work and so on.

To do the math, you can follow this calculation (or just reach out and I’ll do it for you 😉 :

Women: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + 6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161Activity Factors (AF) (Multiply BMR x AF to get Estimated Energy Requirements (EER):

  • Little to no exercise: EER = BMR x 1.2 (for in bed); for out of bed but low activity, use 1.3
  • Light exercise (1–3 days/week):  BMR x 1.375
  • Moderate exercise (3–5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • Heavy exercise (6–7 days/week): BMR x 1.725
  • Very heavy exercise (e.g., 2 workouts/day; intense workouts or athletic training): EER = BMR x 1.9

Athletes and Active Women

To my fellow athletes and active women, your nutrition is the most important thing standing between you and your physical and performance goals. Unfortunately, 62% percent of female athletes have disordered eating habits. That can increase the risk of injury by 8 times. Not only that but it leads to poor performance and poor cognitive funciton.

If you struggle with disordered eating patterns and aren’t seeing the performance or physical adaptations you expect – let’s chat. You might need to adjust your food timing, food intake, and or your view on food completely.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: