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Eating More and Losing More

It has to happen at some point. You think you're doing everything right, cutting calories, working out 6 days a week and generally being healthy. And the scale doesn't move! Your clothes don't fit any different. And most likely, you're incredibly frustrated.

I feel like that's been me for the last 6 months. I workout out dilligently (pretty much all cardio), I was watching my calories and I had a big calorie deficit. And the SCALE WOULDN'T BUDGE! In fact, it went up about 5 lbs in that time. WTF!

And then I started chatting with other MFP friends that were near their goal weight, and I noticed a trend. A lot of them were weight training. Most of them were eating 1600, 1800 even 2000 calories a day... and losing weight or inches or both! What is going on here!?!? So I bought a book to help me figure it out: The New Rules of Lifting For Women (as I talked about in my last 2 blogs). The most important thing I got out of that was I can't keep starving myself.

Yep, that's really what it boils down to. Working out 5-6 times a week, burning 500 calories and eating 1200 a day means my calorie deficit is around 1000. Which would be awesome, if I still weighed 215 pounds and needed to lose 75 lbs. But now I'm at 155 and I want to lose around 5-10 lbs, or at the very least replace some fat with muscle (which the scale is terrible at determining).

So, the starvation is over. The book recommends that I eat 1650 calories on rest days and 1950 on workout days. That's an extra 500-700 calories! And the key is to make sure those calories are a good balance of carbs, protein and fat (I'm at 50c/25p/25f) but the book recommends 30% protein and the rest split between carbs and fat (I'm working up to 30% protein). And honestly, I feel better. I can do my entire workout and not feel dizzy. I eat snacks throughout the day to keep my metabolism going. And I'm sticking to 3 New Rules workouts a week, with 1-2 cardio days mixed in.

I know results take time, but the scale really is down 2 entire lbs from last Friday and I've been eating MORE! I'm not ready to call this a complete success, but I'm really interested to see where I am at the end of Phase 1 (which is 6 weeks long).

So, if you're stuck in a rut, eating and working out like crazy but not losing, try and take a step back and look at your calorie deficit. It really shouldn't be more than 500 calories if you're close to your goal. Your body just can't handle it. I set my MFP number to a 1/2 a week weight loss (gives me 1680). Its something that I really struggled with the first few days because it goes against everything I programmed my brain to believe. Less food, more exercise, more weight loss. Until that just didn't work anymore. I know I've said this before, in a blog that still is near the top of the Blog list. And honestly, I managed to convince myself otherwise. But following that advice, I got to my lowest weight and lowest pant size EVER! It's not a coincidence, it's math and genetics and how your body works. It just sucks that I forgot all of it and spent the last 6 months doing the wrong thing.

I hope this advice helps those of you who are at the point that I am. I'm not advocating buying this book, but balancing strength training with cardio and eating MORE to fuel your body can be the secret to getting the body you've been wanting all along. The scale might not be the low number you were aiming for, but measurements will tell a completely different story. Besides, only you see the number on the scale. The rest of the world sees how awesome your body looks :)


If you're wondering where I got my calorie numbers from, I took my BMR (which MFP calculates for you) and I multiplied it by 1.5 for non-workout days and 1.7 for workout days. Then I subtracted 300 calories from each for "Fat Loss" (its what the New Rules book recommended so I'm going with it). It's taking into account workout calories.

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73 votes + -


smurfee11 wrote 77 months ago:
awesome blog!! I totally agree with all of it!
nalliebell wrote 77 months ago:
thank you for the amazing advice!!!
ChelHiggy wrote 77 months ago:
Great post. And thanks for the end note!
Jena_72 wrote 77 months ago:
Love the way you put things into perspective!
msmayor wrote 77 months ago:
Whooo weeeee - I just ordered my book but I've upped my calories from 1400 - 1700 over the past few weeks and yes I gained lost and gained again but my body was so used to NOT eating that it's still playing catch up...and I was at a stand still for months at the same 12lbs lose 1 gain 2 lose 3 and so on....and I was hungry and trying to burn 1000 per day just to eat....not cool - so happy I ran into people who convinced me that eat more is so much better....thanks for this post and I can't wait to read my book and lift some weights.....
bx0181 wrote 77 months ago:
At 298 lbs. I couldn't lose weight by creating that big of a deficit. Not if I wanted to keep the weight off. Granted, the process this time around is taking longer, but I know the changes I'm making are sustainable, and I don't feel deprived.
missy_1975 wrote 77 months ago:
I just decided to up my cals today (am 2-7 lbs from my theoretical ideal weight) to reflect a 1/2 lb weight loss per week. I found the 1200 cal net thing worked well when I was heabier, but in the past few weeks I wasn't losing much and was getting tired and hungry. I also like to workout 6 days a week and I now think I wasn't eating enough. It's a little scarey to eat more, but I'm looking forward to it! Well done on getting some weight lifting in, I think it makes a huge difference
cbirdso wrote 77 months ago:
It is funny how we get in the diet rut and can't get away from the LESS food and MORE cardio frame of mind! I really believe you are on the right track now.
mahjohweeee wrote 77 months ago:
This is great advice! I'm finding it much easier to lose weight by not starving myself.. on days that Eat enough.. I end up losing... it's amazing!! Great post!! Thanks for writing this up.
calmdavi wrote 77 months ago:
do you know the values for males?
bennjammin wrote 77 months ago:
I couldn't agree with you more. You're spot-on!
kokaneesailor wrote 77 months ago:
Thanks for posting this. The formula makes sense. I'm 196 lbs and am on 1690 cals, some days I'm ready to chew my own arm off. Weight goes up, down, up. Your explanation really helped me understand. Cheers!
ByFaith303 wrote 77 months ago:
Thanks for this blog i was saying the same thing this morning to my co-worker. I have been very dilligent with working out and calorie counting. @bx0181 how many calories are you taking in?
jmichael1456 wrote 77 months ago:
I have had this conversation with my trainer this week. Eat more on and between high intensity interval training days. I am looking forward to seeing the results. I think I was starving my body on the 1200 ca/day. My biggest problem now is eating so much food while focusing on the healthy aspect.
00trayn wrote 77 months ago:
This formula works the same for males as for females I believe. There's a book the New Rules of Lifting and I think that's for men. But it takes your BMR, which is going to vary depending on height, weight, gender, etc. So you can use the same multiplier to men I believe.
ARDuBaie wrote 77 months ago:
Bought this book and just started reading it. Now you are really making me want to keep reading it. Tired of only 1200 calories a day.
tsdsign wrote 77 months ago:
I concur. Most women steer away from weight-lifting and in actuality it helps with burning fat and weight-loss. MFP says I need to stick to a 1200 caloric diet, but since I weight-lift 2x a week I consume anywhere from 1500-1800 calories. Honestly, I noticed when I ate around 1200 calories I was STARVING. I'd get to the point where I felt nauseous cos' I wasn't getting enough food. So, I started observing the men in the gym that were weight-lifting. They seem to have results fairly quick by mixing up weight-lifting with doing intervals on the treadmill. And BINGO! It worked. I found my niche. My routine now consists of doing cardio 3x a week and weight-lifting 2x a week.
nicolekz wrote 77 months ago:
Great post. I eat 2500 calories per day to maintain 117 lbs and ~17% body fat. I am 5'3". I aim for about 50% protein, 30% carb, 20% fat, but I love peanut butter, so those ratios are off some days. (A note about the carbs, I try to keep my sugars under 30 g per day, eat about 30 g fiber, and I don't eat anything with flour or refined sugar.)
SoGe wrote 77 months ago:
nekoxvampyx wrote 77 months ago:
I am exactly where you are now! this is a great blog :D thanks !!!
ami321 wrote 77 months ago:
interesting read!
harlanJEN wrote 77 months ago:
Great post and I totally AGREE ! I've got the book and have read everything else I can get my hands on relative to the subject. I'm altered my regimen with the goal of FAT Loss, Muscle Build instead of the old mindset of weight loss. I'm convinced heavy lifting and moderate cardio is the way to go. And food. Gotta eat ! Thanks for sharing.
Tsanford625 wrote 77 months ago:
Makes alot of sense. GREAT post. Thank you
poncho33 wrote 77 months ago:
It seems like you are over thinking it a bit... If I were you I would up my workout... get a trainer or join a spin class that pushes you to burn more calories... starving yourself just isn't worth it.

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