Calorie requirements

When I was a teenager, a low-fat 1000kcal diet was standard practice for people wanting to lose weight. There were even 500kcal/day shakes, which were considered a bit over the top. Nowadays, we look back at these poor 1000kcal people with their cottage cheese on smorgasbord like they were living in the dark ages. We know better now. But maybe still not enough.

I’m pretty happy with my current weight. It’s a few pounds above ‘really happy with my current weight’, but hey, that’s life, right? What I want to work on is my body composition. I want to gain muscle and lose a bit of fat. This is problematic. The best way to gain muscle is to overeat a little, and work out a lot. The best way to lose fat is to undereat a little.  So what’s a girl to do? I can’t undereat and overeat at the same time!

One possible answer is to eat a lot for a few months and ‘bulk’, then go on a diet to get rid of the fat gain, and ‘cut’. That doesn’t sound fun, does it? If you want to wear the same dress year-round, you’ll have to buy it in three sizes. Another answer is carb cylcing (also read the forum discussion if you’re not *cough* under 18% bf). Carb cycling means you eat more carbs on workout days than on normal ones (though if you’re eating normally now, even the high carb day will seem low to you). In addition, on a workout day you want to eat a little more than you need, and on other days a little less.

So how many calories do I need? There’s plenty of calculators around, and my calorie requirement is a bit over 2000 kcal. So I should eat 1600 on a normal and 2400 on a workout day? That seems like an enormous amount! I can’t possibly imagine losing weight while eating that much, even if it is ‘clean’ food. I have upped my daily intake (see last post) recently, and maybe next month, if I haven’t blimped out something fierce, I’ll think about doing it again.

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2 Responses to Calorie requirements

  1. Nina says:

    I’d be really interested to see how you figure this out. When I figure my calorie requirements on those calculations, I get numbers that would make me gain weight just by *looking* at the food. Far too high. And I do think, too, that the composition of the calories matters… I’m with all the people who say that all calories are not equal. Especially if you’re working out.

    But it’s really hard. And really individual.

    I had a student of mine who was a dietician say that no one should ever eat less that 1,200 calories per day under any circumstances.

  2. Pingback: Carb cycling, week I « Lolfitness’s Blog

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