We’ve all heard the classic, “Eat Less Move More” advice.
While this is somewhat decent advice for a general population, it misses the mark by implying that less is always better for eating and more is always better for moving.
The reality is, there is an ideal “dose” for everything and being above or below that ideal range might be detrimental.
Especially for active women, there is an essential amount of protein, carbs and fat that we need. So at a certain point, reducing calories below the amount that allows us to get enough of those macronutrients is not beneficial (and could actually be damaging).
Below is a sample calculation of the bare minimum amount of nutrition that an example client “Sarah” could consume. But why would you want to only fuel your body with the bare minimum amount to survive? (AND why does the media/society cling to this 1200 calorie number?!)
There are benefits to giving your body the ideal amount of nutrition, like improved performance (could increase calories burned and/or increase strength/endurance gains), improved sleep & stress, improved recovery (less fatigue), being able to enjoy better meals with your family and decreased cortisol. So remind yourself that less is not necessarily better — eating an ideal amount could help you with your goals (even weight loss ones) more than trying to scrimp by.
Here’s how you could calculate ideal calories for maintenance:
Maybe you enjoy the example above, but are still wondering why you aren’t losing weight? A fact is, that if you are not losing weight this means you are not in a calorie deficit. This could be due to one of a million reasons. So before you decrease your calories as a quick remedy, here is a list of things I would do FIRST:
- Take a real, honest look at if you are tracking EVERYTHING. Check the labels of foods you regularly eat, count all extra bites, weigh your peanut butter/nuts, track on weekends and see if you are actually eating the amount you think you are.
- Cut out processed foods. You will feel fuller on unprocessed foods and there’s less of a risk of nutrition info being inaccurate on a piece of broccoli than a chip label.
- Increase your protein. Protein has the highest thermic effect, meaning it takes the most energy (calories) to digest.
- Increase your steps.
- Be more patient.
IF after about 4-6 weeks of those steps above you still are not losing weight as desired, then you can think about decreasing your calories. But at that point I doubt you will need to 🙂
Are you curious about what the optimal intake is for you, your happiness and performance? Shoot my an email and I can help you find the right range for your goals!
2 thoughts on “Should You Decrease Calories?”
Indeed. Thanks to you I have been tracking what I have been eating by reading the packaging and ingredients list. I am also gradually increasing the amount of protein in my diet. Keep sharing such wonderful articles.
That is awesome! I’m so glad my articles have been helpful and great that you’ve been reading the nutrition labels and increasing protein 🙂 Keep it up!