How much should I be eating?

Hey guys,

I have lost about 20 pounds over the last 6 months or so, mostly cutting out crap, and actually getting regular exercise. Lately I've been realizing I don't think I'm eating nearly enough, maybe 1000 calories on a good day, and then having cheat days. (Not a good habit I know). I'm 5ft and around 115 pounds. I try to go to the gym 3 times a week, do some cardio and some strength training. I don't need to lose anymore weight, but I want to continue to tone, and lose fat, and somewhat maintain my weight. I find that if I eat much more than I do, my weight is out of waco. But I also realize the scale isn't always accurate. Any suggestions? Amount to consume, what to consume, anything helps!


  • ercarroll311
    ercarroll311 Posts: 295 Member
    Woah, those are some really low calories if you're trying to maintain. I'm 5'3" 115 and eat 2500 cals/day on average (usually 2200 during the week and more on the weekend). Maintaining weight and losing fat (recomp) is a long process, but it's possible. To an extent you have to ignore the scale, at least on a day-to-day basis because of how much fluctuation there can be (I'll fluctuate within 3 lbs throughout each week). It sounds like your metabolism may really be suffering, though it's not like you crash dieted, judging from the amount of time you took to lose 20 lbs (the slower, the better!). How closely are you tracking your calories? Watching that and getting a general idea of what your weight is doing over the course of a month or two will help you learn what your maintenance calories look like. From there, to recomp, you'll want to focus on macros (protein/carbs/fat) and your lifts/workouts.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,401 Member
    @madstutt: It sounds like you are quite slim now. Congratulations!

    To see how many cals you should eat, type your stats into the MFP calculator, set it for "sedentary" and "maintain" and see what it says. The estimate is as good as any out there. That's the minimum you should eat in a day to maintain weight. You need a bit more if you exercise.

    How well you can estimate your exercise calories depends on your workout. If you use a machine, just use the estimate it provides. If you run or walk, use a fitness app. (Google Fit is pretty good on Android phones. Lots of choices.)

    Now for the hard part: Estimating how many calories you eat. This requires measuring and weighing your food. The more careful you are, the better the estimate.
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,455 Member
    When you lost the 20 lbs in the last 6 months, did you have a calorie target from MFP? Were you logging the foods you eat, ideally using a food scale? What kind of exercise do you do? Were you estimating calorie burns from those, and eating some of the calories back? Was the loss consistently just under 1 lb/week?