It’s a general outline for now; I’ll be adjusting the numbers as I go depending on the results!
- Lifting days: 1300 net calories, aiming for ~100g protein and having most of my carbs for the day just before/after lifting. This means I’ll be eating around 1500-1800, which is a little bit terrifying–but I tend to burn a lot by walking my 2-8 miles a day! (I don’t count the lifting as calories burned; I just use my fitbit for steps)
- Non-lifting days: 1000 or less net calories, with 15-30 minutes of HIIT if possible. Aiming for 50g protein at the very least. I’ll most likely be eating 1200-1400 these days.
- This means I’ll be losing 1/4 – 1/2 pound per week, and gaining ~1/4 lb muscle per week if things go optimally. So the scale shouldn’t be changing! (Which is a little bit hard to accept, but hopefully the change in the mirror will make that okay.)
I’m hoping this helps with my nutrient deficiency symptoms and reactive eating (aka binging)!
I am someone who does copious amounts of research before making any decisions on anything, especially weight loss related. I knew that 1-2 pounds per week loss is considered the standard, which means eating 500-1000 less than your TDEE. I keep seeing all these wonderful, positive, motivated overweight individuals losing their 1-2 pounds a week and I always feel so inspired by their progress, wanting to push myself to do the same.
In my slightly convoluted mind, however, I keep forgetting that this standard only really applies to people in the overweight or high-end-of-normal categories; why would there be a weight loss standard for those already in the low end of normal? I am a mere 5 pounds above the underweight category (though I certainly don’t look it), but keep lumping myself in with the overweight–to tell the truth, I’m a bit envious of them in a way. I share their pain of high body fat percentage (I am quite certain that 99% of them have more muscle than I do), but am at the point where it’s near impossible to shed those last few pounds. I’m stuck in a rut.
Unfortunately, because I am 35+ pounds lighter than most people trying to lose weight, I burn a lot fewer calories; my body doesn’t need much to keep it going. The truth of it is, if I wanted to lose 1-2 pounds a week like those inspiring individuals mentioned above, I would have to consume 400-900 calories; on studying days, I burn a whopping total of 1400 calories. Even with lots of exercise, I’d have to eat 700-1200 to get that kind of loss. (Just imagine the horror if I followed the government’s oh-so-well-founded recommendation of 2000 calories a day!)
Even though I need fewer calories than my overweight friends, I need all the same nutrients. And I can’t get them on 400-1000 calories a day.
So, I need to remind myself that I should be grateful that I’m starting my journey at such a low weight, not upset by how little progress I’m able to make. My new plan is more focused on a balance between muscle growth and fat loss rather than just focusing on the latter.