If You Want to Lose Weight, You Have to Start Eating!

One of the most common comments or concerns of those starting flexible dieting is about the amount of calories or macros they are expected to eat.

Here’s one such comment:

I’m 24, 175 cm (5″10), 224lbs. I am fairly active (I workout 4-5 times a week) and your calculator puts me at 2033 calories a day, 154c, 227p, and 56f. I just think 2033 calories is fairly excessive and I’ve been on diets all my life and have never passed the 1300 calorie range as I am considered overweight.

It can seem really strange to eat so many calories when you’ve been told all your life that the only way to lose weight is to follow a low calorie diet.

But, for many, eating more is actually the key to losing more. Here’s why.

Why You Must Eat More to Lose More

In the above example, this woman was accustomed to eating 1300 calories. She would probably burn about 400 calories at the gym, which would only leave her 900 calories to fuel her bodily processes and general movement on exercise days.

According to our calculator, her sedentary calories are 2218 just to maintain her current weight. Therefore on exercise days she is putting her body in a 1318 calorie deficit.

Our basic understanding of weight loss principles would say, “wow, she should be at her target weight in no time!” but, the body doesn’t quite work that way unfortunately.

Your body is a very complex machine and its goal is survival, even at the cellular level.

So what’s the body to do when it needs 2218 calories, but you are only giving it 900?

Starvation Mode

A few days of drastic calorie deficit are fine and cause no changes, but for those that consistently eat at dangerously low calorie amounts the body switches into a conservation state or what some people call starvation mode.1

Our bodies are very clever and we still don’t yet fully understand all of the ways it can survive when placed in stressful situations.

This explains why some people who have been stranded at sea can survive for months on practically nothing. The body begins to slow down the metabolism in an effort to maintain homeostasis in light of a drastic calorie deficit.

A similar thing happens for extreme dieters. The body slows things down, slows the burning of fat, and actually begins to breakdown muscle tissue for energy especially if the dieter is also engaged in weight training.


Muscle Cannibalization

Muscle Cannibalization is simply when your muscles are broken down by the body and used as fuel for other parts of your body.

Drastic calorie deficits can cause this as well as not eating enough protein. Your body can break down one muscle group to build and repair the group you just worked out and then vice-versa later in the week when you work out the other muscle group.

One study showed that instead of fat loss occurring and then muscle loss during starvation, they both can happen in parallel to each other.2,3

To prevent this from happening a dieter must eat enough calories and enough protein to prevent this from occurring.4 Dieters want extra energy to come from their fat reserves, not their muscles or they’re defeating the purose.

The Solution is To Eat!

Unless a dieter is morbidly obese and under the direct care of a physician, he/she should never have a calorie deficit of more than 400-500 calories or 20% less than their TDEE calories with the calories burned during exercise factored in.5

For those that are already pretty lean, but just have 5 pounds to lose, calorie deficits can be even smaller.

So, make sure you are eating enough to support your bodily processes and the growth and activity of your muscles, but not too much that your body won’t burn a small amount of its fat reserves each day to make up for the slight deficit you are in.

It can be really challenging for some dieters to eat more, especially if they have been doing low calorie diets for a large portion of their lives. It can also be challenging for people to eat the amount of carbs recommended with flexible dieting especially for those that have had “carbs are bad” drilled into their heads for so long.

It’s time to start eating again and come into a better relationship with food. Slow and steady weight loss is the goal with flexible dieting and this, unlike other diets, is sustainable over the long-term because you are able to eat and not feel deprived.

Here’s a comment from someone who started to eat again.

Thank You so much! I’ve been on it for a week. I meet my macros, but having a hard time getting all the calories in, I’m not eating under 1300 anymore but always end up around 1500 at most – it’s not much difference but my body feels great; I recover much better and I am eating more carbs than before but not yet the 205 recommended. I’m still at 60% this week but next week I’ll amp up to a 70%, my body has already started to change.

Manage Expectations

I also want to express the importance of managing expectations when doing the flexible diet or any diet.

There are many different body types and most people may never be able to achieve the body that has been Photoshopped on the cover of our fashion or fitness magazines.

For women, nature is actually working against the quest for a low body fat percentage. A woman’s hormones are constantly preparing the woman’s body for childbearing and this means a healthy layer of body fat.6 Just look at the body fat percentage differences among men and women.

body fat percentage

So, focus on getting healthier by eating nutritious food, eating enough food, and being more physically fit because usually only those that get paid to look like ultra-ripped athletes actually have the time and resources it takes to look that way.

In closing, I can’t express the importance of working to change your low calorie and low carb mindset and begin eating again. If you want to break free from a slow metabolism and break the weight loss plateau then you have to give your body enough fuel to leave the launch pad.

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    Scientific References:

  1. Schwartz, M. W., & Seeley, R. J. (1997). Neuroendocrine responses to starvation and weight loss. New England Journal of Medicine, 336(25), 1802-1811.
  2. Owen, O. E., Smalley, K. J., D’Alessio, D. A., Mozzoli, M. A., & Dawson, E. K. (1998). Protein, fat, and carbohydrate requirements during starvation: anaplerosis and cataplerosis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 68(1), 12-34.
  3. Chaston TB, Dixon JB, O’Brien PE. Changes in fat-free mass during significant weight loss: a systematic review. International Journal of Obesity (2005). 2007;31(5):743–750.
  4. Tarnopolsky, M. A., MacDougall, J. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (1988). Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen balance and lean body mass. Journal of Applied Physiology, 64(1), 187-193.
  5. How to Set a Caloric Deficit for Fat Loss
  6. Price, T. M., O’Brien, S. N., Welter, B. H., George, R., Anandjiwala, J., & Kilgore, M. (1998). Estrogen regulation of adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase—possible mechanism of body fat distribution. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 178(1), 101-107.
  7. Lead image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfon18/2366993667/
  8. Image 2: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gwendalcentrifugue/8577595400/


  1. Natalie 4 weeks ago

    I’m 17 years old, and I weighed 135 lbs. In a week, after just eating fruits and nuts, I lost 10 lbs. I now weight around 125 lbs and plan to keep going! Good luck to you all!

    • Natalie 4 weeks ago

      Oh yeah, I’m 5’4” by the way

  2. Jacklyn 1 month ago

    I really need help! I’m 4’10” weight 180. I held this weight for 40 years, I’ve been honestly on every diet I know of. Im NEVER HUNGRY?

    Now, the past 14 years, I have sirvived an autoimmune disease: Interstitial Cystitis.
    The gag layer of my bladder is ulcerated and cracked.

    Everything I eat causes my urine to become acidic, burning the exposed nerves in the “intimate” nerves of my body. The pain is equal to Bladder Cancer Stage 4, only more painful, more difficult to treat.

    My diet is minimal at best.

    Even water puts me in pain level 9+. My daily pain is 7-8. I want to die, but that’s not my choice.

    Please I NEED to lose at least 20 pounds. I’m desperate. I feel too sick to cook or grocery shop.

    I don’t like life anymore. The constant burning is like pouring lemon juice on an open wound never ending. I’m up at night ever hour letting go of 3-4 drops of acidic pee. If I drink water I sit on the toilet constantly. ?

    My insurance will not pay for a nutritionist, as “It seems unlikely needed.” BOO! I say BOO!! I NEED HELP!!!? I want soooo much to lose weight, but nearly everything turns acidic and puts me in pain that lasts for weeks! ?

    I wish I would never wake up each day. At night, I’m thankful I’m one day closer to death. I HATE living this way. I’m short, and have to order FAT CLOTHES that are so unpropotioned to my body. I look like a pig. I have to alter the clothes, I cut the sleeves at the seam or if I didn’t the sleeve compresses my arms so tight.

    My doctor has given me metabolism boaster trial at $100 for one week. One capsule put me over the edge in pain for a week, frying the lining of my body. I used one capsule that cost $100.00!!! I’m living on disability income. ?

    THANK YOU????

  3. F.E 1 month ago

    Hello, I’ve first started my 800 cal diet and I used to weight 153 pounds, in 3 weeks I have lost 3 pounds my wheight became 149 pound… my problem is 2 days I was starving and craving sugar. I ate for those two days, per day… a slice of cake and I felt too guilty, then after that I have started getting back on track and I exercise everyday at the gym. I play two classes that has high intensity and then play 30 min tredmill, I am about to finish this week without losing any pound I even gained a pound instead. And I eat sometimes at 1000 cal diet if I were too hungry, I know it’s a slow process to lose weight but I gained a pound Is it because I was on a 1000 cal diet instead of 800 cal diet, thanks in advance

    • Ted Kallmyer 1 month ago

      Hi F.E, You need to eat at more moderate calorie amounts. Even 1000 is way too low, especially if you’re exercising. Use our calculator here to find out your healthy weight loss calorie amount.

  4. MajaP 2 months ago

    Is it accurate if I’m underweight but still have fat, and my goal is to gain weight BUT lose/burn fat? I’m very active and eathealthy as hell but I’m consuming only around 1100-1300. I am actually sick of training so much and eating right (I’m not saying I don’t like it) and losing weight but not losing fat.. This is so annoying and frustating and I don’t know what to do to lose that damn fat. Please if someone can help me with this, let me know your opinion.

    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      You aren’t eating enough! You need to calculate your TDEE for your exercise days and start eating at those macros. Your body is breaking down muscle tissue. See our calculator here.

      • MajaP 2 months ago

        Thanks a lot for your reply! But I’m stuggling what should I pick when it comes to choose whether my goal is to lose, maintain or gain. I want to lose body fat but on the other side I cannot lose weight because I am already underweight.

        • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

          I would say do maintain using the target weight you wish to be at or the one that is healthy for your height.

          • MajaP 2 months ago

            Thank you so much, you helped me a lot! I’m glad for your advices and take care! 🙂

  5. Anne 4 months ago

    This is what I always say! I always see my friends who struggle eat less breakfast, lunch and dinner than me while i choose big portions! And yet they all struggle with weight and I don’t!! I always joke “my body trusts me that it will get enough, it doesnt need to store fat all the time” 😀
    And a side note when i started eating big portions i lost about 20kg over 15 years. ?

  6. Bloodbender 5 months ago

    Daily I’ve been consuming around 550-730 calories. At 5’3” and 88 pounds, I’m not overly concerned about my weight, though I am desperately attempting to burn fat around my midriff by exercising daily for roughly half an hour. Nevertheless, the pesky adipose remains, which I realize is due to my love for carbohydrates and sweets. Does anyone have any methods that could aid me in consuming less of both of these and more protein and the like?

    • Ted 5 months ago

      You actually aren’t eating enough. Your body has slowed its metabolism and is conserving resources because it believes it is starving. Eating carbs and sweets has nothing to do with it. You’re eating about half of what you should be eating for a woman of your height.

  7. Adriane Reeder 6 months ago

    This is bullshit!!! If your not losing weight it means you are still eating to damn much. There is no such thing is starvation mode. People please do your own research and look it up. If starvation mode was real why didn’t the holocaust victims gain weight when they wasn’t eating. Another example, the show survivor, if starvation mode was real why don’t these people gain weight when they eat less. STOP SAYING STARVATION MODE EXIST!! It doesn’t people

    Just eat less and you will lose weight. Plain and simple.

    • Koma Kat 6 months ago

      No, this is accurate. I’ve been in more than a 1000 daily deficit for 4 months and haven’t lost a pound. My body will only let me lose weight 1 of 2 ways, by drastically cutting carbs, or by first building muscle (and you need calories to build muscle). Everybody’s body is different. Weightloss is not a 1-size-fits-all thing.

    • emmam34 4 months ago

      Why would Holocaust victims be gaining weight? You don’t understand what starvation mode is. When you start eating less than the calorie amount that is needed to sustain your basic bodily functions, your brain will start slowing down metabolism so that you don’t burn too many calories. That way your body has enough energy to keep your lungs, or heart, or eyelids operating. Eventually, if the amount of calories keeps going down, the body will indeed enter what doctors call the starvation mode.

      The starvation mode was exactly what kept Holocaust victims alive even with a very low body weight. Their metabolism slowed to a crawl. It didn’t make them gain weight – why would it? The only way to gain weight is to take in more calories than you burn. They weren’t eating at all. Thanks to starvation mode, people can survive quite a bit of time on just water.

      Now, I do believe that our doctors in the western world these days overestimate when the body actually enters the starvation mode. They claim that for a woman anything under 1200 calories will result in starvation mode. I think most of us who know about nutrition know this is BS. Most importantly it would be a very different number for different people, depending on their body mass, age, height, lifestyle, ethnicity etc.

      But it is true that if you keep your calories really really low – you will actually stop losing weight at some point (not at first, but eventually). So the premise that to lose weight – “eat less” – is not entirely true, not in a long run anyway. That’s why so many people talk about hitting that diet “plateau.”

  8. Emma Johnson 8 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing you knowledge with us! I agree with everything you wrote. That being said I think that patience is the key to build a great body. You just cannot expect to build a great body overnight. We need to put in hours of handwork and dedication if we want to reach our fitness goals.

  9. Chelsea 8 months ago

    Hey Ted!
    I love this article, I am guilty of the 1300 calorie restriction, but this was per my doctor. Im 28, 5’7 and 220 pounds im highly active about 4 to 5 days a week and I track my food, fat, protein, carbs, and calories daily. I once went from 230 down to 160 pounds over a 2 year time period and stayed there for 5 years, I was very lean very toned, that’s the smallest I feel my body can get to… however I’ve gained it back being stressed in school and now working full time so I said it’s time to get back… but I feel like am I doing something wrong? I’m not losing much I’ve been going strong for 4 weeks and I’m down 3 pounds and a half an inch off my waist, I’m not sure if I’m eating correctly -I’m very focused on protein whole wheat carb for breakfast and lunch and only lean protein and a veggie for dinner. I just feel like I need guidance am I doing the right stuff or not? Thanks for your time.
    Chelsea… forever trying to lose :/

  10. Charlie S. 8 months ago

    I’m about 5’6″ 153 (female). I have been working out every day since mid December.. every day I burn around 500-900 calories per workout. I haven’t been losing weight and it’s starting to frustrate me. I track my foods with MFP and have been around 1300-1600 calories per day.. I’ve realized from these online calculators that I probably need to eat more, but I find when I do, I just gain weight. If I start eating around 1800 (IIFYM calculator) will I start losing again?

    • Ted 8 months ago

      Hi Charlie, I’m currently working with a client who was in a similar circumstance as you. I calculated her macros so that she would be eating more. The first couple of weeks she gained a little weight. I encouraged her to stick with it. She then leveled out for a couple weeks and now the last two weeks, she has started to lose. It will take some time to get your metabolism back to where it needs to be and it’s important not to panic when you gain weight, this is all part of your metabolism getting to where it should be.

    • Ang c 8 months ago

      Don’t Drink Soda and avoid eating breads. Juice and fruits have a lot of calories as well. Drinking orange juice is almost as bad as drinking soda. If your working out everyday which is not really good for you, you should be eating more than 1600 calories, especially in the meats, eggs and fish category. Sunday go on a long walk, Monday jog a mile and rest 2 days. Thursday lift, squat and try to improve your strength. Saturday, do some Yoga with some friends. Treat your body like a car. If your working out everyday, then your a NASCAR Car that constantly needs fuel, new tires, maintenance, top rated oil and other fluids. Without those, picture the car taking parts away from the engine and the transmission just to keep it running, then it will be slowing down giving less power and looking wore down. Bread and Sugar= Gasoline, Meats= Parts, Fish and Vegetables= liquids.

      • Ted 8 months ago

        Hi Ang, Thanks for your comment, but you’re missing the point of flexible dieting. You can have bread and you can have fruit in relation to your TDEE. Also, there isn’t a generic amount like 1600 calories but instead, your stats are used to come up with a personal calorie amount that’s right for you and your lifestyle. I suggest you take some time and read up on Flexible Dieting. It will set you free from the forbidden food mindset and you’ll still be able to reach your goals.

        • Ang c 8 months ago

          Oh yes of course you should have breads, fruits and other foods. Its just that in todays time it is very easy to overeat those, especially when your hungry after a long workout. 🙂

  11. Erin 8 months ago

    Thanks for the article! I’ve been a pretty healthy eater for a long time, but didn’t eat enough calories I’m sure. I probably did good to eat 1200 calories in a day. I’m 30, 5’4″ and weigh around 140. About 18 months ago I guess stress made me put on about five pounds then between trying to exercise more last summer and earlier this year I put on about 7 more pounds (made my clothes tighter and still hasn’t come off) so I got pretty frustrated. I’m trying to eat more, destress and sleep (which is a problem!). I rarely ever felt hungry before, now I’m hungry more often, but still am not seeing a change in my weight. Any advice? Is it just a matter of time?

    • Ted 8 months ago

      Hi Erin, If you underate for a long time, you probably established a new set point and this will take some time to change. I think you are on the right track by eating right, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and managing stress. Also, If you haven’t done so yet, get your thyroid levels checked just to rule out any problems there.

      • Erin 8 months ago

        Thanks Ted! I had my thyroid checked a few years ago and was on medicine, but it didn’t do any good. My levels were ok, but on the low range. I think not eating enough caused them to drop.

  12. Lori 9 months ago

    I feel like an idiot posting on here but I am extremely overweight. My weight today is 309 lbs. in January I started at 330 lbs. For the last month, I have been really calorie restricting 600-800 calories per day. At first I was losing great, then two weeks ago I totally stopped losing. I do exercise not extreme obviously but I dance or walk at least 30-50 minutes per day. I do not drink carbonated beverages or juices only water. I am trying today to amp up my caloric intake but any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

    • Ted 9 months ago

      Hi Lori, There is never any shame in seeking help. Congrats on your efforts so far. Yes, try to get to where you are only in a 20% calorie deficit. This can be a bit tricky to calculate because excess fat tissue can skew calculator results. Here’s a helpful article and you could also consider having me do your calories/macros for you via one of our coaching packages. https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-obese

  13. Alicia 9 months ago

    Hi there,
    Due to my chosen profession of being a ballerina, I have to be very lean…our physiques play a massive part in a dancers life. I finally lost some weight but through a very low cal diet which meant that I am always tired and couldn’t loose the last 2 kgs that I wanted to. I read this and decided to give it a go however as I thought, I have put on weight straight away. I was eating 500/600 cals a day and increased it to about 900. I’ve only tried this for 3 days but I’m petrified of putting on weight seen as I worked so hard on loosing it (even though I may have done it the wrong way, by slashing my calorie intake). So my question is, how does this work? Are you supposed to put on weight and then loose it again or what? Thanks in advance!

    • Ted 9 months ago

      Hi Alicia, It’s pretty common for a person to gain some when they increase their calories after they’ve been eating too little. Even 900 isn’t enough for you given your physical activity as a ballerina.

  14. Katerina 10 months ago

    Hi Ted, I randomly found your page and it’s fantastic! So much wonderful information! I am immediately spreading the word about you to all my friends!

    I just recently moved from Europe to Canada and I can’t believe my eyes! Scale number went up and I realized how bad I have been eating here – things I’ve never been used to sweet sugary drinks etc. I started to feel so sluggish here…So I cut all that out and focused on eating balanced meals and all the right stuff. Then I got Fitbit for Christmas as a gift and it feels so absolutely empowering. For the first time in my life I feel like I have a tool to understand what I have to do to lose weight! So amazing!

    Here is my worry:

    I am tall 6’9 and weight 188 pounds, luckily for me, my fat is somehow stored in all the right places so it actually looks kind of good, but I still want to lose 10 kg to be optimal and healthy and get nice and strong and toned.

    Since January I added some strength and cardio every day and cut on foods which I ate mindlessly. The mindfulness of eating right now feels so so empowering to me! I never felt this much in charge of it and it feels great!

    So by doing this I have been aiming for 1000 cal deficit a week. Burning 2500 a day eating 1500 a day. I’ve done it for a month now and it feels good. I can see the results and I don’t feel like I would be starving. I just eating when am hungry and don’t eat when I am not.

    But as I am going through your articles and comments, it seems like based on these numbers you have here I am not really eating enough. This is so confusing for me because I thought I was doing the right thing. I try to listen to my body and give it what it needs.

    Could you please tell me what you think? This is my first time ever I am doing anything like this and I felt so motivated until now.

    • Ted 10 months ago

      Hi Katerina, Glad you found us and welcome! Thanks also for spreading the word. 🙂 So you are in 1000 calorie deficit per day? That is a little more than what is sustainable long-term.

      Also, be aware that FITBIT has been shown to overestimate calorie burn so that also needs to be considered when calculating your TDEE and macros. There are actually very few people that can “intuitively” know how much to eat. Feelings of hunger or non-hunger can be caused by many reasons and they aren’t always indicative of what the body needs. A more scientific approach is always the way to go.

      If you want me to help you with your TDEE and macros please consider coaching with me, but if you want to do it on your own, we have a lot of resources on the site to help and my book is also a great resource since it takes you through everything step-by-step.

      • Maryhen Diaz 10 months ago

        Hi Ted, thank you so much for your advice!! On January 7 I started a low carb diet. I’m 38 years old my height 5’5 and my weight was 183.. It’s been 4 weeks and my current weight is 177 lbs, I haven’t lost pounds as fast as I was expecting.. I do kickboxing 2 to 3 times per week and eat healthy small meals.. (salads, meats, grains, fruits but no rice, potatoes or pastas neither sweets) I don’t follow any diet since this low carb diet has worked for me in the past.. I just noticed that I’m not losing 2 to 3 lbs per week as I was losing in the past with the same diet..Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

        • Ted 10 months ago

          You really need to approach this scientifically by understanding how many calories your body needs on a given day and then tracking and eating what’s appropriate to lose weight at a safe and sustainable rate. Flexible dieting teaches just that so I would advise you to consider it.

          • Maryhen Diaz 10 months ago

            Thank you! I would certainly consider it.. As I was reading one article I found out that losing 1-2 lbs per week is appropriate.. The diet that I’m on right now is giving me exactly that, losing 1-2 per week.. I just felt that I was doing something wrong since I completely change my meal size portions and my whole diet.. But now, I know this is a healthy way of losing weight.. I was desperate to lose more weight every week and because I wanted to see results fast, last Saturday I started the Military Diet.. Well, it turned out that I had to stop with this insane diet at my very first day!! By dinner time I was starting to feel really weak and sick!! So, I figured that I’ll continue with my own diet and just be patient until I reach my goal!! I found your comments really helpful and informative, thanks again!

          • Maryhen Diaz 10 months ago

            Hi Ted, I tried to use my Macro calculator, but after entering all my info. for some reason it doesn’t take me to my results (next screen).. I’m 38, my weight is 177, my height is 5’5″ .. I practice kickboxing 2-3 times a week, so I guess this will be light activity? Formula: Normal and lose weight.. Can you help me with these calculations? Thanks so much (-:

          • Ted 10 months ago

            Hi Maryhen, There isn’t a “next screen” The results display at the bottom of the box when you click calculate or a goal such as fat loss. Are you sure you used our calculator here? https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator

  15. Gerges Miriam 10 months ago

    im 21 years old female , 5’1 so im really short and im weighing 113 lbs i really have large hips , belly … , i used to be 132 lbs i used to eat 2800 a day and i lost weight on 1200 with 6 days of exercise (treadmill , aerobics , spinning , walking , lifting…) i lost weight ONLY FROM my upper body to the point of having no more chicks , my bones were popped out of my skin in the upper body but real curvy in the lower one which gave me a horrible look , i still wanna lose weight and hit 105 pounds but im fed up , im now eating 1600 a day sedentary ( cannot exercise because of college , financial problems , low blood sugar ) and thats my maintenance ive been this weight for 2 years straight and i cant even have a small treat a day , i cant eat normally , i have low blood sugar caused by the diet and chronic stress also caused by the diet i dont have thyroid problems i dont understand losing only 19 pounds and losing a lot of calories i can eat a day, my doctor said im developing an eating disorder EDNOS and my diet has caused hair loss( bald spaces) , im hangry all the time , i try to eat 5 meals a day but with 1600 its just impossible im paying attention to all the macronutrients nothing fills me up whether it’s protein fat carbs i changed my diet several times to find out what fills me up the most nothing works i thought i need more calories because im HUNGRY i ate 1800 and gained i really dont know what to do , i was told that if i eat what ive been eating-that is eating 2800 a day-i would gain more weight not only go back to pre diet weight which 132 but i will gain way more than that ! is that true ? what is your advice ? THANKS

    • Ted 10 months ago

      Hi Gerges, Sorry to hear about your struggle. Where did you get the 1600 calorie amount? According to our calculations your sedentary maintenance TDEE would be 1366. You’ve been eating too much at 1600 if you don’t exercise. See here: https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator

      • Gerges Miriam 10 months ago

        Thanks for the reply ! 1600 is my maintenance i dont gain weight at 1600 if im sedentary i lost weight eating at 1200-1400 or so ! ive been eating 1600 for almost 2 years i couldnt get used to it no matter how or when i eat it im really hungry ! so if i go back to 2800 would i settle at 132 or gain more pounds taking into consideration metabolic adaption ? i wanna lose more weight but gave up i cant lower my calories way more

        • Ted 10 months ago

          But 1600 isn’t your maintenance if your sedentary. It’s 1366.

  16. Snoozette

    Hey, just read the article, and although it greatly upsets me, it’s indeed true. I could very much relate to the person in the very first Quote.
    My question to this would be how to best go about starting to eat more.
    I’m 5’4″ and weigh 178lbs, and over the last years I’ve restricted my caloric intake to about 700 calories a day. Even 1300 a day sounds incredibly scary to me. How can I best …ease into eating more? :/

    I appreciate your time,

  17. jerzy

    I have been having trouble finding out my optimal calorie intake, I average about 10,000-15,000 steps a day, have been training for over 8 years, am 180lbs around 13% bodyfat and have been eating around 2,000 calories as a male at 5ft 9″. I do not want to lose weight and am trying to re comp and just lose fat and build muscle. I was seriously considering bumping up my calorie intake to 2,700-3,000 calories a day. I eat ketogenic because it makes me feel the best, but I am not seeing the results I want eating these low calories and my strength suffered a lot. Initially I lost a lot of weight from 198-179 but I lost strength and I think muscle to. What would you say for someone that works out 5-6 days a week doing 3 days of 1 hour strength training and 2-3 days of 1 hour cardio sessions?

    • Ted

      Hi Jerzy, You need to be eating enough that supports your metabolism and your training, yet allows for fat loss and muscle preservation/building. I highly recommend you picking up a copy of the muscle gain edition of our Flexible Dieting Solution. It will guide you step by step and help you reach your goals. There’s also a coaching option available if you need personal guidance from me. https://healthyeater.com/ebook

      • jerzy

        Ted thank you for a reply, I have desperately tried a ketogenic diet and all of this stuff turned into a terrible obsession over macros, counting and everything instead of enjoying and listening to my body! It’s time to let go and change. I appreciate your response and this article

    • Rene Brooks Whittemore 10 months ago

      You need to find out what your Basal Metabolic Rate, meaning how many calories your body will burn just at rest. http://www.lowfatlowcarb.com/bmr-calculator/ this calculator will tell you what the BMR is and how many calories you will need daily and with exercise. Hope this helps.

  18. Natisha Govender

    hey there guys, i am in real need of help nothing seems to be working. i began exercising and cutting sugar and carbs and noticed i lost 2kg in a week and a half, but my calorie intake was really low but then i began to stay stagnant and began to gain weight, so i introduced the carbs and sugar back but in a moderate amount wit exercise 3 times a week but still no results. ive calculated my TDEE and it is roughly around 2290 so 20% of that i should be consuming1832 calories. im trying IIFYM but not sure how well it will work. and if i continue to eat sugar and carbs will it work to my advantage or not? please help

    • Ted

      Hi Natisha, Flexible dieting allows you to eat carbs (sugar) and still reach your goals. If you stalled your metabolism by eating too few calories it won’t turn back on overnight. You may have to eat at the 1832 level for several weeks before things will start moving again.

  19. Laura-Jane Harris

    Not sure where I am going wrong my bmr is 1548 and my TDEE is 1571 with 10% weight loss factored in. I work out 3-5 x per week intense tabata for 30 mins.
    I’ve been consuming 1350 caps per day with high levels of protein and my weight is going up each week instead of down?
    Please help.

    • Ted

      Hi Laura-Jane, It seems like you aren’t eating enough but not sure why your weight would be increasing at only 1350. Usually, people just plateau but not go up in weight. Are you sure you’re tracking your calories correctly?

      • Laura-Jane Harris

        Thanks for the reply. I’ve been logging everything in my fitness pal. I think I have been under eating then. Since reducing my calories I’ve increased my exercise levels to 3-5 sessions a week from previous nothing per week. my clothes are still as tight certainly not looser but my weight is increasing in lbs.
        I’m confused about the TDEE it says I should be on 1571 a day with my level of activity but does that mean on my gym days I still eat the same level of calories or should I be consuming more to take account of the calories burned or has the TDEE already factored that in over a week?
        I’ve not been eating extra calories for gym days as it is.

        • Ted

          Your TDEE has already added in the calories for exercise if you selected your exercise level on our calculator, so you simply eat at that level on days you exercise.

  20. Isabella Pickens

    That works great, also another great way to lose calories without spending all day in the gym, is to get up every hour and walk around for 5 minutes. By the end of the day you would have done 30-60 minutes of walking depending how much you do it. I followed this plan http://tinyurl.com/YogaAndWeightLoss which is designed to shred fat IN ONLY 21 MINUTES A DAY in under 6 WEEKS and I now look like Cameron Diaz! My only problem is my husband won’t leave me alone now!