I see two types of clients: those that over-eat and those that under-eat. Without a doubt, I see more of the latter, especially with my female clients. Ideally, you want to consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutrition Coach to best determine your daily nutrition goals. But, I will also show you how to calculate on your own. Any equation you find online will simply use: age, gender, weight, height, and activity to calculate your needs.
Any great Nutrition Coach will also take into account factors such as:
- Diet history – Are you a yo-yo dieter? Do you have yo-yo weight loss/gain? Or, do you have a history of restrictive eating?
- What you are currently consuming? Example: If you should be consuming 3000 calories but barely hit 1200 calories, a great Nutrition Coach will gradually start to increase your calories from 1200.
- What are your goals? Are you training to improve thyroid and sex hormones, or do you need to make weight for a PowerLifting or wrestling meet? Will you be standing on stage for a Physique show or are did you just complete one and now need to look at a reverse diet?
Again, any Nutrition Coach worth hiring should take these factors into account. We aren’t robots where cookie cutter caloric goals work every time. If you are calculating your own needs, you will want to use a site such as https://www.leighpeele.com/mifflin-st-jeor-calculator to calculate your caloric needs. You can, of course, create a deficit for weight loss, a surplus for weight gain, or leave it unchanged for maintenance.
Just because you can calculate a deficit/gain doesn’t mean you should. Please re-read about consulting with a great Nutrition Coach. If you have been dieting your entire life, I will NOT prescribe a weight loss plan … sorry! That is asking for stalled progress, not to mention thyroid and hormonal issues (especially for women). But, from your caloric budget, you can start to track your foods on MyFitnessPal (be sure to sign up for my Macro Tracking intro class, link in my IG Bio) to better determine: Are you over-eating or under-eating?
Do you over-eat?
- Double check the accuracy of foods you input into MyFitnessPal.
- Double check portions (measure and weigh foods) and adjust as necessary. Are you mindlessly crushing 1/2 cup Peanut Butter that easily contributes to almost 800 calories and 65g fat? Love PB and don’t want to give it up? Could you reduce this closer to the recommended 2 Tbsp for 188 calories?
- Are you tracking your alcohol intake and beverages with calories? Is that 4 oz of wine or 4 glasses? Some folks drink more in calories than their daily food budget allows.
- Now that you are logging, are you 100% mindful of all of the foods you consume? The extra bites of your kids meals, the (several) handfuls of nuts straight from the container, the car snacking … you get the point. Is this an area of opportunity for you? Awareness creates change. Understanding that whenever you stand hungry at the counter with a bag of chips, there is a very great chance you will eat more than you need. True story: I love chips! The more salt the better!
- You subscribe to “Cheat Meals” (I don’t)
- Binge eating or drinking (usually related to under-eating and too much restriction)
Do you under-eat?
- Do you intentionally or unintentionally restrict calories? Do you skip meals? Do you get so busy you forget to eat?
- Do you over exercise intentionally to burn more calories? Or, are you involved in sports where you are naturally burning more calories than you consume?
- Some symptoms of under-eating include: low energy, hunger, lack of hunger, cravings, inability to gain muscle (“tone”), irregular or absent menstrual cycles, PMS symptoms (having symptoms is an indicator of underlying issues), irritability, mood swings
- PS: If you are an adult, I will 100% prescribe > 1500 calories/day. Say goodbye to poverty calorie goals.
Do you yo-yo between under-eating and then over-eating (or binge eating)? Do you restrict so much that you feel deprived (and HANGRY!) and end up eating the cookie you are craving, plus 10 other cookies? You are not alone, I have been there too. Usually binge-eating is a result of restrictive caloric diets. Your body needs to be fed and you can’t build lean muscle (get “toned”) without fueling correctly.
A female Nutrition Coaching client of mine that participates in CrossFit recently said, “Your nutrition plan has been so easy to follow because it still encourages me eating lots of food and not feeling deprived.” Bingo. My goal when working with clients is to feed you as much food as possible to achieve your goals of weight loss, performance, or improved health.
Take a minute and calculate your daily caloric goal. Have you been tracking your foods? Remember that awareness creates change. Hit Reply and let me know what you find out. Are you over-eating or under-eating? If you need more help with this, let me know. I help people customize their nutrition to support their goals and lifestyle (not the other way around). And for some of you, I will give you the permission you want to eat more calories.
Fuel Your Dreams!
Registered Dietitian Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer