“1,200 calorie meal plan to a new you!” We’ve all seen it – low calorie diets promoted in the media. On magazines, TV shows, and on the internet. Many people who don’t know better become victims in thinking this is the proper way to be healthy. When in reality, it is far from it.
There is no way that a magazine can tell you how many calories you need a day. It’s impossible. Every single person is different – in height, weight, muscle mass, age, and activity level. This means that every single person will need a different amount of calories to live as well as their workout needs.
So many people get into this mindset that eating 1,200-1,500 calories a day is the one-size-fits-all deal to reaching their goals or losing weight. Wrong.
Everyone needs a certain amount of calories each day just to live. If you were to stay in bed all day long and not move, your body still needs fuel to function. For most people, that number is even higher than 1,200 calories. So if people believe this nonsense and eat 1,200 calories a day, but still get up and do their daily activities, and maybe even work out on top of that, they will be in TOO much of a deficit. This puts your body in starvation mode, which is setting yourself up for destruction.
*Sorry Nancy S. Hughes, but wtf is this? Who are you?*
You will NOT see results. Your body will do whatever it takes to survive, which usually means holding on to any fat you do have to live. Your body doesn’t know what you are trying to do, and it doesn’t care – its only concern is to survive.
It might sound contradictory, but you MAY need to eat more than you are now to reach your goals. Yes, I did just say eat more.
Sure, food products have a “serving size” that is recommended, but sometimes it is not enough. Lets take rolled oatmeal for example. The serving size is 1/2 cup, but in reality, that may not be enough for every single person. Some people need more.
It does all depend on your goals – either muscle building or fat loss. However, it also depends on the person. I cannot stress it enough, but every one is different. Comparing yourself to other people is just not ideal or realistic. I’m going to use myself as an example.
If you read my blog regularly, you may have read that I am trying to build muscle right now. I wanted a more accurate reading of how many calories I truly burn in a day so that I could reach my goals easier. I did a 24-hour burn test, where I wore my heart rate monitor for 24-hours straight, even during sleep, on a rest day.
Crappy lighting, but this is where I was at after 23 hours and 22 minutes. For the overall 24-hours, I burned approximately 2,000 calories. This 2,000 calories is how much I need to eat on a rest day to MAINTAIN my weight. Yes, that is just to maintain. Not to lose, not to gain. Now, to build muscle, I need to eat 250-500 calories MORE than this number. So ideally, in order to build some serious muscle, I should be consuming 2,250 calories on a rest day, and around 2,600 on a workout day. Did I also mention this number is for NO CARDIO. I personally am not doing any at the moment and am still eating this much.
This is coming from someone who is pretty fit, and is pretty lean already but still has a good muscle base. I do not weigh a lot scale-wise, so people who weigh more than I do usually need more fuel. I burn a lot of calories, and obviously my metabolism is pretty fast. Everyone will be different, but this is just an example that I wanted to share.
So yes, I am eating a freaking crap-ton to build muscle. Like, a lot. I eat back what I burn during my workouts, and then some more. Honestly, it’s expensive to eat this much! Ha ha. And it’s a general balance between proteins, carbs, and fats. I do not discriminate against any macro, especially carbs, since I believe they are essential to muscle building.
This is almost a cup of DRY oatmeal – twice the recommended serving size.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that you may need to eat more calories than you think. Regardless of if you are trying to reach a certain goal, or if you’re just simply curious as to how much you really need. I know I was surprised at how much I truly burned on a rest day!
Remember – food is FUEL. Calories are a source of energy, and you need them to support your energy expenditures. Please don’t believe that there is a one size fits all, and please do not compare yourself to others.
If you do think you may not be eating enough and want to increase calories, do it slowly. I’ve been increasing by 100 each week so I don’t overload myself and get way too stuffed. It’s best to do things slowly and work your way up. Patience is key!
Do you ever eat more than the recommended serving size?
Have you ever seen anyone fall for these magazine ads?
Have you ever done a 24-hour burn test?
No related posts.