T Nation

Calorie Guidelines for 50% Body Fat


I'm currently trying to help a woman lose bodyfat. She weighs 284 and is about 52% bodyfat.
The main problem is she's been undereating at around 1300-1550 calories/day for a long period of time, and with the wrong food choices. With someone who has this body composition and has been overweight her entire life, where exactly do you start with calorie requirements?
When applying the writings of John Beradi, her calories would obviously be astranomical, and i know she's a special case.
If someone could give me some feedback i'd be very grateful, as i especially want to help her see results.


Goal weight times 16 is a good start when the person is over fat. You can drop fat faster witout the worry of LBM loss.



if you have read Berardi you should not that it is not that important where you start.

if she eats six times a day, start her on something like 3000 (?) calories and reevaluate after 2 weeks. Or start with 2500, or 3500, or 4000. The first weeks are about habit forming anyway, not about calories.


I realise that encouraging the main principles such as meal frequency, timing & macronutrient combinations is important, i have already begun to incorporate that. The problem is understanding how high to take her calories, because that would still be a factor. I've had her slowly increase her food intake to 2500/day at present & may continue to do so.
Thanks for the reply.


I think you would be fine to leave at 2500 for a while (making sure choices are good) and get her exercising.


In my (limited) experience, you should change someone's diet gradually. So build it up from 1500 and add 100cal/dag every week.

Get her on protein, because that's probably what she needs most.


How do you know this is all she has been eating? Obese people can often have a very convenient habit of "forgetting" exactly how much they eat because much of this action is in comfort eating.

Beyond that, the most important aspect is her getting into the habit of actually training. You can write every meal plan in the world, but if she is still sneaking in that "forgotten" box of Oreos every night on top of half assing her way through training, you are wasting your time.

At 50% body fat, your main goal should be just getting her to learn what foods to eat. Is she even ready for micromanagement of her diet?


I don't understand how it's possible to be 280+ lbs when you're eating only eating 1300 calories a day. I mean, I know metabolism is dynamic, output is greatly dependant on input, and it will slow down and all. But even given this, how could 1300 calories not be a caloric deficit that would result in weight loss?


I thought as soon as I read your post, that if she's been eating that low calorie for a long time, isn't she losing some weight? Even if she was eating all cheesecake every day, 1500 calories wouldn't support that kind of weight, would it?

\|/ 3Toes


Maybe she's a couch spud that only expends as much as she takes in? Diet alone won't account for much weight loss. Now if this is below her RMR and wasn't losing, then maybe there would be a problem.

One of the worst myths around is that obese people eat a ton of food. Most eat about half of what a bodybuilder eats. They just eat the wrong shit and aren't moving much if at all. With that said, what the Professor said could be possible too.


I think it's Berardi that spoke about clients that didn't start losing weight until they upped their calories?