T Nation

Calories In, Calories Out


Hi everyone!I joined and posted a couple question back in July and your suggestions really helped out alot.
Well, I'm back with more.

Here it is, in summary, I am 5'5, 134, bodyfat mid 20's. I would call myself "muscular" in my build and put on muscle easily. My problem is since my 2 babies were born, literally back to back 5 years ago, I have had this layer of fat over my muscle, so you really can't tell how muscular I am unless I flex. I love running and have been throught the ringer with being told to cut down on my cardio and up the heavy lifting if I wanna take some fat off. Well I did that starting back in July. Though I put on some nice muscle and really got educated about compound and single joint, etc...I didnt lose much fat and no weight. Not that I'm too hung up on the scale number, but nothing seems to be changing. I would say overall I know alot about nutrition and eat very well/healthy. I go on and off tracking my calories. I am currently taking in around 1300 cals, trying to burn between 400-900cals a day via exercise. Both weights and cardio. Long duration and intervals.

I am tracking down to the penny what goes in my mouth and than following what I burn and trying to come out at a "deficit" of 3500+ a week. Shouldnt I lose weight this way? I have been sick the past few days so I havent been able to exercise but if my BMR is around 1200, I have only been able to get down 900 or so cals due to nausea.

But once I'm back on working out hard 5-6x a week and eating 1300 if I hit that 3500 deficit, shouldnt I drop pounds?! I ask because given my history this hasnt worked in the past, but maybe I was drastically undersestimating cals back than without Fitday.
All your help is greatly appreciated!


Don't go too low on your calories when you're dieting because you could be losing some muscle. When I want to cut up I keep my protein high,I don't eat much carbs after 8, I watch my fat intake,I do cardio a few times a week,not too much,and I don't go below 300 - a day. Most people ,when dieting,start by subtracting 700-1,000 calories a day and starve themselves. Thats just gonna help you lose muscle and lower your metabolism.On the other hand I really don't gain much fat.I gain muscle pretty well though. I guess you're different. Just find out what WORKS BEST FOR YOU.


You should have a little better strategy than simply cutting calories; check out the Diet Manifesto for some ideas:


You should also definitely check out the Velocity Diet. I've been on it for a few weeks, and have never seen anything as effective or as convenient. Virtually no cravings either!



i dont think it would be too wise to drop calories that low to diet. I am a runner myself and went through a whole stage of eating 1500 calories a day when iwas running 60 mile weeks and lifting 5 days a week hard.... i got really thin and lost a lot of muscle.

my advice to you is to eat right like you have been doing and eat just below your maintenance level of you RMR i wouldnt drop that much weight that quick since you are very active... go little by little and i hope this helps..

Good luck!


Thanks all. I guess that is always a concern of mine. Going to low in calories, that is. I don't think its that I "gain" fat that easily. Its more that I can't get the fat off my bod from pregnancy years ago.
Serd, thank god, a runner. I love distance running. Due to illnesses over the past year or so, I was unable to do a marathon this year which really bummed me out and I fully intend to do one in 2006, october.
1500 calories weights and 60mpw!! Holy god, I wouldnt beable to do that kinda mileage on such few calories! I was doing that kinda mileage and sadly looking back I'm bummed that I wasnt officially tracking my calories because part of me thinks i wasnt eating nearly enough and shut down my metabolism, part of me thinks I was eating alot and just didnt realize it! Frustrating. Anyway, I am trying to get my mileage back up again.Currently I'm only at about 25mpw. I just can't figure out how to take off this damn weight!


regrahc, how is it going?!
Actually when I first joined this site back in july I did "try" the V for a like a little under a week. The shakes made me absolutely ill. Realized I was using too little water but by than was mentally out of doing something that strict. What kind of cardio are you doing with the V?


1300 kcal is very low even for an inactive woman, and since you both lift weights and run you spend quite a lot more than the average person. I think you are under-eating big time. Where do you find the energy for exercising that much?

To lose that fat you'd probably have to go higher in calories. Sounds like a weird suggestion but have a look in Berardis article about energy balances, where he made an elite cross-country skiier (female) lose lots of fat by increasing calories rather drastically (+1500 i think it was).

Increase your calories slowly and I'm sure your fat will start to melt away if you're eating clean and training hard. You'd have to change your nick in a couple of months.. :wink:


My mother turned 92 years old on October 31. She lives in a nursing home and spends most of her day in a bed or wheel chair. Her diet is strictly monitored. She consumes between 1000 and 1150 cal. per day. She weighs 121 lb. Can you use this information to answer your own question?



I also think your calories are way too low. You may have messed up your metabolism and your body is holding on to that fat in defense. Maybe it's time to make a change and try something completely different like the Anabolic Diet or carb-cycling? CT's recent carb-cycling article gives a detailed formula for figuring out your ideal calorie intake.

I'd be curious to know what it gives you for an ideal calorie range... Good luck!


thanks guys, I may have forgotten to mention that I've only been this low for like a 2 weeks. Before that I was consuming approx 1800-2200 cals. I had been doing that for a few months with no results and in a fit of fat anger, I cut my calories.
Love the nursing home comment though.
I agree that currently my cals are low. If anyone was asking my advice or I was reading this thread I would say the same thing. But here in lies my question....Cals in, Cals out, what happened to that rule???


Read Christian Thibaudeau's article:



This is the problem. People drop their calories from 1800-2200 to an excessively low 1300-1500 without ever trying a middle-ground. Why not try 1600-1700? Or maybe slightly higher. I'm not surprised that 2200 could be too high for a woman to lose fat. Cals in, cals out works. But metabolism is a dynamic system and output is affected by intake. If you drop your calories to extremely low levels your metbolism drops, ultimately counterproductive in many cases.


I don't wanna bore you guys with my whole history, but sadly I have tried every calorie range. I really have. Thats why I'm here. Nothing seems to be working. As a matter of fact I have always been an advocate for not going to low on calories. I have chastised many a girlfriend for going too low.
I have tried various calorie ranges, different ratios, HIIT, long and slow, heavy lifting with low reps. I mean truly, I can't make people understand. I feel like I have tried everything and my effort here is merely to see if something clicks that I may not have thought about. Don't mean to frustrate anyone. I seriously don't normally ever go this low.


Well,someone needs to reset their set weight point then.


Do a search for The Tabata Method here on T-Nation. Pick whichever exercise feels best to you and do it twice to three times a week(it's not as hard as described). Just make sure you do it to the letter by having a watch with seconds in front of you. If there ever was an exercise method to shed fat, this would be it. Try it.



Several things. Yes, at 1300-1500 your calories are too low. My guess would be that at your activity level you 1800 would be a good start point.

You mention calories, but never what you consume to get there.

Raise protein amounts lower carbs and make up the differene in good fats.

Forget, FORGET the velocity diet. It is thrown around here like candy and is NOT the answer here.
Find T-Dawg and read the articvle. Apply the priciples therein. At 1800 calories and your body weight I would say you are looking at 150 g of protein or so.

Because of your running and high workout load I would not drop below 100 possibly a touch more grams of carbs. Make those carbs breakfast, preworkout and especially post workout.

Except for veggies cut most carbs as the day goes on. Make up the balance of your diet in fats. Make sure to get all of the good fats. Olive oil, flax, fish even saturated fats in moderation.

Losing bodyfat is almost all about nutrition. You can't run far enough, fast enough to lose bodyfat if your diet isn't up to par. Incorporate slower-longer runs with some intensity work. Alternate heavier weights and lower reps with some higher volume supersetting. Keep it moving and change things up.

WATER. Can't stress it enough. If you aren't drinking at least a gallon a day, forget about it.

SLEEP. Recovery is critical and sleep is the major component.

BREAKFAST. You have to replenish the body as quickly as possible after waking.

GREEN TEA. I think it's quite possibly the best thing you can be drinking, besides water, to help shed some pounds. Try a cup in the am and another an hour or so before your workout.

AM 'SLOW' FASTED WORKOUTS. Try this once or twice during the week if your schedule permits. You mentioned kids so I know it's tough, but if you can great. These can only be a mile or 2 walk, slightly inclined if you like. The idea here is not to kill yourself, just get the body revved on an empty stomach. Have a shake type meal right away after to stop catabalism.

Good luck


I want to quickly clarify v-diet response

It has it's place, but your shit has to be really in order. It's good for a quick sheding of weight, but certainly not a lifestyle. Her 5 year battle tells me we need to work on a lifestyle type change. This is not the place for a quick fix.


Could you post what an average day looks like? What you eat and when you eat it?


I knew I found this place for a reason. You guys rock! Sasquatch, what can I say? I assume you are a professional of some sort? I particularly like your statement about not being able to run long or fast enough to lose fat if your diets not in check. People can say something a million times, sometimes its just the way its said as to wether or not it sinks in.

My husband asked me one day if I would give up running if someone said I would lose 10lbs instantly....I said no, I'd find another way, so obviously I do love running. BTW, he thinks I'm fab the way I am, which is wonderful.

Anyway, back on track, Majin, I will check out that workout thanks, Grim Reaper, not sure what your talking about, re think where I wanna be? Or is there someway to reset my setpoint?
I can def do a couple empty stomach am workouts. Thanks for clarifying the easy does it mile or 2, I would try and do a 5 miler! I do drink lotsa water, instead of diet soda, I do sparkling water, I drink water all day and during workouts. I replenish with a gatorade only after 60mins of nonstop running.

I have tried working with ratios with regard to c,p and f. Maybe not long enough in conjunction with everything else though. A typical day for me is wakeup, light multigrain english muffin with eggwhites, workout, grow or spirulina 1scoop shake postworkout, as I mentioned maybe a gatorade during if its long in duration, every 3 hours or so I try and eat. Varies from a chicken burger on the light eng muffin to a tuna sandwich to an eggbeater omelet, lotsa salads and veges made w/little olive oil, almonds, a whole egg or two and i love my eggwhites.

Last night I had a spinach salad with grilled chicken and Neumans lite balsamic. So I think Im pretty healthy food wise, I just think maybe my ratios need to be tweaked along with the cardio. I did do green tea for awhile, but i love my coffee too much. Stay away from sugar and i love my veggies. So you can see why i might be at a loss.


This interests me alot. The whole calories in / calories out theory, sounds good, but I don't think it applies to everyone. I have varied my caloric intake widely, and it sure seems that my metabolism just adapts, and I hold to a set weight almost no matter what I do. I dropped several hundred calories per day, and over a few weeks, lost around 3 lbs. Then with no particular changes in diet, I go right back up to where I was.

So, I add back those 300 or so calories, and I just sit at the same weight. Since, like you, I'm not all bent out of shape over a few pounds of fat, ( although, I'd LIKE to see it gone ) I think I'll stick with plan B, which is to eat as many calories as I can, without gaining weight.

My theory is that if I continue to put on muscle, and my weight stays the same, then I must be losing fat. Right? This makes me wonder, when you say, you put on muscle, but didn't lose any fat or weight... then where did the muscle come from?

I asked in a post some time ago, if my original plan to just add muscle, while keeping my weight constant would cause me to lose fat, and the answer was yes. So, since I don't currently want to drastically alter my diet, I hope that will work. Given time.

Also, on the calories in / calories out thing. I did Atkins about a year and a half ago. I did it to lose weight, and then moved on to a healthier, more balanced diet. I don't promote the Atkins lifestyle. However, many detracters of the Atkins diet, claim that it works because the calorie intake is so low. To me, this is bullshit, because I was eating quite a bit of food, and losing about 5 lbs a week for about the first month. And it was not all water loss, because I was able to keep most of it off, after switching to a healthy diet.

So, there are tricks to losing weight. It's not all about calories in / calories out.

\|/ 3Toes