T Nation

Struggle To Eat Enough

I’m 5"1 and 110lb (female).
I’ve been training for about 4 months and i’ve always had a pretty good diet, I follow nutrition guidelines I read on many bodybuilding websites.
The problem is that I have always struggled to eat “enough” and most days I only manage about 1200 calories. This is due to the fact that I get very full very easily.
I have started buying whey protein in order to add a couple hundred more calories and the protein that my low calorie diet doesn’t provide.

Anyway, will this make it harder for me to gain muscle definition (not so much trying to gain mass at the moment) and am i going to have to add more calories?
Or will suddenly adding more calories make me gain fat?

Edit: One more thing, when I don’t have money for the gym I spend some days doing weights at home. The problem is my weights are limited and the weights I can add are either too light or way too heavy. Is it bad for muscles/cause injury to have an unevan load on barbells? (eg 3kg one one side and 4kg on the other)

I do not fully understand you question but if you are trying to gain definition then your goal is to lose fat, right?

So what you need to do is go to Thibaudeau’s author page and look up nutrtion for newbies. Obviously if you are unable to such a level described that you start losing muscle i would suggest cutting back on the exercise so you energy debt isn’t so low.

If you have any other questions just PM me

  • Phoenix Theory

if you want muscle definition then you first need to have muscle, then your low calorie diet will help becuase then you diet the fat off and now you have definition. i really cannot comment on women’s fitness though. i say if you are under 200 pounds then you are attractive.

if you cannot get to the gym then i think it is better to take a week off than perform a workout you are not committed to.

though i am sure there is program you can use with too light of too heavy weight. 10X10 or heavy partials come to mind

bananas… eat them everywhere… easy to down. 200 or so calories each if im correct.



I would definetly not recommend an unevenly loaded barbell under any circumstance. As for the training at home weights, if you don’t have the ideal weight then just go lighter, and focus on either more reps or slower movements.

The only way to overcome not eating enough is to just eat more…force it down. Try finding some calorically dense foods.

I recently learned to combine food. instead of eating just a can of tuna, i also eat a baked potatoe and a cup of milk

The best way to up your calories is through a shake/smoothie…

1 cup frozen blueberrise
2 cups milk
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 cup quick oatmeal
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 banana
2 tablespoons of ground flax seed

I think something similar to this and it’s about 900 calories. Since it’s in liquid form it doesn’t feel like that much.

smaller meals more often

Force yourself to eat even if you are not hungry unless that will make you vomit.

So you’ve got two problems:

  1. You have difficulty eating enough and

  2. You can’t regularly get to the gym.

  3. Liquid. Drizzle foods with extra virgin olive oil and chug whey protein. These both add calories without adding significantly to the size of the meals.

  4. Bodyweight exercises. I’m not really sure what you mean by ‘don’t have money for the gym’, because I’m thinking that if you can’t drop $10-20 a month for a gym membership, you’ve got much bigger problems to worry about than working out.

Unevenly loaded barbells won’t kill you, and they’re better than nothing, but… not much.

I used to have your problem, i would usually get full to the hilt after half a bagel, your best bet would be to take the calories in liquid form, and definitely take many small meals as opposed to a few gorge-fests a day.

Also, if you keep your calories just above maintenance level, you should slowly gain muscle mass with negligible fat gains, and in my opinion if you are looking for muscle definition that should be the best choice.

Since you don’t have access to gym equipment, bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, lunges and squats should be enough to cause hypertrophy.

I am surprised no one has mentioned nuts/peanut butter. A spoonful or two of all natural peanut butter has lots of good fats and quite a load of calories.

As far a working out goes, I second some bodyweight exercises and would advise you to pick up a pull up bar.

i agree with Otep and Keki nutrition wise. liquid meals are great ways to get more calories in without all the discomfort. adding EVOO to everything will definitely boost your caloric intake without adding too much volume. but dont go upping the cals too much. like CT said in his article “the case against bulking” your body can only use so much nutrition at a given time. find out how many cals you need to maintain your body weight and maybe add 250 to that for a good 2-3 weeks. if nothing, then add 100 more, and so on till you find the sweet spot.

also (and this is just a suggestion) maybe you should post a photo so that we can see what we’re dealing with and possibly give you better advice. if you do decide to include photo’s, make sure you have front, side and back pictures so we can take a look at you from all angles so we can have a complete visual.

i dont know if women should be on a bulking diet. it does not sound right to me, but i have no idea

I am having a hard time sorting through the entire question, so I am hoping you will re-post to add in some more details. I see part of the question being how to take in more calories, but getting full too easily… but then I see your saying you are looking for “muscle definition” and not to gain “mass”.

At 5’1" and 110 lbs (even as a female), you are certainly not likely to be overweight and are, in fact, probably somewhat petite (please do correct me if I am wrong). If you are looking to build some muscle so they are more apparent, then yes, you will need to eat more.

Alternatively, I cannot imagine you are trying to cut at that weight and if you are… please stop!

Finally, on the gym issue, you are going to have a pretty hard time making a lot of progress without training in a gym. Otep does give the suggestion of bodyweight exercises but I am guessing his thought is more that they are better than nothing (which I agree with). However, [i]anyone[/i] can find the extra money needed for a gym membership. It might just be a few less coffees a week.

a large general fitness chain is around 30 dollars a month for membership I just save up the change I find every day in a jar and walk in with the change (seriously).was and as far as getting enough calories plenty of little tricks.

keep a jar of peanut butter out on the counter with a plastic spoon in it and every time you walk by it eat a small spoon full

extra virgin olive oil on almost everything drizzil it on fish,steamed vegis,mix it in your shakes ect

drink whole milk

slowly start eating more even if you feel full and its been 2-3 hours since you last ate eat a handful of almonds or pecans and a spoon full of peanut butter nuts in general are easy ways to get alot of cals be careful with them.

cottage cheese before bed,ect theres alot you can do to eat more
also after you start working out regular you will start feeling hungry more often as your body gets used to the work and used to the food.

just write down everything for a week or so to make sure you are getting what you need.

yes you will need to eat more because to add definition you will need to add muscle
if your eating clean and lower carbs and timing them right,along with working out regular you shouldnt add much fat at all,if any.

there is no such thing as Toning the muscle or sculpting the muscle,you either add muscle or you cut fat you will not need to cut fat you are already small

also working at home is cool for if you dont have money to go to the gym but honestly theres no reason why you cant afford it,time is another story and I understand time restraints. go light when at home and all out in the gym thast what I do anyways