DietLast week I put up a post regarding how hard it was exercising patience while trying out a nutrition strategy (here).  In the comments one poster pointed out that the premise of eating more to loose weight sounded like complete bunk.  I actually agree with him, sounds off somewhere.  Instead of saying that you need to eat more to loose weight, an exaggerated over simplification on my part, I think the better way to have put what I was going for instead is you have to eat enough to loose weight.

First off note this is from my research and my personal opinion.  I am not a trained nutritionist and I do not have any authority in my claims.  It is just based on my research and my own understanding of the human body.  Take what I say with a grain of salt, but please discuss in the comments as I think this is a great discussion topic.

In that previous post what I was going for was that I do not feel I was eating enough food for the level of activity I was involving myself in.    I had hit a plateau in weight loss and waist reduction.  I was often working out for two or more hours or doing two activities a day and from what I could deduce my problem was not too many calories, but too few.  Let me expand on this a bit further,  

My current week work out wise usually looks like this:

Monday- Afternoon light spin 1 hour/evening swim 1 hour

Tuesday – Morning run 2-3 miles/afternoon weights/evening intense spin 1-2 hours high heart rate

Wednesday – Morning Pilates/Evening 2 mile run

Thursday – afternoon weights/evening intense spin

Friday – Morning long run/evening hour swim

Saturday and Sunday – 2+ hour bike ride on either one or both days.

Being conservative I am burning off at least 1000 calories or more per day just based off of my workouts.

Last weeks total calories and estimated daily burned calories.

Last weeks total calories and estimated daily burned calories.

Looking at diet, I am a fan of the Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR number that basically gives you your number of base calories burnt at complete rest.  The most accurate way to get this number is to go and have it measured while you rest, but I think you can get an idea using a calculator such as found at this site.  This omits percentages of lean muscle mass but overall can give a pretty good idea of the numbers you should be shooting for.  Based on my current age, weight and height I burn 2337 calories doing nothing.  From here, the same site allows you to plug in your activity level and get some numbers to shoot for.  The maintenance number is your max range and the extreme is given but it is recommended that you do not go below that number.  I personally use the twice daily and very active range to generate my numbers.  On very active, very intense days I try to shoot for the upper 3000’s and on less work intensive days I shoot for lower.  The basic idea is to keep the body guessing.

My current calorie estimates based on two workouts a day or very high intensity.

My current calorie estimates based on two workouts a day or very high intensity.

When I was not thinking about nutrition but working out with this same intensity I know I was eating pretty close to 2500 or fewer calories a day, creating a very large deficit.  This is where the eating enough idea comes to play.  I need to strive for 3000-4000 calories to give my body no reason to slow down or panic and slow down weight loss.  

Of course, besides exercise the other side of the coin is the types of food being consumed.  I have overhauled my diet most of the time and still allow flexibility for weekend splurges.  I find usually if I track my weight daily, its best choosing one day as my official date to allow me to ignore the increases I often see from the weekends, which go back down by Tuesday (probably related to increased sodium from eating a few fun meals with the wife).  I usually track my official weight on Fridays as its a good measure of the overall week.  

While I measure every day, Friday's are my officially selected weigh days.  All the other measurements are just data.

While I measure every day, Friday’s are my officially selected weigh days. All the other measurements are just data.

Food wise my meals often look like this:

4:30 Oatmeal with berries and protein shake

5:30 Granola Bar

6:00 Morning workout

8:00 yogurt and cliff bar

9:30 -10 home made hummus and pita chips (10-20)

12: 00 afternoon workout

1:00 fish or chicken with rice or left overs

2:00 Salad kit (entire thing)

3:30 Yogurt #2

4:00 Vegies and dip

5:00-6:00 cliff bar/sports drink/grapes and or cherry tomatoes

Evening Workout 

8:00 cliff bar(granola bar) and protein drink

9-10 dinner

That is my basic daily mix.  Its scaled back a bit on days when I have less activity planned and some days its more.  The biggest difficulty in eating healthy high number of calories is that healthier food tends to be less caloric than prepackaged food.  But I often find if I much daily on fruits and nuts I can get by pretty well and on long workout days.  On weekends, such as Friday nights, I often will eat primarily healthy, but I usually let myself have some pizza and maybe a burger.

Calories consumed versus weight per day.

Calories consumed versus weight per day.

Currently this plan appears to be working. I am now in the wait and see phase of this plan.  I now have to be patient and consistent and just keep steady on this approach for another month.  Once a little time has passed and I have amassed enough data, then I can tweak and figure out what worked and did not work.  Right now my pants and belt are starting to feel a bit looser, but time is the only factor that will truly let me know if things are working.  Eating healthy food most of the time and consuming enough fuel for my body has done wonders for my performance and even the little bit of weight I have taken off has felt great when exercising.  I hope this helped to clarify where I was coming from when I made my earlier over simplification.  Leave me a comment if you see something I missed, I am always open to exchange and dialog on this topic as there is so much to learn and soak up.  Til next time.



  1. I’m certainly no nutrition expert, but you may need to take in more protein. You may want to keep a log for a month and meet with a dietician to review your exercise and meals. Also, some of the sports drinks are filled with sugar, so may want to be careful with those. Most important, do what’s best for you. Everyone is different. You’re doing more than most people do in a year, so keep going for it!

    1. I usually get about a 30/30/40 protein/fat/carb split. My diet above is very simplified from the orchestration that usually goes into my daily meals. The yogurt is greek yogurt and often I get three meals with allot of lean meat, namely turkey, chicken and fish. It is just sorta hidden from the simplistic example above. I usually try to get more protein after my workouts when the body needs the calories,, proteins and carbs. The energy drinks and gels I use use a type of sugar that I know does not spike my blood sugar too badly and gives me the energy boost I need. Thanks for the encouragement. If I could afford a nutritionist I would go in a heart beat. For now I will have to relay on doctor google and some good old fashioned common sense. Thanks for the comments.

  2. ichoosetolivestronger · · Reply

    You are such a planner and strategic person. I’m so unorganized and scattered, which is why I used a trainer and nutritionalist for months and months. Now I am struggling doing things on my own. I’m a believer that you need enough calories…the right ones…to see a loss. You’ll get it…just takes time and adjustments. Stay strong.

    1. It is truly how I have fun with this. I like the numbers and what not, gives me things to reflect and adjust on. Glad to see you are still hanging in there. I like having help with these things, but I learn well from research and adapt pretty well too.

  3. I might be missing something here, but I think you’re double dipping and that’s what is causing your plateau. If you take your BMR then add your 1,000 calories a day for workouts your max, to stay at your weight is 3300 calories and change.

    When you factor in the active lifestyle in you don’t add the 1000 a day for your activity as well… They factor that in for you. I only hit 4,000 calories once every other week, after my 33 mile club ride (at 24 mph for half of it). Most of the time I’m around 3300-3400 and I stick at 155, give or take a few tenths. I think you’re eating too much though I could be mistaken – God knows I have a tough time not dropping below 150 by the time August comes around.

    1. I am actually using the sites calculator to get the range, it plugs your base bmr into a formula based on activity level. So to stay 297 I need to eat 4000 something calories while working out twice a day. I strive for around 3400 as its a stable deficit. So far I have dropped a few pounds the last few Weeks.

      1. Gotcha… I read your chart and saw a few spikes in there up above 4000, and a couple a little over and it just struck me off… That’s a bunch of food brother – only people named Michael Phelps need that much. Elisa’s post the other day put it pretty eloquently (I saw you liked it). Go with the BMR + burn, minus 500 (which should put you around 3300-3400) calories per day and call that good. The peaks in conjunction with the valleys is what I always took to be troublesome.

        Finally, know this: If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have commented. I’ve follow your blog because I want to be around to celebrate the new, thinner you that’s all. 😉

      2. I hear you and appreciate the comment. No offense taken, It gave me pause for a minute to check things. The 4000 calorie days on the charts are probably days where I had a cheat or two or I might have done three vigorous workouts. I try to stick for the middle 3500’s but I allow it up higher and lower a bit. I appreciate the dedication you show on your blog and I try to replicate that here. Thanks for the support.

  4. Wow, I am impressed with the planning you did, Its amazing what you can do, I am inspired 🙂

    1. I plan way to much sometimes. I have a spreadsheet that I keep allot of different data points in. But thank you.

      1. I really wish I have your discipline.. Good on ya .. You gonna do good !!

  5. kruzmeister · · Reply

    You certainly have researched and looked into your plan Chatter. I am interested to see how you go. Try and stay tough on avoiding the junk calories. Remember consistency is key. Go for it mate!

  6. The only thing I notice that you might not have taken into consideration is how much time you’re giving yourself between the last time you eat and when you go to bed. 9-10pm is a pretty late dinner, especially given how early you start your day. Studies about it are inconclusive, but generally what I’ve read suggests giving yourself a minimum of an hour or two between your last meal and sleep. Just a thought.

    1. Yeah, I have heard the same thing. I try to give an hour between bed and dinner and on nights when I get home late I often go to bed around 11:30 and get up later, nixing the morning workout. Its difficult balancing things sometimes.

  7. Great job of putting a plan in place and so much of this is trial and error of what works for you. I look forward to hearing how it goes and what, if any tweaks you make. Keep at it as you’ve come so far already.

  8. […] to hear how you all handle trials and tribulations. Between Chatter and his amazing organization (found here), to bgddyjim and his “Come to Jesus Moment.” And one of the newest blogs I follow,   […]

  9. […] 2000 calories a day.  Running through a bunch of BMR calculations I have previously described (here and here) I put a plan in motion to eat roughly 3000-4000 calories based on exertion level of my […]

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