Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Is there such a thing as eating too little calories?
momtoae posted:
For the last 2 months, I have tried to keep my calories around 1100-1300. I have also been working out 4-6 days a week on an elliptical and with weights. WebMD says my energy requirements are around 1800C. So, I would be losing weight. Instead, I keep gaining every week. And it is not all muscle. My clothes are fitting me tighter also. My food choices are fairly healthy. I eat fruits, some veggies, fish, chicken, occasional red meat, - what I feel is fairly balanced - with occasional indiscretions such as desserts or fatty meals. Any thoughts?
fedupagain responded:
absolutely!! that is exactly what happened to me. i work out on elliptical and treadmill for 1.5-2 hrs a day-every day and was not losing weight-turned out i wasnt eating enough for my body to be able to burn any calories. Now i eat about 1600 a day and my weight is coming off !. Also on sundays i dont exercise i just eat anything and as much as i want!
sammie0021 responded:
yes mam! it slows down your metaboliasm causing it harder to burn those 1100 calories! Thats why anerixic people who start eating real food again will pack on the fat twice as quick as someone who lost the weight healthily. Don't ever try to lose alot of weight at once, the faster you lose the weight, the faster it comes back.
CygnusWomyn replied to sammie0021's response:
Hey, Thank you so much for your input on this topic. I am a heavyweight and to lose 2 lbs a week my basal calories are supposed to be a little over 1900. I have been eating around 1500 and really hitting the gym hard but not seeing much results. I am going to try increasing my caloric intake for a week or two and see how that changes my rate of loss. Thanks again.
Low_Stress_Weight_Loss responded:
I think this is an important topic that people don't dig into enough. We often calculate the calorie limit for the fastest possible weight loss (or the lowest amount of calories we can tolerate without chewing off an arm...) instead of working from the HIGHEST number of calories we can intake and still be losing weight.

If you work from the highest calories where you're still losing, then cutting back as you get smaller is easier, and I think you are also doing much less damage to your metabolism.

Weight loss might be a little slower, but you'll be much happier and more likely to stick to it longer!
My Motto : PROGRESS, not Perfection! My blog :
sammie0021 replied to CygnusWomyn's response:
sounds great! let me know how it goes! another thing is if your taking in more calories, make sure they aren't empty ones :) fill yourself with whole grains, protein and fiber. It helps you take in less in portion, but more in energy and calories
Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP responded:
Hi and thanks for your posting. Good for you launching your new healthy lifestyle journey. To shed your excess body fat, you need to pay attention to quality, quantity and frequency of your eating .Sticking to whole foods as you have indicated you're doing is great. Clearly eliminate refined sugars and processed foods. You need to be eating roughly every 3-4 hours through dinner, and these will be balanced, smaller meals and snacks.

The coups de grace is always how much you eat. Cardio done with intensity intervals 5-6 x week should be burning at a minimum 400 calories per session. One hour of weight lifting done 2-3 x week should burn about 300 calories per session. If you're only eating 1100 calories, you can't be eating enough healthy carb, fat or protein to build your muscle appropriately (and muscle is your cal burning engine).

Research shows thatyou never ever go below 1200 cals per day, and that you try to average closer to a range of 1400-1600 cals as as start and see how you will improve your weight management.

Good luck and let us know how you're doing. Dr. Peeke

Helpful Tips

Olive oil versus Canola oilExpert
Both oils contain healthy monounsaturated fats but canola actually has less saturated fat than olive oil. Canola is more versatile for ... More
Was this Helpful?
227 of 272 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Everyday Fitness - Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

Achieve a better mind-body balance and live a healthier life with tips from wellness expert Dr. Pamela Peeke...Read More

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.