Ditching the 1200 Calorie Diet: Kelsey’s Update

Ditching the 1200 Calorie Diet: Kelsey’s Update

FullSizeRender(1)How long have you been on this journey?

All my life! Ever since I was young I was always aware of my weight, probably due to the media influence. Even as young as four I thought I was fat. I watched my mom struggle on different diets over the years as well. Her journey with food and weight loss had a big impact on me. As a teen, I would try different diets, everything from basically starving myself, to Atkins, to South Beach. In college I tried the low-fat approach. All these diets would work for a period, but none gave me the body I wanted and all left something to be desired. After graduating, I started to pack on pounds at a desk job, and that was what led me to find MFP (MyFitnessPal) and calorie counting. It wasn’t until about a year later that I found the EM2WL group.

When did you first learn that you needed to eat more to reach your goals? What was your original response?

Probably about a year after I started calorie counting. In 2011 I joined MFP, and signed up for the standard 1,200 calories/day diet. I was also training 3-4 times a week for a half-marathon. I would eat back my exercise calories, but I was always hungry, tired and grouchy (ask my roommates!). One day I somehow came across the EM2WL group. All the facts seemed to make sense, but I was scared. In fact, I was really scared. I had managed to lose a couple of pounds eating a 1200 calorie diet, and didn’t want to gain any of it back.FullSizeRender(2)

How did others around you act about your decision to discard the usual low cal methods for weight loss?

Most people were supportive. I don’t think anyone likes being on a diet, so most people are open to the idea of eating more if they can do so without expanding their waistline.

How did your body react to the initial increase in cals?

Pretty well. At first I didn’t want to increase too drastically, so I went up to about 1,800 calories a day. I didn’t gain weight, and best of all, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. I wasn’t foggy, had better concentration at work, and felt like I recovered from workouts much faster. On 1,200 a day, I was always hurting and required more sleep, but still didn’t feel fully recovered. I stayed at 1,800 calories for about 2 years until Fall 2014, when a trainer encouraged me to up calories again! I had the same response as before – I was scared because I didn’t want to get fat. But I trusted him, started packing in the protein, and for the first time in my life, I saw real muscle gain!! I started lifting in 2012 around the same time I discovered EM2WL, but never had great strength gains. Sure I got a little stronger and increased my PRs, but I didn’t have much muscle growth. Once I learned to trust the process and eat more, it was like BOOM! There are the muscles!

FullSizeRenderDid your family notice or comment on any changes once you upped your calories for a period of time?

In the past several months since upping my calories to 2,200-2,400 a day, several co-workers have noticed. One said I look a lot leaner, and another commented, “whatever you’re doing must be working!”

Can you describe your typical workout schedule prior to EM2WL and today?

Prior to EM2WL I was working out about 5 days a week, 3 days running, 2 days doing some kind of resistance or strength training. After EM2WL I switched to 2-3 days of lifting plus 2 cardio workouts a week. I mix up my cardio between HIIT, hiking and boxing.

Has proper fuel affected you in ways other than weight loss? (Good or bad)

Eating more has affected me positively in so many ways. I have more energy and have longer more effective workouts; I am less tired throughout the day and can focus more when I’m at work. Instead of wondering when the next meal is, I just go about my day. I used to always have brittle fingernails, I have noticed they’ve become much stronger with the diet changes.

IMAG0788Would you please describe the mental journey since upping your calories?

This was not easy. I think most diets have as much of a mental component as a physical. I was so scared to eat more because I didn’t want to get fat. The before and after pictures told a story of success, but would it really work for me too? I wondered. It didn’t take long to move past that though because I started feeling better almost instantly. That gave me encouragement to trust the process.

Any parting words of encouragement to those who are new to eating more, or struggling with the decision of whether or not to fuel properly?

Don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle change. Do you want to lost weight only to regain it, and then lose again for the rest of your life? No one wants to do that. We all want to keep it off, and be happy, healthy, and strong. The benefits to eating well are numerous — more energy, improved mood, better sleep, clearer skin, stronger hair and nails, and you even smell better! Stop wasting time with diets. Instead starting learning to fuel yourself and give your body the tools it needs to keep the metabolic fire roaring!

How can the fam hear/see/read more from you?

Be my friend on MFP (kelseyhere) or follow me on Instagram for cool recipes and healthy living tips @hideas_kitchen.


Jeannetta – a Transformation Story

Jeannetta – a Transformation Story

black sweaterHey there!

My name is Jeannetta! I have no idea where to start my transformation story, and I can’t give exact times and dates. What I can tell you is that finding this group on MFP is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. So, I think I’ll start on the topic of MFP.

I’d done MFP haphazardly in my mid 20’s. I’d always had weight issues.  At a very young age, I was considered chunky. I was always bigger than my peers. In retrospect, I ate horribly as a child and teenager. The truth is, I didn’t know any better.  We ate plenty of junk. Canned foods, fried foods, refined carbs, you name it.  I don’t remember a balance of foods. Everything I learned about food and proper eating habits came to me in my early 20’s. At that point in time, I came home from college tipping the scales way over 200 lbs and about a size 22. I had horrible acne. I couldn’t fit into the latest fashions. I was fat, and I was over it.

When I moved home (Chicago) two things changed. I walked a hundred percent more. I took public transpo everywhere. That meant walking to and from the bus/L stops, walking from those stops to wherever I was going. Then back around again. Running to those stops sometimes. I mean, to go up and down L stairs and ramps, just commuting I had to be climbing a minimum of 13 flights of stairs in a day. If I wanted to go to the corner store/ bar/ most restaurants, I walked.

IMG_7515.JPGThe second thing that changed were my eating habits. I was eating better and didn’t technically realize it until later. I had more variety in my diet because of our food culture in Chicago (fresh foods, etc). One year later, I weighed in out of curiosity one day. My pants were falling off. I’d lost 30 lbs. That’s when I made the connection between activity and food.  Soon after the weigh in, I went and got a gym membership. I not only was doing my daily commute walking, I was doing an hour of interval sprints or the elliptical, and weights maybe twice a week. I’d also started dabbling with that 1200 calorie number on MFP. Cleanses, psyllium tablets, senna tablets, and green tea became a huge part of my diet. I ate but was very restrictive. I was one of those, I don’t eat this and that people, but in private would max a pint of Hagen Daz half the fat vanilla ice cream. I would then justify it by the all the activity, and all the chicken, salmon, broccoli, and sweet potatoes one would enjoy. I would feel guilty for eating out with my girls. When I look back, I had an ED like a mug. I’d lost 60+ pounds, but was obsessed with losing more and getting smaller.

It became harder and harder to maintain. Even though I was doing all the “right” things. The moment I would take a break from working out, I swear 10 lbs would show up so quick!!!!! Even still, I maintained the weight loss, give or take the ten lbs, for almost four years. When I look back, my actions were crazy.  I’d started eating more fresh foods, and less prepared/processed foods, which was great, but that all came with binges.

Here I am, covering myself with my children’s bodies.

Here I am, covering myself with my children’s bodies.

Fast Forward.

I got pregnant, and had two babies between 2008 and 2010. Yeah I know, my lifestyle changed. I began driving everywhere because I didn’t want to be on public transpo with two kids under two. I ate when I could. I had very little time to work out. The weight piiiiiiled on. I cried and cried. I was miserable. I didn’t want to take pictures. I didn’t want to be intimate with my husband. I was tired all the time. Depressed. Ashamed. I became the mom who let herself go. I’d promised myself I’d never be overweight again, and there I was, fat and ashamed with no self-love —constantly feeling sorry for myself.

My husband, he got me right together one day. He said to me, “I love you no matter how big or small you are, but I am soooo tired of you crying about it. If you want to change it, I’ll take the kids to school so you can get up and work out”. I started working out at home in the basement with a friend of mine to a Beach Body program that was sooooo fun!  I was burning like 7-800 cals a session. But, I was also following a 1200 calorie schedule. I wasn’t losing a lb! I did feel better cardiovascular wise, but I was Hangry and I wasn’t losing any weight!  That was the day I decided to utilize MFP to its fullest potential. I was going to go through profiles, see who was the fittest in their pictures and friend them.

2001 to 2012 comparisonThat’s how I found Lucia. Call it luck or whatever, but I really believe I found her by the grace and mercy of The Lord. I’d started down the supplement trail again. I was doing the BB shake, protein shakes, green tea extract, enzymes, etc! I really, I mean in my gut knew I was not supposed to be taking all this crap. I was desperate again. Upon stumbling on her profile, I remember admiring her gun show. I remember doing a double read of her “About Me”. I remember reading she ate over 2500 calories a day. I remember looking back at her picture and thinking WTF? She is LYING!!! I remember going to her diary and reading her log, and my mouth dropping open. I remember being confused. So I friended her, I started going through her friends list and noticing all the EM2WL peeps, and I went on to friend others. I remember sending her the most desperate message. All I remember from that reply was metabolism reset, and Scooby’s Calculator. That’s when the research began. I felt bamboozled. All these years of starvation and excess cardio???? Even though I thought these ideas were crazy, you know, like the idea of EATING. I done everything else crazy, so I took my cals up from 1200 to 2500 in one day. By the end of the week, I’d lost 9lbs. It wasn’t a great 2500 calories. I ate whatever I wanted for about six months. I leveled out at about a 15 lb loss over the next year and a half.

IMG_7518.JPGI was still doing a massive amount of cardio and very little lifting. I’d eased up on the supps. Our family moved to Georgia. I didn’t work for 6 months. I worked out an hour a day, but was sedentary the rest of the day.  I was still eating 2500 or more cals, not making adjustments for my activity levels. I gained 30 lbs.

I followed a few other eating more groups and found that weight lifting, building your metabolism, moderation, and eating for your individual activity levels were all these groups had in common. By this time though, I’d started feeling really crummy. I was tired all the time, depressed/anxious, low libido, bloating, constipation, rapid stomach fat gain etc. I had a laundry list of things going on. I’d started cutting cals slowly, cutting some of my cardio and replacing with weight training like I’d learned from the groups, and eating moderately, but even still, I wasn’t losing, and I wasn’t physically feeling well. I went to the doctor. I found out I was insulin resistant. Yep, I was on my way to having diabetes. I sigh even typing this. I never thought I’d be here. I had a cry fest for a couple of days, mostly because my doctor prescribed me the Atkins or South Beach DIET. I was so over diets at this point. I’d been on a diet my whole adult life. I did not want to go on a DIET. I was tired of restricting. I was at a place where I’d started to accept my body for the way it was, and appreciate what it could do. And now, the doctor wants me to go on another restrictive diet. A diet I knew I would fail miserably at, again. I’d already been on both previously and hated every minute of it.

may to june comparisonBut I’m a resourceful old bird. I am. I wasn’t going to be defeated by this. I refused the negative thoughts and started to claim my victory. I headed straight to the diabetes association website. This is where I learned the words glycemic index. I learned how foods effect your insulin, and how insulin contributes to fat loss and gain. I’d already won just by having this information. I was ready. After studying for a few days, I’d found that the damage had already been done to my cells, and while I could become less resistant, there was no science to prove you could reverse the damage to your cells. There was overwhelming science that backed the fact that you could control your insulin levels and keep them normal by the foods you eat. Those foods are medium to low glycemic index foods.  The best part, was that I could still have carbs. What? Even carbs high on the glycemic index could be eaten sparingly.

I made the commitment to a total lifestyle change. Well really I didn’t have a choice, I could choose to change or live with a disease I didn’t want. So, I incorporated more foods low to medium on the index, weight training five days, and cardio 2-3 days for no more than 30 minutes. I also try not to be so sedentary during the day. I don’t count calories anymore. I eat when I’m hungry and when I’m full I stop. I drink plenty of water, and get my rest.   The glycemic index has been the way for me to get my insulin levels under control. I was able to get my numbers back into normal range without the use of diabetes meds. What’s even crazier is that, the moment I got my insulin under control, the weight started flying off. And guess what? I’m not starving anymore.

final comparisonI’m nowhere near done, but I am on my way.  As of four weeks ago I was down 14 lbs, I’m due to go to the doctor this week. I’m averaging about 5-6 lbs a month as far as loss. I’m getting stronger with every lifting session, and I increase my weight every two weeks.  I super set a lot, and lift with intensity.

Hang in there! Listen to your body. If you need help, see a physician. But most of all, don’t give up on yourself. Be your biggest cheerleader and your biggest competition. If I can overcome, I know you can too! I hope this helps someone. My story is a “to be continued”.



Jenny’s Inspiring EM2WL Success Story

Jenny’s Inspiring EM2WL Success Story

Before - 207 PoundsI found EM2WL in January 2014 and it was an answer to my prayers. EM2WL has forever changed my life, health, mind, and my relationship with food and myself. I am still certainly a work in progress, but each day I am closer to reaching my goals. I have lost 40 pounds over the past 7 months, and I credit the last 30 pounds to EM2WL. But more than weight loss, I have gained strength, confidence and a drive to move forward with my life.

A little about me…I am a wife of 10 years (to an incredible husband who has loved me at every size) and currently a stay-home mom to my super active 2 year old boy. I struggled with the cycle of under eating/overeating for as long as I can remember. I was a heavy child and I became aware of diets (food restriction) and followed them from an early age. At age 7, my mom began taking me to a nutritionist weekly. I don’t remember it helping me as I was so young, but I do know that it communicated to me that I had a problem with my weight. My mom, having her own weight issues, was only trying to help me while I was young. At age 11, I remember being weighed at the doctor’s office and I weighed 133 pounds. I asked my mom if I weighed too much and I remember her carefully saying, “You could work on losing a little”. That day began a lifelong struggle of severe dieting and what I now recognize as disordered eating. At age 11, I put myself on a diet and lost 17 pounds. Of course I gained it right back and more as I grew into my teenage years.

Sports and activities filled my high school and college years, but the pressure to weigh less fueled my unhealthy eating cycles. I weighed anywhere from 160-180 and would yo-yo up and down easily. I would severely restrict calories for a few months and then massively binge…over and over and over…all on top of extreme exercise. If I managed to lose any weight, I would regain it all back through the binging…plus more. I tried often to purge, but thankfully, my body would not cooperate. These unhealthy cycles continued through my 20’s and early 30’s, throughout my married years, and through my first pregnancy.

My family went through a series of tragic events and multiple relocations and my weight began quickly increasing from the 170’s upward. In 2013, one year after my son was born, I reached my highest weight of 207 pounds and a size 18 at only 5’3. I had pretty much lost sight of myself and any goals I had once had. I was told I was an emotional eater. I hid stashes of food and sweets in my home and at work. I ate if I was happy and when I was sad. My biggest fear was that I would continue to live the rest of my life in that misery and set a negative example for my children.

165 PoundsI knew low calorie and fad diets did not work, but I returned to them because I knew nothing different. I blamed my lack of success on lack of discipline, willpower, and emotional eating. I always felt like a quitter because I could not stick to anything. I had tried everything over the years – Weight Watchers, Medifast, Slimfast, Liquid Amino Diet, Six Week Body Makeover, Nutrisystem, low calorie, juicing, fasting, and starving. I would lose weight at first and then stall for weeks before giving up and overeating to compensate for the low calories and then gain everything back and more. Weight Watchers gave me partial success, but again I stalled after the first few months and couldn’t understand why since I was working out every day and not consuming any extra points or earned exercise points. I thought the weight should be melting off, but it wasn’t, and many weeks I actually gained. When I later did the calculations, I figured I was only eating 1200 calories on Weight Watchers. At one time I even trained for a half marathon and was running 7 miles a day. Little did I know that eating 1200 calories and running 7 miles daily would stall my weight loss for weeks. I felt defeated but I couldn’t give up.

I knew there had to be a different way to approach weight loss and I wanted to find it. I started reading and researching about a different type of weight loss strategy…one that was maintainable. I committed to being happy with a .5 or 1 pound loss a week instead of trying/expecting to lose 3 pounds every week. I joined MFP in January (user name Jennbecca33) and started seeing people talk about how under eating can actually hinder and keep you from losing weight. During this time, I found the EM2WL group and I have not looked back! Something finally made sense and clicked for me.

The wonderful ladies in this group have taught me how to eat properly and eat ENOUGH (way more than I thought I could) so that my body could lose weight more easily. I learned that the low calorie diets in conjunction with working out simply did not give my body enough to lose weight properly, hence the weight loss stalling. Since then, I’ve committed to eating more to weigh less. I actually found that I did not need to do a reset, surprisingly. As I started slowly increasing my calories, my weight immediately decreased by a couple of pounds. I couldn’t believe it. I then increased my calories a little more, and again, I dropped a couple more pounds. I kept increasing until I found my maintenance level which is around 2100-2300.

This concept of eating more, or at a slight deficit, went against everything I had ever been taught about dieting. I now happily eat between 1800-2000 calories daily (-15% TDEE) to lose weight and I do all my workouts from home. When consistent, I average between .5- 1 pound loss per week. I am now incorporating heavier weight training (which I love!) to help reshape my body. I usually work out 4 times a week for about 30 minutes each – 2 or 3 weight lifting sessions and 1-2 workouts on the elliptical. My only permanent success has come from following the EM2WL lifestyle, and the best part is, I’m able to keep going because I’m giving my body enough food so that I’m not hungry, worn out, and irritable all the time. Since I have started allowing myself to eat more, I have not had even one binging episode, or even the desire to binge! Have I overeaten at times? Sure. But even then, I’m able to work it into my calories. I’ve come to terms with losing weight in a responsible and healthy manner and I am so motivated to know that I now have the proper tools to reach my goal.

Before and After

Before and After

When I started EM2WL in January 2014, I weighed 195 and was a size 16. I had lost about 10 pounds on my own at that point. I have lost the last 30 pounds with EM2WL, for a total of 40 pounds. I still currently weigh 165 pounds and at 5’3 I wear between a size 8 and 10. I don’t really have a “goal” weight in mind anymore and I’m not stressing about it. When I get there, I will know. I still have quite a bit of fat on certain body parts that I want to lose. My hips and legs hold most of my weight, but slowly, even my legs are shaping up. I know I will always have thicker legs, and I’m ok with that. I look better now at 165 than I did at 145 (a weight I never maintained after 3 months on only 800 calories). EM2WL works. It will work for anyone. Eat at a smaller deficit so that it’s maintainable and so that you can keep going! Yes, it’s slower paced weight loss. But in the long run, you are able to keep it off. Keep muscle, build muscle!

The biggest change for me though, has been the mental shift about food. I no longer hate food. I really love food. I am not on a diet. Food is ok to eat and I do not feel guilty for indulging in moderation! There is nothing that I cut out of my diet. I love eating with my family and not having to cook separate meals every night. No more missed birthday dinners. I enjoy eating out and making healthy food choices. I will never again be tempted by low calorie dieting or a fad gimmick diet. EM2WL has given me freedom and it has truly helped me to take back my life.

Thank you to all the EM2WL moderators and members who have been so supportive and helped me and continue to help me through this journey. I have learned so much from you. You truly were an answer to prayer during one of the darkest and heaviest times in my life. I pray my story may help and encourage others now to trust this process as well. I look forward to posting an update when I reach my end goal!


Have you overcome disordered eating? Have an EM2WL transformation to share? Let us know! Be featured on our Transformation/Journey page by submitting your story to Success@EM2WL.com

Ready to begin your own Journey? Start here.

Gemmybean’s EM2WL Success Story

Gemmybean’s EM2WL Success Story

success storyI have been on this journey for about five months now, at the beginning I’ve got to admit whilst the science made sense I was skeptical. I kept thinking well if it’s that easy why isn’t everyone else doing it.  I had already come to the conclusion that these low calorie diets were doing more harm than good, had already experienced that first hand.  I didn’t want another holiday to go by where I would be vetting the photos before showing anyone to take out the horrible, fat ones.  I figured ‘why not’ there’s months til my holiday I’ll give it a go.

I’m not going to say that the journey has been easy, I have had to deal with some pretty big mental issues. It’s extremely hard to get your head around the fact that you really can eat more (in my case a lot more and still lose weight) and also learn to deal and how to cope when the scale doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. But I persevered believing that the hardship and the stress would be worth it in the end.  So I continued to eat more, continued to lift heavy weights, and now also added in running.  It no longer was a hardship, somehow along the way it became ‘normal’ and I stopped fretting about the scale and stopped fretting about going slightly over my allowance.

success storyI log my intake on a regular basis, and do keep an eye on my weight, but I really feel as though for the first time in a long time, my weight has taken a back seat.  I feel as though I am just living my life, without worrying about what I’m eating all the time.  I can’t pretend I’m there yet, I still have several inches of fat that I have to lose before I can say I have finished cutting. But I wouldn’t have gotten to this point if someone hadn’t sent me the link to the group one day – this is why I feel that the Eat More to Weigh Less lifestyle (because it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix diet!) should be shouted from the rooftops!!!

I am obviously delighted that I have lost weight and inches, but I really feel that my favourite benefit is feeling as though I have control over my eating.  I don’t binge, then feel guilty and wanting to starve myself. I don’t feel as though there are things that are out of reach or feel as though I have  to restrict my eating of certain things.

success storyIt sounds crazy, but I am seriously happily living my life, I don’t think I even really think about food like I did before, where I was constantly thinking about what I was going to eat next, is everyone going to think I’m a pig if I have another chocolate or biscuit.  Now I literally eat what I want and move on, and it’s AWESOME!!!!!!!

So, I feel like I’m here to stay the course, I have totally turned my life around, and am eating loads and exercising loads (and really enjoying it).  I have found that I have started to inspire more people around me, now they can see my results, so hopefully they will also abandon these crazy 1,000 calories diets in favour of listening to what their body wants. Everyone should know that there is no need to starve themselves, there is another healthier way of doing this.

Karen’s EM2WL Success Story – a 2 Year Journey

Karen’s EM2WL Success Story – a 2 Year Journey


July 2012I am almost two years into my EM2WL journey.  Having been a classic yo-yo dieter since around the age of 15, I was introduced to MyFitnessPal by a colleague in April 2012 at the age of 29.  I started out typically on 1200 cals and not understanding the necessity of eating back exercise calories.

I stalled out and lost will power pretty quickly and I wasn’t seeing the losses that I had done when eating that little when on diets in previous years.  While hovering around the forums I soon started to notice mention of EM2WL and TDEE and BMR and it all got me thinking.  I soon joined at EM2WL group and started reading all about the concept of losing weight by eating a small cut from TDEE.  I tried out various calculators and was shocked to discover my estimated TDEE should be somewhere in the region of 2700 cals.  No wonder I had been struggling to get through the day on 1200, which inevitably led to binges.

I decided to increase my calories to around 2200 in June 2012, around a 15% cut from TDEE.  I started EM2WL at around 145 lbs and after a few months I stepped on the scale for the first time and found I had been maintaining.  I was a little disappointed that my TDEE didn’t seem to be as high as the calculators put me, but I became to understand that I had lost a lot of muscle mass through my years of yo-yo dieting, leading to a suppressed TDEE.  I then realised just how much harm I had unknowingly been doing to my body.

July 2013At that point, rather than cut my calories, I increased them to around 2500 and started lifting heavier.  At this level I slowly started gaining weight but I was enjoying strength training and enjoying nourishing my body well and hitting my macros.

Over the next 15 months I gained a total of 20 lbs, taking me up to around 165 at my highest.  However, I was still fitting into the same clothes and my food intake varied between 2200 and 3000 calories per day.  During those months there were only two days when I ate less than 2000 and that was when I was sick.

The added weight has helped me regain some of my lost muscle mass.  So in January 2014, partly spurred on by the concept of being bridesmaid for a close friend at Easter, I decided to make a concerted effort at a cut.

I settled at around 1900-2100 cals Monday to Friday, allowing myself around 2500 cals Saturday and Sunday so I could still enjoy my favourite meals out and take-outs as I always had.  By mid-April I had lost around 10 lbs and I finally started to see muscle definition in my arms, shoulders and calves.  My thighs are firming up, and my belly and back have less fat than ever before.  In the past when I had starved myself down to a size 4 I was skinny-fat and had a pot-belly.

11 May 2014 (2)My TDEE is gradually increasing and I have now switched to maintenance for the summer, averaging around 2400 per day while focus on my lifting.  I then aim to increase my calories again over the winter to try and add back more precious muscle.  Over time I want to see my actual TDEE raised to where it should be based on my activity level.  I currently cycle commute to work, strength train three times per week and do yoga or pilates once per week.  I also enjoy an active outdoors lifestyle as much as the British climate allows, hiking and cycling when and where I can.

It’s been a long road and I’m still a work in progress but I am finally comfortable in my body, starting to love it a little bit more each day.  I enjoy a balanced diet which allows me to eat all the foods I enjoy.   I still can’t quite believe that I’ve found out that there really is a way to have it all.

I feel so positive about the future now and I couldn’t have got here without Kiki, Lucia and the EM2WL team.  Thank you all so much!

“Don’t do what I did!” – Not eating enough calories for weight loss

“Don’t do what I did!” – Not eating enough calories for weight loss

calories for weight lossIf someone would have told me 20 years ago that I needed to increase my caloric intake by 30% to lose body fat, I would have laughed while continuing to lace up my Mizuno running shoes preparing for my hour long run.  Now 5 kids later, a little older and a little wiser, with decades of trial and error underneath my belt, eating more to weigh less has been a key factor in my fitness journey.

A common misconception among those that want to lose weight is that you need to drastically cut calories and increase cardio workouts.  This problematic approach has resulted in many trying to lose weight to only damage their metabolism.  I speak on this issue not only from reading other stories, but I have personally experienced this metabolic damage which resulted in a serious health issue called Adrenal Fatigue.  After everything I have learned, when I log onto My Fitness Pal and I see I see others eating 1200 calories with high calorie burns, my instincts are to immediately say, “Stop! Don’t do what I did.”  As a longtime “My fitness pal” member, I recall an honest pal, Becca, specifically sharing this very concern with me that I was exercising too much, and not eating enough calories.  Initially, for many weeks, I held onto the fallacy that I would attain my dream body while continuing on this path of destruction.

calories for weight lossIt was not until “my plan” to reach my “goal weight” by my 38th birthday came to a halt when my body reached homeostasis.  I had reached a plateau in my weight loss journey and I was no longer losing fat, or gaining muscle.  I was starving, exhausted and my body was at a complete standstill.  Exasperated and feeling defeated, I went back to the drawing board to research fat loss remembering all the while Becca’s encouragement to eat more.  Becca introduced me to a website for calculating calories. After spending some time on this website, I was shocked at the advice given.  Based on my height, weight and activity level, I needed to be consuming 30% more calories.  This line of thinking was so shocking and it went against every principle “I thought” I knew about losing weight.

I even approached my husband with my concerns asking his advice.  With the research I had been doing, along with the advice given by Becca and Kiki, it was evident a metabolic reset was necessary.  In terror, just 3 weeks away from attempting to reach my birthday goal, I began reverse dieting adding 50-100 calories weekly to reach my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).  At this time I also implemented a plan to strategically count my macros.  I pay close attention to the number of grams of proteins, carbs and fats I intake daily.  From my research, the keys to cutting body fat are increasing calories while counting macros, reducing cardio, and increasing my weight lifting.

Well, my 38th birthday came and went.  The scale never reached the number in my head, but my goal had changed during this time.  I was determined to be fit and healthy versus being skinny.  I continued on the metabolism reset with correct macros and increased calories while simultaneously reducing my cardio, and lifting heavy weights.

calories for weight lossThe number on the scale temporarily went up, but then my weight leveled out.  One of the first physical changes I observed was my lack of hunger, increased energy level as well as the change in my body composition.  My cellulite and fat began to diminish and I could see I was building muscle to form shape to my body.  These major changes finally allowed me to feel more comfortable with my body.

Although, I agree with counting your macros daily food intake, I am not a fan of “If It Fits Your Macros” simply because many will eat pop tarts, snickers bars, and a bag of chips, if it fits their macros.  Although, I do have a weekly cheat, I attempt to eat real whole foods. Food is fuel. As a general rule, I stay away from processed foods, which means making time for prepping meals.  With a large family to take care of and working 30+ hours weekly planning meal prep time is just as important as planning my workouts.

I am a homeschooling mother of 5, and I hold a 30+ hour job outside of the home.  I make time for heavy lifting 5 days a week along with meal planning.  This is not a New Year’s Resolution.  This is mine and my husband’s lifestyle.  My continued love for fitness has propelled my desire to become a certified personal trainer to continue to learn about fitness while helping others achieve their fitness goals.

Don’t give up on your fitness goals.  I believe that anyone who truly wants to be fit and healthy will make the time. There is no secret pill or supplement.  Hard work and dedication will help you get to your desired level of fitness.  I know the proposition of adding calories for weight loss seems improbable, but I am living proof that it works.calories for weight loss

If you are inspired by Tracy’s amazing story, make sure to follow her on Instagram!

BeccaBecca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts.  As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.



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