"how many calories should I be eating?" ... Yes, I'm still a bit confused about it. Let me give some background information, and if anyone has advice or a similar experience to mine they would like to share, I'd really appreciate it!
I started Weight Watchers 1 year ago and lost a little over 30 lbs. I started at 170 and for the past few months have been hovering around 140-138. I'd like to lose an additional 10-15 lbs... although it's not so much the scale number I'm concerned about, and more the belly pooch that just doesn't seem to want to go away! I've been running for about 6 months now, and just recently bumped it up from 20ish minutes 3x a week, to 30ish minutes 4x a week (I unfortunately don't have the time or endurance to do much more than 30 min. at a time just yet). I burn around 300 calories per session. I just bought an exercise ball and some dumbbells and plan on adding a core strengthening routine to my schedule a few times a week. I don't move around much during the week other than my workouts, because I have a 9-5 desk job.
On to calories: I'm not sure how many calories I was eating a day on Weight Watchers since they use the Points system... in any case, it has become apparant that my daily calorie requirement has decreased since losing those 30 lbs. I tried 1500 cals for a few weeks and didn't see any changes. Then I tried calorie cycling and dropped a pound or two, but I found it really difficult to keep up with that plan. CC recommended I eat around 1370 a day, so this week I set it to 1350 since I usually end up eating a little more on the days I work out, and I indulge a bit on the weekends.
I'm about 5'4", 25 years old with a medium to small frame.
I'm beginning to get a little frustrated so any ideas or advice would be really appreciated! Everything I read online has conflicting advice! One says "do more cardio" the other says "do more strength training" or, one says "eat more calories" and the other says "eat less." I know different things work better for different people, but DANG!
1500-1600 cals sounds fine with your activity, what is your daily deficit range (net cals)? Since you are now in a healthy BMI weight loss will be slower that before meaning it will take longer and/or more effort. If your deficit is too big it may be stalling you, in a healthy BMI range 250-500 should be good (0.5-1lbs loss a week) but if you find you are still having troubles try smaller 250-300 for about 0.5lbs loss a week.
Of course you can do the check list: drinking enough water? high sodium intake? are you really eating that much? (eating too much or too little?) Have you made inch loss instead?
For me the first 30lbs was a breeze in less than three months, no exercise and 1500 cals. Once in a healthy range it took exercise and calorie counting/cycling/logging (300-600 deficit) and 5lbs loss a month (any plateau ended up as water retention from TOM and not drinking enough water, so now I drink 6-8 glasses a day) for 2 months and now I am worried it is even going to be slower for the last 10-15lbs but it is a reality X /
Other suggestions change up your workout (something your body isn't use to), cal cycle (I find this works for me (since it didn't work for you did you have too big of a cycle? try a tighter range?) and yeah I still get a couple week of plateaus but just keep going and it evens out at the end of the month). Smaller deficits, more exercise, and I am sure you are use to the list. I'd say even if you do no exercise don't eat below 1300-1350 at least don't eat under for long term if you do (your BMR is about 1350 even when you are at your ideal weight your BMR is still about 1300) and with exercise don't eat too much below 1500.