It's been a while since I posted on here; several months ago I had asked for help because after months (and months) of work and calorie-counting, I wasn't seeing any results. I'm an 18 year old female, 5'9'', and around 140-145lbs.
I've been eating about 1,300 calories a day, and exercising (hard!) 5 times a week. I had the suspicion I was undereating, and everyone else here told me that too - but I didn't change because I was too scared from years of disordered eating.
(Side note - I started weight lifting, and I'm LOVING it! I've actually GAINED 2-3lbs of muscle, but I'm okay with that, because I'm finally seeing a more toned body, and it rocks. Ladies, go lift.)
Yesterday, I had my RMR tested. Turns out, even if I was in a COMA I would still need 1,397 calories. I've been eating under my RMR, and exercising a lot = PROBLEM. (AKA, exactly what everyone here told me months ago...sorry about my stubborn attitude.)
My question is, with this new information, where do I go from here? Do I eat a maintenance for a little while before trying to lose any weight? What IS my maintenance? According to the test it would be around 1,800-1,900 calories with exercise. How do I eat that much?! I've been eating less than my RMR for YEARS. Will I gain weight? That's what terrifies me the most...
Or, do I eat my RMR and then add in whatever I exercised?
Okay, that's more than one question...but if you guys could help me out, that'd be great :) I want to do this right. Thanks!
So you are underweight at the moment, correct? If so, you NEED to gain weight, so that should be the least of your worries. If you eat at maintenance you won't gain weight, but since you have slowed down your metabolism by under eating for so long your "maintenance" might actually be lower than you suspect which may lead to some weight gain, which is a good thing.
No, I'm not anywhere near being underweight. I'm 5'9'' and between 140-145lbs. That puts my BMI at 21, I believe. So, no, not underweight!
I don't think my "maintenance" would be lower, as I just had my RMR tested and the result was 1,400. Even if I only lead a sedentary lifestyle, maintenance should be about 1,600. And I'm not even close to sedentary.
I misread the beginning of your post, sorry. Well at the height/weight you are at, I would say you should definitely be eating over 2,000 calories a day, especially when you exercise.
I was thinking a balanced 2000 calorie diet would work wonders for you as well. As long as your activity level does not drop. If it does drop, you may want to lower your caloric intake to around 1680 (Completely sedentary for days on end)
Since you have been cal restricting for such a long time, it would be good for your body to give it a break and eat at maintenance for a few months. What that number of cals will turn out to be I'm not sure. Start by upping by a couple hundred cals per week and see how it goes. Yes, you may gain a little weight but with your workouts and weight lifting, I really doubt you will see a change in how your clothes fit, etc, at least in a neg way. Maybe you should just put the scale away for a few months and base it on how you feel. I'm glad you are finally going to give your body the fuel it needs to function at it's best :)
Edit to add: I have a hard time believing your sedentary maintenance is 1650 cals. I am 5'5", CW 141. I have a body bug and my non-exercise days are 1900-2100 depending on what I am doing. 1650 is weight loss cals for most people. I would eat more.
Thank you to everyone for the replies.
I'm just so unsure of what to do next. I think I'm going to try bumping my calories up to 1,600-1,700 for a week or two, and keep exercising, and see how that goes. I know that's probably still not enough, but it's really scary to think of adding more than that at this point...it's literally been years of a restricted calorie diet, so I should probably take baby steps.
I will most likely continue to monitor my weight over the next few weeks, just to make sure I'm not gaining a RIDICULOUS amount of weight. My hope is to get my metabolism to eventually stabilize at maintenance (probably 2,000 like everyone else is suggesting) and then I might drop down to 1,700 or so.
So confusing! So scary! agh!
I would eat up enjoy and add extra protein to build your muscles even more so you will really get a great shape.
Me personally @ 5'6" 52 and 157lbs I eat at least 2200 cal a day workout or not and still manage to lose either inches or sometimes weight. I lift heavy as well and even though I weigh 10 lbs more than I did at my previous lowest weight I wear a size 6 today back then I was only able to squeeze into an 8.
Since muscle looks better eat and I would even eat 200 -300 over what you burn for maintainence and working out to feed the muscles and reshape. You may find you don't need to see a number on a scale maybe set site on a dress/ pant / jean size instead and if the scale goes up but you pant size goes down that means you are adding muscle and losing fat.