Getting in Shape

900 calorie weekdays, 1800 calorie weekends

I've been lurking around here for months as I try to slim down a bit for my October 2012 wedding. Reading about you all has been really inspiring!

That said, I think I'm screwing things up royally with my diet. I'm already in my "normal" weight range (5'7", 140 lbs) but I'm trying to lose about 10 pounds and shed some belly fat.

I've been tracking calories on for over a year, I do cardio 4-5 times a week (45 min.) and strength training 3-4 times a week, but I've lost less than 5 pounds since last May.

I am embarrassed to admit I have a serious problem with overindulging on the weekends. I am really strict with myself during the week and I net about 900 calories on weekdays but then on the weekends I eat out with friends and family (eating delicious food is a HUGE thing for my family) and my daily net calories almost doubles. It's a terrible, terrible, bad habit.

I know I need to cut out this overeating on the weekends. But my question is, am I crazy to be eating so few calories during the week? It seems like 1,200 is the magic number for a lot of people. And at the end of my week, I usually average 1,200 calories... but I'm guessing that yo-yoing is what my body is rejecting.

What should my daily target be, do you think?

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Re: 900 calorie weekdays, 1800 calorie weekends

  • edited May 2012
    For me to lose a 1 lb a week my target net calories is 1200 per day. This means if I work out and burn 400 calories I should be eating around 1600 that day.  On days I don't work out I am strictly at 1200. But that's for my height and weight.

    Anything below 1200 your body goes into "starvation mode" and actually works to keep fat and weight on so 900 seems really low. 1800 also seems like it may be a little high unless you are working out on those days you are eating 1800. To maintain my current weight I would have to stay at around 1600 calories a day, more on the days I work out. But I am also only 5' 3.

    I have never used Calorie king, I use myfitnesspal and really recommend it. It's free. It will tell you what your calorie target should be for your height and weight to lose 1 lb a week, 1/2 a week, or maintain your current weight, whatever it is you're looking to do. I really believe it was the key to my losing weight. I had no idea how much I was really over eating.

    I have heard bad things about yo-yoing. I would do your best to really try to stay within a calorie limit. On days you know you're going to eat more - like on weekends - make sure you are exercising. With that said, don't use your extra calories for things like desserts and drinks and fatty filled appetizers. I made that mistake for a long time. I was working out to gain extra calories so I could eat pizza or something else that is not very healthy. It did work for me at first, I lost weight, but now that I am down to the last 10 lbs to my goal that method isn't working for me anymore. So I really have been doing my best to eat as clean as possible and stay around 1200 calories.

    With that said, it's ok to indulge once in a while. If you are out with friends one weekend and you want to eat what you wants that's ok, as long as it isn't every weekend.

    Good luck!
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  • 900 calories during the week is not enough!! Especially if you are excerising - that is probably why you are over indulging on the weekends - If I were you I would try for around 1500 calories a day every day and continue with excersise - I am a fitness instructor and eat about 1800-2000 a day and have been losing weight - if you have a bad day eating do not beat yourself about it either! You need to make sure your body is getting the fuel it needs!
  • You need to up your calorie intake during the week; especially if you're working out! Your body will hold onto everything because it doesn't get the right fuel it needs.

    As far as over indulging goes, I'm there too. I have a hard time just eating a little and slowly backing away from the food. But, know, that having a treat every now and then isn't going to hurt you. You just need to eat the treats in moderation.

    It doesn't sound like you have a lot to lose, and your body may like the weight that it's at, which will make it tougher. Eating right becomes extremely important. Ever hear the phrase, 'Abs are made in the kitchen?'

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  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Additionally, if you do eat the minimum requirement of 1200 calories per day and then lose 400 calories through exercise, make sure you eat enough to get back to 1200. Otherwise, you've really only consumed 800 calories. If you're eating 1400 per day and lose 500 through exercise, you need ot eat back 300 to get to 1200 minimum. Make sense?
  • Yes, this all makes sense!

    And I assume that when I exercise and burn 300 calories, I should eat an additional 300 calories worth of fruits and veggies and NOT 300 calories worth of peanut butter cookies and red wine.

    Thanks for all your support. I've set my calorie target back to 1,200 (net; more if I exercise) and I'm going to work really hard at not overdoing it on the weekend.
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  • I agree with the other ladies that have posted, make sure that you  net 1200 every day at least.

    I think you could probably get away with eating 1500 - but go online and calculate your BMR (Basal metabolic rate - what your body needs to survive, even if you just laid in bed all day) and then use the Harris-Benedict equation to find out how many calories you would need to eat to maintain your weight based on your activity level. Then, take off 500 calories per day (never going below 1200 of course) and that *should* allow for loss of 1 pound per week (3500 calories = one pound). However, like previously said, using your calories for junk food on a regular basis most likely isn't going to get you where you want to be.

    I use the one here:

    And then the guidelines for the Harris-Benedict equation here:

    Hopefully that was helpful! Good luck!
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  • 900 is definitely not enough calories. My trainer says 1200 is the lowest calorie range a women should go. I would aim for 1200 and then work out incorporating weights with cardio. I'm able to lose 2-5 pounds a week with 3-4 workouts, a calorie range of 1200-1500. I thought that many calories was too much till my Fit Camp trainer said it wasn't b/c of workouts and eating clean. Good luck.

    You can also learn your accurate calorie range by using That's my favorite go to site for recipes, tracking workouts and calories.
  • You are FAR too tall for 900 net calories a day. Add in your weight and you should be consuming more than 1,200 net honestly. I'm 5'8 and 140 and definitely require more than 1,200. In fact, I have been eating 1,200 net a week for the past few months to try it out and, while not hungry, I have definitely hit a weight loss plateau. You should probably be looking at more around 1,500-1,800.
  • I am not an "eat-backer." When I am in weight loss mode,  I eat 1200-1550 calories a day, 7 days a week, regardless of working out. I work out 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week (running/walking/elliptical).   If you know your regular fitness routine, you can enter it into SparkPeople along with your goal weight and target date and it will tell you your range.  It incorporates the expectation of fitness into that target range.

    When I am in weight maintenance mode, I eat 1450-1700 calories a day, 7 days a week.  I still work out 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • You need to eat way more than 900 calories a day!!  I had people asking me what I was doing because I looked so thin... guess what I told them?!!  I am eating MORE!!  I was in the best shape of my life when I was working out and eating around 1800 calories a day of good, healthy food. 

  • Thanks for all your advice. I'll bump up the calories and see what happens!
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  • Everyone on her eis right! You are sending your body into starvation mode during the weekdays, and that iis defitely not helping your weight loss. I would recommend joining LIVESTRONG.COM. It really helps you learn what your calorie goals should be depending on your size and on your weight loss goals. I am about 5'2'' and 130 lbs, and because I am so active it says that for me to lose 1 lb a week I should be eating about 1300.

    Also be careful with your fruit/protein intake. Make sure you are eating about 1g of protein per lb of your goal weight, and dont over indulge in fruit. Its of course great for you, but its full of sugar... the website will als otrack all of your nutrients for you. And there is a mobile app which makes tracking your food on the go easy!

    GOOD LUCk!

  • I would also suggest switching up your exercise routein as well. If you're doing "cardio 4-5 times a week (45 min.) and strength training 3-4 times a week" and sticking to the same plan every week, your body will adapt and you stop buring as many calories. You should aim to switch up your workouts every 2 to 6 weeks. Even little changes like upping the incline on the training or resistance on the eliptical can make a difference. Or throw in a class every now and again- I love to hit yoga on Saturdays and have started PureBarre classes on Thursdays. 
    Good luck!
  • Hi,

    I agree with everyone else. 900 calories is way too little with your height. It will definitely make you splurge on the weekends. The key to it is moderation. Treat yourself to a light snack which you love every week or so, so you don't binge and don't overdo it.

    I once hit a weight loss plateau but I've discovered ways around it. Everybody is different, so you need to experiment and see what works best for you.

    I work out 3-4 times a week with cardio, strength and interval training and high intensity training. My advice to you would be to mix up your exercise routines...your body has probably grown accustommed to the same routine over and over. Also - avoid eating dinner after 6pm. If you go to bed by 10-11pm, have a light snack like tea or yogurt during that time. It's harder for your body to digest the food later at night and you end up going to sleep on a full or near-full stomach if you eat after 8pm. When I tried that, the weight started to drop, as well as the belly fat.

    Good luck! you can do it!
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