3000 Calories

Item #1: I’ve been eating ~3000 calories/day over the past month, up from ~2500 in mid-March through mid-May. I don’t have an exact number because I haven’t regularly tracked calories for months now and I eat out a lot so I don’t know the calorie content for most of my food. But I can estimate my average by tallying up whenever I have what I consider a low calorie day (ie when I think “wow, I’ve barely eaten all day”) It’s always at least 2000 calories. And that’s pretty rare. And I know there must be some days when I’m consuming upwards of 4000 calories when you include alcohol. So I think my average is closer to 3000 than 2500.

Item 2: Most of those additional calories were essentially discretionary calories from desserts, restaurant food, and carbs I don’t normally eat. It’s not that I was going out out of my way to eat extra treats, it just I didn’t avoid it when the opportunity presented itself. First there was eating out with my family and friends over the week of my college graduation: bread, cake, nachos, chocolate chips, fro-yo by the pound, and of course alcohol. Then in Costa Rica I ate chips and salsa, nachos, burritos, tons of banana bread, and copious amounts . And over the past week at my grandparents and at home I ate about 2 loaves of pumpkin and zucchini bread, brownie bars, tons of cake, chocolate chip cookies, fro-yo, bread, cheesecake, 1/2 a pan of Ghiradelli brownies. Additionally, most of my healthy meals were higher fat versions than normal due to use of butter, olive oil, cheese, avocados, and sauces/dressing in restaurants and cooking.

Item #3: Over the past month, my body has finally been changing. Obviously my weight was changing from January to March as I lost weight. But my body hadn’t really changed after that. It was frustrating because I felt like all the time I spent in the weight room wasn’t making a difference in my appearance. Sure I enjoyed it, and sure it sustained my ability to eat a lot, but I wasn’t seeing any muscle development. Then right before I left for Costa Rica, it was as if all of a sudden everything changed: my arms got more cut, my legs and glutes got harder, my waist looked smaller. Even my cheek bones looked more defined.

I couldn’t figure it out. Was all this junk food somehow good for me? Was it providing me with nutrients that I had inadvertently been lacking? Fat maybe? Should I have been on a high-fat diet all along?

Then yesterday it suddenly hit me with a flash. The increase in calories and changes in my body were probably correlated, and my body was responding positively to the extra calories. When I thought about it, it made sense. If 2500 calories is maintenance level for me, then I need to eat more than that to continue to build muscle. And it didn’t matter where they came from, just that they were there. It’s not that cake and nachos somehow have beneficial nutritional properties, just that I wouldn’t have inadvertently consumed that many calories from healthy foods alone.

So what am I going to do with this insight? Nothing actually. (Besides, you know, sharing it with you guys). I’m just going to keep eating whatever I want when I’m hungry and see what happens. That is literally the easiest approach possible and why mess with what’s working? Especially since I could be wrong so I’m not going to deliberately manipulate my behavior based on a theory.

Basically I just wanted to share this with you because:

  1. I want to be as honest and accurate about my eating and exercise habits, therefore I feel obligated to update my previous estimate of ~2500 calories for accuracy
  2. I’m trying to pay attention to the impact that various inputs have on my body, so keeping a record is beneficial to me and to anyone else that can apply what I’ve learned.
  3. No one on tumblr eats as much as I do. No one. There is a such a skewed sense of what is healthy and normal. I’m trying to combat that by showing that you don’t have to starve yourself to improve your body and maintain your weight.
  4. There could be benefits to increasing your calories that you don’t even realize, and you might be inadvertently shooting yourself in the foot by restricting your intake.

So there you have it. And I will keep you guys posted!

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One Response

  1. #3 & #4 – I love! I recently bumped up my calories to 2000-2200. Feel better, energetic, my body is responding well! I don’t think I will ever intentionally go back to anything under 1700. I’d rather shoot for maintenance of my target weight (still a little deficit, but better than randomly choosing a deficit) and wait it out. I have seen more progress in the last month than I did on a strict deficit for 6 months. (That and adding weight training 3x/week)

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