I am 5'8" and currently weigh 200 lbs. . I've lost about 50 lbs. through better nutrition and moderate exercise. With the loss of so much weight, I've become invigorated and excited about my gym time. My main goal isn't to be "skinny", but to be fit and strong. I currently am working out at the gym 4-5 days per week. I get in 1+ hr. of cardio and 45 min.- 1 hr. weights. My problem is that the 1,200 to 1,400 calories that I had been eating previously is not cutting it for me, but I don't know what I should be eating! I would love to see the number on the scale come down another 40-50 lbs. or so, but I'm stuck. Do you have any suggestions on a baseline number of calories that I should eating, and how many grams of protein would be appropriate for my situation and goals? I've found it rather difficult to find good information for *women* who want to build and sculpt muscle.
GREAT JOB!!!!! on your progress.
You DONT want to lose 40-50 lbs at 5'8" you would be skin and bones if you were 100-110lbs and had any lean mass at all. In your case i would NOT look at the scale for progress at all but at numbers the scale is a horrible gauge of progress, Body fat % and inches lost or gained.
Eating 1200-1400 calories will not be enough In my opinion if your eating good foods, real food protein carbs and fats 90% of the time with occasional treats.
for a rough estimate (which is ALL any caloric guideline can give you, you then have to adjust to the individual)i would shoot for around 2000 caloires a day +/-. Your likely not losing due to your body now freaking out after the initial loss and starting to slow down that metabolism to preserve its life, to your body that is FAT and more so in times of low intake. it will hold onto life and even lose muscle mass.
BUT instead of tracking calories I would rather see you track protein and fat grams try and get this amount in each day roughly and then fill in the rest with lots of green veggies and some fruits, and a serving of beans. Protein 140 grams (from COMPLETE protein sources dairy, meats, fish poultry, eggs)fat 60-80 grams of fat( anything BUT trans fats even saturated fats are OK from eggs, meats, and dairy, coconut and cream,just be sure to balance then out with some poly and mono unsaturated fats, I would get and use a fish oil supplement 6 grams a day, other then that the the meats and dairy etc again, nuts, olive oil etc.)then again eat lots of green veggies some fruits and possible beans, Less of the grains some brown rice and oats are great try and steer clear 90% of the time from processed grains breads, pasta, syrups etc.
If you shoot for those amounts youll be doing great if eating real foods and training hard. That would be 1100-1280 calories from protein and fats and you would get the rest of your intake from great carbs. Those fats and protein will have you sparring and building lean muscle and dropping fats the carbs will be the side kick giving some nice sustain energy, hydration and glycogen for your training.
Your doing great dont get TO complicated try and get the proper amounts of protein roughly every day and fats and eat good foods enjoy them and kick butt having fun training, youll see results. Just dont over think and over stress about it, keep it enjoyable.