2

votes

Ermm... Calories?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 10, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Okay, so I currently weigh 122 lbs, and I'm 5'7". But I'm sort of... Skinny fat. I do have muscle, but it's not really visible anywhere except on my calves. I have heard Robb Wolf talk about the importance of calories in versus calories out, despite how most paleo foods are thermogenic. So I'm just wondering, approx. how many calories should I be consuming at sixteen years old to effectively burn fat, while also building muscle? And how much of my diet should be made up by protein?

If you don't think I should count calories, explain why :)

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:17 AM

...that you know about the importance of eating real foods, and not processed garbage. Exercise, yes. But don't obsess! (Mom lecture now over!!)

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:16 AM

I'm sure I'm projecting some of myself on you, but I'm 5'7 (and was at 16, too). I hit 180, became anorexic, and dropped down to 87 in the span of less than a year. Over time (I was 17 or just turned 18 and in my first semester of college) I gained up to 120. I looked much better, but I was still way too thin. All of which is to say that obsessing about body fat and weight at 16 when you're at 122 and 5'7" brings out my maternal please-don't-let-her-have-an-eating-disorder fears. Eat well. Play. Study. Have fun with your friends. Be glad that you've discovered paleo and...

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Awh, Renee, thank you for that. That makes me feel good. I guess I still consider my body composition to have more fat than it should, but that's by my aesthetic standards, which may be completely skewed. I really have no one else to compare it to of my same build.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:14 AM

Kenzie, at 5'7 and 122 lbs, and STILL GROWING at 16, you absolutely DO NOT need to be focussing on burning fat. I'm sure you don't need to lose any fat. Just build some more muscle underneath. PLEASE, people, let's not encourage young people to develeop eating disorders here. 5'7 and 122 is VERY slim.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 09:48 PM

That's disappointing. Well, if I'm focusing on burning fat, will I at least be able to maintain the muscle I already have, with adequate protein? And then once I get my body fat down to a place where it's healthy and pleasing, I can focus on muscle growth?

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 09:46 PM

I've actually done IFing for quite a while, even before paleo. So that's not at all a problem.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 10, 2011
at 01:38 PM

Excellent point. What your body does with calories is somewhat independent of how many you eat. To change composition requires a body state of preferring muscle to fat. To build muscle, you need stimulus.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 08:54 AM

Oh, also, I do yoga quite often. It calms me.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 08:32 AM

I also walk around a lot. I don't have my license or permit, so my main mode of transit is on foot. Which I like.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 08:31 AM

I would also do 20 minutes or so of cardio, HIIT. And once in a while, I'd play racquetball with my mom. This would typically be 3-5 times a week. But I skimped on the cardio a lot... I didn't really like it. Tedious ><

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 08:29 AM

Hmmm. Well, typically I would do 3 sets of 12 reps of this work out card they had at my gym for both upper and lower body, which would included (but is definitely not limited to) chest press, lat pull downs, tricep extension, a few bicep machines... I would use free weights to do isolation exercises, and then do squats, typically my own body weight. That was it for my upper body. Sorry, I'm not especially good with the technical names, heh. And then for the lower body, I did leg press, calf press, back extension, and two others. Ugh, I feel so unexperienced.

Ba20b502cf02b5513ea8c4bb2740d8cb

(1669)

on November 10, 2011
at 07:27 AM

Can you post your weekly workout routine?

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 03:58 AM

Thank you for that :) I suppose you're right, and maybe I shouldn't spend so much time stressing over it. I know that I make healthy eating choices, and I am only eating when I'm hungry, so if I start muscle building, I should probably be good...

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 03:44 AM

Well, to be honest, lately I have not been doing much ._. I just started the paleo challenge, and I'm not feeling very energetic right now. But normally, I do an upper body circuit about 2 times a week, and a lower body 3 times. Right now, I've just been doing lots of up and down stairs on my toes, and carrying heavy things around (I'm moving..).

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on November 10, 2011
at 03:42 AM

What do you do for exercise? Building muscle isn't going to happen for most women without targeted exercise.

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8 Answers

5
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 10, 2011
at 04:01 AM

Don't count calories. Reason? Your young, active, and have never been overweight (from what I understand). You should be focusing on the quality of your foods first and foremost. Make sure you eat enough protein (about 1g/lb of lean mass, so up to or around 120 grams/day), and let the rest fall into place. Eat when your hungry and stop when your satisfied. Counting calories is a technique some are "forced" to utilize, but you shouldn't have to.

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 10, 2011
at 03:44 AM

Sadly, even if you do count calories it won't be effective to change "skinny fat." You'll just get "skinny but not fat." Not a good look, believe me.

Here are some things to think about:

  • the only way to change "skinny fat" is building healthy muscle
  • It's good to want to be healthy but you also need to concentrate on social life skills and studies, etc.
  • There isn't one precise ratio of macronutrients that's perfect for everyone; you'll really have to experiment over time.

Eat healthy, be active (with a moderate, sensible exercise program) and good things will happen--but not overnight.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 10, 2011
at 01:38 PM

Excellent point. What your body does with calories is somewhat independent of how many you eat. To change composition requires a body state of preferring muscle to fat. To build muscle, you need stimulus.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 03:58 AM

Thank you for that :) I suppose you're right, and maybe I shouldn't spend so much time stressing over it. I know that I make healthy eating choices, and I am only eating when I'm hungry, so if I start muscle building, I should probably be good...

2
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on November 10, 2011
at 04:01 AM

Good for you for getting an early start (earlier than most on the PH site, at least) on actively managing the foods you choose to eat. However, at 16 years old, I wouldn't worry so much about "calories in versus calories out" and risk becoming overly focused on the issue or even developing an eating disorder. Eat the foods prescribed in your Paleo challenge and eat to satiety and you will be fine. Be active. Walk. Lift a few weights, if you like. Team sports are great at your age if you have interest. Be young, enjoy it, and do the right thing most of the time with respect to your diet.

1
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 10, 2011
at 11:45 AM

Wow ... what I would give to be in my teens and finding paleo! I envy you ;).

That said, I agree with the comments to say that you shouldn't worry about calories. What I'd like to add is that I think following Mark Sisson's recommendations for fitness would be a great strategy:

Move Frequently at a Slow Pace strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems, promotes efficient fat metabolism and gives you a strong base to handle more intense workouts.

Lift Heavy Things stimulates lean muscle development, improves organ reserve, accelerates fat loss, and increases energy.

Sprint Once in a While stimulates the production of HGH and testosterone, which help improve overall fitness and delay the aging process ??? without the burnout risk of excessive prolonged workouts.

Try and avoid falling into the chronic cardio trap! Or as the Dos Equis guy says: "running in place will never get you the same results as running from a lion" ;).

0
E167c0387a5f0b87bb1f2c3e6aec73a8

(1240)

on November 10, 2011
at 06:46 PM

Is not about "how many calories" Is what your body does with the calories. Do you want better partitioning? Start IFing.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 09:46 PM

I've actually done IFing for quite a while, even before paleo. So that's not at all a problem.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 10, 2011
at 06:12 PM

If you've got the time and like geeking-out on numbers, by all means count calories, count everything.

Also, be forewarned: burning fat and building muscle don't go hand in hand. The former needs energy deficit, the latter needs energy surplus.

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 10, 2011
at 09:48 PM

That's disappointing. Well, if I'm focusing on burning fat, will I at least be able to maintain the muscle I already have, with adequate protein? And then once I get my body fat down to a place where it's healthy and pleasing, I can focus on muscle growth?

Cf4e7d927a48582cc22adbe59bfd0b2d

(753)

on November 11, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Awh, Renee, thank you for that. That makes me feel good. I guess I still consider my body composition to have more fat than it should, but that's by my aesthetic standards, which may be completely skewed. I really have no one else to compare it to of my same build.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on November 11, 2011
at 03:14 AM

Kenzie, at 5'7 and 122 lbs, and STILL GROWING at 16, you absolutely DO NOT need to be focussing on burning fat. I'm sure you don't need to lose any fat. Just build some more muscle underneath. PLEASE, people, let's not encourage young people to develeop eating disorders here. 5'7 and 122 is VERY slim.

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:16 AM

I'm sure I'm projecting some of myself on you, but I'm 5'7 (and was at 16, too). I hit 180, became anorexic, and dropped down to 87 in the span of less than a year. Over time (I was 17 or just turned 18 and in my first semester of college) I gained up to 120. I looked much better, but I was still way too thin. All of which is to say that obsessing about body fat and weight at 16 when you're at 122 and 5'7" brings out my maternal please-don't-let-her-have-an-eating-disorder fears. Eat well. Play. Study. Have fun with your friends. Be glad that you've discovered paleo and...

E06dcdb3f856057025e9776e038d8072

(305)

on November 13, 2011
at 04:17 AM

...that you know about the importance of eating real foods, and not processed garbage. Exercise, yes. But don't obsess! (Mom lecture now over!!)

0
8cbb06eb84dad8d2db56fcc4d8bdc0ba

on November 10, 2011
at 06:58 AM

Being a petite woman who used to be skinny fat and has leaned out and built muscle (started at 25%bf===> 13% at one point ---> recently crept up to around 16-18%), I can say that it takes A LOT of weight training to maintain the upper body muscle tone that I want. I never understand why some women are so afraid of weight training because they are afraid of 'bulking up' really easily. I find that the moment I deviate from 3-4x biceps/shoulder training sessions per week of lifting HEAVY compard to the other women in the gym, my muscles start to get noticeably smaller! I can't say for lower body because while i go for tightness, I don't desire much definitition in my legs.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 10, 2011
at 04:24 AM

You are going to need to lift weights to get more muscle

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