In my personal training business I see a lot of my clients under eating and not understanding why they are not getting results.
When you don't eat, you lose more fat right?
Yes its true that in order to lose weight you need to be in a slight calorie deficit, but by how much?
The best way I've found is to track what you eat everyday, and literally track every single food you eat.
Then you can really see how many calories you are actually eating and that will give you a starting point to figure out your calorie range. It will also depend on your goals.
In order to build muscle you need to be eating enough calories so that you don't burn through all the muscle you are trying to build. But if you want to lose weight, and you are already at a steep deficit, there's no more room to cut out more calories without being unsafe and feeling crappy. If you have been a calorie deficit for a long time then it's time to switch up your metabolism and slowly add more calories back into your diet. If you add slowly while keeping up with your cardio and weight training, your metabolism will speed up and within 2-3 weeks you start to see your body change... of course that is if you are eating clean and healthy food choices.
It takes time, like all things! Be patient. My suggestion is to never go below 1500 calories.
The average person burns 1400-1500 calories a day just being alive.
Now add in walking, working, eating, exercise, breathing, etc.
Now you've burned a lot more than the 1400-1500 calories and you'll need the right amount of calories and nutrients to sustain your body and continue to build muscle and burn fat. I realize it doesn't quite make sense to "eat more" to lose weight in our brains...but you also dont want to eat through all your gains you are trying to preserve and build more from!
This is where people get frustrated.... 1500-1700 is still a low calorie range and is my recommendation to stay at if you really want to be on a low calorie regimen. Anything lower than that and you won't be able to sustain, especially as you progress and get stronger and need to increase volume and intensity in your training. Plus- who doesn't want to eat more to get better results?!!!
I would recommend for the average person in the gym: 1500-1700 as a low calorie range, 1700-2000 for a maintenance and building muscle range and 2000-2500 for wanting to gain weight and muscle. Unless you are a seasoned person in the gym or a body builder, those #s would be different. I personally eat about 1900-2100 calories a day, which leaves me room to go on more of a deficit if I need to without being too extreme on the deficit. Here are some food tracking apps to use: