Hi Hayley,
Over the last few years I have lost about 55 lbs – and have maintained that more or less for about 2 years (I’ve gained and lost the same 5 or 6 lbs). With my upcoming wedding in late August I have bumped up my exercise and nutrition routine with the hopes of losing a few inches and toning up so I look great in my dress.

I generally eat the same things every day – steel cut oats with almond milk and berries for breakfast, salad and protein for lunch and dinner (quinoa and fish- I also add some hemp seeds to my salads for a little more omega 3’s) and snacks of raw veggies, raw almonds, fruit and Greek yogurt and I drink a ton of water every day. I generally eat around 1400 – 1500 calories a day and track my calories and exercise on a website.

My question is should I be eating back the calories I burn with exercise? I try to do different stuff every day – usually about an hour and half of exercise 5 days a week. I have been doing HIIT kickboxing 3 times a week, walking, stair climbing and one day a week of the gym doing weights and various cardio. According the website I track on I a burning anywhere from 400 – 1000 calories a day in exercise – depending on what I am doing. On the days I do kickboxing (I do this first thing in the morning) I generally add a walk or stair climbing later in the day and will have a larger calorie burn on those days.  I don’t want to be messing with my metabolism by not eating enough calories and I feel like the 1400-1500 calories is a pretty low number to begin with. Currently I am eating back about half of the calories I have been burning.

Thanks for your help Hayley!!
~ D



Yes, you definitely need to be eating back those calories you burned. If you are eating 1500 calories and burning 1000 calories, your net calorie intake is only 500, which is at least 200 less than what your body requires just to keep itself alive. If you are not supplying your body with enough energy just to function then how is it supposed to support 90 minutes of daily exercise?

On your days of heavy exercise I would bump your calories up closer to 2000 but make sure you are picking the right calories. Having the mentality of “I just worked out so I can have a muffin” will not get you anywhere. Keep the refined sugar and processed foods out of your diet and keep eating what you are eating, such as hard boiled eggs, tuna, vegetables and healthy grains.

However, you need to understand that this is not what I recommend in my personal training practice. I preach balance and work with my clients so that they are able to enjoy a glass of wine or a decadent dinner out with friends without feeling like they need to jump onto a treadmill the next day and burn the calories from the night before. Because you are trying to look your best on your special day a sacrifice is needed. I do hope that once the wedding decorations are put away you will be able to find your balance in your life and put down your calorie counter.

Attached – David and Brooklyn Beckham leaving SoulCycle.