Updated: June 18, 2024

I’m Eating 1300 Calories a Day and NOT Losing Weight. Why?

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Women, especially over 40, come to me struggling to lose weight. They are often eating too few calories.

They are active, exercising 4-6 times a week, strength training, doing cardio, yoga, and more. They have a well-balanced, active lifestyle, and they eat pretty good.

I always get nervous when they say “I can’t lose any weight” because I know what’s coming next.

“Sometimes I go over my calories and blow it. I get tired of being hungry and just want to be like everyone else. But, I eat healthy most of the time.”

Is 1300 Calories Enough for Weight Loss Over 40?

I have blogs that deal with the diet stalls that stem from mindset (basically how you avoid the binge/restrict mindset, a topic covered more in-depth in my free course).

The closer you get to your 40’s, the hormones start changing. Hell, it all starts changing! Face, boobs, sleep, hair, you name it. LOL

But a big one is that your body is READY for any mishaps with your diet. If you overeat or binge it stores fat faster. If you eat junk, it goes to your belly faster. If you diet it comes off slower.

Most of us grew up when 1200-1500 calories a day was the norm. You dieted with little emphasis on exercise. Diets were about ignoring your body. You gave your body barely what it needs to survive and the rest of the time you were to knuckle through.

The Dangers of Eating Only 1300 Calories a Day

The PROBLEM is this: Your BODY wants to thrive – not deprive. It’s goal is to love you and help you feel good. You starve it and it works to help you want to eat. It wants to thrive.

And, when you hit your 40’s you have taught your body lessons: We starve and store fat until we overeat where we are forced to store fat.

In our 20’s and 30’s the body can BARELY tolerate this behavior for the time being. It is still trying to keep you a baby making machine. You need muscle and bone to do this. It takes less to do more.

Some of my 30 year old clients have seen thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue and other early signs they have deprived their bodies far too long already. These crazy low calorie diets are catching up to us faster and faster these days.

Once you coast into the 40’s your body is primed to deteriorate, though

We start losing our ability to have children. Our muscle starts to waste without effort.  The hair thins. And, we store fat in our belly because our body says “you don’t need birthing hips – you need a liver, kidneys, and other vital organs!”

Balancing Exercise and Nutrition: Why 1300 Calories Isn’t Enough

I am writing this blog not from a scientific point of view (trust me there are PLENTY of internet gurus who can give you research and all that jazz).

You won’t see research cited, but I can tell you that if you are nodding your head…BAM. There’s one proof. What women go through is always my best evidence and I coach women all day, every day.

But I want to be the TORNADO SIREN who is going to give you chills that your ass better change or your ass is going to change!

My young girls who read this LISTEN HARD. You need to stop over-dieting in your 20’s and 30’s.

I can promise you’ll be seeking me out at 40 pissed you were hungry and working hard for years. All it got you was an extra 20lbs extra that is like brick and mortar today.

Signs That 1300 Calories is Not Enough for Your Body

I don’t have people eat below 1400 calories a day for this very reason; it long-term makes you a fat storing machine.

Doesn’t matter how much you train. Eventually, your body finds other ways to adapt to using 1200-1400 calories as a maintenance level.

The body is smart. It’s meant to keep you alive. And it’s goal is to adapt to what you do.

You sit around for 30 years – your spine will curve.

You severely restrict calories – your body will learn to operate as efficiently as possible in the low calorie range.

Why to Eat More Than 1300 Calories a Day

Your body will eventually think, “We better learn to live on this really low budget. We better start the savings account – on your butt.”

What I do for my members is teach them to avoid severe ANYTHING.

  • No severe calorie deficits.
  • Eat when you begin to get physical hunger and STOP when you are between satisfied and full.
  • No overfilling the gas tank and no running it until it hits FUMES.

I teach my personal clients how to not count calories, but how to learn your body’s cues. So freeing.

They don’t focus on calories but on types of food they eat. Why they eat. And they learn what real hunger and real fullness feels like. So many people only know two things: starving and stuffing. HANGRY and OUT OF CONTROL. That’s no way to live, BTW.

women over 40 celebrating weightloss while eating more than 1300 calories a day

If you do count calories, you’ll need to slowly bump up your calories to a level that has your body feeling good and running efficiently, like my non-calorie counting clients.

The lower your calories, the LESS joy food you can eat. Why? No nutritional value but a large percentage of your overall intake.

How to Transition from a 1300 Calorie Diet to a Sustainable Eating Plan

My best advice is to increase calories by 100 per week.

Example: You eat 1300 a day now – 1400 a day for a week.

Next week, move to 1500.

Keep bumping until you start to feel satisfied with your food, can include more variety, have a treat of 10% of your food each day, sleep better, and notice you aren’t a cranky person. 🙂

Be a woman determined to not teach your body how to store fat and be hungry!

Allow your body to realize you are not getting old and starving!

What to Expect When You Increase Your Caloric Intake

Last piece of advice. When you UP calories your scale MIGHT go UP, too.

It is likely not fat, which is what we all think. It’s often your body adding back in vital hydration and muscle glycogen stores you have depleted. That stuff doesn’t make you stuff your pants. It’s the stuff that makes you feel like you have energy!

Often, my more active members who can’t lose weight notice a few weeks of nothing but increased energy, better workouts, and good sleep.

If it will get in your head, stay off the scale and get out the tape measure. Get the calories up and track your neck, arms, bust, waist, hips, and thighs. That truly tells you if you are getting smaller or bigger. Track your moods, how fast you are walking and running, how much weight you are lifting, and how many hours you’re sleeping.

That stuff is a much better indicator of your fat loss than a scale number EVER will be.

To hear more from me about how to lose weight without depriving yourself of foods you love, get my free course here.


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I'm Corinne Crabtree

Corinne Crabtree, top-rated podcaster, has helped millions of women lose weight by blending common-sense methods with behavior-based psychology.

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