Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
Young Calorie Counters
Moderators: chrissy1988

HEALTHY & ATHLETIC girls - how much do you eat?

Quote  |  Reply

I'm 17, 5'8 and about 138 lbs now. I'm trying to figure out how much I should eat to maintain - now I currently get in about 2,000-2,200 on active days and 1,800-2,000 on sedentary ones - but I'm suspecting that it isn't enough. I'm a gym-goer and love my cardio, but because of that I've gotten to be "skinny fat" & I'm trying to get really good muscle definition through some strength training and limiting the cardio. :)

So my question is..for those of you who are trying to maintain their weight and are many calories (or how much do you estimate you eat) do you eat per day? I'm thinking to bump up my calories to 2,500 on my active days. I've lost my period over the past year and I suspect it's because I really should be eating more.

19 Replies (last)

When I am active, I can eat 2600+. 

I am only 5'2.

You should be eating much more. I would try and aim for 3000+

I know that right now the way you look is one of the most important things in your life.. Believe me, it was for me too. I'd gotten down to 125 pounds and was maintaining that on around 1800-2000 calories and 5-6 hours of gym training  a week. 

Although it may not seem so, I was really undereating. I was supposed to be eating around 2800-3000 calories to maintain. So I was creating 1000 calorie deficits.

The only way to get your period back NATURALLY is to get to your body's set point. That might not be 138 lbs. That might be 145. That might be 150. But what do you prefer? Looking skinny or being able to have a family in the future? Your periods and metabolism are strongly linked to the amount of leptin in your body. It's found in fat and it's essential for good health.

In order for my body to recover, I'm currently using the help of a former poster on here, Hedgren. She currently advises people on this website:  . If you want your period back and to just stop thinking about calories in-calories out all the time.. you'll have to stop all exercise and since you're under 25, eat at least 3000 calories a day. Until you stop gaining. That will get your metabolism back to normal.

Just spend some time browsing the website. You don't have to do this if you don't want to. But your kids will thank you if you do..

She didn't say anything about trying to look skinny. She's trying to gain mass and that's great. Carly, if you eat mainly healthy foods, you'll find that it's hard to over eat. Sure, you could get a day of calories in one sitting at McDonald's (not saying you do), but you could alternatively fill your body with a lot of great food. I've been awake for less than two hours (west coast) and have eaten whole grain bread and peanut butter, a bowl of brown rice kale and tofu, and I'm about to chomp something else when I finish this post. Then I'm gonna pump iron, and when I'm finished I'm gonna eat again. Probably a big bowl of lentils and quinoa. Then I'm gonna have dinner. Then I'll eat something an hour before bed. I can't sleep when I'm hungry. I hardly count calories anymore, but I eat all day. 

Basically, I fill my body with as much good stuff as it wants and it wants A LOT. It might take some getting used to, but your body will start to want food more often. I've successfully put on some muscle doing this. I'm limiting my cardio too, so we're in the same boat. My legs are firm and I'm starting to see definition on the backs of my arms. Woohoo! Keep eating and pumping. You're gonna look awesome.

Original Post by aragingsea:

She didn't say anything about trying to look skinny. She's trying to gain mass and that's great.

I didn't say she was trying to look skinny. I just told her what she has to do to get her period back.

I eat about 2400-ish a day I think (trying to break the habit of counting), but my nutritionist has talked to me about getting closer to 3000, to maintain (We're slowley increasing so I don't gain weight I think). I'm 5,4', 111-114 pounds, and i exercise 5x a week (4 days are 30 minutes of free weights, 40 minutes minimum of cardio, then the other day is zumba) :) 

I'd reccomend starting free weights if you're "skinny fat." I did this when I felt skinny fat, and within a few weeks, I saw a lot more definition than I used to. Now, I have a 4 pack (a light 6 pack sometimes lol), i can see my biceps, triceps, and I look and feel a lot better! Lifting really works! As for the cardio, a half hour after the weights should do it. Also, for the lifting, choose a weight that you can lift 8-12 times for 3 sets (this is what i've been doing, and it's worked). 

Hope I helped a bit! And, 2500 (or more) should be good for you I think. Probably more because you're tall!

Hi, I can understand where your coming from. I'm 5'2 and 97 pounds. I'm very very active forbim training fr a half marathon. I haven't had my period in almost two years (two yers ago I lost too mug weight by have gained 13pounds since) to gt my period back, should I increase calories?

Yes, you should definitely increase your calories then. How much are you currently eating? 

Increasing calories is definitely a good idea if you have amenorrhea! Have you tried a bodypump class? They're great for creating muscle and are super fun! Also, if you try to gain weight by just eating McDonald's and such you might not feel like yourself! Try eating calorie dense foods like nuts and dried mangos, yummy:)

Definitely increase your calories! If you lost your period, it can be from 2 things: 1. You're severely undereating 2. You're overexercising, or perhaps both. How long do you workout for? How intense are your workouts? Whatever it is, 2000-2200 isn't enough. That's how much an active adult/lightly active teen should eat. You're probably either moderately or highly active.

Anyway, I'm 5'7", 137 lbs, and 5 days a week I do 20-30 minutes of intense cardio and 20-30 minutes of strength training(just some exercises with 8 lb dumbells and my own body weight. I don't go to the gym), I do about 45 minutes of yoga every day, and I often walk around places during the day. I maintain on somewhere around 2500-2700 calories. So yeah, you should really eat more!

Quote  |  Reply
I'm 5' exactly and I swim on a team 2 hours every day. I also Participate in gym class 5 days a week. I shoot for 2300 calories a day but I'm only 100lbs
I currently exercise 5-6 days a week. I run highschol track after school every day and on the weekends I will run long one day (8-13 miles) and rest on Sundays with no physical activity whatsoever. I eat anywhere from 1500-2200 on a daily basis, depending on level of activity of that day, my schedule, etc.

Hha I don't eat McDonald's very often! I eat pretty healthy (I think) although sometimes I worry that my protein intake is too high

Oh, and I forgot ot mention what I eat lol. I eat a lot whole grains and vegetables, lots of fish, meat, and 2% milk and yogurt, A TON of nuts, and I eat plenty of fruit. I also take rice and/or whey protein supplements after workouts, and every morning I'll make organic fruit and vegetable juice with my dad with our juicer. Overall, my diet is very high fat, pretty high in protein, but it's a little bit lower on carbs. But it's important that you get a balance of all 3 macronutrients. You need a lot of carbs for energy, you need a lot of protein to sustain your body and help build muscle, and it's very important that females get a higher fat intake to keep their hormones and reproductive system stable. The right fats are also good for you brain(which is made mostly of fat), and keep you happier and more focused. And since you lost your period, I strongly recommend you eat more fat(healthy kinds found in nuts, EVOO, avocados, whole milk dairy, whole eggs, fish, and coconuts)

But whatever works for you is what you should stick with. Some people thrive on a low fat high carb diet, some do better on a high fat diet, and others on a low carb high protein diet. Whatever you think suits you, just make sure to get enough cals in :)

Thanks all! I haven't really been able to check back lately so thanks so much for all of the awesome responses!

I decided to definately up it to 2,500. On sedentary days I'm going for about 2,000 for right now..probably more though. Basically eat when I feel that I need to instead of ignoring it. And definately hoping that the increased weights will help.

I already eat very healthfully. Lots and lots of fruit, veggies, and whole grains. Quite a bit of protein as well - I try to get in a good amount every time I eat. I'll see where the weights and increased calories takes me!

Hello, I know this is an old post but you all seemed like you have a good idea of what a healthy amount of food is. Something that is sometimes hard to get a good idea about on the internet. Anyway, Im not sure if i still fit in the 'young' category but i am 20 years old 5'5 and 125lbs. I recently gained to this healthy weight after being in quasi recovery and maintaing 115lbs. My question now is what do i eat to maintain? I do about 30mins of walking a day going to class and stuff, a little more walking on weekend if i go to parties or dancing. And i go to the gym 2-3 times a week and do 15mins cardio and about 40 mins weights. During the week i find that i get up to about 1500 but i used to eat more than that when i was 115lbs..and on weekends i eat about 2500 sometimes even more.

My dream/goal would be to just eat like normal college girls and not worry about counting calories :(


ANy suggestions??

Quote  |  Reply
You sound like you are either moderately or very active. Put your stats in this calculator and see what it tells you you should maintain on: s-nutrition-research-center/bodycomp/ ml
Quote  |  Reply
Hello, i also 5'8! And i'm 123 lbs, i also lost my period , since 5 months ago.., maybe because i only eat 1200 cal a day, Now i try to up my calorie intake to 1700, and i feel like i was getting fat ;( , but i will do the best i can until 3000 cal a day. I want my period back! And, 2000 cal a day makes me VERY full, a cup of rice already make my stomach very full, sigh. Anyone has any solution so that i can gain my period back without making myself fat? Oh,I'm basically not a fat person, when i was little, i'm very skinny, i eat very much, and not even gained a pound! But now, eat a little and gained so many fat ;( And by the way, have you recovered yet? :)

What I ate today (only exercise was walking)

Breakfast: (750)

Large bowl of branflakes (200), with muesli (100) and semi skimmed milk (100)

Wholemeal Toast with lots of peanut butter (300)

Milky coffee (50)


Snack: (50)

1/2 Banana (50)


Lunch: (500)

Beans on toast with margerine, with salad, mayo and 1/2 slice of ham

Large Apple


Snack: (200)

Galaxy caramel chocolate egg


Dinner: (600)

1/2 Pack Ravioli with green beans, sweetcorn, asparagus, ketchup and grated cheese on top



Low fat blueberry yoghurt


Other: (500)

Entire bag of cadbury mini eggs!!!

Glass diet coke


...and I am extremely short so I can guarantee you could eat more!


I'm 16, Im 5 feet even, 95 pounds and I run cross country. Some days I only run 3 miles other days I can run up to 8 sometimes 10 miles. I come home after school and I have another workout wether it be cardio, abs, or fitness pal tells me that I need to eat 2040 calories but I feel like that's too low. I can't eat in class so I'm always hungry. I can never pay attention in class, I'm dizzy, lightheaded, frustrated, and hungry all the time. What do I do? I know I'm young, but I really need help
Hi jsam, I also run XC and am your age. I'm 5'1 and 100 pounds, so I have similar stats as well. You definitely need to be eating more. If I were you, I would stop counting calories and start eating intuitively. I started counting calories and ended up with a restrictive eating disorder, which negatively impacted my health and my performance in cross country. Can you speak to your teachers and explain to them that you have XC after school and need to eat something during class? Luckily my teachers are understanding and let me eat a snack during class. You definitely need to be eating more though, you should never feel like that at any point. Make sure that you fuel enough for both XC and school. Good luck and I hope that you have a good XC season :)
19 Replies
Recent Blog Post
When Annie learned she was pre-diabetic, she knew she needed to start treating her body better. She changed her attitude and her eating habits, and pushed herself to get results. Now, after losing 85 pounds, and maintaining her weight for over a year, Annie has learned to make healthy choices and enjoy the occasional indulgence. She’s working on changing her perspective, viewing herself in a new light, and breaking out of her shell.

Continue reading...