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Question: I am a 24-year old male. 147 lb. 5’ 11”. 12-14% body fat. I eat about 3315 calories per day. Am I overeating or undereating?

Context: I used to be very skinny at around 121 lb. I started working out and eating more and my weight began to rise very steeply. I also noticed that my appetite was increasing a bit faster than I expected. For the first 2 months of serious lifting, it seemed like my appetite was increasing every week as I got stronger. The meal that satisfied me the previous week was now inadequate for this week. So, I apparently worked my way up to eating a lot of food. I put on about 30 pounds in the first 2 months. My family witnessed this dramatic increase in appetite and criticized me for eating too much. Then, I took a break from lifting because I resumed school but my appetite stayed the same. I got busy and didn’t like cooking so much food for thrice daily eating, so I started eating twice a day (breakfast and dinner). I was initially hungry but my body got used to it. A few weeks later, I dialed back to one meal a day (dinner), and again, my body got used to it. So, that brings us to the present. I have resumed lifting with once daily eating and I am getting stronger and, thankfully, my appetite isn’t increasing. My family still thinks I’m eating too much.

Specifics: I think my lifting age is about 4 months, although I’ve fooled around with weights for more than a year. I work out 3-4x/week in a bro split: Chest & Triceps / Back & Biceps / Legs & Shoulders. Here are some of my recent numbers to gauge my strength:

  • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 45 lb 5x7
  • Pullups (unassisted) 4x7
  • Deadlift 155 lb 4x7
  • Flat Dumbbell Bench Press 60 lb 4x7
  • Dips (unassisted) 5x11

I run 3-4x/week, 2.75 miles/session. I try to increase my speed with each session. Currently @ 7.5 minutes/mile.

My meal info:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup of soymilk
  • Lunch: None
  • Dinner: 1 cup of soymilk, 3.8 servings of broccoli, 4.1 servings of whole grain pasta, 2.9 servings of black eyed peas, 7.8 servings of oatmeal, 3.2 servings of peanuts

Total: 3315 calories 537 g carbs, 155 g protein, 84 g fat, 107 g fiber. 61% carbs 18% protein, 21% fat Besides weightlifting and cardio, I’m very sedentary and work at a desk all day. So, I am eating too much or too little?

EDIT: My estimate is that I am gaining about a pound every 2 weeks. I haven't been tracking my weight as religiously as I used to so I can't say for sure.

  • Are you gaining or losing weight each week? How much? Past four weeks as an example. – JustSnilloc Jun 29 '18 at 19:15
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First of all it is hard to answer such question because everyones body is different. But I can tell the following things helped me alot with quite the same problem.

(1) It depends on your feeling. If your appetite is increasing it is not a bad thing. If you are training harder or more (or both) this will certainly happen. And it is kind of a good sign because it means your body is burning more calories and you are probably getting stronger. But if you are feeling full and/or tired all the time and can't concentrate at work (which I did'nt assume from your question) it is definitely too much for your body. I know it from myself that those thing are depending highly on my caloric intake and on the food I eat. So listen to your body. And if you cannot tell now just stick to it and look how you feel after a couple weeks or even months. Your body will need time to really understand how much it really needs. But I can say that you're the only one who will know how much is the right amount, not your family or other people.

(2) It depends on your goal. I suggest from your text that you neather want to gain weight nor loose some. If you are gaining one pound in 2 weeks and also getting stronger your calories probably fit to your body.

Conclusion: Listen to your body and look how your life is going. Stick to your "diet" for a long time and change it if you are feeling bad with it. Lastly ask yourself the following questions: Do you feel benefits or disadvantages by eating that amount and type of food? Do you sleep well or restless? Are you getting stronger or feeling full and powerless at every training (which you answered)? Can you work efficiently at work or not? I hope I could help a little.

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First, it's not how many calories who defines if you eat too much or too less. It's the balance between your depenses and your incomes.

To gain weight (and muscle): incomes > depenses To loose weight (and muscle): depenses > incomes.

For avoid to take too much fat, be sure to have incomes arround 200kcal (200lb rice) more than depenses. If you stagnate, you could eat a little more. Don't be like all youtubes on roids, if you eat too much too fast, you take fat (and the more you get fat, the easier it is to take). A good progress is arround 2lbs/month at begenning. So a pound/2 weeks is good, if is regulary.

In your case, the problem can be the fact that you eat only one time a day. The quantity is enormous, so your parents have a "normal" reaction. If you could split in one more meal, you could eat more before fill full. Try to prepare in advance yours meals, by example cook at diner for dinner + lunch.

Others options if you can't split meals : 1. is to reduce the depenses, by running less for example. 2. eat meals easy to take: fruits, nuts, almond..

Sorry for langage, i'm not a native english. I hope I have answered your questions :D

  • In this context, the English terms for "incomes" and "depenses" would be "intake" and "expenditure". :-) – David Scarlett Jul 2 '18 at 15:17

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