Hello, I'm new here and was wondering if I could get an unbiased opinion on how many calories I should be eating.
I am 5ft 4in female who dropped from 200lbs down to 120lbs at my lightest but now I am currently 144lbs. I am very active and look at what I eat every day. Even though I have gained a fair bit of weight back, I am definitely at my fittest physically and have regained some 'female physiological functions' which disappeared for over a year at my lowest weight.
I have incorporated a lot of weight training so I imagine that some weight may be gained muscle but the majority will have been fat. My aim is to build muscle and strength and lose fat. My clothes are feeling tighter in places (arms, calves, thighs, butt and stomach to some extent) and that is quite disconcerting to me psychologically, having dropped a lot of weight and sizes only to start putting it back on again.
My problem is that I am trying to eat at a slight deficit but the scale is going nowhere and I can feel it affecting my energy levels and exercise performance negatively. I have no idea whether I am eating too much/too little? So if anyone could help that would be great.
I am currently eating 2350cals a day. I work 5 days a week in a lab so there is a lot of standing at the bench or sitting at a computer.
My exercise is as follows (with approx burns from my hrm):
Fast paced Cycling 2.5miles each way to and from work 5x a week. Approximately 700cals a week.
1x Swim for 40mins. Approximately 300cals.
1x Run (between 5k and 10k). Approximately 250-650cals.
2x RPM spinning classes. Approximately 850cals a week.
2x Crossfit style classes. Approximately 700cals a week.
2x 5/3/1 heavy lifting workouts (squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses).
So I'm burning around 3000cals a week + those that I don't measure when doing weight lifting.
Is 2350cals a day enough cals to fuel this amount of exercise and maybe drop some fat? There's so much conflicting info online. Some sites say to drop to 1200cals which I personally think would kill me whereas other places say I need a lot more calories (like 2800-3000 region?!?).
I just have it ingrained in my mind that a 5ft 4in female should never need to eat more than 2000cals a day as that THE average guideline amount! But I'm guessing I do more exercise than your average Joe so maybe there's truth in it?
I know this is a massive TLDR, but any advice would be gratefully received
I'm really confused.
Thanks for your time