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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Is my 1,400 calories too low for my exercise level?

Hello, I've set my weight loss target to 2 lbs a week so my calories per day are 1,400 and 200 burnt by exercise. I started this yesterday but I've been feeling really sick and even fainted in the doctor's surgery this morning after a blood test. I did a vigorous spinning class yesterday and tend in general to do quite intensive workouts / classes at the gym 5-6 times per week. It's the first time I've tried to lose more than 1lb a week on NC. Is it too little food for me? I know loads of people on NC eat 1,400 kcals a week and do sport and are fine. But I feel headachy and weak.


Our expert says...


The symptoms of weakness, headaches and feinting after a blood test can be sign of a significant calorie deficit (too little food!) that is too much for the body. For a 2lbs a week weight loss, these symptoms can commonly occur intermittently, as the general guidance for safe (yet effective) weight loss is set as a lesser amount of ½ to 1 pound a week.

Also, because of the 5-6 times a week you exercise intensely, the symptoms you are already experiencing may relate to your body needing more calories for recovery purposes from your heavy training schedule (high calorie expenditure from exercise).

What you could try is maximising your water intake and sleep as well as ensuring your pre and post-exercise nutrition is optimum to get the best muscle recovery possible. These factors are important for supporting your immune system while you work on achieving a daily calorie deficit. If these factors aren’t in balance then the result can also be the same symptoms you are experiencing.

If you are unable to rid yourself of these symptoms by considering the balance of other factors then I would recommend you adjust your target to 1.5lbs or even 1lb a week. Weight loss will still be the result, albeit perhaps not quite as quick but it will be manageable and be achieved without negative symptoms.

Hope this helps,


You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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