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When you have a weight loss goal, the most important factor that will determine your success is whether or not you are in a calorie deficit. You must be able to maintain a calorie deficit over a consistent period of time in order for your body to lose fat.
If you are eating 1100 calories a day, you might be under the assumption that you are in a calorie deficit. So what happens if you have been consistently eating 1100 calories per day, but you aren’t losing weight?
If you’re not losing weight eating 1100 calories a day, this could be from not properly calculating your calorie deficit, not tracking calories properly, or being in a caloric deficit for too long. Other factors that could result in an inability to lose weight are high stress levels or underlying health conditions.
It can be extremely frustrating to think that you are in a calorie deficit but still cannot lose weight. If this sounds familiar, there are steps that you can take in order to kickstart your progress.
In this article, we will discuss:
- 5 Reasons you’re not losing weight eating 1100 calories per day
- Steps to take if you’re not losing weight eating 1100 calories per day
- Realistic results you can expect from eating 1100 calories per day
5 Reasons you’re not losing weight eating 1100 calories per day
The 5 reasons you’re not losing weight while eating 1100 calories per day are:
- You have not calculated your deficit calories accurately
- You are not tracking your calories precisely
- You have been eating too little calories for too long
- You are only relying on the scale to indicate fat loss progress
- ·You have unmanaged stressors or underlying medical conditions inhibiting progress
1. You Have Not Calculated Your Deficit Calories Accurately
If you have been eating 1100 calories a day for a consistent period of time and have not experienced any weight loss, there is a chance that you may not actually be in the correct calorie deficit for your body. This means that your body is actually burning less calories than you thought it was in a day.
In order to truly know the correct calorie deficit for your body, you must have an accurate calculation of what your maintenance calories are. This can be done by determining your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
One of the easiest ways to determine your TDEE is to input your personal stats into an online calculator, such as this one here. Once you have done that you will be able to properly determine a calorie deficit.
A good place to start with a calorie deficit is to subtract anywhere from 200-500 calories from your TDEE, or maintenance calories. This would mean that if your maintenance calories were anywhere from 1300-1700 calories, then an 1100 calorie diet would be considered a calorie deficit for you.
It is important to note that while online TDEE calculators are a great tool to establish maintenance calories, it is impossible for it to be 100% accurate. Your TDEE calculation can provide a great starting point, but it may take some trial and error with your diet in order for you to determine what your true maintenance and deficit calories are.
Related Article: Eating Below TDEE & Not Losing Weight (8 Reasons Why)
2. You Are Not Tracking Your Calories Precisely
While it can be tempting to eyeball your portions while on a diet, this is a very easy way to miscalculate the amount of food that you are actually consuming. When you are in a calorie deficit with a goal of weight loss, it is crucial that you are as accurate with food measurements as possible.
There are many ways that you might be miscalculating the amount of food that you are eating. Some examples of this are:
- Not using a food scale and “eyeballing” your food measurements
- Forgetting to track condiments, sauces, and oils
- Sampling bites of food throughout the day without tracking
- Always licking the knife or the spoon after spreading high calorie condiments
- Not using verified food sources on calorie counting apps
You might be thinking, “how can licking the spoon throw me out of a calorie deficit?!”. While the above behaviors might seem inconsequential, they can add up quickly throughout the day or over consecutive days, and ruin your calorie deficit.
This can happen even more easily if your calorie deficit is as low as 1100 calories. With a deficit this low, it would really only take an extra 50 calories a few times a day to sabotage your efforts.
3. You Have Been Eating Too Little Calories for Too Long
When you have been in a calorie deficit for an extended period of time, or restricting calories too heavily, this can lead to your metabolism slowing down, which can cause a weight loss plateau.
This point is particularly important to consider if you find that you are not losing weight eating 1100 calories a day. Since 1100 calories a day would be considered a very low number of calories for pretty much anyone, if you aren’t losing weight eating this much it may have something to do with a slowed metabolism caused by your dieting history.
While the golden rule of fat loss is to be in a calorie deficit, there actually is such thing as cutting calories too low and not eating enough. In fact, dieting on a low number of calories for too long can increase the stress hormone cortisol, which can actually result in your body storing more fat.
When you are in a calorie deficit, it is pretty much inevitable that your metabolism will adapt over time to this new calorie intake. Knowing this, it is very easy to see how someone who has been dieting for too long could have trouble losing weight on 1100 calories, even if that should be a calorie deficit for their body.
This is why it is important to remember that a calorie deficit phase should only be temporary, and if your body is no longer responding to an extremely low number of calories, it might be in your best interest to consider implementing a refeed or a diet break to allow your metabolism to recover.
Related Article: Can You Lose Fat Eating Maintenance Calories?
4. You Are Only Relying on the Scale to Indicate Fat Loss Progress
It is very common for people to become frustrated with their weight loss progress if the only form of measurement they are using is the bathroom scale. While tracking your weight during a calorie deficit can provide extremely pertinent information, it should not be the only form of measurement that you are using.
If you have been eating 1100 calories a day and are not seeing the number on the scale go down, this does not necessarily mean that you have not lost any weight. This is especially true if you have also been working out in the gym.
The weight that you see on the scale generally does not paint a full picture of what is happening in the body. For example, if you have lost weight, the scale does not tell you if this weight has come from fat, muscle, organs or bones.
In addition to this, if you have been working out while on your calorie deficit, there is a good chance that you have lost fat, but you might be building muscle simultaneously. In this instance, your body composition and the way your body looks will change, but the weight on the scale might not change much at all.
It is also important to note that our body weight can fluctuate for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with body fat. For example, things such as an increased sodium intake, eating higher carbs, completing a heavy workout, and monthly hormonal fluctuations (seen in women) are all reasons that you might see the weight on the scale go up.
While you can absolutely still use the bathroom scale to measure progress, don’t let this be your only form of measurement. You can utilize other tools such as body measurements with a measuring tape, body fat measuring tools, and noting how your clothes fit are all great ways to measure progress.
5. You Have Unmanaged Stressors or Underlying Medical Conditions Inhibiting Progress
If you have tried all of the points mentioned above, and you still cannot understand why you are not losing weight while eating 1100 calories a day, it might be time to consider that your body could be under unnecessary stress, or you might be dealing with an underlying health condition that is hindering your weight loss.
The first thing you might want to consider is the possible stressors that might be negatively affecting your body. When our body is under a chronic state of stress, this can have a negative effect on the nervous system, driving up cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body which can make it more difficult to lose weight.
Your body can experience chronic stress from things like:
- A poor sleep cycle (not getting enough sleep)
- Financial struggles
- Career struggles
- Eating highly processed foods
- Not eating enough calories
- Relationship or marital troubles
- Not having any joy or happiness in life
While you might think that the above points have nothing to do with weight loss, you might be surprised how even these aspects of your life can have an effect on the health of your physical body. If you can say that you experience even one of the points listed above, then it might be worthwhile to evaluate different ways to reduce or cope with these stressors in your life.
In addition to unmanaged stress, it is possible that the body not being responsive to a calorie deficit could be caused by an underlying medical condition. Certain medical conditions can actually make it more difficult for the body to lose weight.
For example, if you look at the medical condition known as hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, then you will see that it is a common symptom for people to have difficulty losing weight. This is because when the body is underproducing thyroid hormone, it can result in a slower metabolism.
There are other medical conditions that can result in the body being unable to respond to a calorie deficit in a normal way, and if you suspect that this could be the case for you, you should seek out the attention of a healthcare professional who can work with you on treatment.
Steps to Take if You’re Not Losing Weight Eating 1100 Calories Per Day
Step 1: Recalculate your calorie deficit to ensure accuracy
In order to guarantee that your deficit calories are accurate, you are going to want to make sure you have correctly calculated the number of calories that your body burns in a day. In order to do this, you must know how many calories your body needs to simply maintain its functions, along with how many calories you burn through activity in a day.
Give your body at least 2-3 weeks to respond to your new calorie deficit, and if you are not seeing results after this much time has passed, you may need to re-evaluate your TDEE calculation again.
Step 2: Use a reliable food scale and food measuring tools to weigh your food
The most accurate way to determine the amount of food that you are eating is to use an accurate food scale and food measuring tools to portion out your meals.
There are many different retail and online stores where you can purchase a good food scale. For your convenience, I have linked a good quality digital food scale that is available on Amazon here.
Step 3: Ensure you are using verified food sources on calorie counting apps
Even if you are using a good quality food scale to measure out your food portions, this will provide you with no benefit if you are logging this information using inaccurate, unverified food sources on your calorie counting app.
For this reason, it is encouraged to only use verified food sources on the calorie counting app that you frequently use.
While there are many different calorie counting apps on the market, Macrofactor has the largest verified food database, in turn making it the most dependable.
Step 4: Consider implementing a refeed or a diet break to increase your calories
If after exhausting all of the steps above with no success, it is most likely time for you to take a diet break, or implement a refeed into your diet.
If you have been eating 1100 calories a day for a prolonged period of time, this may be having a negative effect on your metabolic function, and the only solution is to begin to reverse calories back up to a healthy amount.
Step 5: Take steps to manage your stress and seek out medical treatment if needed
Regardless of whether or not you have hit a weight loss plateau, learning to manage any sources of chronic stress in your life will ultimately help your body to function at its best.
Different techniques that you can implement in order to manage or reduce any unwanted stress are:
- Create a healthy sleep routine and schedule
- Practice meditation and mindfulness throughout the day
- Reduce the amount of time you spend looking at blue light (such as on your phone or TV)
- Eat a diet comprised of mostly whole foods while limiting processed items
- Schedule daily activities that bring you happiness
- Connect with a community that has similar interests to you (e.g. a running club)
- Invest in therapy to help assist you in working through any unresolved issues
In addition to managing your stressors, seeking medical attention for any potential medical condition will be a critical step toward you resolving this matter. Talking to your family doctor and asking for any necessary testing can help you to find the answers you might be seeking.
Realistic Results You Can Expect From Eating 1100 Calories Per Day
The results that you can expect from eating 1100 calories per day are going to depend on the following factors
- If you are a male or a female
- Your current age, body weight, and height
- Your activity level
- Your history of dieting
1. If You Are a Male or a Female
The number of calories that are required on a daily basis are going to vary drastically depending on if you are a male or a female. In general, males need significantly more calories than females do in order to maintain their weight. For this reason, it is highly unlikely that it would ever be reasonable for a male to be eating 1100 calories per day.
Since the number of calories the average 19–30-year-old female needs per day is about 2000-2200 calories, eating 1100 calories per day would be considered a very low deficit even for women. This would be even more drastic for a male of the same demographic since they need roughly 2600-2800 calories per day to maintain their weight.
While there are other deciding factors that we will discuss below that might result in an individual requiring an 1100 calorie deficit, in general, a deficit this low would be considered unsafe and unsustainable for the average male, and even certain females depending on their personal TDEE.
2. Your Current Age, Body Weight and Height
Similar to your gender, statistics such as your age, body weight and height are all factors that are going to have an influence on how many calories your body burns in a day.
In general, the taller you are and the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will need to maintain your weight. In addition to this, since muscle mass will typically start to deteriorate after age 30, calorie requirements may begin to decrease slightly as you age. However this can greatly depend on the individual.
For this reason, an 1100 calorie deficit will likely only be suitable for smaller individuals who have a lower BMR (basal metabolic rate) and TDEE. For example, a 45-year-old woman who is 5’1” tall and weighs 110 pounds and does minimal exercise has a TDEE of around 1300 calories per day. For this woman, an 1100 calorie deficit could be reasonable.
- If you are curious to know your BMR, use our BMR calculator.
To give another example, a 30-year-old female who is 5’6” tall and weighs 135 pounds and takes part in moderate weekly exercise has a TDEE of around 2000 calories per day. For this woman, eating 1100 calories a day would create a deficit of around 900 calories. This will likely be extremely unsustainable and could have negative effects on her health long term.
Related Article: 1000 Calorie Deficit: Is It Healthy & How Much Can You Lose?
3. Your Activity Level
Since your activity level contributes to the number of calories that your body burns in a day, the results that you can expect from eating 1100 calories a day will depend on how much daily activity and exercise that you take part in.
If you are taking part in even a moderate amount of exercise on a consistent basis, then it would be highly unlikely for your body to require an 1100 calorie deficit for weight loss.
In fact, if you are eating 1100 calories per day, vigorous forms of exercise should be avoided in order to prevent creating an unhealthy deficit, since your body needs an adequate amount of fuel in order to support your training sessions.
4. Your History of Dieting
Last but certainly not least, the results that you can expect from eating 1100 calories a day will be largely dependent on your personal dieting history.
This is due to the fact that even though the fixed factors mentioned in the points above are large determining factors of how much fuel your body needs, your history of dieting can also have a large effect on how many calories your body burns in a day.
If you have been restricting calories for a long period of time, your body learns to adapt and survive on less fuel Therefore, if you are eating 1100 calories a day and you are not losing weight, this could be a result of a slower metabolism and a reduced BMR caused by prolonged dieting.
Rosenbaum, M., & Leibel, R. L. (2010). Adaptive thermogenesis in humans. International journal of obesity (2005), 34 Suppl 1(0 1), S47–S55. https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2010.184
About The Author
Colby Roy is a holistic health and nutrition coach. She is certified through Precision Nutrition and has a passion for all things nutrition and healing the body. More specifically, Colby likes to work with clients who want to optimize their gut health and energy levels.