Day In The Life of Nutrition – II

May 8, 2014

Way back when Mazen was still a newborn I did a Day in the Life of Nutrition post. It was a fun way to do a self evaluation and see how I was doing as a new mom. This post is also a good reference for my thoughts on calories, weight loss and my needs these days. Minus the whole breastfeeding thing!!


Last time I estimated about 2,000-2,400 calories per day while I was breastfeeding:

As a breastfeeding mama who is active on most days of the week, I’m going to guess my calorie needs are about 2,400. That’s about:

  • 1,700 for basal metabolism + lifestyle daily activities (what it was before pregnancy)
  • 250 daily exercise (this goes up on active days and down on rest days – so it’s an average)
  • 450 breastfeeding (what a nice bonus! Estimating 450 from this site’s references)

=2,400 to maintain // 2,000 for gradual weight loss

This time I’m not breastfeeding and I’m a lot more active.

  • 1,700 for basal metabolism + lifestyle daily activities
  • 500 for workouts (an average based on 400-600 calories burned. Some days I do a lot more walking and playing, so that number might be even higher.)

=2,200 to maintain // 1,800 or so for weight loss

Of course we know real life is really all about the Squiggly Line Effect!  


For breakfast this morning I had a smoothie – made with mango, OJ, banana, milk and yogurt.


Plus a leftover whole grain pancake with butter on top and some decaf coffee with a splash of milk. Whole milk in this house these days. Everything is so much creamier.



{note any discrepancies in the percentages not adding up to exactly 100 can be attributed to rounding}

The carbs on this breakfast were on the high side due to all the fruit in the smoothie. But since I was headed to athletic conditioning that was perfect for me on this day. My ideal ratios are about 50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein because my body feels best with these. And you’ll see below that breakfast and lunch balance each other out!


I walked to and from the gym, did a 55 minute athletic conditioning class and went for a 20 minute walk downtown later that afternoon. Total burned: 657 calories. {The daily/weekly goals are something My Fitness Pal plugs in for you – I didn’t really choose those.}



Around noon I had a salad with hot smoked salmon, fontina cheese, homemade dressing and a slice of Blueberry High Five with butter.



I chose this lunch based on hunger, cravings and what was in the fridge, not looking at the nutritional information, so it surprised me how different the macros were from breakfast. Proof that if you listen to what you crave your body will tell you what it needs. Perhaps I needed the protein after my workout?


For afternoon snack around 3:30pm I had a yogurt bowl with graham crackers and ground flax. It totally hit the spot and kept me satisfied till dinner. Plus a cup of tea with milk around 2pm.



All those healthy fats from the ground flax added up here! I’m pretty good about not snacking after dinner – unless my dinner is small and I’m really hungry. I also rarely need a mid-morning snack because my breakfasts are pretty hearty and I’m usually at the gym. Many years ago I used to have a tiny breakfast and a mid-morning snack, but I’m much more satisfied with a big breakfast.


Before dinner Matt asked me to taste one of his beers he just put on tap – a one ouncer


This day we had the Cook Smarts chicken curry with cauliflower, green beans, chicken and rice in a coconut milk broth. Because Cook Smarts just added nutrition info, this was super easy to plug in! I did use light coconut milk instead of regular as the recipe called for (all I had) and it’s hard to know how accurate my portion size was, but I’m just going to have to trust it all evened out.



Carb percentage was low here too despite the rice – probably because it was a protein-heavy meal from the chicken. This dinner was very filling and I didn’t need or want a dessert all evening.

And so the totals for the day were as follows:


Calories: I’m actually quite surprised at how low the calories were considering I felt full and ate what I feel were 3 sizeable meals and a snack. Just goes to show how much you can eat when you eat real food! Had I eaten in a restaurant I’m sure I would have been well over 2,000. I bet my weekends balanced me out a bit.

Macro Ratios: I think this was a pretty typical day for me. I actually would have liked to have seen more carbs to support my workouts. I know some people think I live on carbs, but I’m just someone who fuels up on them in the morning and tapers them off during the day (not really on purpose – that’s just how I roll). I think this is a good way to do it though! Eat the carbs then use them for energy all day. But also note I had whole grain carbs, healthy fats and protein with every meal and kept them evenly spread throughout the day (aside from all the fruit at breakfast – who knew mangos had so much sugar!)

Protein: A little more than I needed, but I’m ok with that.

Fiber: 21 grams seems awfully low to me, but it looks right. I used brown rice for dinner, so I wonder if the Cook Smarts recipe used white rice to calculate the nutrition facts. I could have added some more veggies in my lunch salad instead of just lettuce to bulk this number up.

Sugar: Most of my sugar came from fruit and dairy, so that’s OK with me.

The Rainbow

Let’s compare with the rainbow of nutrients in an ideal day:


  • Cruciferous veggies
  • Citrus (does the splash of OJ count?)
  • Chlorophylls
  • Omega-3s
  • Probiotics
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Grass-fed dairy
  • Organic chicken


  • Legumes (could have gone halvsies with fish/chicken in lunch or dinner)
  • Lycopenes (mangos – only slightly)
  • Anthocyanins (should have had some red wine!)
  • Caroteniods (carrots with lunch?)
  • Nuts (could have put some on the salad)

Maybe I should have used up those extra 300 calories on some of those nutrient-dense colors!

Next time I do this I’ll pick a day when I eat in a restaurant or go to a beer tasting. Weekends include a lot more to analyze: )

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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} May 8, 2014 at 7:21 am

I love these posts!! I am such a numbers person and I love seeing the macro’s and what everyone else is eating. I know my weekend would have higher numbers as well, but that is that whole balance thing! :)


2 Jackie May 8, 2014 at 7:23 am

I love this! I always watch my macros and calories but I’m thinking maybe 1200 calories a day sine enough for me!


3 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 7:57 am

1200 is definitely not enough!


4 Emily @ It Comes Naturally Blog May 9, 2014 at 2:53 am

i found this article really helpful from Real Life RD Robyn.


5 Marina May 10, 2014 at 1:34 am

Totally agree. I took me years to realize that 1200 calories it is not enough to lose weight! I needed much more to lose 70 pounds in 9 months. At my age (40’s) i discovered that i was wrong. In order to lose weight you have to eat, and move. Now, I am in my ideal weight and i swear, i ate average 2100 calories. And when i was overweight I use to eat the same…


6 Jeri May 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

I was using the My Fitness Pal app/website to log what I ate. I kind of got away from it for two reasons. 1) I was more trying to keep up with my “friends” and logging in daily, as if I got a prize for logging in 10 days straight. It became more of a competition for me to keep up with people instead of what I should have been doing, which was logging in my food. 2) I have really gotten away from processed foods. It got tedious to enter recipes every day since, for example, I would make different spaghetti sauces each time. I might only make a veggie sauce, the next time beef, veal, & pork, and then a meatball one the next time.

I know it’s a good tool to use. I know I need to make sure I am not over eating. Maybe I should plan the meals better? Log every ingredient in before I cook or while dinner is cooking?

s/n: The bread consumption has truly decreased. I am now more aware of what kinds of breads I was/am eating. People say they have definitely noticed the difference. Still need to get my C’ville crunch. Soon! Very Soon!


7 Elise @ Expeditions of Elise May 8, 2014 at 7:43 am

These are some of my favorite posts! Thanks for sharing your daily meals in terms of nutrition.


8 LO May 8, 2014 at 7:52 am

Love this feature. It would be interesting if you accepted reader submissions as well!


9 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 7:55 am

That’s a great idea!


10 jodi May 8, 2014 at 7:55 am

Hi Kath! How do you figure what your basal metabolism caloric need is? I love these kinds of posts!


11 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm

The BMR here is a good one I like:


12 Jodi May 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Thanks! If I was sedentary, I’d need roughly 1,700 to survive. No wonder I feel like I’m going to pass out on a “diet” that restricts to 1,200 a day.


13 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

: ) 1700 to survive, 1700 x 1.2 or 1.3 for lifestyle and even more for exercise if you want to maintain!


14 Matt May 8, 2014 at 7:56 am

How perfect that the beer came in a Homebrew For Hunger glass!


15 Nicole May 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

Really good post – it’s so interesting to see that a day of intuitive eating ends up nearly on-target for your macro goals. And I love that you are encouraging more full-fat dairy! One question though: Do you prescribe to calories in/calories out as the sole mechanism for weight loss? I’ve read a lot lately that the type of calories you consume as well as the type of exercise you do has much more bearing on weight loss than previously thought. It makes sense to me because I know people who exercise religiously (even running marathons) and adhere to standard dietary recommendations and still can’t lose the weight they want to lose. Would love to hear your take.


16 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I think it’s a little of both. You can’t eat a diet of 1200 of Snicker’s bars and expect to lose weight in a healthy way – the body would starve of nutrients. But you also can’t eat 500 calories a day more than your needs in fruits and veggies and expect to lose either. I think there’s definitely something behind the fact that the body runs best when it’s fueled properly.


17 clare @ fitting it all in May 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

super interesting! like these posts!


18 Jessica May 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

Are you counting calories everyday now with My Fitness Pal or was that just for this post?


19 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

A little more these days to check in. Intuitive eating has gotten me far but not far enough.


20 Kate May 8, 2014 at 8:39 am

What an awesome post! I want to do this myself now.


21 Ali May 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

I love that you did this – this is something most people should know about their diets and have absolutely no idea! I have a lot of nutrition in my background and even I should be better about tracking this stuff!


22 Leah @ goodnight cheese May 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

Very interesting to see how everything breaks down! Did you weigh/measure everything out for the sake of the post or just eyeball?


23 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

I measured pretty closely


24 Hannah @ sprints & scones May 8, 2014 at 9:10 am

Love your thoughts on the sugar!! Every once in a while I check my day by using My Fitness Pal and the sugar count always sends me into a panic.


25 Chrissy May 8, 2014 at 9:14 am

I noticed you didn’t eat any nut butters this day. Any reason? From your “lately” posts, they seem to be something in your diet in most days.


26 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

I’ve been into real butter lately :)


27 Allison Galassie May 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

Thank you so much for this post! I use MyFitnessPal, but a little bummed that I’m gaining weight eating 1400 calories and exercising 6 days a week.


28 Sarah May 8, 2014 at 10:06 am


I had the same realization recently. I went to a naturopath, and she said I was just draining my adrenals and compromising a strong metabolism by running too much (60 miles a week plus) and not eating enough fat. I’ve stopped running and switched up how I eat entirely, and I’ve managed to lose 5 pounds. It seems like less is more sometimes. I was going to post a reply to Kath’s post more generally about this, but it also works as a reply to yours.


29 Bri May 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

It always sounds counterintuitive, but you probably need to eat more to lose weight. 1400 calories isn’t enough to sustain your body’s daily functioning let alone additional exercise. This happened to me a few years ago and I went to a nutritionist who upped my calorie intake and I started to see some results. It might be worth making an appointment. Also, don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat so you might weigh more, but I bet you’re way more toned!


30 Marina May 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

Bri, i think you are totally right. My experience shows that i needed to eat more in order to lose weight


31 Natalie May 10, 2014 at 7:57 am

Unless you’re incredibly petite, I think anything under 2000 puts your body in starvation mode, upregulating many hormones (some of which come from the adrenals) that make your body say, “Turn everything we can into fat for storage! Who knows when we’ll be able to eat enough!” Even if the number of calories looks like enough, if you’re not exercising smartly, many of those same hormones come out and do the same things (most of them are just generally stress hormones). It’s a million times more about quality than quantity. If you’re eating the right food, you shouldn’t need to pay attention to calories (except to tell you you’re not eating enough or you’re eating 5,000 calories a day – but then measure it until you learn what normal portions are, and then forget about them).


32 Melissa @ Mango About Town May 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

Interesting post. It’s nice to do a check up once in a while to make sure you’re meeting your nutrition goals!


33 [email protected] May 8, 2014 at 10:11 am

Something a little sweet for dessert would have been totally recommended had you of known huh?! :) Great insight!


34 Emily May 8, 2014 at 10:54 am

Just curious–what kind of yogurt? Thanks!


35 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Snowville Creamery! Delicious.


36 Kristin May 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

So interesting! Looking forward to the weekend version.


37 Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit May 8, 2014 at 11:13 am

I love the layout of this post (I imagine it took forever!!), but I really like seeing the breakdown at each meal. It’s good to take a look once in a while to really grade yourself and see what, if anything, that you’re missing. Looking forward to seeing the weekend analyzed!


38 Allison May 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

So interesting to see this. I agree, if you listen to your body you always get what you need!


39 jeannie May 8, 2014 at 11:23 am

This post is so interesting. How did you calculate your basal metabolism? Do you always measure your food, or just for the purposes of this day? What does the calorie deficit need to be each day to lose 1, 1.5, 2 pounds/week?


40 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

If you Google a BMR calculator you can figure it out that way. There are tons online and most use the same equation (?Harris Benedict Equation)

I don’t always measure.

And to lose a pound a week you need to have a deficit of 3,500 calories – about 500 a day. I wouldn’t recommend any more than that unless you’re overweight by a huge amount.


41 Tonya May 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

looove this post! I agree you have a lot more caloric & fatty wiggle room when you eat real food! This is why your blog is #1 with me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–the proof is in the (lack) of pudding (belly) that your system works. And you EAT, girl, you really EAT. It makes me sad when I see blog pics of such restrictive portions.

*munchin down on my daily cruciferous right now!


42 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

: )


43 Jen May 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

How odd, I just logged into My Fitness Pal before I read this post… for the first time in nearly a year. It’s time to pay attention again! This just reaffirmed it for me. :)


44 Vanessa May 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm

As someone looking into a nutrition-based degree and loving the study on my own time, this post is right up my alley! I’ve been using My Fitness Pal for a few months now and I enjoy seeing what I’m taking in as far as macronutrients are concerned. I’m a big-time walker, often covering about 7-10 miles a day through dog walking on top of regular exercise so I like to know that I’m giving myself enough food to fuel my days properly.


45 Lori May 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I’m surprised that you’re surprised by the overall low calories. A smoothie and one pancake? I don’t consider that a large breakfast. It’s pretty small. Not to say it wasn’t satisfying; it was probably pretty nutritionally dense. But then a salad with just greens, salmon,and cheese, and one piece of bread? Also not a large meal. One snack. A very healthy dinner. I’m not surprised at all that this was a low calorie day.


46 Polly @ Tasty Food Project May 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I use MyFitnessPal to track my meals but I’m not sure if it’s always accurate. Thanks for sharing this post! I always like learning about nutrition!


47 Christine May 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm

This is off topic BUT I came across your Baby Kerf blog again and I am loving the week by week posts all over again now that I am pregnant and can relate. I read it when I wasn’t pregnant but now that I am I just love reading each week as I move along. That being said, thank you for taking the time back then for posting each week!


48 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Yay! Im glad they are fun to read


49 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl May 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

I LOVE these posts!! Thanks so much for sharing. I know I am not the only person who is fascinated by what others eat and why.


50 simple green moms May 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

what a great way to put balance into perspective! =) great post! would love to see these more often!


51 Alan May 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for the info. I have been trying for 2-3 months to drop 10 and have tried restricting carbs (no bread except for one day during that time–a bread that I personally cooked and couldn’t resist). I have been eating and counting the way you did, but lo and behold, not a drop. I am not looking at weight but rather ‘do my pants fit’. I got started because my pants were tight. Still are. Not easy to lose in your mid 40s. Add in a bad hip which limits exercise ability….

But I will question your calories for exercise. That number seems way high.


52 Marina May 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Agree with you, MFP calories per activities are very overestimated. I use a Polar HRM and I put manually the data.


53 KathEats May 11, 2014 at 3:10 pm

As do I


54 Kat May 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I love these posts. It’s nice to see such balanced decisions laid out in numbers (I’m a numbers girl!). It’s nice to be able to compare to someone who I feel eats optimally as far as fun + healthy + nutrition and has a great balance. I love your squiggly line post too, it’s made calorie counting easier for me to put into perspective. Some days I’m not hungry and some days I eat everything, seeing the lines trends has made me less neurotic about over/unders. MFP’s app is great to see the weekly snapshot. Go to nutrition then the weekly tab. Bam! Squiggly line!! Thank you again for posts like these. (And another note: an updated budget post would be awesome, just for categories and such).


55 Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living May 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm

It’s really hard for me to count calories– especially when I’m on the go. How do you deal with this?


56 Chelsea @ TableForOne May 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

As a dietetics student, these posts are right up my alley! I live and breathe stuff like this. I find it so fun to see how our bodies know just what they need if we really start to listen to them. Thanks for sharing Kath!


57 Jessica May 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I love these types of posts! :)


58 Sarah May 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm

I find it hard to get enough calcium from food, and I do eat yogurt and cheese every day. How do you make sure you get enough? Thanks!


59 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm

I take a multivitamin to cover anything I miss


60 Kathy v May 9, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Kath, what brand of multi-vitamin do you use? Calcium pill?


61 KathEats May 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I actually just switched to Rainbow Light


62 casey May 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Hey Kath,
Just curious… Why do you think 105 grams of protein is more than you need?

For an very active healthy person, I’ve always heard 1g protein per 1lb of bodyweight.
I generally aim (and reach) 150g of protein per day. Gotta keep that muscle! =)


63 KathEats May 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Most people need 0.8 grams per kg and active folks closer to 1+ grams per kg (unless you’re a hard core athlete levels at 1.5+ arent necessary). 105 was roughly 1.7 grams per kg for me so that’s pretty high.


64 Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves May 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Love these posts! Thanks for the detail and explanations of everything. Super interesting!


65 Kayla May 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm

I LOVE this post! Please do more! I have struggled to lose weight this year because I have followed the typical low-calorie, long cardio plan and it has only ruined my metabolism! I lost a lot of weight eating 1100-1200 a day and then increased to around 1400 (b/c I was starving!) and gained a lot over the last two years. :( I’ve been trying for 1700 the last few weeks, but am scared I’ll just get huge! This post was helpful to see that I still may need more. I’m 5’10” and I work out an hr a day- weight lifting and/or triathlon training. Def. need to fuel up!


66 Ttrockwood May 9, 2014 at 12:11 am

Great post!
Did you measure the butter and olive oil this day? Or just guess? Somehow 1/2 of one 1″ by 1/3″ thick pat sounds like…..nothing!! And the 1/3 of 1 TB of olive oil for salad also doesn’t sounds like enough to use for salad dressing. Do I just have a really heavy hand???
Sugar paranoia makes me crazy- fruit sugar is a non issue! Totally not the same as a soda, so i stick to 2-3 servings of whole fruit a day and just enjoy it, fresh mango sounds delicious.


67 KathEats May 9, 2014 at 5:42 am

I just guessed on those. I dab of butter on my pancake and a drizzle of oo on my salad


68 Susan May 9, 2014 at 1:30 am

How come we have seen that cauliflower curry dish before in a lately post but not the breakfast or lunch? Do cooksmart recipes repeat?


69 KathEats May 9, 2014 at 5:41 am

Because I recorded this that week and took a while to get it all analyzed and written up :)


70 Mary May 9, 2014 at 11:25 am

Love this post. Good job!


71 Kate May 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Did you use a certain tool for the chart layouts and tracking for each nutritional component? I like the way all the info is displayed.


72 KathEats May 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

The entered foods come from My Fitness Pal screenshots but the headings and stuff is my design


73 Kate May 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm



74 Livi May 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm

This post is awesome! I like to check in every once in a while. It lets me see where I am, and not obsess!


75 Karen May 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

This is one of my favorite posts from you, and such an important topic for all women to understand. I am so glad you are highlighting that most women eat far too few calories to maintain their happy weight comfortably; then, out of desperation to remedy the situation, they cut back even further, thinking their body is somehow flawed and needs to restrict. Yet, as your analysis of your own diet/fitness illustrates so well, consistently fueling your body is essential to weight loss; in this way, it’s not all about calories in and a calories out.Terrific work!


76 KathEats May 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Thanks Karen


77 farida May 11, 2014 at 8:24 am

That’s a great analysis, I though you will exceeds the fats and carbs but you didn’t , I’ll use this post as reference, thanks for sharing this kind of posts


78 Danielle May 12, 2014 at 7:09 am

Can you do a parallel food post showing what you and Mazen ate one day? I am always looking for ways to align baby and adult meals


79 KathEats May 12, 2014 at 7:10 am

That’s a cool idea


80 [email protected] May 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

Love this post, Kath!
I know you mentioned that the food you input was from MFP but did you get the breakdown of fats, protein and carbs from there too? I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that but I’d love to know that breakdown.


81 KathEats May 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Yes I did. You can only get it on the mobile app for some reason.


82 Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork May 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

What a great post! So interesting to see what keeps people full. I tend to lean more heavily on protein and a little less on carbs. This is probably due to the fact that I’m gluten intolerant, so I get most of my carbs from my fruits and veggies, whole grain rice and oats and don’t tend to eat a whole lot of other carbs. I focus on fiber, fat, and protein to keep me full. Since I sit at a desk all day my caloric needs are lower, despite exercise, so I eat fewer calories. Hoping to have a career some day where I’m moving around more.
Thanks again for sharing and for keeping it real! Love these types of posts!


83 Anna May 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm

This was a very interesting post. I love to read about what kinds of foods you eat on a daily basis. It gave me lots of ideas of how to replicate similar meals into my diet. Feel free to check out my blog at for even more ideas of how to eat healthy.


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