Calorie intake help please

I’ve been using Huel for 5 weeks now for 2 meals a day, and finding it really good, especially now I’ve settled down to using the coffee huel as it works best for me, with a bar as back up as needed if I can’t do a shake for a particular meal.

My problem comes from working out exactly what I should be taking in calorie wise.

I’m female, 1.8m (6ft) tall and 58 years old, I’m also firmly into the menopause which has its own problems

I have a recurring ulcer on one ankle, I have bad and good days because of this - bad days = so much pain I don’t want to move and do minimum movement of any kind, don’t leave the house, and its just moving between the rooms to get food etc; good days = healed and pain free, can walk the dogs for an hour, go into town, lead a normal life and clock up 8-10k steps a day.

Current weight, as of this morning, 142.2kg, its coming down but so slowly that its hardly like a loss at all but more like a sneeze and another half gram…

Upsides for using Huel - feel healthier, sleeping better, hair and nails are improved, skin is clear, and I like the taste and ease of use

Downsides for using Huel - none

Everything I look at to try and work it out doesn’t take into account the menopause/age issue, and I can’t work out whether I should be looking at sedentary or lightly active or just switching between the two?

I’d like to lose somewhere around 0.5 to 1kg a week, but I’m not going to nail myself down to having to lose a certain amount week in/week out.

Any help much appreciated!

Hiya! I’m an avid fitness guy so feel sort of qualified to answer. The best advice is to use something like to work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, work it out based on living a sedentary lifestyle (this is what I do despite powerlifting as I work an office job).
Now download My Fitness Pal and follow the same set up, sedentary lifestyle but put in your goal is to lose 1lb per week.
The calorie amount it gives you should be around 500 calories less than your TDEE, allowing the fact MFP and the TDEE website are going to have slight variances.
These will account for your age and give you an idea of your caloric requirements to lose weight. I’d advise tracking everything on a scales to make sure you stick to your calories too

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Solid advice. Much better to underestimate than overestimate when looking to lose weight.

The whole concept of “steps” has gotten people thinking they’re classed as “Very active” because they do 10,000 steps per day, my parents being prime examples.

I politely remind them that after many thousand years the human body has adapted to be phenomenally efficient at walking. Running, maybe not so much, but walking: negligible for most people.

Stick with sedentary and keep an eye on your weight. If you’re looking for 1kg per week I’d maybe hit up a 750 deficit. You’ll be hungry but it’s probably worth it and I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous.

I read on r/fitness yesterday that 1 step is = 0.04 kcal for an average person, so 10000 steps is only 400 calories at best. Often the ‘active’ and ‘very active’ factors on TDEE calculators are for professional athletes or full time labourers

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Thanks for the replies, so having gone through the calculator its coming in at 2358 cals a day, if I reduce by 750 that’s 1608 cals a day which is eminently doable. At what point would I reduce the calorific intake as wouldn’t it become too much at some point?

I’m only focussing on 5kg loss at a time as there’s no point looking too far ahead, I’m a daily weigher on Withings scale but am also using the Happy Scales app as recommended by someone in a post here (can’t remember which one) and like it as its more encouraging than Withings alone.

I appreciate that steps in itself is pretty meaningless when its not mega amounts, however was using it as more of an indication that I am active on the good days even if it isn’t massively so.

For me its more of an achievement as my hips and knees hurt - I fall over periodically due to the weakness of the ankle - plus I struggle to remember to walk slowly on pain days rather than limping as its affected my left hip…

My whole journey isn’t about weight loss per se, but about reducing the amount of fat which my body has, reducing the load on my joints, increasing my fitness levels and giving me the tools to enjoy the rest of my life without having to constantly deal with all the issues which being overweight have brought me - is it my fault? oh yes, absolutely, but now I have the tools, the means and the will to do something about it.

Huel is my tool to help me to do this, I don’t have to forever faff about trying to make sure I’m eating exactly the right things, I get 2 meals a day which I don’t have to think about and 1 meal a day which has been planned and enjoyed.


The kind of nagging injury you describe can have severe effects on your general fitness, and knock-on effects (as you note, limping affecting your hip) as well as on your mental state through restriction of activities. So can you get your doctor to give a referral to a licensed physical therapist to help you with exercises targeted to these issues? That IMO should be a higher priority than diet just now…

I’ve got a couple of exercises from a physiotherapist, but they depend on what I can do on any given day, for instance I can’t kneel for longer than it takes me to stand up from doing floor exercises due to the pain it causes and that’s on a good day; a bad day is built around doing as little as possible, I don’t want to take painkillers as it masks the pain and then I overdo it.

I also go swimming when not in dressings, I used to have major hang ups about it, but now I’m not bothered, I’m just one more old fat woman who is doing a bit of exercise and I like that feeling of saintliness afterwards.

To be honest, I’ve got my head sorted out now and the rest will come in time, I just need to take it day by day - One Step at a time!

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