What Does 3,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

3000 calories a day

Now that I am more than 60 days into my concentrated effort to get healthy and lose some weight, I have been asked many times to specify what I eat during a typical day.  People often wonder how I manage to eat 3,000 calories per day.  Yes, I am eating 3,000 calories a day and losing weight.  

First of all, I eat between 2,500 and 3,000 calories a day, depending on how hungry I am.  This post shows how much I eat on a particularly hungry day, mostly likely the day after I went weight-lifting!

Now that I am lifting very regularly, I tend to crave protein and meat either late at night on those days, or early the next morning.  I have eaten a lot of sliced roast beef before going to bed on these nights!

All amounts are approximate, and here is what I am eating today (because I lifted yesterday):

(Carby) Breakfast: 

Soaked oatmeal (1/2 cup): 150 calories
cooked in whole milk (1 cup): 150 calories
with berries (handful): 50 calories
maple syrup (4 T.): 200 calories
and cream (4 T.): 250 calories
strawberry milk kefir (1 cup): 170 calories

Breakfast Total: 970 calories

berry oatmeal strawberry kefir

(Big) Lunch: 

Turkey, cheddar, mustard, lettuce panini (1 sandwich, 2 oz. cheese): 650
Mashed potatoes and cheese (2 cups): 250 calories
Cookies (two): 200 calories
Milk (1 cup): 150 calories

Lunch total: 1250 calories


(Liquid) Snack: 

Chocolate milk (2 cups, 6 T. chocolate sauce): 400 calories

Snack Total: 400 calories

chocolate milk

(Vegetarian) Dinner: 

Herb salad with celery and carrots (2 cups, 1 stalk celery, 1 carrot): 50 calories
Homemade dressing (4 T.): 150 calories
Blue cheese (2 oz.): 200 calories

Dinner total: 400 calories

herb salad blue cheese

Grand Total for the day:  3020 calories

This basic idea for eating comes from Matt Stone, based partly out of his ebook Diet Recovery, as well as the other books found in the Metabolism Bundle here.

However, I would also highly recommend consulting with Matt one on one if at all possible.  He can help personalize what you do, so that it works for your body and helps you feel good as a opposed to just following a template like this one.  If you have a specific issue to address, there are other people on staff with Matt as well who can deal with fertility concerns, anxiety, and stress.  Click here to get help.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


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  1. breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper! my mother subscribes to this, even if she doesn’t always adhere to it. 😉

  2. Whoa, I’m eating 1,200 and not losing!!! Do you work out a ton??

    • I lift weights three times a week and then I do something active most days like going for a walk, yoga, or Just Dance on the wii. It’s not an insane amount of working out. Even if you sit around all day, you probably burn 2,000 calories. 1,200 is WAY too low! Don’t listen to the dietary dogma!

      • I LOVE Just Dance! That’s the majority of my exercise! The best part is blowing my kids’ high scores outta the water. Oh yeah.

      • Elizabeth Brown says:

        I’ve started eating at LEAST 2,500 to 3,000 calories the past few months and feel AMAZING … and I have NOT gained any weight. I haven’t particularly lost any either but my body looks leaner – so there must be something going on there.

        The only thing I would recommend to anyone looking to detox and reboot your body is to really consider eating as closely to the earth as you can. Meat and Cheese (Dairy) is toxic and even the organic is harmful due to hormones that our body does not recognize.

        Also food combining is HUGE. I had know idea at the ramifications of eating hot and cold foods or certain foods together can cause imbalances, weight gain and other digestive issues.

        YouTube has been very helpful – however, air everything on the side of caution and research it over and over.

        I’m still learning and on my journey but I feel great.

        Wishing you ALL the best in your healthy lifestyle. Just say NO to dieting and calorie restriction.

        All the Best,

  3. Marilyn says:

    Woohoo! Thank you so much for this. This really helps. I exercise daily and in comparison to what you eat I am definately undereating, by at least 1000 maybe more calories. What is the consult with Matt like, by the way?

  4. Natasha says:

    I do a greens smoothie in the am – lots of organic produce, hemp seeds, berries, lemon juice, a banana. A hearty salad with some form of fermented veggies – a ton of cucumber, sprouts, tomatoes, avacado, and more. Finally dinner is a piece of wild salmon, with sweet potatoe, perhaps a nice pasta, or a homemade soup.

    I don’t agree with the eating heavy in the am – your body needs to be fed lightly in order to stay energized – the evening is to slow down, be with family, and have the time to digest your food over a longer period.

    3000 cals is WAY to much ESPECIALLY if your not getting the right amount of MICRO nutrients to sustain you at a cellular level. I like your blog, but I challenge you on the choices your making to get into shape and create a healthy body.

    Just some thoughts and comments

    • Your response seems a bit judgemental. Her meals look to me like she will certainly get the micro nutrients her body needs. Can you site specific studies that show we should be eating ligtherin the AM??

      Keep in mind, Natasha, everybody’s body is different. What works for you may not work for others. Have you read Kendahl’s blog??? She is specifically trying to heal her body and lose the weight withOUT restricting.

    • I also think that eating heavy in the AM isn’t ideal. Instead, I like eating heavy for lunch, as I said in the post. You can see that the largest meal is that one.

      As for having a green smoothie or a lot of liquid in the morning, I don’t recommend that at all. If you’d like to know more, please read Eat for Heat to see why! (It’s basically because too much liquid in the morning can crash your blood sugar): http://www.ournourishingroots.com/eat-for-heat

  5. Perfect timing! I’m working hard to recover from disordered eating. I’ve been following Matt for a while. I’ve made tons of progress already. Temps back in the 98s, much more sleep and tons of other stuff. But I’m still trying to get my calorie intake up. I know I need to put on more weight to try to restore my fertility. Just started trying to count calories today. I should be getting at least 2500 a day. So far with breakfast, snack and lunch I’m at 1300! And I’m stuffed. I eat tons of butter and raw whole milk, etc. Nothing low fat or restricted. But it’s still hard to get that much. This is going to be harder than I thought. But I’m determined to do it. Do you find that the big meal early, light meal late approach works really well for you? I was doing that, but have started trying to eat more at night to get extra calories. But then I feel so stuffed at night and even the next morning. Maybe I’ll just have to try to keep adding to my breakfast and lunch. Anyway, good to get an idea of what 3,000 calories looks like. It’s amazing when you actually look at the science and see how many calories it takes just for your body to perform its basic functions. And how much more you need if you are even mildly active. So many people are undereating so much.

    • Lilyvam says:

      Eat a few tablespoons of CRUNCHY peanut butter a day, and you Will get there. It worked for me; now, I easily get to my necessary 3,000 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight.

  6. Hey Kendahl, Thanks for your posts on this! I have been a mild restricter since teen days (motives being a mix of cheapness, convenience and weight anxiety).

    I am on a similar path, and feel as if I’m learning to feed myself for the first time. Weight anxiety was “in remission” so to speak (was never underweight or ED, I don’t think, but plenty of dysmorphia) until I tried eating semi-paleo to deal with a health problem. That basically triggered the whole body image/food self-shaming thing again. Thanks to the Stone, you & others, I realized that even if paleo had helped me move to more whole foods, it was no panacea, I had plateaued due to low calories, and frankly I had no good reason to restrict dairy, grains or sugar, since I can “tolerate” them fine, and even thrive on them.

    Since I dumped the no-no’s, I haven’t been counting calories, but just going with appetite … which has been enormous, making up for lost time. The thing is, I’m so used to being “stingy” with myself that I’m not sure if I’m getting 3K even yet. (I bike for transportation, and do moderate lifting, so I do need more than just basal calories.)

    I suspect I should count up a few days to see where I’m at, but I’m afraid of triggering restriction again. When I was counting, I was using LoseIt (BIG MISTAKE, huge trigger, too-low “allowances). For now, it feels comforting to “outsource” my appetite *to my actual appetite* rather than a stupid computer app. Not to mention, I have better things to do, right?

    What do you think — count to be sure I’m getting 3K? Or avoid counting?

    In any case, really enjoy your blog.

  7. My last comment was so long, but I have one more thing, a question:

    Do you ever have to go hungry on your current calorie intake, or does this fully satisfy your appetite?

    I think that’s the basis of my fear of calorie counting … that I’ll find out I’m eating even more than 3K, and that to eat to a 2500-3000 limit, I’d need to go hungry.

  8. Woah… your losing weight on this?? I always want to try these metsbolism recovery things but the idea of eating that much (on purpose- obviously I can put the calories away or I wouldnt be over weight) but I just get anxiety thinking about being conscious of eating that much… I might buy that diet recovery book… does matt have a facebook page?? Thank you so much for this. Xo

  9. Is this still working for you? I’ve read a little bit of Matt Stone in the past few years but just in the last half year or so started reading a lot more. I have been too afraid to take the plunge but reading this tonight and listening to Matt talk on an interview yesterday is pushing me to take the plunge. I have every symptom he talks about. I am being treated for my thyroid, treated for adrenal exhaustion with hydrocortisone and a supplement and bioidenticals for sex hormone depletion. I gained 55 lbs in less than month and while I am no longer gaining since I’ve started getting treated for these health issues my weight won’t budge. Even though I am not dieting now(gave up) I know I am not eating enough but I’ve become so afraid of food. Now granted I dieted and exercised like hell to lose the weight in the first 2 years only to gain more or to stay the same. I did that until I collapsed in exhaustion. I am tired of being exhausted, fat, no energy in spite of taking medicines for treating these conditions. Anyways, reading this post tonight made me think that I have to do something like this because nothing else has worked. I have wished to read of someone that is actually doing this. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Where can I find/follow Matt? Sorry If I missed it. Thanks.

  11. found it 🙂

  12. I bet it would be interesting to know how tall Kendahl is. From her profile pic, it looks like she’s a whole lot taller than I am. General nutrition advice tells me I need 1,500 calories a day to maintain and I bet it’s more for Kendahl. Then if you add in general activity (taking care of kids, a house, and a husband) and some exercise (7 mile run?) it’s not that much of a stretch. If I ate to maintain I would probably need 2,500 calories a day.

  13. I really like this. I have been aiming for 2000 calories a day but I still find myself constantly hungry, and over-eating at night time. Everything I have read has told me to stick to 2000 or 2,200 at most. But what I have noticed, is that with continuous exercise (even moderate), I don’t gain weight when I binge a lot at night because I am still active. Thank you for this.


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