1200 Calories: Why it’s a number that matters

There’s always been a lot of hype about how much a person should eat, when, where, why, the list goes on. We can all agree that 3,500 calories makes up about a pound of fat. Therefore, you have to burn or consume a deficit of this many calories in order to lose a pound and just the opposite to gain it. Right, of course, we know this. The issue, however, is because of this, many people assume that eating as little as possible will warrant faster results and a slimmer waistline in no time.

Here’s why those people are misinformed:

Eating less than 1200 calories a day for women (less than 1800 for men) can send your body into starvation mode. Now, if you google that term “starvation mode” you’ll get a LOT or results pulling you back and forth about how it’s either a myth or completely true. Here’s the many point I’m trying to make. If you’re trying to lose weight, do it smart, aim for a healthy 1-2lbs/per week goal, that way it will STAY off and come off gradually. The more weight you have to lose, however, the faster it will come off. That’s why we see people on the Biggest Loser dropping 10-15lbs in a single week. Dipping below a healthy caloric intake each day can gradually slow your metabolism, and although the scale may be telling you that you weigh less, it’s most likely due to the fact that your body is holding onto fat and letting muscle deteriorate. Also, when you dip below the 1200 calorie mark you make it considerably more difficult to get the nutrients you need to maintain your bodies most essential functions. Sure, if you only ate 500-800 calories a day you WOULD lose weight, in fact, you’d keep losing weight, you could become a skeleton in a matter of months if not less. But the effect it would have on your heart, your internal organs, your strength and more importantly your mentality and ability to function as a normal human being would also plummet to nothing. There are reasons why extreme calorie restriction diets fail. Long-term extreme calorie restriction can decrease your metabolism by up to 40%, even worse, it can take up to a year to get it back to a normal rate!

Weight loss should be about strength and health just as much as it should be about vanity and wanting to look good naked. If you’re not happy with how you are now, you won’t be patient enough with yourself to get where you truly want to be. More than anything, listen to your body! You don’t have to suffer and feel deprived all the time in order to lose weight. Sadly, a lot of people think you do and that’s why many often give up or give in. If you have tried to drastically restrict your calories think about how you felt during that time:

  • Did you get headaches?
  • Were you in a bad mood most days?
  • Were you tired all the time?
  • Were you constantly battling cravings for junk food?
  • Most importantly, were you happy?

Think about your answers to each of those questions. “Diets” whatever they may be shouldn’t be looked at as what you “can’t” eat but what you “can” eat. They should make you feel proud of yourself, of your body, and of your progress. They shouldn’t make you feel guilty or “weak” should you slip up. These should be lifestyle changes and occasionally eating brownies or scarfing down an extra piece of pizza are all parts of that process.

We often look at weight loss as strictly an effort of our bodies and forget that our minds play just as important of a role. If your mentality isn’t in it and your brain isn’t happy then your body won’t cooperate.

Feel free to discuss below.

To our health!


One thought on “1200 Calories: Why it’s a number that matters

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Breakfast! « sarahdoesfitness

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