The 1200 Calorie Diet

Losing weight is easy.  Just eat fewer calories than your body burns.  Every day.  For months.  OK, so that's not really so easy, is it?  There are many diets that promise radical results but demand radical lifestyle changes.  Most of them do more harm than good.  The 1,200 calorie diet is a different approach to weight loss.  There are no magic potions to drink and no fasting or cleansing.  You manage your eating, but to a level that is comfortable and sustainable.  Guess what?  You can actually lose weight and keep it off!

Weight loss happens when calories in (eaten) is less than calories out (used by your body).  To lose one pound, this imbalance must add up to 3,500 calories.  Ouch!  So a natural tendency of new dieters is to eat as little as possible and work out like crazy.  Although this seems logical, it is not really the best path to weight loss.  Instead, most medical authorities agree that eating a balanced diet of about 1,200 calories a day combined with moderate exercise is the best way to lose weight.

Starvation diets don't work, long term.  When your calorie intake drops precipitously, your body determines that you are starving, and hangs onto every calorie as though it is your last.  Food is converted into fat cells and your base metabolism (the energy your burn just sitting still or sleeping) drops substantially.  In addition, it is impossible to get the necessary nourishment into a starvation diet, so you are withholding critical nutrients from your body, too.  Add rigorous exercise and you have a recipe for disaster.

That is why the 1,200 calorie diet has been endorsed by leading medical bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association.  With 1,200 calories, it is easy to supply all of the recommended nutrition that your body needs while avoiding putting your body into starvation syndrome.  If you add some responsible exercise to the mix you should be able to lose one or two pounds a week.  This the rate of weight loss that doctors recommend.  Any more than that and you are probably hurting yourself.

A 1,200 calorie meal plan allows variety and can easily be tailored to your tastes.  Here is a representative day's menu:

Breakfast:  Slice of bread with jelly, shredded wheat cereal with milk, orange juice and coffee.

Lunch: Roast beef sandwich with whole wheat bread and mayonnaise, apple and water.

Dinner: Salmon prepared in vegetable oil, baked potato with margarine, green beans and carrots, dinner roll and iced tea.

Snack: Popcorn with margarine.

This menu provides a bit over 1,200 calories, with only a quarter of the calories from fat.  This is considered a very healthy meal plan, and one that you can live with long term.  Since you aren't starving yourself, there's no reason to give up the diet once you have reached your goal weight.  Instead, you can just bump up the calories a bit to give you some room to splurge and maintain your weight while you eat a healthy, balanced diet.  What's not to like?

Don't try to diet alone.  Having a diet buddy can be a great source of encouragement and support.  If you don't have a friend who is interested in dieting with you right now,  go over to and find diet buddy near you!

Have you tried the 1,200 calorie diet?  Click on the Comment button and let us know how it worked for you!

1 comment:

  1. I actually gain weight on the 1200 calorie diet!! I am very short.