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How to get enough nutrients in 1200-1500 calories

healthierorbusthealthierorbust Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member
Hi all - I’m new here. I’m a week in and hungry. I have two young kids, work full time and my husband has a stressful job that consumes his time and I do all the things for our home + family. I am hungry and 1200 calories feels very low. On the days I’m unable to exercise I try to stick close to the 1200 goal for the day but ugh. What are some super low cal snacks or ways to keep from getting headaches or cranky? I’m still trying to figure out how to get the most nutrient density in 1200 calories. Thanks.

Replies

  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,499 Member Member Posts: 15,499 Member
    Hi all - I’m new here. I’m a week in and hungry. I have two young kids, work full time and my husband has a stressful job that consumes his time and I do all the things for our home + family. I am hungry and 1200 calories feels very low. On the days I’m unable to exercise I try to stick close to the 1200 goal for the day but ugh. What are some super low cal snacks or ways to keep from getting headaches or cranky? I’m still trying to figure out how to get the most nutrient density in 1200 calories. Thanks.

    Unless you are quite short and sedentary, you're struggling because you're eating too little. What is your current height and weight? How accurate is your logging?

    In general, to achieve a nutrient dense diet, you can focus on eating a varied diet and limiting nutrient poor convenience foods. But hunger isn't usually a symptom of lack of nutrients, its lack of calories.
  • healthierorbusthealthierorbust Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member
    Thank you. I’m 5’4 and ~165lbs so not especially short and I’m not sedentary. I am learning more about logging accurately for sure. I think this is a huge shift for me from eating a nutritious but high fat diet (kind of large portions paleo - lots of nuts and avocado) to feeling like I’m eating so much less. I appreciate all the suggestions- thanks!
  • sarahbethercksarahbetherck Member, Premium Posts: 272 Member Member, Premium Posts: 272 Member
    I would think your food volume would increase by quite a bit if you're not doing keto anymore.

    Definitely play with your calories and you'll likely find you're in a greater deficit than you need to be.
  • RedordeadheadRedordeadhead Member Posts: 746 Member Member Posts: 746 Member
    You have probably set your weekly weight loss goal too high. What does MFP give you if you select lightly active and lose 1lb per week?
    edited October 15
  • DevietteDeviette Member Posts: 880 Member Member Posts: 880 Member
    Thank you. I’m 5’4 and ~165lbs so not especially short and I’m not sedentary. I am learning more about logging accurately for sure. I think this is a huge shift for me from eating a nutritious but high fat diet (kind of large portions paleo - lots of nuts and avocado) to feeling like I’m eating so much less. I appreciate all the suggestions- thanks!

    So your stats are very similar to mine expect I'm a little shorter than you 5ft2-3 (159cm). I tried eating at 1200kcals and felt exactly the same. Was cranky and had headaches and all that and it was awful. Then I upped my calories and felt a lot better. And I actually lost weight faster because I wasn't snacking on little extra bits here and there, and was a little bit more honest with myself about the actual amount of food I was eating. And I was more active because I was eating enough.

    Basically the moral of the story is don't be like me. Don't eat too little. If you're working two jobs, with at least one of which is a fairly active one (managing a household is a pretty active job), then you can definitely have more calories than the very baseline amount. Put your stats into MFP and set your loss rate to 1lb a week and see what it gives you, try eating that much (I'm suspect it'll probably be around 1500ish). You might not seem like much more calories, but it really makes such a difference.

    For reference I'm eating on average ~1800kcals a day (inclusive of workout calories). I'm lightly active and I work out twice a week. I'm losing at just under 1lb a week.
    edited October 15
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 5,418 Member Member Posts: 5,418 Member
    Excellent! Slow and steady is so much better than feeling miserable and not finishing what you started.
  • Dante_80Dante_80 Member Posts: 98 Member Member Posts: 98 Member
    I had set it to 1.5 lbs per week and it gave me 1200, so I changed it to 1 lb per week and it’s now like 1450 (but more with exercise).

    That sounds like a good idea! Remember that slow and steady wins the race in this case!

  • healthierorbusthealthierorbust Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member Member, Premium Posts: 7 Member
    Thank you so much everyone! I already feel better!
  • 5FitFierce5FitFierce Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member
    I too am in your boat! Since I have a sedentary type of job, my calories for the day can be low. I found that cottage cheese has been a great addition to my meals since its lower in calories and has some filling protein. I add fresh berries to sweeten it up.
  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,499 Member Member Posts: 15,499 Member
    Thank you so much everyone! I already feel better!

    Yay :smiley:

    Thanks for letting us know!
  • carakirkeycarakirkey Member Posts: 172 Member Member Posts: 172 Member
    MFP gave me 1200 cal. and its too low. Hangry! I adjusted it to 1400, that 200 cal is an important difference and meant I could have a snack or glass of wine. Get in exercise where you can. I try to eat lots of vegetables (soups, saute, salad) and eggs for nutrient density w/ lower calories.
  • bfurlano22bfurlano22 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    I’m 6’3” 225lbs and MFP has me at 1500 calories to lose 2lbs a week. I IF in the morning after working out and some days I can eat 1200 calories a day. Is that unhealthy or perfectly sound if I can focus without any side effects ?

    Thank you - Brian
  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,499 Member Member Posts: 15,499 Member
    bfurlano22 wrote: »
    I’m 6’3” 225lbs and MFP has me at 1500 calories to lose 2lbs a week. I IF in the morning after working out and some days I can eat 1200 calories a day. Is that unhealthy or perfectly sound if I can focus without any side effects ?

    Thank you - Brian

    For a man, you should never net less than 1500 calories. You are also really not overweight enough for 2 lbs per week to be a healthy pace for much time at all.

    Your body needs a baseline amount of calories to keep all your necessary parts functioning, and your body can only burn so much fat at one time. It's like lighting a camp fire - it doesn't all immediately burn in a poof, it takes time. If you lose weight too fast, you risk losing more muscle mass than you would want. And by the time you have side effects like fatigue, hair loss, etc the damage is already done.

    Your 1500 goal is before exercise. Eat at least 1500 + at least some of your exercise calories. And I would double check your logging - while you might be able to go a few days eating so little, it's highly unlikely a grown man who is exercising could eat so little for an extended period of time without being hungry or fatigued. Either you're in an appetite honeymoon period :smiley: or you might be accidentally under logging.

    Good luck!
  • bfurlano22bfurlano22 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    Kimny72 - Thank you for your reply. While 225 may not seem heavy for 6’3” I assure you my once muscular frame is now more “dad bod“ with “beer gut look” to be completely honest. I was hoping to strip the fat and add lean muscle in a different phase. For exercise I’m running 1-2 miles before work, with dog walks at morning and night, and then 25-50 mile bike rides on weekends. I haven’t resumed weight training since mid summer due to separating my shoulder in a high speed road bike accident in August, but cleared to use my legs. Although I’m fairly self aware and real with logging, I’ll double check labels and portions, then round up. No sense in cheating ourselves-put yourself first when possible. Any other tips are welcome and appreciated. Heading out for a 50 mile bike ride on this 40 degree day. Got to take advantage of the weather above freezing temps as winter approaches us all. Thanks again! - Brian
  • emalethmoonemalethmoon Member Posts: 171 Member Member Posts: 171 Member
    I set my calories at 1200 because I know I always go a little over and it does less damage going "a little over" at 1200 than it would at 1500.

    Low high satisfaction, low calorie snacks I use to fill my belly:

    Low-fat cottage cheese with honey
    Imitation crab
    Banana with PB2
    Popcorn with spray butter and garlic powder
    Cucumber
  • annliz23annliz23 Member Posts: 1,024 Member Member Posts: 1,024 Member
    Otherwise raise your calories and reduce them slowly as your body gets used to eating less!
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