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1200 Calorie Diet

Emilymcmanus25Emilymcmanus25 Member Posts: 4 Member Member Posts: 4 Member
in Recipes
What do your 1200 calorie diets look like?

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  • TayaCurraghTayaCurragh Member Posts: 522 Member Member Posts: 522 Member
    I've had a break for the Christmas period but my meals usually look like:
    Breakfast - flavoured protein yoghurt, 150 cals
    Lunch - pasta salads with dressing, around 300 cals
    Dinner - I cook a range of foods and adjust the portions to around 400-500 calories. Not sure the kind of foods you like but I make things like cottage or lentil pies, one pot chicken dishes, soups, currys etc. Over time I've learnt which ones I can get bigger portions from - e.g. a I usually split a pie into 5-6 (for my partner too) or a curry into 4.

    The rest I use for snacks, usually fruit especially bananas, small snack packs of biscuits, nuts etc. I like to keep 100 for after dinner if possible so I cna have a 80 calorie brownie bite, or a low cal hot choc if I don't have enough.
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 117 Member Member Posts: 117 Member
    Breakfast: Scrambled eggs: 2 eggs plus 1/2 c of egg whites. Add 2 tsp of salsa to top of eggs when when plated (optional), 3 cups of coffee. 225 calories
    Lunch: Open face turkey sandwich with swiss cheese and tomato slice, and ten tortilla chips. 385 calories
    Dinner: Grilled Tilapia wrapped in one slice bacon, large bowl of salad greens with shredded carrot, & sesame ginger dressing. 370 calories
    Snack: one celery stalk with peanut butter, 190 calories

    1170 calories
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 117 Member Member Posts: 117 Member
    Breakfast: 1 c oatmeal, 1/4 blueberries, stevia, coffee. 245 calories
    Lunch: Open face turkey sandwich with swiss cheese and tomato slice, and 1 c. tomato soup. 365 calories
    zDinner: Taco Salad: On bed of sliced lettuce add: chopped tomato slice, chopped scallions, 3 oz seasoned cooked lean ground beef, 1 oz shredded cheddar, and ten tortilla chips crunched up. Optional: 2 tsp of salsa. 540 calories
    Snack: Marinated cucumber (marinated in ACV, herbs including garlic, sliced onion. 30 calories

    1180 calories
    edited January 4
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 117 Member Member Posts: 117 Member
    I tend to eat the same two breakfasts or lunches over and over. Dinner is where I cook, get my variety and splurge on increased calories, which for me trying to stick between 1200-1400 per day means that dinners still have under 600 calories which is doable with portion control.

    Dinner: 4 oz. rotisserie chicken, 1/2 baked potato, 2 tsp sour cream, 1/2 c tender peas, salad greens with vinagrette dressing. 450 calories
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 117 Member Member Posts: 117 Member
    I've heard if before, that 1200 calories is not enough but I really don't think it's as black and white as that. For instance, I'm short, I'm older and I was mostly sedentary except for walking. When I calculate calories needed for my age, size and sex I'm offered 3 numbers: 1600 (sedentary), 1800 (moderate active), 2200 (very active), these are numbers for maintenance. My understanding is that one should have about a 500 calorie deficit daily in order to lose about a pound a week, which is my target. That puts me at 1100 to 1300 calories per day for weight loss, depending on how active I am.

    Is there something wrong with those calculations?
  • Strudders67Strudders67 Member Posts: 795 Member Member Posts: 795 Member
    MsCzar wrote: »
    I've heard if before, that 1200 calories is not enough but I really don't think it's as black and white as that.

    Agree. Some folks lose their minds when they hear about a 1200 target. But I've lived in my body for 57 years and know what numbers work for me at my current activity level. I believe that people who are or have long been obese are not going to have the same CICO results as someone much younger who has never been obese.

    My scale won't budge if I eat above 1500 and will climb at 2000+. 1200 works for me and I don't care who doesn't like it. :p

    As many people on here will attest, it's very hard for your body to get the requisite nutrients and macros when you're only eating 1200 calories a day. Unfortunately, you may only find out what damage it causes when it's too late.
  • Strudders67Strudders67 Member Posts: 795 Member Member Posts: 795 Member
    I've heard if before, that 1200 calories is not enough but I really don't think it's as black and white as that. For instance, I'm short, I'm older and I was mostly sedentary except for walking. When I calculate calories needed for my age, size and sex I'm offered 3 numbers: 1600 (sedentary), 1800 (moderate active), 2200 (very active), these are numbers for maintenance. My understanding is that one should have about a 500 calorie deficit daily in order to lose about a pound a week, which is my target. That puts me at 1100 to 1300 calories per day for weight loss, depending on how active I am.

    Is there something wrong with those calculations?

    The 'something wrong' is that you shouldn't be aiming for under the recommended 1200 cals a day. I'm also short and older and when I started on here my maintenance figure calculated at a little under 1450. It didn't matter what rate of weight loss I entered, MFP still gave me 1200 cals a day. As such, my deficit was 250 and the most I could hope to lose was 0.5lb a week. As I lost weight, my deficit got smaller and my rate of weight loss slowed. Once I reached my target weight, my maintenance figure was 1320 so my deficit at the end had only been 120 cals. Helpfully exercise allows me to eat more than that. It's far better to go slowly and safely than to risk your health. You're also far more likely to make the sort of changes that you'll then stick to, for the rest of your life, to maintain your new lower weight.
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 117 Member Member Posts: 117 Member
    Thanks for the concern but I don't believe that dipping to 1200 cal per day in order to achieve weight loss is going to harmful to me based on my current metabolic factors and activity level.

    I'm not "aiming" for 1200 cal per day. I'm aiming to lose a pound a week, which is a 500 cal deficit per day. The number of calories depend on activity level. For a "very active" day, I could consume up to 1700 cal per day and still achieve the same deficit (but I could earn a scoop of ice cream!). I'm savvy enough to not get stuck on a number while I build healthier habits and reteach myself how to eat mindfully... which reminds me of this line in a favorite poem:

    "...for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
    though sometimes it is necessary
    to reteach a thing its loveliness"
  • Strudders67Strudders67 Member Posts: 795 Member Member Posts: 795 Member
    Thanks for the concern but I don't believe that dipping to 1200 cal per day in order to achieve weight loss is going to harmful to me based on my current metabolic factors and activity level.

    I'm not "aiming" for 1200 cal per day. I'm aiming to lose a pound a week, which is a 500 cal deficit per day. The number of calories depend on activity level. For a "very active" day, I could consume up to 1700 cal per day and still achieve the same deficit (but I could earn a scoop of ice cream!). I'm savvy enough to not get stuck on a number while I build healthier habits and reteach myself how to eat mindfully...

    I agree that plenty of people on here will freak out when they read that someone is only eating 1200 cals a day. Sometimes it's justified (those of us who are shorter and weren't / are not obese, for starters) but sometimes people think they should eat 1200 cals even if they're much taller and/or have a lot of weight to lose just because they've seen that number 'somewhere'. What is generally agreed though, and it's why it's the minimum number that MFP will allocate (1500 for a male), is that below that it's considered unsafe unless under medical supervision.

    I eat up to 2000 cals a day, depending on my exercise. However, my NET figure (cals eaten minus exercise burned) is still in line with my goal. You may be eating 1700 cals but, if you've burned 600 in exercise, your net calories is under 1200 and that is more concerning if you're doing it every day.

    It's not available on the web version but, if you're using the app, you can look at a weekly average view. Plenty of people eat more cals on some days (particularly at weekends) and less on other days but, please try to keep your average per week at or just above 1200. That way you'll build healthier habits and keep your health. You'll lose weight more slowly, but you'll still lose as long as you're in a deficit.

    I've been on here long enough to have read a lot of posts from people who found out, too late, what damage under-eating can do to you. A common theme is "I felt fine - until I wasn't". You don't want to be joining them.
  • corinasue1143corinasue1143 Member Posts: 4,656 Member Member Posts: 4,656 Member
    I’m tall and heavy. I eat more than 1200 calories a day, but I am following these posts carefully.
    I admire you for getting all you need with 1200 calories
    I figure if you can hit your macros, get the vitamins and minerals you need and be satisfied on 1200 calories a day, I should be Making it easily.
    I try to learn how to get it all in for 1200, which leaves me more calories for what I want (milk, cheese, meat, nuts).
    I also hope it will be easier for me to cut calories as I lose weight.
    Thank you all for teaching me.
    edited January 5
  • cab010506cab010506 Member Posts: 45 Member Member Posts: 45 Member
    So I am on a 1200 calories - here is a typical day for me - I also work out 5 times a week , a mixture of strength HIIT shorter sessions and my walks and runs too. I have lost over 12kg from when I started back in Sept.

    Breakfast-
    150g greek yogurt semi skimmed one
    50g raw fresh raspberries
    20g of walnuts

    1 coffee with 2 teaspoons of coffeemate and splenda to sweeten (this is my vice I cannot give up the junk that is coffeemate ha ha!)

    Lunch -
    Salad consisting of -

    100g of skinless chicken breast grilled or roasted
    red onion
    half a medium avocado
    one whole beefy tomato
    baby spinach
    squeezed fresh lemon and lots of pepper and salt
    goats cheese sprinkled over (30g)


    Dinner -

    2 large eggs scrambled in 1 tablespoon of margarine
    Handful of baby spinach in with the eggs and 30g of white cheese or grated parmesean
    can of small tuna in olive oil but drained (52g)

    I also probably have another 2 cups of coffee as per my morning sometimes 3 but I drink lots of water all day!


    I stay away from white carbs so no white bread, pasta, potatoes or rice - although admittedly over Xmas I had a good 9 day break of eating what I want and finally having a drink after being 4 months dry but worked out so was fine did not put on really.

  • cab010506cab010506 Member Posts: 45 Member Member Posts: 45 Member
    Today I had for lunch a healthy homemade bolognese meat and lots of veggies (carrots, peppers, courgettes, onions, celery) sauce and instead of eating the pasta I just had the sauce with grated cheese and that is the type of way I keep within the 1200 limit.

    I basically eat the same breakfast all the time as I love it, but when I reach my goal I will add back my lovely yummy homemade granola with lots of nuts and baked in coco oil and maple syrup to add some healthy complex carbs back in.

    I also always eat eggs in the evening so that is consistent and I think healthy, I do them with greens or with tomatoes and onion and cumin etc and like today I add tuna sometimes or a protein left over!

    The lunch meal is the one I change the most, healthy nice salads, I make my own dressings either lemon and olive oil, or balsamic or mustard honey ones and I add a protein of some sort fish, prawns, chicken, meat or pork.

    I don't think anyone could call my diet lacking or unhealthy and I make all my own food and cook every day , no good eating higher number of calories and then eating processed rubbish!

    The thing I will change after I reach goal is to add healthy carbs like oats, or sweet potatoes or legumes but small amounts. And of course have a good old day off from it all! Looking forward to that part lol.. good luck it can be done in a healthy way and I dispute otherwise.
  • bionicroosterbionicrooster Member Posts: 330 Member Member Posts: 330 Member
    some great suggestions here. I swear by egg whites and grilled chicken. 1200 calories seems to be the sweet spot for me to lose weight!
  • LisaGetsMovingLisaGetsMoving Member Posts: 117 Member Member Posts: 117 Member
    some great suggestions here. I swear by egg whites and grilled chicken. 1200 calories seems to be the sweet spot for me to lose weight!

    I agree, egg whites and chicken pack a powerful punch for low fat, low carb protein packed nutritional choices. When I make a scramble or omelette, I don't really care for egg white alone but by adding one whole egg it's very good. It's my go-to breakfast as of a week ago.
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