When is 1200 calories appropriate? (hint: almost never)

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  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 Member
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    It was my doctor who suggested 1200, my dietician suggested 1000, I hover somewhere between the two most days, occasionally down as low as 700, life or death. No competition really.

    you do understand the false premise of your disagreement, don't you?

    you are under medical and dietary supervision for your low calorie intake, which i alluded to in my original post as being necessary to prevent malnutrition at such a low calorie level. you clearly are aware that you're not following this advice, but for reasons that can be medically justified. that makes you an exception to the rule, not an example that disproves the rule.

    doctors do put patients on VLCD for medical reasons, but they also keep a close eye on those patients' health.
  • watcheronthewall
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    Preach it!

    Testiffffyyyy
  • MrsK20141004
    MrsK20141004 Posts: 489 Member
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    Thank you for this! I have a friend who is at 1200 cals and always worrying about going over because "MFP told me to eat 1200". I think this will help her, she only wants to lose 10 pounds but has loss set to 2 lbs per week.

    This isn't about a "one size fits all" approach, its about knowing what your body needs to function. Everyone is different and the vast majority of people won't see the results they're looking for on 1200 calories a day.

    Again, thanks for posting this!
  • lisahaug9
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    OK, first of all, MFP has 1200 set as a base number of calories for many people based on their starting weight and activity level, but then if you exercise at all, then that is bumped up. For example, I usually end up with about 1800 based on my activity for the day even though the base is 1200. So can you please clarify whether you are talking about 1200 as a starting point or end point of daily intake?

    Secondly, do you have some sources you can refer me to on this topic? Thanks!

    I did not start losing weight until I got to MFP and followed the guidelines it came up with for me, even though I had been increasing my exercise for three months.

    I agree....be more specific - are you talking about starting point or net? My daily goal is 1200, however I eat around 1600-1800 and then with exercise calories deducted I hit my net of 1200 and I'm seeing results, plus I'm never hungry. When I first started and was listening to all the non-professional advice my daily goal was set around 1500, so with exercise I was eating somewhere around 2000 and the scale wasn't moving. As soon as I changed to the way I am doing it now the weight started coming off and I have lost 9 pounds in about 30 days.

    I know your intention is to help people however; everyone is different and what works for you may not work for anyone else.
  • YoungDoc2B
    YoungDoc2B Posts: 1,593 Member
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    Nice try, but this is going to fall on deaf ears.
  • LorinaLynn
    LorinaLynn Posts: 13,248 Member
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    My TDEE is about 2300. If I were eating just 1200 calories, that only giving it about HALF the fuel my body needs.

    If your employer cut your salary in half, you'd have a hard time getting by for more than a few weeks, maybe a few months if you had a lot in savings. But you could probably manage, if you HAD to, on a 10-20% cut in wages. You'd adapt. Same thing with your body. There's only so much you can cut and still live a normal life.

    I don't mind 1200+exercise calories. Its the ones set at 1200 and don't touch exercise calories that are setting themselves up for failure.
  • LindsayLL30
    LindsayLL30 Posts: 154 Member
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    Yes mine is set to 1200, and I have an open food diary.... I do NOT try to stick to the 1200 (I am for 1400-1600) and everysingle night when I complete my entry I have people telling me Tomorrows a new day, and hang in there...as if I have done something awful LOL
  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 Member
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    Nice try, but this is going to fall on deaf ears.

    not all ears will be deaf. hopefully many of the newer folks who are still confused will take the time to read Dan's Roadmap thread and also visit the Eat, Train, Progress group.

    you can't help everybody (especially those who don't want to be helped), but you can help some.

    for the folks who insist that they are perfectly fine eating at 1200 calories, i truly hope they reach their goals with as minimal amount of struggle as possible. i suspect that some of them will eventually stall and perhaps take this advice to heart at some later date. better late than never.

    for those who want to do it the hard way and dismiss all evidence that a higher calorie goal can/will be an easier way to reach their goal... i still wish them all the luck in the world.
  • LifeIsNotADressRehearsal
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    Yawns. *eye roll*

    I'm always amazed at the amount of people so focused on what other people are doing and eating....

    This made me sad. The OP's sincere motivation is to help people. He took the time to post some very good information with an end goal to reach out and make a difference for someone....any one. He's a kind, intelligent, good man and am proud to have him as a friend. He's also incredibly funny....which is an added bonus. :smile:
  • lisahaug9
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    I don't mind 1200+exercise calories. Its the ones set at 1200 and don't touch exercise calories that are setting themselves up for failure.

    This I agree with 100%!! If I were to do that my Net would be like 750-850 and there is no way that would be good for me, not to mention the fact that I would be starving which would result in me going on a binge. Anyone who follows the eating 1200 without adding back in exercise calories is just asking for trouble.
  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 Member
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    My TDEE is about 2300. If I were eating just 1200 calories, that only giving it about HALF the fuel my body needs.

    If your employer cut your salary in half, you'd have a hard time getting by for more than a few weeks, maybe a few months if you had a lot in savings. But you could probably manage, if you HAD to, on a 10-20% cut in wages. You'd adapt. Same thing with your body. There's only so much you can cut and still live a normal life.

    I don't mind 1200+exercise calories. Its the ones set at 1200 and don't touch exercise calories that are setting themselves up for failure.

    i would be very happy if this thread turned into a collection or real life anecdotes from members who suffered and didn't reach their goals on a 1200 calorie diet, but eventually discovered that by eating more, they could reach their goal and be happier and healthier in the process. amazingly, just a couple of hundred calories per day can make all the difference in the world.

    i have seen dozens and dozens of members share their experiences like this spread across numerous threads, but never all collected in one thread that can be easily referred to at a later date.
  • ladyraven68
    ladyraven68 Posts: 2,003 Member
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    One formula doesnt fit all...

    not that I eat 1200 or anything but lets not put people down for eating less than we believe they should. its their body not ours. and if they are losing and not malnourished who cares

    Yes, but many people are eating 1200, because they don't know any better. (like I did when I started)

    At least if this will give them some knowledge to make their own mind up. If they still chose to eat 1200, then at least they are doing it from a position of knowledge.

    Even if this thread only helps a few people then it will have been worth it.

    Well done OP.
  • Bookchick887
    Bookchick887 Posts: 126 Member
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    My BMR according to F2F is 1280
    TDEE is 1505. How many cals do you advise for me?
    5 feet tall, 53 years old, low activity, 134 lb.
    Thank you!
  • crazihel
    crazihel Posts: 72 Member
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    My maintainance total is rougly 2150 cals a day. I'm looking to lose the maximum healthy amount per week I can (no more than 2 pounds a week which is the limit MFP recommends)

    So....to achive this apparently I need a deficit of 1000 calories a day, which puts me at 1150, below the recommended daily minimum for women at 1200. So I eat more than that, about 1240 a day.

    I often go over...and I certainly eat back my exercise calories. I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of food because I eat three meals a day, plus snacks and fit it all in.

    So....is this all wrong?! Because it seems to be working, I've lost 10.4 pounds since 23rd January which I am happy about.
  • Eatkansasbeef
    Eatkansasbeef Posts: 71 Member
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    Love this thread!
  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 Member
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    My BMR according to F2F is 1280
    TDEE is 1505. How many cals do you advise for me?
    5 feet tall, 53 years old, low activity, 134 lb.
    Thank you!

    Dan usually will run the numbers for anyone who asks, but i'll take a stab at it for you...

    if i understand you correctly, you are saying that you are sedentary and do not do any extra cardio to lose weight. in that case, i come up about 1525 calories for your TDEE which is essentially what you have already calculated. keep in mind that these calculators have some amount of error to them, so let's just say that 1515 is correct. since you don't have much weight to lose according to your ticker, your deficit should not be large. maybe 10%-15% or so will put you at a loss of 1-2lbs per month, so that would be a daily calorie goal of 1360-1290 per day. just adding some cardio will allow you to increase that calorie goal, so you should seriously consider that (walking a couple of miles a day would do it). when you start getting to these lower numbers, even though you are still above 1200, you have to really make sure you have your macro goals dialed-in and are meeting them, as well as getting all of your micronutrients with a multivitamin (my recommendation). the more calories you have to eat, the easier it is to get proper nutrition.

    i would say, 1325 until you get to your goal. then bump it up to 1515. if you add cardio (strongly advised), then eat back all of those calories. just adding 250 calories of cardio per day would allow you to lose weight while eating 1575. that 250 calories can be as easy as going for a ~1 hour walk each day at a 3mph pace.

    once you get to your goal weight, then you go to maintenance and your calorie goal increases to your TDEE.
  • Deipneus
    Deipneus Posts: 1,862 Member
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    Yawns. *eye roll* I'm always amazed at the amount of people so focused on what other people are doing and eating....
    It's fascinating isn't it.
  • andycet
    andycet Posts: 55 Member
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    :flowerforyou:

    We need to do our utmost to keep this thread at the top of the forums for as long as possible!

    And when is MFP going to listen to common sense and stop advising everyone to eat 1200?!!

    I lost and gained the same 7lbs for 12 months eating 1200. Now, in a fraction of that time, I have lost 9lbs following the Roadmap (eating around 1600 calories a day plus exercise calories). And the weight is continuining to drop off. I'm not as grouchy, I drink alcohol, I have the energy to run and lift weights, my skin is better, I'm less hungry and far happier.

    'Nough said!

    What road map did you use?
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
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    I will never understand the mentality of wanting to eat the bare minimum. I was really excited when people here told me that I didn't *have* to limit myself to 1200 calories.

    I also want to add for anyone thinking that disability means you automatically have to eat less-- I used to think that but it isn't necessarily true. I have a lot of heath problems. I left work because of disability (lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic migraine) and in the beginning of trying to lose weight I was completely sedentary. I stayed home, I laid on the couch a lot. I did a small amount of housework (laundry, dishes, vacuuming once a week, etc). I ate about 1420 calories to lose weight, which is what MFP set me on for sedentary.

    After I had been logging for a few months I came across a method to use the amount you've eaten and the amount you've lost to figure out what your true TDEE is. Mine is 1820. That's 190 calories more than MFP's estimate for me.

    Just because you have a health condition it doesn't necessarily mean you have to be at 1200 calories either. I would encourage anyone in that position to experiment and figure out what you are really burning.

    If you can eat more food and still lose weight, why wouldn't you want to?
  • DoingitWell
    DoingitWell Posts: 560 Member
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    Yawns. *eye roll*

    I'm always amazed at the amount of people so focused on what other people are doing and eating....

    ^^ this + how many times are we going to do this topic???