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

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  • dmaloof2013
    dmaloof2013 Posts: 134 Member
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  • TrailRunner61
    TrailRunner61 Posts: 2,505 Member
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    The older you are, the fewer calories you need to maintain. Thought I'd add that.

    If I get no exercise in, I will eat 1200 or less. My old, short, small-boned body doesn't need any more than that. On the other hand, if I do get in an awesome workout, like burning 800 or so, I'll eat all the exercise cals I want, but only if I'm truly hungry. It's working for me.
  • KD0224
    KD0224 Posts: 13
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    I have actually been quite irritated with MFP about this. I understand that some people do only require 1200 calories, but no matter what I put in it says I only need 1200. I tried all of the activity levels just to see what it would say, 1200 calories across the board.

    Last year I spent 6 months losing weight, only eating 1200 calories and exercising almost everyday, and plateaued for quite a bit of that time. At the start of my "weight loss" this time I am more educated, and decided to find other sources to calculate my TDEE and I input my daily calories into MFP every morning. I am calorie cycling at the moment, but even before starting that I manually input my calorie allowance.

    While there are some people that do only need 1200 calories, a person who works out 5-7 days of the week needs more, and MFP should have the system set up to *correctly* reflect all the differences.
  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 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.

    it can work, but there are usually consequences. most often, those relate to nutritional deficiencies and stalls. there are other consequences (e.g., loss of LBM), but those are the two most important ones for most people. but even if you stall eventually you'll break through it. it won't be pleasant though and it isn't necessary to go that route to get to your goal.

    the problem with the MFP calculations is that they allow 2lbs per week fat loss as the maximum, but don't set any minimums based on current weight and goal weight. if you have 200lbs to lose, a 1000 calorie per day deficit is not a problem because your TDEE is going to be high. but if you're trying to go from 130lbs to 120lbs, then a 2lbs per week goal is too aggressive. that's what you should always choose your goals with respect to TDEE-20% (or thereabouts). as your TDEE goes down, your desired loss rate should to. so to set your MFP goals properly, you really have to understand the underlying math a little bit. you can learn about that by reading Dan's Roadmap or the many threads in the Eat, Train, Progress group.
  • PinkNinjaKitty
    PinkNinjaKitty Posts: 32 Member
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    I am having a hard time with this. MFP has given me 1200 calories a day to aim for plus my 500 or so exercise calories. I have a hard time eating all those calories. I eat a lot of veggies and they have barely any calories. I also don't eat meat. I am trying to eat more...without touching processed foods or junk. I have been doing this for weeks and have not lost a pound. I work out daily and people tell me I don't need to lose weight but I am 5'6'' 162. I know that I could stand to lose 20 lbs.

    I am going to try to eat more calories and see if that is what I need. It will be hard for me because I eat a mostly vegan diet. I guess I will have to up my intake of nuts and fruit.

    Thanks for the info..this could be why I have seen zero results. I was ready to give up
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
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    I have actually been quite irritated with MFP about this. I understand that some people do only require 1200 calories, but no matter what I put in it says I only need 1200. I tried all of the activity levels just to see what it would say, 1200 calories across the board.

    Last year I spent 6 months losing weight, only eating 1200 calories and exercising almost everyday, and plateaued for quite a bit of that time. At the start of my "weight loss" this time I am more educated, and decided to find other sources to calculate my TDEE and I input my daily calories into MFP every morning. I am calorie cycling at the moment, but even before starting that I manually input my calorie allowance.

    While there are some people that do only need 1200 calories, a person who works out 5-7 days of the week needs more, and MFP should have the system set up to *correctly* reflect all the differences.

    Did you put in .5 lb/week as your goal? You have so little to lose you really shouldn't have it set any higher than that.
  • LorinaLynn
    LorinaLynn Posts: 13,248 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???

    I know, right? How dare anyone post helpful advice in a forum called "General Diet and Weight Loss Help." :indifferent:

    Personally, I'm grateful for topics like this and the frequency at which they occur. If no one had ever posted things that went against my preconceived notions of what weight loss was supposed to be like, I wouldn't have had the success I had. What I was doing before didn't work.
  • Lifting_Knitter
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  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 Member
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    I am having a hard time with this. MFP has given me 1200 calories a day to aim for plus my 500 or so exercise calories. I have a hard time eating all those calories. I eat a lot of veggies and they have barely any calories. I also don't eat meat. I am trying to eat more...without touching processed foods or junk. I have been doing this for weeks and have not lost a pound. I work out daily and people tell me I don't need to lose weight but I am 5'6'' 162. I know that I could stand to lose 20 lbs.

    I am going to try to eat more calories and see if that is what I need. It will be hard for me because I eat a mostly vegan diet. I guess I will have to up my intake of nuts and fruit.

    Thanks for the info..this could be why I have seen zero results. I was ready to give up

    we've all been brainwashed into thinking that losing weight is a matter of eating healthy and eating healthy means filling up on celery and grapes and lettuce (etc.). those foods will fill you up, but leave you well short of your calorie goal. this means you aren't actually nourishing your body the way you think you are. go to the Eat, Train, Progress group and read about IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). this will explain why you don't need to limit your food choices to lose weight. as long as they fit in your daily macros, you can eat almost anything you want. in your case, you should add back some calorie dense foods to your diet to get you to your daily goal.
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
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    I am having a hard time with this. MFP has given me 1200 calories a day to aim for plus my 500 or so exercise calories. I have a hard time eating all those calories. I eat a lot of veggies and they have barely any calories. I also don't eat meat. I am trying to eat more...without touching processed foods or junk. I have been doing this for weeks and have not lost a pound. I work out daily and people tell me I don't need to lose weight but I am 5'6'' 162. I know that I could stand to lose 20 lbs.

    I am going to try to eat more calories and see if that is what I need. It will be hard for me because I eat a mostly vegan diet. I guess I will have to up my intake of nuts and fruit.

    Thanks for the info..this could be why I have seen zero results. I was ready to give up

    Also make sure you are weighing/measuring everything with a food scale. Good luck :)
  • CharlieJuliette
    CharlieJuliette Posts: 459 Member
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    Bump to read later
  • sozisfitnow
    sozisfitnow Posts: 209 Member
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    if you are a sedentary 38-year old woman, who is 4'10" and weighs 115lbs and does not exercise, then your TDEE-20% would be approximately 1200 calories.

    if you are:

    more active than that...
    and/or younger than that...
    and/or male...
    and/or taller than that...
    and/or weigh more than that...
    and/or engage in cardiovascular exercise, then

    you should almost certainly be eating MORE than 1200 calories per day.

    i would hazard to guess that 99+% of the people on MFP are in the category that should be eating more than 1200 calories. 1200 calories per day is almost certainly too low for almost everyone who does not have an unusual medical condition requiring a low calorie intake, in which case that person would have to be under medical supervision.

    if you are new here or are trying to adhere to a 1200 calorie diet because you heard that's what you need to do to lose weight, i would urge you to read through Dan's Roadmap:

    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/654536-in-place-of-a-road-map-2-0-revised-7-2-12

    when you are done, join the Eat, Train, Progress group run by 2 knowledgeable members who are trying to provide a safe harbor where accurate, scientifically sound health, nutrition, and fitness advice can be given without all of the background noise occasionally found in the public forums.

    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/groups/home/10118-eat-train-progress

    please do yourself a favor and find out the right calorie goal for yourself that allows you to change your body in a healthy and satisfying way. you don't need to starve yourself and you don't need to suffer the side effects of a 1200 calorie diet.


    Totally agree. I did the 1200 for a two week period , luckily I had read the forums and changed weight loss goals and got a higher cal goal. What you need to remember though is myself and many of my generation come from the VLCD era , so 1200 for a 'diet'
    actually seems pretty generous for the tough it out for a few days and then give up and say you cant diet mentality.
    Im now on maintenance on MFP for non exercise days and actually thats a weight loss diet for me of nearly 1600 cals!

    I think the longer you need to diet , the higher the calorie consuption can be . To be honest a lot of very overweight people could just eat a healthy average diet of 2,000 cals and plummet in weight .
  • d3mon4ngel
    d3mon4ngel Posts: 242 Member
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    I have actually been quite irritated with MFP about this. I understand that some people do only require 1200 calories, but no matter what I put in it says I only need 1200. I tried all of the activity levels just to see what it would say, 1200 calories across the board.

    Last year I spent 6 months losing weight, only eating 1200 calories and exercising almost everyday, and plateaued for quite a bit of that time. At the start of my "weight loss" this time I am more educated, and decided to find other sources to calculate my TDEE and I input my daily calories into MFP every morning. I am calorie cycling at the moment, but even before starting that I manually input my calorie allowance.

    While there are some people that do only need 1200 calories, a person who works out 5-7 days of the week needs more, and MFP should have the system set up to *correctly* reflect all the differences.

    Did you put in .5 lb/week as your goal? You have so little to lose you really shouldn't have it set any higher than that.

    ^^ This

    The closer you get to your goal weight, the less of a deficit you should have. :flowerforyou:
  • WinnerVictorious
    WinnerVictorious Posts: 4,735 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?

    i believe they are referring to Dan's Roadmap. it's linked in the first post on this thread.
  • Julieann777
    Julieann777 Posts: 13 Member
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    Thank you for this! Much needed.
  • tryinghard71
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    I don't want MFP to change. The way MFP is designed is working for me. I don't think they want you to eat 1200 calories. I think they set you at that if you are not going to move all day. To me it is encouragement to work out. That is why they have it set up that if you work out then you gain calories back to eat. I have done the whole tdee thing and the calories it gives me for the day is pretty close to MFP giving me 1200 and then letting me eat my calories back. So depending on how hard or how long I work out and what I earn I could be eating up to 1800-2200 a day. So it does work for some.
  • katiemarlowe
    katiemarlowe Posts: 1 Member
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  • BerryH
    BerryH Posts: 4,698 Member
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    I would recommend beginners spend a week honestly tracking every mouthful and weighing portion sizes from an average pre-getting-fit day.

    I was one of those, "But I got fat eating 2,000 calories, how will I lose eating that much?" naysayers, until I realised I had easily been eating (and drinking) 3,000+ on some days.

    But, of course, everyone wants quick results, which is why they chose "lose 2lb a week" and end up on 1,200 calories.

    I'd never even heard 1,200 was a go-to figure until I started reading MFP forums, I just clicked on the "1lb a week - recommended" and it seemed obvious enough it was designed to eat your exercise calories too.
  • watcheronthewall
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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???

    Lots of people do find it useful as is evident in this post. You are, of course, welcome to disregard. I don't see this as one of those threads moaning at what others are doing, those annoy me too. This is people offering genuine advice and I, for one, appreciate it.
  • KD0224
    KD0224 Posts: 13
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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....

    I don't see this as a way to be negatived focused on anything. What I get from this thread is that others are having the same issues with MFP, and it is a way to educate those who are not aware that MFP is wrong sometimes.

    When I first started using this site last year I was unaware that there was a sort of science behind losing weight. I thought, just eat a lot less than normal, but it is threads like this that educated me in how to be better at losing weight, and more healthy about it.