1200 calories a day for women

I know that I look at some of my friends (on here) and read their calorie intakes, I just don't understand how it's possible to eat until 1,200 calories for a woman and remain healthy.
Do doctors really recommend 1,200 a day for women or is everyone just trying to loose weight fast?


  • SuggaD
    SuggaD Posts: 1,369 Member
    No. Its too low for almost everyone. I'd literally waste away.
  • Stacyandsilas
    Stacyandsilas Posts: 14 Member
    I think the same thing. I personally feel like I'm starving all the time if I have less than 1400 a day.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,271 Member
    For a large number of women, BMR+NEAT less 1000 (1000 calorie per day deficit for a 2 lb/wk weight loss) is 1200 or less. Many women who chose 1.5 pounds per week (750 calorie per day deficit) run into the same thing. The number of women who choose those two options in their MFP setup is high because, given the choice, they would prefer to lose faster rather than more slowly. I don't think that most of them have gone to the doctor and been prescribed a 1200 calorie diet, though some may have.

    (FWIW, I'm sure that there are some women who would end up at 1200 even with only choosing to lose a pound but I think that most end up there because of choosing 1.5 or 2 lbs.)
  • Gska17
    Gska17 Posts: 752 Member
    edited May 2015
    I did it for a while since it was what MFP assigned me. From February 2nd through mid-April I stuck to 1,200 most days. I can tell you a few things:

    1. I successfully lost weight.
    2. By mid-April I was miserable. I became lethargic, dizzy, and famished. I upped my calories to 1,350 or so (I can't remember exactly). For me 1,200 wasn't sustainable and I'm much happier now. My running performance has improved too. It was eye-opening for me to discover I wasn't fueling my body properly.

    Good luck! :)

    Edited to add stats:

    5'8 and my SW was 150. Sedentary with a goal of losing 1 lb per week. I think officially it was 1,250 I was assigned now that I think hard about it...
  • hanksmom79
    hanksmom79 Posts: 85 Member
    FWIW, I'm a 149 lb female with activity level = sedentary. With my goal set to lose 1 lb per week, MFP sets my base calories to 1250 per day. With exercise it gets up to 1400 but if I make wise choices on days I don't have time for exercise, I am usually still very satisfied. On days I "cheat" and eat at maintenance, it feels like a feast:)
  • slucki01
    slucki01 Posts: 284 Member
    I'm only looking for .5 - 1 lb a week and MFP gives me a 1200 cal goal. That is difficult to stick to, especially if you are social. However, if you exercise you can "earn" extra calories so that's what I do. I generally earn about 400-500 cals and eat half of them. That's still only about 1400 calories but you can eat well on that if you're mindful. I even manage to allow myself a glass of red wine most days. On days that I don't exercise (which is rare) it's difficult
  • misscaligreen
    misscaligreen Posts: 819 Member
    I am on 1200 calories a day and have been since October. I don't feel physically hungry at all if I manage my calories correctly. It really is plenty of food if you make good choices. It makes me more conscience of my nutrition. Because I don't have a lot of calories I need to make sure that the ones I am eating are nourishing my body. That being said I do struggle with "emotional hunger" occasionally like wanting to eat because I am bored or upset but that has little to nothing to do with my calorie amount.
  • manicautumn
    manicautumn Posts: 224 Member
    I'm 5'0. I can be happy on 1200 if I eat the right things. The second I add some wine or pop in there, I can feel the lack of food.

    But, I use 1200 as a base and rarely eat below 1400 with my fitbit adjustment.

    1200 is low, but for shorter women, it's somewhat easier.
  • jaga13
    jaga13 Posts: 1,149 Member
    I'm 4'11. MFP gives a 1250 a day for a mere .5 lb loss. Aren't you jealous? :) But I earn more food through exercise calories, so most days are around 1400-1500.
  • chriscolh
    chriscolh Posts: 127 Member
    For me, 1200 cals a day is what works for me to lose weight. But I want to stress the "for me" part. I am short. Like, "do you need a child's ticket today?" short. I'm 45 years old and just under 5' tall. And it really sucks, because 1200 calories is not a lot. But if I concentrate on hitting my macros, I really can nourish my body with 1200 calories. I just don't have a lot of room for error - or yummy, gooey, densely packed with sweetness and fat treats. (Sorry, I'm hungry today.) You gotta do what works for you. Calculate your TDEE and cut from there. Don't go overboard - slow and steady is the way to go. Make sure that you get your nutrients in, and if you're miserable, up your calories a bit. You can't listen to your stomach - it will tell you you're hungry. Instead, listen to your body. If you are tired, weak, brain-foggy... you need more calories.

    Weight loss is an individual thing. You need to figure out what works for you - and if you're not super short, it probably is going to involve more than 1200 calories.

    Good luck!!
  • KathrynZeda
    KathrynZeda Posts: 1 Member
    My calorie goal is 1,200 and I'm 5'2. I found an easy way to achieve my goal is by having 2 protein shakes a day ( different flavors of course). By doing this i can get in a couple snacks a day as well as a satisfying dinner. The low cal snacks are usually a granola bar or a fiber brownie, sometimes even popcorn! Either way, i feel like this goal is accurate after my research of how to get in my protein and nutrients.
    Just my two cents on things.
  • fivelongmiles
    fivelongmiles Posts: 54 Member
    edited May 2015
    When I'm at my best for my sports, I'm light enough (and short enough) that my BMR is just short of 1200. Thankfully, however, if I'm in that shape I'm doing enough exercise to eat waaaay more than that, and my TDEE is still 1500ish on a lazy day, because I know that on 1200 calories a day (if I was that weight and sedentary) I would eat anything and anyone that stayed still long enough!

    Even during desk job times where I was trying to lose just the few pounds to get back to my best, my TDEE without exercise was at least 1500 and I would create the deficit by doing more, not eating less.

    I'm sure there are people who are okay health-wise on 1200 and have the willpower to do it, but I know I couldn't.
  • agartin
    agartin Posts: 274 Member
    edited May 2015
    I'm at 1200. It's hard some days, but other days, relatively easy. I don't feel fatigued or under-nourished. Today I even met my husband at Taco Bell for lunch, I played around with logging different menu items in MFP prior to leaving for lunch and found that I can still have my cake and eat it too. I chose fresco options, and they were really quite satisfying. After my coffee, breakfast, and lunch I still have 360 to play with at dinner, not including the 300-500 I intend to burn off at the gym after work, which I will only eat about half back. I am 5'2", currently 184lbs (started at 196 a month and some change ago) and I have my goals set to 2lbs per week. I think when I have tough days it's mostly mind over matter and emotional eating for me..
  • Eleonora91
    Eleonora91 Posts: 695 Member
    I've been eating 1200 a few times before when I wanted to start off. It is hard, but not too hard if you choose the right foods. MFP says I should be maintaining on 1730 (more of 1800 as I empirically found out) so 1200 would only make me lose 0.3 kgs per week, which is basically nothing compared to losing/gaining up to 1 kg in a day just because of food and poop... I usually stick to it a few weeks then increase it to 1400.
  • gothchiq
    gothchiq Posts: 4,592 Member
    If a woman is short, and also middle aged or older, that's what the doctor tells us to eat. It isn't easy or pleasant but it's all that works in these cases.
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,789 Member
    My calorie goal is 1,200 and I'm 5'2. I found an easy way to achieve my goal is by having 2 protein shakes a day ( different flavors of course). By doing this i can get in a couple snacks a day as well as a satisfying dinner. The low cal snacks are usually a granola bar or a fiber brownie, sometimes even popcorn! Either way, i feel like this goal is accurate after my research of how to get in my protein and nutrients.
    Just my two cents on things.

    Your calorie goal is 1200 because you probably set your calorie goal to 2lbs per week, which is quite aggressive for someone only looking to lose 20lbs. My wife is the same age as me, same height as you and gets more than 1200.

    I wouldn't recommend replacing 2 meals with protein shakes either (hopefully you mean MRPs at least, protein shakes have little on the overall nutrition side). It does nothing to teach us about portion control for when you do return to eating normally.....unless you plan on having protein shakes instead of meals the rest of your life, then carry on.
  • Lizzipoos
    Lizzipoos Posts: 12 Member
    I'm sure there's people out there who have no issues with 1200 a day, but I can't do it. MFP gave me 1200 as a goal, but after a month of trying that I switched to 1500. It feels a lot better + I am usually still below it.
  • whmscll
    whmscll Posts: 2,254 Member
    1200 is what MFP assigned me. I have a sedentary job, only want to lose .5 -1 lb a week. But I am in my 50s. I have to exercise each day and eat back a portion of those calories to stay within goal. Otherwise I could never stick to 1200, because I refuse to be hungry and miserable. I don't worry if I go 50 or 100 calories over occasionally, I know I am still at a deficit.
  • whmscll
    whmscll Posts: 2,254 Member
    Oh, and I'm 5'5"
  • PeachyCarol
    PeachyCarol Posts: 8,029 Member
    edited May 2015
    Any time I see someone who is not old and short like me eating 1200, I think I hear a kitten dying somewhere.

    Older and shorter women DO need to eat 1200 to lose weight, and because our metabolisms are at an appropriate rate to handle such an intake, I don't think there's really a problem eating that many calories. I certainly don't struggle with hunger. Or with getting nutrition. Or with fitting in treats here and there.

    Anyone else? Just no.