Does this diet/exercise plan sound effective?

So I lost 80 lbs around 2 years ago and have maintained the weight loss. I wear the same size clothes, however, I do look bigger since my weight loss back in 2018. I guess muscle turned to fat? I use weight watchers/MFP to track calories on a daily basis, I aim for usually around 1200 calories per day. So my goal is to get fit & if I’m lucky, lose some pounds. My diet has been the same for the past two years, around 1200 per day, now I want to incorporate exercise 3-4 times a week. I usually aim for cardio at 30 minutes on the days that I work out. So I’m sticking to the same caloric intake but now decide to exercise regularly, would I have a chance of losing inches & looking more slim?

Replies

  • lgfrie
    lgfrie Posts: 1,450 Member
    First, congrats on losing the 80 pounds. That's around how much I've lost so I well know how difficult it is to do that. Also, maintaining an 80 lb loss is something very few people do - supposedly less than 15 % of dieters keep the weight off, and it might be much less than that in the 80+ pounds territory, as we've all seen from Biggest Loser and such. You're obviously doing something right.

    You are probably going to get many responses to your question along the lines of "You are supposed to eat back all your exercise calories, and since 1200 is the rock-bottom minimum any person can safely eat, you are already at the bare-bones minimum caloric level and it is MANDATORY that you eat back your exercise calories."

    I just wanted to say that I pre-agree with all the people who are about to write that. Don't even think about eating 1200 and then working out without eating back those exercise calories. That would put your net calories under 1,000, which is unsafe for your long-term health. If you add resistance training and eat some more food to cover those workouts, you will tone up, and the 1200 calories already produces weight loss, so you will be good to go as far as trimming and toning goes.
  • danielleg0094
    danielleg0094 Posts: 38 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Muscle doesn't literally turn to fat, though we can lose muscle and gain fat.

    If you currently have a material amount of body fat, then continuing a calorie level that's kept you weight stable, and adding exercise, is likely to result in fat loss, which would result in losing inches and looking more slim.

    If your body weight is already in a sensible range for your height and body configuration, recomposition (gradually adding muscle, gradually losing fat, to stay at constant weight) might be a better option. That also has the potential for losing inches and looking more slim, but will work best with increased strength exercise rather than increased cardio. Much more about recomposition here:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10177803/recomposition-maintaining-weight-while-losing-fat

    Im 5’7 and around 180, I wear a 10-12. Which option is a better choice?
  • danielleg0094
    danielleg0094 Posts: 38 Member
    amart4224 wrote: »
    5'7 and 180, but you've been eating 1200 calories a day for two years and are maintaining? Something doesn't add up. You are likely eating more than you think, because your maintenance calories should be much higher. Do you weigh everything with a food scale?

    I don’t, so you’re saying that I should weigh less if I eat 1200 a day?
  • amart4224
    amart4224 Posts: 345 Member
    amart4224 wrote: »
    5'7 and 180, but you've been eating 1200 calories a day for two years and are maintaining? Something doesn't add up. You are likely eating more than you think, because your maintenance calories should be much higher. Do you weigh everything with a food scale?

    I don’t, so you’re saying that I should weigh less if I eat 1200 a day?

    Yes, at your height and weight, a 1200 calorie per day intake should result in weight loss, not maintenance.
  • danielleg0094
    danielleg0094 Posts: 38 Member
    amart4224 wrote: »
    amart4224 wrote: »
    5'7 and 180, but you've been eating 1200 calories a day for two years and are maintaining? Something doesn't add up. You are likely eating more than you think, because your maintenance calories should be much higher. Do you weigh everything with a food scale?

    I don’t, so you’re saying that I should weigh less if I eat 1200 a day?

    Yes, at your height and weight, a 1200 calorie per day intake should result in weight loss, not maintenance.

    Maybe it’s a bit more then, 1200-1500
  • harper16
    harper16 Posts: 2,564 Member
    I'm also 5'7 and if change my weight to 180 and set it at sedentary my TDEE for maintenance is 1841 calories.
  • danielleg0094
    danielleg0094 Posts: 38 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    I'm also 5'7 and if change my weight to 180 and set it at sedentary my TDEE for maintenance is 1841 calories.

    What’s your clothing size (assuming you’re female)?
  • harper16
    harper16 Posts: 2,564 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    I'm also 5'7 and if change my weight to 180 and set it at sedentary my TDEE for maintenance is 1841 calories.

    What’s your clothing size (assuming you’re female)?

    I am a female. Current weight is 189. Pants size 16-18.
  • brianstramel
    brianstramel Posts: 2 Member
    If you are really eating 1200 cals/day and maintaining that weight, then you have a really slow metabolism. Either way, focus on eating healthy whole foods and up the calories or get a more accurate measurement. For fitness, cardio is fine but resistance training is more important as it will help you to build muscle which will increase your metabolism. Intermittent fasting can also help increase metabolism. Make sure and take measurements as you can start building some muscle and changing your body composition without moving the scale a lot.
  • elfin168
    elfin168 Posts: 197 Member
    1200 is a starvation diet. My guess would be that you have been estimating your calories. If you want get get fit and lose a few pounds it should be enough to start exercising regularly and eating slightly less than maintenance. Ie round 1600-1800depending on activity levels.
  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 604 Member
    Just an FYI, I'm 5'3"/128lbs and my maintenance calorie goal is 1500....so yours *should be higher than that - at least I've maintained my weight for ~3 weeks eating that much. You should definitely be weighing/measuring everything you eat and get a handle on whether you're really eating what your think you're eating.

    I used a website to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and it was around 1800/1900 --- I don't know how old you are which is a factor...but I tried it with age 25 and 30 and it wasn't far off. And this is just an ESTIMATE so it might not be exactly right.

    So, the idea is if you have a sedentary lifestyle (sedentary job) then that's the calories per day you'd have to eat to maintain your current weight. So if you want to lose weight --- you could subtract some calories from that (say, shoot for eating 1500 calories per day) and then log your workout calorie burn and I'd suggest eating back 50% of those calories since the calorie estimates for MFP can range from being accurate to really far off. If you have something else that estimates calories burn (like a HRM or fitbit) then you can use that estimate.

    Basically you want to eat somewhere above your BMR, but below your TDEE --- do that for a month or so and then weight yourself and make adjustments from there because all of this is estimates.
  • danielleg0094
    danielleg0094 Posts: 38 Member
    Just an FYI, I'm 5'3"/128lbs and my maintenance calorie goal is 1500....so yours *should be higher than that - at least I've maintained my weight for ~3 weeks eating that much. You should definitely be weighing/measuring everything you eat and get a handle on whether you're really eating what your think you're eating.

    I used a website to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure and it was around 1800/1900 --- I don't know how old you are which is a factor...but I tried it with age 25 and 30 and it wasn't far off. And this is just an ESTIMATE so it might not be exactly right.

    So, the idea is if you have a sedentary lifestyle (sedentary job) then that's the calories per day you'd have to eat to maintain your current weight. So if you want to lose weight --- you could subtract some calories from that (say, shoot for eating 1500 calories per day) and then log your workout calorie burn and I'd suggest eating back 50% of those calories since the calorie estimates for MFP can range from being accurate to really far off. If you have something else that estimates calories burn (like a HRM or fitbit) then you can use that estimate.

    Basically you want to eat somewhere above your BMR, but below your TDEE --- do that for a month or so and then weight yourself and make adjustments from there because all of this is estimates.

    Which website did you use to calculate TDEE