Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

TOPIC: Isn't 1200 calories too much for a 5ft tall woman?

Topic has been inactive for 30 days or more and images have been disabled.
Display All Images
September 5, 2013 7:27 PM

Just posting so I Can come back to this. I am anxious to hear other people's answers.

Image not displayed
September 5, 2013 8:00 PM
so i am approximately same as you. I am also around 5 feet, 159 cm and my starting weight is 62 kg and goal is 50 kg, which is in the range of healthy BMI.
I started with 1200 cal, and at first i couldnt reach it. few weeks after i lost very little around 0.5 kg =1 pound. then i changed to TDEE-20%. now i eat 1500 cal, feeling so much happier and on top of that i am still losing. i measured myself last week and i lost around 10 cm in total for week and half of upping of my cal. i am managing to get to my goal cal mainly because of the snacks. i snack something usually after every meal. i go over my carbs and sugar almost everyday because i eat lot of fruits and veggies but on total i am in minus cal.
and dont eat bellow your bmr!
Edited by svesemenja On September 5, 2013 8:00 PM
September 5, 2013 8:24 PM
My goodness, I just looked at your diary. You are not eating much at all. Have you ever been diagnosed with an ED?
September 5, 2013 8:33 PM
This health calculator puts it at 1336:

I'm 5'2" and 103lbs. I only have one pound left to lose, but am fine if I lose more down to 98. I'm most comfortable at 100 exactly, but 98-102 is my comfort zone. I've been eating between 1200-1400 calories regularly most days. Some days, with higher exercise or when I was on vacation, it was as much as 2,000 or more....mostly cause of alcohol though on vacation.

At maintenance I plan to eat at around 1500 except on heavy exercise days when I will eat more.

If you want to friend me to see my diary, feel free. I've logged very accurately for the last 2.5 months. But I do tend to eat a vegetarian diet a lot of days.
September 6, 2013 12:13 AM
You are not eating enough, therefore your body will not lose weight as its holding on to everything your giving it! Please eat more! You need to eat enough in order to lose weight.
September 6, 2013 12:54 AM
So, you don't regularly log. When you do log, you don't count vegetables (which still have calories, btw), and you continually starve yourself, up your calories and freak out when you gain 4lb, the go back to starving yourself. A 4lb weight gain is nothing and perfectly normal if you have been under-eating for a while. You need to give it more time.

Put it this way; why would your body burn fat when you continually underfeed and confuse it? It's sole objective is to live. Give it what it needs and it will do what you want it to do.
September 6, 2013 3:10 AM
You didn't answer my question. How long do you stay at higher calories before you freak out and cut them again? It takes a month, at least, for your body to adjust. And really, especially for women, you have to stick with any kind of change for a month because water weight fluctuations can cause your weight to shift several pounds per day. It can be hard to tell what's going on exactly.
September 6, 2013 3:35 AM
I'm 5' 1" and approx 103 lbs - I try to maintain most days on 1300 kcal but its probably give or take 20%. I do approx 45 mins of cardio and aim for a MHR of approx 165-170 so I know I'm getting the most of my cardio. I do some resistance training, approx 15 mins for 4 days a week - I do realise that's not a lot so I am planning on increasing that.

Most of my calories comes from fruit but I'm fine with that since I don't go crazy. I know its hard to keep checking the scales and wondering when the weight will start decreasing (or increasing for some folk). It took me 2 years to lose 30 lbs - In the grand scale of things for most folk that seems like an eternity - but I believed that a slow pace works for me. Now I am trying to maintain my weight. However if I do jump on the scale and see 47 kg I get a bit upset - but shrug it off and think - my clothes still fit fine and I am healthy.

One of my main aims was getting healthier as I have pretty bad asthma - now its so much better and I am a lot less cranky that I am not wheezing by the time I climb 1 flight of stairs.

My point is, take it slow, get some advice from a doctor about your concerns.....good luck..
September 6, 2013 6:15 AM

Most of my calories comes from fruit ...

What does that mean? Are you a fruititarian?
September 6, 2013 9:31 AM
I am 5'1 and weigh 100 lbs. My TDEE is 1700 (net is 1450 according to MFP, so with my exercise figured in I arrive in the same place). I have been maintaining for the past couple of months at this calorie intake.
September 6, 2013 9:37 AM
I am 5', 117 pounds and have successfully lost 25 pounds eating at least 1400 calories, mostly up near 1700.
September 9, 2013 12:27 AM


Most of my calories comes from fruit ...

What does that mean? Are you a fruititarian?

It just means that I eat fruits like bananas and apples which contains a lot of calories - so if we calculate the percentage of kcal from my fruits to my overall intake its >50%.
September 9, 2013 12:36 AM
No, I highly doubt it. Depends on how much exercise you do and what you do day-to-day. But they say you need 1200per person on average to only get your basics done daily like breathing etc. anything more you need to eat more to support your body.
September 9, 2013 3:07 AM
September 9, 2013 3:10 AM
Personally, I think any adult surviving on 1200 calories a day is starving their body, especially as they exercise also.
After learning about nutrition and being a PT, a lot of weight you are losing is muscle and not fat.
Would you fill a car up with 3/4 the amount of petrol when it needs a full tank to get to where its going?
It's more about eating well and your body will utilise so much better and you will still lose weight!
I know this is not what a lot of people on here will agree with but I'm personally more about the health and burning the right things (i.w. body fat) then what the scales say.
Good luck!
September 9, 2013 3:25 AM
The MINIMUM amount of calories ANY woman, regardless of height/weight/age is 1200 calories. So no, 1200 calories for a 5ft woman is not too much. IMO, it's REALLY hard to be happy on 1200 calories. I couldn't do it and I'm 5'2. I eat 1500 + exercise calories. I feel soooooooo much happier and healthier, and I lose weight to boot.

If you continue eating below 1200 there's all sorts of problems you're running the risk of getting. You become malnourished, sickly and weak. Your skin becomes gross and your hair begins to fall out. Not to mention that is slows your metabolism. And once your metabolism is slowed and you start eating normal again, guess what happens.... you start gaining weight because your digestive system can no longer handle the higher food intake.

IMO, eat more caloric dense foods like peanut butter, nuts, eggs, yogurt etc to boost up those calories. Give your body the fuel it needs. You're not doing your body any favors by eating so low.
September 9, 2013 11:23 AM
Start logging everything or you will never know if you actually eat what you think you eat. Everything counts.

People usually underestimate food, even when they log everything. So you may think you are eating 1200 but you could be eating 1500 or 1700.

Log everything and measure everything with a kitchen scale
September 11, 2013 2:30 PM
Smiling makes everything better. It so burns calories !!!
September 13, 2013 9:11 AM
Hey everyone, thanks so much for your input. I just wanted to update you all since making the changes you've suggested.

I just wanted to start off by saying I know all the calorie counters out there and discussions in the MFP community would say my dilemma and it's solution are totally obvious and simple, and I agree with the logic of under-eating= slow metabolism= trouble losing weight. But I really didn't believe that *I* was amongst those people who needed to increase cals, even though the numbers speak for themselves. I can't explain this irrationality. I hope other posters don't think I was asking the same old "1200 calorie" question because I really thought I would pack on the weight again.

So, in the the last 9 days since I first posted this question I increased my calories from 800-1000 to 1300 and now 1400. I have meticulously weighed and logged absolutely everything and I have lost 1 kg (2.2 pounds), I know it's not much, but it's a HUGE deal for me as I've been stuck on my current weight for 4 months. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!! I get to eat and enjoy my meals, and I feel like I'm really 'taking care' of my body. I know it's been only 9 days, but I'm so much happier, my eyes are brighter, I sleep better, my mood is good.

I finally feel like my mind and body are in harmony as I'm not fighting myself, can't believe I get to eat when I'm hungry. That may sound crazy to some people, but hunger was a natural state for me, it didn't even register as hunger after so many months/years of eating like I was. Feeling comfortably full made me unhappy as I would think that I had fallen off the wagon again. It was a weird sort of self-punishment I guess, I simply could not lose weight, and blamed it on being a "fat" person, and would loathe my self for it.

I don't have an eating disorder or anything, just disordered thinking maybe.

I'm a little confused about this whole metabolism reset thing, shouldn't this take at least a month to see positive results? I'm experiencing real hunger more often now, is that a sign I should eat more or simply that my metabolism is up again? My TDEE is 2000 at sedentary and BMR is 1380 (I do walk everyday, but have *no idea* how much a 40 min power walk burns bc every counter says something different). I'm too scared to eat 2000 (#first world problems), but does anyone think I should go up from 1400 because of the increased hunger? This might be a silly question, but are we supposed to experience hunger when losing weight?, because this last week has really caused shift in my thinking re: weight loss and diet. And finally, right now I am super reliant on my kitchen scales for everything, I trying to practise estimating accurately by serving out the portion and then weighing it but I'm always way off, especially with meats and cheese, I hope it gets easier.

Thanks again everyone :)
Edited by goalaska On September 13, 2013 9:19 AM
September 18, 2013 2:30 PM

According to BMI charts, a five-foot tall woman is considered UNDERWEIGHT at 125 pounds. That's why your body is fighting you. Stop punishing it. If you don't like the way you look, focus on toning up, not losing weight.

Excuse my french, but that's bull****. I'm 5'0, I know the BMI charts, and I'm not underweight until I get to under 95, and even BMI charts are only indicators of health, skewed towards taller individuals and not accurately reflecting the weight needs of shorter people.

Where on earth did you find those numbers?
September 18, 2013 2:33 PM


According to BMI charts, a five-foot tall woman is considered UNDERWEIGHT at 125 pounds. That's why your body is fighting you. Stop punishing it. If you don't like the way you look, focus on toning up, not losing weight.

Excuse my french, but that's bull****. I'm 5'0, I know the BMI charts, and I'm not underweight until I get to under 95, and even BMI charts are only indicators of health, skewed towards taller individuals and not accurately reflecting the weight needs of shorter people.

Where on earth did you find those numbers?

You missed it. That poster realized it was a mistake and retracted that above.
March 13, 2014 4:38 AM
I am 5ft2 and 140 lbs. I find that eating above 1400 calories I start to gain weight.

If i do 1200 calories with exercise i start to lose weight. Without exercise... i dont. So that also leaves me to question the amount of calories recommended because if my net were 1200 i do not see weight loss for months and i dont ev. feel hungry.

At barely 5ft2 i aim for 1000 on one day 1200 on another with excercise
March 13, 2014 5:44 AM
I have struggled with this very same question. I am 5'1" and weigh 124. I am trying to get down to 120 and I find that the only way I can lose weight is to drop below 1200 calories. I wear a fitbit and try to get 10,000 steps per day, so I'm pretty active. I just think it's my reality. I gain weight if I regularly eat 1200 or more calories per day. I can do it a couple of days per week, but most days, I need to keep my calories lower than 1200 to lose weight. I totally agree that logging food HONESTLY is the key. It takes very little food to get to 1200 calories.
March 13, 2014 6:52 AM
Read this:
March 13, 2014 8:04 AM
Weight is just a number and the scale is a dirty little liar. Take measurements and you may find that you are losing inches but not weight. I would also recommend looking at a TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calculator and reassess your calorie intake. 1200 is way too little and I couldn't survive on that small of an amount of food EVER. According to BMI charts I'm overweight at 5'3" and 147lbs, but if you saw me in real life, I don't look like I weight that much. My goal weight is 140 which would put me a little below overweight, but not much, but to be honest, at this point, my weight doesn't bother me because I know I'm fit. The closer you get to goal the longer it takes for weight to come off. Up your calories a bit so that when you hit goal, you'll be able to maintain easier. I am currently eating anywhere from 1800-2300 calories a day am still losing inches and VERY slowly losing weight, like a half a pound to a pound a month. I also workout 5-6 days a week, usually putting in 500-800 calorie burns each time.

I would rather eat and lose slowly than live a life constantly being hungry. We're only human, so why put your body through hell just to attain a number? Good luck and hopes this helps!

Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

Posts by members, moderators and admins should not be considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy.