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TOPIC: 1200 vs 1500

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April 4, 2011 5:46 PM
This is probably one of those "ah-ha" moments, but I need some advice. For 2 months, I ate 1500 calories and worked out and everything was great. This month I decided to cut back to 1200 calories.. however, now, I have NO energy to workout. And can't even eat 3 balanced meals a day. Should I go back to 1500? I know, my body is telling me that I should, but I wanted other opinions..
April 4, 2011 5:49 PM
I would definitely go back. Also, consider eating back at least some of your exercise calories (if not all). I found that when I was sticking around 1400 calories and exercising, nothing was happening. When I upped my net calories to 1700, I was losing weight. Go figure!
April 4, 2011 5:50 PM
yes definitely should! I usually aim for about 1500 as well
April 4, 2011 5:51 PM
I'm new to this program, but I would think that if you're tired at 1200 calories then that is your bodies way of telling you that you need more calories (either that or the TYPE of calories you're getting aren't healthy types of calories, e.g. "empty calories"..not that I'm saying that's what you're doing). But if you were doing fine at 1500 and losing weight than I wouldn't go down to 1200. You don't want to go too low. That's not good for you either.
April 4, 2011 5:51 PM
Listen to your body!
April 4, 2011 5:52 PM
Yep, definite switch back. I found I had the same problem when I picked up the pace of my workouts on only 1200 calories. I didn't have enough energy and on really intense session, I was actually getting dizzy! Also make sure you eat something with carbs and protein before a workout so you have fuel. then afterwards have some protein to replenish your muscles.
April 4, 2011 5:52 PM
Maybe you could try going middle of the road for a week and eat 1350. If you still don't have enough energy then go back to 1500. It's hard to eat well or have enough energy at 1200.
April 4, 2011 6:00 PM
When I started, I was eating about 1250 or so and realized that I was not eating enough so I upped my intake to 1480 and have more energy and am losing more weight. I also eat my exercise calories.
April 4, 2011 6:01 PM
Thanks ladies! I appreciate it. I'm switching back. And I try not to consume empty calories, however I drink mochas at work. But try and limit myself to 2.. with 6 glasses of water inbetwee.
April 4, 2011 6:19 PM
Looks like you got some great answers, and seeing that your deciding to switch back is good to know.
I cant for the life of me comprehend how you could even function when eating 1500, I just finished my calculations for today and was at 3,643...then again my goal is to gain weight.

To get back to the topic, as you and some others stated...they loose weight when dropping cals. This is very common when calorie intake is decreased too much too quickly. Your body is actually responding by going to a type of starvation mode, therefore your storing any food that you dont use for engergy...this is why you were having more trouble gaining weight.
So 1500 seems good if that was working for you, after atleast a couple weeks you can decrease by a very small amount (100 cals), stay there for a few weeks then drop another 100, once you are around the 1250 mark i would suggest staying there for awhile....

always listen to your body, and make sure you arent having to many of those mochas!
looking at your posts you seem to know what your are certainly on the right track so listen to your gut instinct, you know what works for you.
April 4, 2011 6:28 PM
I've been on a target of between 1450 and 1500 calories a day since late October and have lost close as of this morning's weighing 58 lbs. Since the beginning of the year I've averaged more than 9 lbs/month lost. That is with a MFR-calculated "goal" of 1 lb or less a week, and that's with setting my activity level to "lightly active" even though my job is sedentary. So I've done better than expected without depriving myself.

I've not been hung up about eating my exercise calories -- 1500 gives me some cushion for that -- but truth to be told, since moving to another country 5 weeks into the year, I've NOT been hung up about long and hard workouts, even though I've become more active in general. I'd go leisurely cross-country skiing for 45 min for example (I'm a total beginner! no huge burns from that!) or clean the house (not logging that) or go and do some yard work.

So overall I've come to the conclusion that more exercise/less food is NOT necessarily better: you need to find your own sweet spot. 1200 calories as a target is just too restrictive for me. Sometimes I would eat that little (and often I ended up in the 1300-something range), but it was always just accidentally when I happened to have eaten light but yet satisfying meals. Today I'll likely be over, as I snacked on a huge apple AND mixed nuts and then had a bowl of chili con carne at the cafeteria. But over means, say, 1600, which is *fine*, because it's certainly below maintenance.

Also from what I'm reading, compliance (always a problem in diets) is much harder at 1200 than at 1500.
April 4, 2011 6:39 PM
So I'm sorta new here. I've been at 1200 calories since I first started and thought that is where I am supposed to be since MFP "said so". But I do allow myself extra sometimes since I workout every day. So now I'm confused, is 1200 just too low?
April 4, 2011 6:44 PM

So I'm sorta new here. I've been at 1200 calories since I first started and thought that is where I am supposed to be since MFP "said so". But I do allow myself extra sometimes since I workout every day. So now I'm confused, is 1200 just too low?

Well, MPF only "says so" based on your goals. So a maybe better question is, are your goals optimal? MPF "strongly recommends" a 1 lb/week goal, which rarely gets people down to 1200 (the minimum MFP will give you, which is why there are so many members at 1200 calories: they go for really extreme goals).

Another thing I've learnt is that it's a good idea to have a notion how much you're consuming every day, that is, what you should be eating to maintain your weight. If you eat *reasonably* below, you'll lose. What reasonably means depends on your fitness and weight: A very obese person has "reserves" and can eat 1000 calories below (and won''t get close to 1200 calories yet, most of the time), whereas someone who's merely 15 pounds into an "overweight" BMI should take it more slowly.

A good article on that is .

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