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TOPIC: Seriously ... 1200 calories or less

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March 12, 2012 5:05 AM
This has probably been posted many many times, but I'm sick of people posting
topics saying they can't lose any weight, and you ask how many calories they consume.
And they'll tell you less than 1200. Are you serious? are you joking? A 10 year old eats more than that.

First of all, go find out what your calorie maintenance is.
Second of all, decrease the amount of calories by 10-20%. For example, if maintenance is 2000 calories
then to lose weight, consume 1600-1800. That's it, it's that easy. Why are people under eating?
Every single athlete which competes in a sport with specific weight divisions, whether it be an MMA fighter
or a wrestler or a boxer etc, and especially body builders (when it comes to cutting weight)
will tell you exactly the same thing, if you want to cut weight, eat 10-20% under your maintenance.
If you eat under at 1200 calories:

1) metabolism will slow down
2) body will try to retain what little that you eat as fat for energy
3) when you eat high calories again, you bet that you will gain all that weight you lost back

Anyway, that's just me venting. Not picking on anyone, it's more out of me wanting to help people.
Because I've been there and I've done that, and 1200 calories or less is not the way to go. You got to
eat to lose weight, SOUNDS RIDICULOUS RIGHT? well it ain't, not even the slightest. =]
March 12, 2012 6:30 AM
I know this post isn't calling out anyone in particular, but remember, this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. I'm VERY short and have a small bone structure. Following even this advice (maintenance cals - even only 10%) takes me right around that magic 1200, by the time I'm near my goal the minimal 10% is under 1200, I believe.

Yeah, if you're a 6 foot, 300 pound man exercising daily, 1200 cals is definitely not the way to go. But for the other 5 foot desk job girls, 1200 is not starvation. Rather than take these rules as hard and fast ("never eat less than 1200 no matter who you are or what your situation!"), it's much better to work out the best plan for your personal weight loss. Of course this isn't to say every shortie can eat this much (or little, rather), as I know of several in my family alone who can eat much more thanks to vigorous daily exercise.

I still keep myself over 1200 a day because I like how I feel best around 1300, but there are definitely people over 10 years old that 1200 is just fine for.
  9470619
March 12, 2012 6:50 AM
QUOTE:

I know this post isn't calling out anyone in particular, but remember, this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. I'm VERY short and have a small bone structure. Following even this advice (maintenance cals - even only 10%) takes me right around that magic 1200, by the time I'm near my goal the minimal 10% is under 1200, I believe.

Yeah, if you're a 6 foot, 300 pound man exercising daily, 1200 cals is definitely not the way to go. But for the other 5 foot desk job girls, 1200 is not starvation. Rather than take these rules as hard and fast ("never eat less than 1200 no matter who you are or what your situation!"), it's much better to work out the best plan for your personal weight loss. Of course this isn't to say every shortie can eat this much (or little, rather), as I know of several in my family alone who can eat much more thanks to vigorous daily exercise.

I still keep myself over 1200 a day because I like how I feel best around 1300, but there are definitely people over 10 years old that 1200 is just fine for.


Agreed! I'm 4'9, 98 lbs, and small boned. I usually net 800-1100, depending on how hungry I am. And I have lost 32 lbs in 5 months.
March 12, 2012 6:52 AM
I was told my body would go into starvation mode in 1 day if I skipped dinner. So yeah I'm sick of posts like these
  12862512
March 12, 2012 6:56 AM
QUOTE:

I know this post isn't calling out anyone in particular, but remember, this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. I'm VERY short and have a small bone structure. Following even this advice (maintenance cals - even only 10%) takes me right around that magic 1200, by the time I'm near my goal the minimal 10% is under 1200, I believe.

Yeah, if you're a 6 foot, 300 pound man exercising daily, 1200 cals is definitely not the way to go. But for the other 5 foot desk job girls, 1200 is not starvation. Rather than take these rules as hard and fast ("never eat less than 1200 no matter who you are or what your situation!"), it's much better to work out the best plan for your personal weight loss. Of course this isn't to say every shortie can eat this much (or little, rather), as I know of several in my family alone who can eat much more thanks to vigorous daily exercise.

I still keep myself over 1200 a day because I like how I feel best around 1300, but there are definitely people over 10 years old that 1200 is just fine for.


AGREED! THANK YOU!
March 12, 2012 6:58 AM
Love this post!
March 12, 2012 7:00 AM
I lost all the weight I wanted eating 1200 calories and not exercising. I now eat 1400 to maintain. I also have a food scale so I know my portion size is correct. I think a lot of people are eating more calories then they think.
Edited by dls06 On March 12, 2012 7:02 AM
March 12, 2012 7:00 AM
So what do you say to those who MFP TELLS to eat 1200 or less if they want to lose??? Why even use the site if it isn't accurate or healthy?
  14991156
March 12, 2012 7:04 AM
QUOTE:

So what do you say to those who MFP TELLS to eat 1200 or less if they want to lose??? Why even use the site if it isn't accurate or healthy?


MFP is a computer program not an actual nutritional counselor so common sense is needed. If I have 5 pounds to lose, I can set MFP for a 2 lb/week loss and it will tell me to eat 1200 by default. Not that the 1200 number would be healthy or right, but it will just default to 1200 as a low number.
  4901482
March 12, 2012 7:07 AM
QUOTE:

So what do you say to those who MFP TELLS to eat 1200 or less if they want to lose??? Why even use the site if it isn't accurate or healthy?


But how can that apply to evey body size and type? I work with a 23 year old man who is 5'9" and around 180 lb. He told me he is eating 1200 calories to lose weight. I am 5' 1" and MUCH smaller than him. How does it make sense that both of our bodies require the same calories? I don't believe there can be one "magic" number that applies to every person.
  3406322
March 12, 2012 7:08 AM
Go find other calculators to double check your calorie need if you think you are high or low. Even if you are under 100 lbs and lead a sedentary lifestyle, you still need 1200 calories just to keep your body going every day. My Net sometimes ends up below 1200, but I eat close to 2,000 per day.

Don't know the rules about posting links to other calculators so feel free to delete this or tell me to edit it: http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/calories-to-lose-weight
March 12, 2012 7:10 AM
QUOTE:

So what do you say to those who MFP TELLS to eat 1200 or less if they want to lose??? Why even use the site if it isn't accurate or healthy?


I think the problem is that people use the wrong settings... ie, choosing 2 lbs a week when they have less than 50 pounds to lose. Or using the sedentary setting when they're not sedentary.

I'm an average height (5'5) almost 40 year old woman. I exercise hard, but I'm not terribly active as a work-at-home web publisher, artist and housewife. You'd think I'd be sedentary, but I just had to increase my calories because I kept losing weight while on maintenance and not trying to lose. I'm set to "active" now, plus my exercise calories.

Yet years ago, when I was younger and should have had a better metabolism, I struggled to lose weight eating under 1000 a day.
March 12, 2012 7:11 AM
I tried 1200 cals and I was STARVING!
March 12, 2012 7:14 AM
But what if you have to lose X pounds by a certain date? I don't have the time to do anything long term. I need to drop another 13 pounds in a little over 4 months.
March 12, 2012 7:15 AM
Love the discussion :D
March 12, 2012 7:17 AM
QUOTE:

But what if you have to lose X pounds by a certain date? I don't have the time to do anything long term. I need to drop another 13 pounds in a little over 4 months.


Not to be mean, but... there's is no valid reason anyone has to lose X pounds by a certain date.
March 12, 2012 7:17 AM
QUOTE:

So what do you say to those who MFP TELLS to eat 1200 or less if they want to lose??? Why even use the site if it isn't accurate or healthy?


MFP doesn't tell people to eat 1200, MFP allocates 1200 after the person choses the weight they want to lose, regardless of whether that weight is safe or healthy. MFP is just a fancy calculator, not a nutritionist.

I prefer the % method of calculating your TDEE and then deducting 15-20% to create the deficit. Also, at higher % deficit more of the lost weight will come from lean tissue than at low percentages.

This seems a far more logical way of working out the deficit than just deducting 500, as the "deduct 500" method completely ignores your BMR. Also, 500 calories from someone with a TDEE of 3000 is a lot different to 500 calories from a TDEE of 1750.

I accept that deducting 15-20% won't give you an exact lb loss, it could be more, it could be less, but again, it's the percentage loss that's most important.

Lets say a 200lb person loses 1% of their weight a week - that amounts to 2lb
When that person is down to 180lb, 1% is now 1.8lb
when that person is down to 140lb, 1% is now 1.4lb

The person may be upset that they are no longer losing 2lb per week like they used to, but they are missing the fact that they are actually losing the same percentage.
  14463414
March 12, 2012 7:20 AM
I completely agree with this post, however you have to remember we have all been told for years (especially women) that you eat 1200 calories to lose weight. And honestly having MFP say the same only further engraves if into our minds. I am happy to see a movement towards eating more, but it will take time for everyone to see how you are able to not strave and still lose weight. I truly believe this because I know and understand the science behind it...however I have gradually increased my intake to 1700 (15% of my maintence) and you know what I have gained weight. I know my body will adjust but that is hard for someone people and they give up and go back to 1200 or they read this and never increase because their goal is weight loss and they beleive 1200 will give that to them.

At 1200 I was a crazy lady, starving and more moody then normal (which is tough, haha). So I know 1200 is not healthy for me just by the side effects. Hopefully we will all come around in time...until then I love to see discussions and examples of how it truly works for others. :)
Edited by sedosher On March 12, 2012 7:25 AM
  12288888
March 12, 2012 7:21 AM
QUOTE:

This has probably been posted many many times, but I'm sick of people posting
topics saying they can't lose any weight, and you ask how many calories they consume.
And they'll tell you less than 1200. Are you serious? are you joking? A 10 year old eats more than that.

First of all, go find out what your calorie maintenance is.
Second of all, decrease the amount of calories by 10-20%. For example, if maintenance is 2000 calories
then to lose weight, consume 1600-1800. That's it, it's that easy. Why are people under eating?
Every single athlete which competes in a sport with specific weight divisions, whether it be an MMA fighter
or a wrestler or a boxer etc, and especially body builders (when it comes to cutting weight)
will tell you exactly the same thing, if you want to cut weight, eat 10-20% under your maintenance.
If you eat under at 1200 calories:

1) metabolism will slow down
2) body will try to retain what little that you eat as fat for energy
3) when you eat high calories again, you bet that you will gain all that weight you lost back

Anyway, that's just me venting. Not picking on anyone, it's more out of me wanting to help people.
Because I've been there and I've done that, and 1200 calories or less is not the way to go. You got to
eat to lose weight, SOUNDS RIDICULOUS RIGHT? well it ain't, not even the slightest. =]


MFP set me to 1200, I never eat below this and I eat back all my exercise cals. I was losing 1lb a week but this has been slowing down recently which I thought was due to me starting a gym and now getting fit (fitter than I was anyway)!

Using the calculator ( http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/calories-to-lose-weight) it said my BMR was 1870 cals. Your suggestion of a - 20% deficit would = 1496.... Hmmmm happy
March 12, 2012 7:21 AM
Eat more and exercise more. My goal MFP has set for me is 1250. Yea right! Consuming 2,000 makes me fairly happy by the end of the day. I just make sure that I exercise, including breastfeeding, enough to get back down below my goal. I've lost 5.2 lbs in 15 days, and I've even gone 500+ over a few of those days.
March 12, 2012 7:21 AM
QUOTE:

I know this post isn't calling out anyone in particular, but remember, this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. I'm VERY short and have a small bone structure. Following even this advice (maintenance cals - even only 10%) takes me right around that magic 1200, by the time I'm near my goal the minimal 10% is under 1200, I believe.

Yeah, if you're a 6 foot, 300 pound man exercising daily, 1200 cals is definitely not the way to go. But for the other 5 foot desk job girls, 1200 is not starvation. Rather than take these rules as hard and fast ("never eat less than 1200 no matter who you are or what your situation!"), it's much better to work out the best plan for your personal weight loss. Of course this isn't to say every shortie can eat this much (or little, rather), as I know of several in my family alone who can eat much more thanks to vigorous daily exercise.

I still keep myself over 1200 a day because I like how I feel best around 1300, but there are definitely people over 10 years old that 1200 is just fine for.


Agreed!!!! Why do people on here care so much how many calories others consume?? To each his own and live and let live. Why are there so many busybodies on here?
  17142942
March 12, 2012 7:22 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

But what if you have to lose X pounds by a certain date? I don't have the time to do anything long term. I need to drop another 13 pounds in a little over 4 months.


Not to be mean, but... there's is no valid reason anyone has to lose X pounds by a certain date.



Actually there is.... I am going on a hiking trip in August. For my height I can't be heavier than 200 lbs. I am at 203 now and can't seem to get below 200. I'd like to be 190 when I hit the trail.

If I'm not under 200, then they won't let me on the trail and I would have flushed $1000 down the drain and disappointed my son.
Edited by ainzerillo On March 12, 2012 7:25 AM
March 12, 2012 7:24 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I know this post isn't calling out anyone in particular, but remember, this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. I'm VERY short and have a small bone structure. Following even this advice (maintenance cals - even only 10%) takes me right around that magic 1200, by the time I'm near my goal the minimal 10% is under 1200, I believe.

Yeah, if you're a 6 foot, 300 pound man exercising daily, 1200 cals is definitely not the way to go. But for the other 5 foot desk job girls, 1200 is not starvation. Rather than take these rules as hard and fast ("never eat less than 1200 no matter who you are or what your situation!"), it's much better to work out the best plan for your personal weight loss. Of course this isn't to say every shortie can eat this much (or little, rather), as I know of several in my family alone who can eat much more thanks to vigorous daily exercise.

I still keep myself over 1200 a day because I like how I feel best around 1300, but there are definitely people over 10 years old that 1200 is just fine for.


Agreed! I'm 4'9, 98 lbs, and small boned. I usually net 800-1100, depending on how hungry I am. And I have lost 32 lbs in 5 months.


I'm the same, when I calculated my info it came up 1200 calories for the day, I upped it to 1300. I'm 5'5" & this actually works for me.
Edited by look1angel On March 12, 2012 7:25 AM
March 12, 2012 7:25 AM
Weight loss is simple math. Input must be less than output.

Metabolism plays a part in how fast or slow this goes, but I promise you that if you eat 900 calories and your BMR is 1400 that you will lose weight. I am in NO WAY supporting eating TOO FEW calories, but what is actually too few is far less rigid than an arbitrary number set for the average human being (which most of us simply aren't).

Eat enough calories to have the energy you need to live your life the way you want. Eat healthily enough that you don't deprive yourself of important vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.

The rest is personal, and the fact of the matter is that a 4'9" girl who does data entry all day and hates the treadmill has a BMR of 1200 in the first place.

The best thing to do is to focus on your own calorie consumption, not other people's.
  13870109
March 12, 2012 7:27 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

But what if you have to lose X pounds by a certain date? I don't have the time to do anything long term. I need to drop another 13 pounds in a little over 4 months.


Not to be mean, but... there's is no valid reason anyone has to lose X pounds by a certain date.



Actually there is.... I am going on a hiking trip in August. For my height I can't be heavier than 200 lbs. I am at 203 now and can't seem to get below 200. I'd like to be 190 when I hit the trail.

If I'm not under 200, then they won't let me on the trail and I would have flushed $1000 down the drain and disappointed my son.

It's not going to magically become healthy just because you put down a deposit. Also, going by what you just said, you only need to lose 4 pounds by August, which seems pretty reasonable...
Edited by ElizabethRoad On March 12, 2012 7:28 AM

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