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TOPIC: How does one survive on 1200 calories per day anyway??

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October 31, 2012 12:54 PM
Hello All,

I am not so different from many of the others on this site being that i know what I have to do, but everytime I enter in my food I feel like a looser, like OMG I only have that small number of calories showing on the screen and it's not even dinner time yet! Fresh veggies -check, water check, bagel uhoh, cream cheese - oh my you get the picture.

i think that my choices are ok until I track them and realize I am in the negative for the day...and HUNGRY.

Frustrated and feeling very blah. If you have any advise for what I am experiencing I would appreciate the help..thanking you in advance :)

October 31, 2012 12:55 PM
Hi! I'm short (5'2") so my calories are on the low side. You can send me friend request if you'd like to look through my diary for what I eat.

It's an adjustment, but I've found a way to eat healthy and a lot of what I want.
October 31, 2012 12:57 PM
Hi there :) Welcome!

I'm sure you'll get a variety of opinions, but I for one feel that 1200 calories a day is way too little. To lose one pound of weight, you need to burn/reduce 3500 calories. Don't know how tall you are, or how much you weigh...I'm 5'10" and now weigh 220lbs. My goal, is to lose 1/2 pound per week. I run every other day, walk 2 miles every day, and stay under 2000 calories a day.
As you can see from my 'ruler' below, it's working.

Find where you need to be, and then figure a healthy way to get there. TONS of GREAT people here that will help you work through the math :)

Good luck! And feel free to 'add' me as a friend if you want support, etc.

Edited by NatashaRuz On October 31, 2012 12:58 PM
October 31, 2012 12:58 PM
Why are you at 1200 per day? Are you trying to lose weight fast? I can't imagine surviving on 1200 a day but not sure even at my normal weight would mine be so low cause I am tall. I struggle with 1860 and do better with some exercise calroies burned for wriggle room. I think your going to have to plan meals out and choose wisely so you will be full but not go over.
October 31, 2012 12:59 PM
As you have found out, you have to make wise choices. Try to divide your calories up into meals. For instance, I try to use around 300 for breakfast---only eat 1/2 half of the bagel or 1 bowl of cereal. Then have a low calories snack mid morning and mid afternoon... That really helped me.. You can choose Yoplait yogurt that has less than 100 calories. or maybe fruit...Then lunch is light using maybe 400 calories and then that leaves 500 for dinner. Remember that you can eat your exercise those make a difference....Once you have MFP into your head, you will make the best choices,,,,
October 31, 2012 1:00 PM
Very easily.....I eat 1200 calories a day - eating 6 small meals / breakfast/am snack/lunch/pm snack/supper and a late pm snack

I exercise 5-6 times a week and don't eat back my calories

Works for me
Edited by ChristineEaton7210 On October 31, 2012 1:08 PM
October 31, 2012 1:01 PM
I did 1200 calories a day for the last 10 months. It was fine in the beginning. Now that I'm working out more and really need the calories, I'm actually doing EM2WL. Now I get lots of calories, I still work out lots and I have energy. I'll update you later regarding the weight loss. If nothing else, I'm in a more relaxed mode until after the holidays.

1200 works fine if you don't work out and are entirely sedentary.
October 31, 2012 1:03 PM
I get 1200 a day as well. im in your boat, seems like after lunch im left with just enough calories to have a lean cusine cry I'm going to try to "earn" more calories by exercising more and see where that takes me. I for sure going to eat the calories I get from logging exercising! feel free to add me for support!
October 31, 2012 1:04 PM
I have no problem staying at 1200. My advice, no matter how many calories you are set at, is to log your food before you eat. YOu can see how much it is and avoid that surprise after.
October 31, 2012 1:05 PM
It's hard, but I try to use my calories on filling foods. Broccoli, for example, is low-cal - a bowl of cheesy broccoli won't set you back too much. I make sure to eat a lot of healthy fats and protein so I'm not gnawing on my own arm by the end of the day :P

A little walking helps too. I'll often do a 30-min walk so I can have some extra food later on.
October 31, 2012 1:05 PM
LOTS of veggies, lean meat and fruit....cut out the starbucks and any junk haha
October 31, 2012 1:06 PM
I think you should look again at your choices...

A bagel and cream cheese is one of the worst breakfast you can have - loaded with carbs and not enough protein to keep the hunger pangs away.

Try a egg beater veggie omelette, add a slice of ham or 1 whole wheat toast (dry) - skip the cheese, watch the ketchup or have a berry and protein powder smoothie.

I hardly ever get hungry on 1200 I work out mosts days and eat those calories back so I eat 1400-1500 depending on the work out.

Try home made food use turkey mince instead of beef - you get burgers, pasta sauce, chili, meat balls, meatloaf.... all the things you can do with hamburger but a lot less calories, if you are short on time make double quantities and freeze half.

Eat tonnes of green, red, yellow or white veggies as much as you like as long as it is streamed or roasted very little oil.

Do not eat a lot of things that I call fat carriers - mashed potatoes is one, only eat ONE serving of pasta better still use spagetti squash or shredded cabbage instead.

Eat eat eat ---- really you should be able to be stuffed on 1200
October 31, 2012 1:08 PM
Its tough I am doing 1200 a day but trying to exercise to be able to eat some back but not all I ll try to be down 20lbs by the end of February then I will slowly increase and maintain. Friend me and you can see my diary.
October 31, 2012 1:08 PM
I stay around 1200 calories take a look at my diary. My goal is to lose two pounds per week and to exercise three times a week. I'm 5'7 and now 229.2 pounds
October 31, 2012 1:08 PM
The only way it can be done is to plan and choose wisely....If you only have 1200 calories, you cant waste in on soda, juice, white rice and fried foods. I have never tried the 1200 cal thing, but for a while I was on 1340 (I have since upped mine to 1800 just becasue I am wanting to slow down my weight loss a bit and I work out a lot but I digress) The way I did it was never fry foods and I planed nutritious meals. Even if I went to McDonalds I knew I could get a side salad with a grilled chicken patty added to it. You have to always have a plan. If you work you have to bring your lunch (or go to Mcdonalds lol) The more raw or plain steamed veggies you eat the better. You can eat a whole bag of spinach and still be very low cal but you will be full and will have eaten a very nutritous dish.

Basically if you are gonna do that make wise cant be wasteful.
October 31, 2012 1:09 PM
You should really figure out how many calories per day that you burn (TDEE). Once you have that, it's much easier to figure out how many calories you can eat.

There are many people who can and do lose weight eating 1200. There's also many who eat considerably more and still lose weight.

Scooby's calculators are great and they match up pretty closely to my FITBIT and BMF. Here's the link:

Also, HeyBales is a guru when it comes to figuring out these things. I suggest you find him on the boards and stalk his posts or PM him.

Good luck!
October 31, 2012 1:10 PM
I started off at 1200 calories a day and that was just not working for me. I was starving!! Maybe you are trying to lose weight too fast and should cut back to a half pound or 1 pound/week weight loss. I'm at 1310 now, which is much better for me, but I usually end up eating much more than that due to running (but can still stay under my goal).
October 31, 2012 1:11 PM
Eat more. Figure our your BMR and TDEE and eat between them.

You've got 70 lbs to lose, so a little patience will take you a lot further than trying to starve yourself thin. You will still lose weight by eating at or slighly above your BMR. It will be slower, but you'll give yourself time to reteach yourself how to eat and to fix whatever problem you've got going on with your relationship with food. These lessons mean a LOT more than dumping the weight quickly as they are the key to keeping yourself healthy and fit for life, not just to get skinny fast.
Edited by VelociMama On October 31, 2012 1:13 PM
October 31, 2012 1:11 PM
I'm starting tomorrow also with 1200 a day, so I'll see, now I'm lying ill in my bed, so I need to keep that goal in front of me without working out... Good luck to you all! :)
October 31, 2012 1:11 PM
High protein meals are key! When I use to eat a bagel with cream cheese, I was so hungry and I snacked more.

Now, I eat eggs in the morning and it holds me over so much more now.

Chicken, tuna, protein shakes really help.
October 31, 2012 1:11 PM
Dude I can't just eat 1200. Days that I do are miserable. Feel free to add me though because I net 1200 for weight loss. Today I'm eating a little over 1800 cals.
October 31, 2012 1:11 PM
I try to plan all my food at least one day ahead and I pre-log everything the night before so I know exactly how many calories I'll be eating and how well I've hit my macros.

Of course sometimes things change or I'll add something during the day, but pre logging really helps me with portion control and I never accidentally go over my calories.
October 31, 2012 1:12 PM
What I would suggest is to to cut out the high calorie items, such as the bagel and cream cheese and add something healthier. You could do half a whole wheat bagel with almond butter for breakfast, which is still high in calories but has a higher fullness level. Also, do more exercise. The more you exercise the more calories you will be allowed to eat. If you do, increase the intensity. Also eat more legumes. Beans are high in protein and pretty low in calories. Look at vegetarian recipes. Download the Fooducate app to learn about your food choices so that you can eat healthier. The easiest way you are going to survive is by exercising daily so you can increase the amount you eat by about 300 to 400 calories.
October 31, 2012 1:13 PM
I don't think I could live on 1200 calories either. I tend to net around 1500-1600 a day (I manually set mine to 1800 and I don't eat back exercise calories) and I'm doing okay. Are you exercising and eating back those calories? Maybe you need to change your goals (lose 1/2 pound or 1 pound per week instead of 2 … I'm just guessing, I don't know what you're set to). My believe is that if you are truly hungry (and not bored … lots of people make that mistake too) you're not eating enough.
October 31, 2012 1:14 PM
I work out and that gives me a bigger cushion! You'd be amazed.

You can have a bagel if you REALLY want one, here's what to do!

Scoop out a lot of the insides of hard breads like caibatta, french bread, and bagels. You can save a bunch of bread calories and trust me you don't miss it!


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