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Weight Loss
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1200 calories....

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Ive been trying to eat 1200 calories a day. I usually eat a little bit less because I dont know what all to eat thats healthy. (Im a vegetarian.) Its 10:00 pm and so far ive only had about 900 calories. I dont work out , So what im wondering is if I continue to eat 1200 calories a day, with no exercise, how much weight will i eb able to lose? It seems like im not losing much at all..

Edited Nov 21 2008 01:20 by Sheila
5 Replies (last)

My Health Vault on MSNhealth recommended that I eat between 1250 and 1300 a day so unless your stats are a lot a lot different than mine, which they could be, I would say your okay. See for yourself though by looking at different sites because every one of them is a little different. I feel that this site has higher recommendations than most others than Ive been to-but Ive also been to some that are lower-much lower. For example I calculated how much I should be eating one site an it told me to eat 900 a day. Which even though I usually do eat about that much-I know its not what anyone would suggest I do.

While eating 1200 or less calories a day is certainly not going to kill you, it's not the best weight loss strategy in the long run. You might lose a couple pounds in the first few weeks but your metabolism will adjust to "starvation mode" and your weight loss will quickly grind to a halt (as you yourself have discovered). It's much more efficient to lose weight at a slow, steady pace by eating 1300+ calories. Not only does it keep your metabolism going when you eat more calories, it's also easier to lose weight. While your body can handle eating 1200 or fewer calories a day for a few weeks, pretty soon it'll start to crave more and you will find that, despite not being hungry in your starvation phase, you are eventually much less able to control your eating. Overeating will result.

I would advise you to raise your daily calorie intake and also consider incorporating exercise into your weight loss plan for lasting success. It's easy to undereat but it's not the best way. No pain, no gain!

Edit: I glanced at your profile and I see that you are 5'7. I am 5'3 and 1200 calories is too few even for me! You can definitely afford to eat more, and even lose weight while eating more. Why would you starve your body by eating only 1200 calories when you are tall enough to lose weight at 1400?

thanks guys! I will try to up my intake. yesterday i had 1250 ill get there!

I am really glad you will up your calories. It really will only do you good in the long run.

Please know that Calorie Count cannot and will not support you eating less than 1200 calories a day. We consider this unhealthy and CC is all about HEALTHY weight loss or weight maintenance

From Mary Hartley, Calorie Count's Director of Nutrition: "By eating only 800 calories, you will not get enough energy, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other components of food. In time, you could become malnourished, which can cause severe health risks such as respiratory infections, kidney failure, blindness, heart attack and even death."

Here is a brief reason why never less than 1200 from the Advice section of Calorie Count Plus, under the Q&A tab:

Why must I eat at least 1,200 calories a day when I want to eat less?

In order to get the daily food servings you need for a balanced diet, it takes about 1200 calories a day. With careful planning, you could have a balanced diet on 1000 calories, but the restrictiveness of a very low calorie level can lead to binging and weight cycling, which will take you further from your weight loss goal. What's more, very low calorie diets can cause excessive muscle breakdown and metabolic adaptations, which can drive down your calorie requirements. In the end, you'll need fewer calories to maintain a higher weight

Your body needs at least 1200 calories per day to survive.

Here is a very rough scientific break down provided by a dietician for a 5' 2", 19 year old female weighing approximately 100 pounds, sitting around all day and doing nothing:

-The heart needs 12% of the calories (144 cals)
-The kidney needs 12% of the calories (144 cals)
-The Liver needs 23% of the calories (276 cals)
-The brain needs 23% of the calories (276 cals)
-The skeletal muscle needs 30% of the calories (360 cals)

Here are some more Q&As from the Ask Mary section:

Why eating only 1200 calories or undereating doesn't work for weight loss


In the long run, you won’t lose weight faster by eating 1200 calories a day. Under-eating deprives your body of essential nutrients and leads to muscle breakdown to provide energy. With less muscle, you require fewer calories and you reach a weight low plateau more quickly. Restrictive dieting also places you at risk for binge-eating which can lead to weigh gain and a life of yo-yo dieting.

Will I go into starvation mode if I eat 1000 – 1200 calories a day?


Your body will not selectively burn stored fat because your central nervous system needs glucose and you can’t make glucose from fat. But protein can be converted to glucose, and so the body breaks down your muscles to provide it. Ultimately, you lose lots of muscle along with fat, and that drives down your calorie requirements because muscle burns calories but fat does not. You then maintain a higher weight on less food making weight gain inevitable. For best results, eat the number of calories prescribed by the Calorie Target calculator in the Tools section

Am I in starvation mode if I am eating 500 calories a day?

I eat 500 calories a day or less. Is it possible for me to loose weight if I keep eating 500 calories?


On 500 calories a day, you will become malnourished and your body will breakdown. Your immune system won’t work; you will lose your muscle mass and lower your metabolism; you will lack energy, and then you will binge and feel badly about yourself. Don’t do it! Use the Burn Meter in the Tools section to calculate your calorie requirements at a decent activity level. Eat a balanced diet at that calorie level and keep food logs. Take it slower and practice new ways of eating and moving that can last for the rest of your life.

Hi, I am so disouraged...after 14 days at 1200 calories,  I lost no weight at all.  I am 5'2" and 140lbs.  I excercise alot.  I thought I should reduce my diet further but then I cant function.  So here I am back to eating pop tarts!  Any advice?

5 Replies