1200 Calories Is Not Enough

Today’s topic is one that I’m super passionate about. Why even talk about this?

Because it’s a HUGE problem. And I don’t think people are understanding the harm they are causing long-term to their bodies by not consuming enough calories for weight loss.

90% of the women I speak to each week are consuming 1200 calories or less to try and lose weight.

And I want to start by saying, it’s not their fault. We think weight loss = cutting back on the food we eat = lowering calories.

Because isn’t lowering calories going to help you be in a calorie deficit to lose weight?

Yes, but the number of calories you cut can be too low. Too low for several reasons.

Let’s talk about 6 reasons why consuming 1200 calories is NOT a good idea for weight loss.

Reason #1: Hunger. If you aren’t eating enough food, you’re going to feel hungry. If you’re constantly hungry, you’re not going to feel energetic throughout the day. No energy to complete workouts and a constant feeling of exhaustion. We can only ignore hunger signals for so long. We will talk about what hunger leads to in a second.

Reason #2: Decreased metabolism. Eating fewer calories than your body needs will slow down your metabolism meaning it’ll be hard to keep the weight loss off long-term. A slow metabolism essentially means your body requires fewer calories to function. A large reason this happens is because of…

Reason #3: Loss of muscle mass. When you aren’t consuming enough calories, you won’t be able to hit your protein goal for fat loss. When you aren’t able to consume enough protein in a calorie deficit you will lose lean body muscle mass. Having more muscle on your body means more calories burned at rest. Loss of muscle mass = drop in metabolism.

Reason #4: Restriction. Having a low calorie goal means not having room for some of the calorie-dense foods that make our hearts happy such as chocolate, pizza, and hot Cheetos. You won’t be able to enjoy these foods at all, not even in moderation while being on a 1200 calorie diet.

Reason #5: Binge eating. This is tied in with hunger & restriction. Telling yourself certain foods are off-limits while not eating enough will only push you to binge eat & crash diet. We can only go so long ignoring cravings. Eventually, we cave and end up consuming large portions of calorie-dense foods in one sitting to compensate.

Reason #6: Increased chance of weight re-gain because of reasons #1-5! What’s the point of going through all this misery just to gain the weight back on?!

The amount of calories that is right for you should encourage a variety of foods, give you natural energy, protect your metabolism, allow you to enjoy fun foods, make you feel content & satisfied, and allow you to have a social life…


Did I convince you 1200 calories is NOT enough food?! Please, please, please eat enough while losing weight. You CAN find a healthy balance eating enough and enjoying your favorite foods in moderation while losing weight EACH WEEK.

Apply for Flexible Eating 101 here if you’re interested in having me calculate your calorie & macro goals for sustainable fat loss!

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