Smutty Fitness: 1200 calories

Hayley Posted by Hayley at June 26, 2014 15:16:04 June 26, 2014 15:16:04

Hi Hayley! I am starting an 8-week clean eating diet. No fruit; lean protein and green veggies only. The thing is, I am a fairly small person (5'0, 115lbs) and I'm afraid eating 1200 calories a day isn't few enough to whip me into shape. On days when I don't work out, can I go less than 1200cals without going into "starvation mode"?

I'd love to hear your opinion on this. Thanks!


I really do not think that 1200 calories for someone your size is too much, or too little. If you were my size, at 5’10 and 170 pounds then I might scream at you for attempting such a low calorie diet but I think 1200 is perfect for you and I would not suggest you going any lower than that. 

But, you need to remember that these calories are net calories, which means that whatever you burn while you are exercising you need to add those calories to your diet. For example, if you go for a 5 mile run you will have burned around 500 calories which means that day you need to be consuming 1700 calories or yes, your body will suffer, and you will see opposite effects of weight loss. On the days you do not work out stick to 1200 calories, but the days you do workout make sure you add in a few more. If whipping yourself into shape is what you are really after, then you are going to need to fuel your body efficiently to give it the energy it needs to push hard in your workouts. That is how you become fit and strong: by sweating and working hard, not by starving it.

If you are eating less than 1200 calories you are at risk of starving your body of the essential nutrients that it needs, as you will not be able to eat enough food with such a restricted calorie budget. That is how I like to look at calories, as a budget, and just like you budget your finances daily you need to budget your calories.

For example, if you were to spend half of your monthly rent budget on an amazing new pair of boots then you will find yourself scrambling at the end of the month to pay for the roof over your head. That is just like calories. If you are already restricting your intake and then you wake up and blow half of your day’s budget on that delicious muffin at your local coffee shop, then you are hooped for the rest of the day. You will struggle to stay full, as well as find it difficult to provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs and you will end up scrambling at the end of the day to squeeze in a second workout just to make room for dinner.

When you are living off of a 1200 calorie a day diet you need to make your choices wisely and choose the foods that will give you the “most bang for the buck”. Fruits, vegetables and proteins are a must as well as healthy fats, like Omegas, and items like liquid calories (alcohol, juices) and starchy carbohydrates should not even be a thought in your mind.

Remember, it is not just about calories in versus calories out but rather the foods that you choose to put in your body. If you are living off of calorie-reduced foods and diet sodas (which you are not but lots of people are), even though your caloric number is the same as someone who is eating a diet full of nutrient rich foods, the number on the scale will not move. 

Attached – Topher Grace leaves the gym. 


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