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Will I Lose Weight On 1200 Calories A Day Diet?

Will I Lose Weight On 1200 Calories A Day Diet?

It is generally accepted that reducing your caloric intake can help you lose weight, and a 1200 calorie per day diet may be effective for weight loss for some people. However, the effectiveness of a 1200 calorie per day diet will depend on a number of factors, including your age, sex, weight, height, activity level, and overall health.

To determine whether a 1200 calorie per day diet is appropriate for you, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. They can assess your individual needs and determine a caloric intake that is appropriate for you based on your specific circumstances.

It is also important to note that in addition to reducing your caloric intake, it is important to engage in regular physical activity and make sure you are getting enough nutrients from a varied and balanced diet to support good health.

What is the 1200 calorie per day diet

The 1200 calorie per day diet is a weight loss plan that involves reducing your daily calorie intake to 1200 calories. This can be done by eating a variety of foods that are low in calories, but still provide essential nutrients.

A typical 1200 calorie per day diet may include:

  • 3 small meals (totaling around 300-400 calories each) and 2-3 snacks (totaling around 100-200 calories each)

  • A variety of vegetables, including leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes

  • Fruits, such as apples, bananas, and berries

  • Lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu

  • Whole grains, such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice

  • Healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil

A 1200 calorie per day diet is a weight loss plan that involves consuming only 1200 calories per day. This is considered a low calorie diet because it is significantly lower than the average number of calories that most adults need to maintain their weight.

Many healthcare professionals recommend low-calorie diets as a way to lose weight. A common recommendation is to decrease calorie intake by 500-750 calories per day, which would result in a low calorie diet of 1200-1500 calories per day for women and 1500-1800 calories per day for men.

Some researchers consider low calorie diets to be those that provide 800-1200 calories per day, while very low calorie diets provide fewer than 800 calories per day. These diets are often followed for a short period of time to promote rapid weight loss and are typically used in clinical settings under medical supervision.

However, they are also popular among the general public and are often promoted by weight loss coaches, personal trainers, and diet websites. While a 1200 calorie per day diet may be effective for short term weight loss in certain situations, it may not be suitable for most adults in the long term and may not be effective at helping people maintain their weight loss.

Is it an effective way to lose weight?

To lose weight, it is necessary to create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. One way to do this is to reduce your caloric intake by 500-750 calories per day, as some healthcare professionals recommend.

Low calorie diets, including 1200 calorie per day diets, have been shown to be effective for weight loss in some studies. For example, a study of 2093 people with obesity found that a medically supervised 1200 calorie per day meal replacement diet resulted in an average weight loss of 4.7% over 12 months.

In another study, adults following a commercial weight loss program that provided 1200-1500 calories per day lost an average of 15 pounds after 1 year. However, 23% of the 4588 people following the 1200 calorie per day diet dropped out of the study.

Studies have found that while low calorie diets like 1200 calorie per day diets may lead to rapid and substantial weight loss initially, they may also be followed by greater weight regain compared to diets that involve moderate calorie restriction. In a commercial weight loss study, researchers observed that rapid weight loss during the first 3 months was associated with greater weight regain during the 9-month weight loss maintenance phase in all three diet groups.

Another study found that after following a very low calorie diet of 500 calories per day or a low calorie diet of 1250 calories per day for 5 and 12 weeks, respectively, participants regained about 50% of the weight they lost over 10 months on average.

This may be because low calorie diets can lead to metabolic changes that conserve energy and prevent weight loss, such as increased appetite, loss of lean body mass, and reduced calorie burning, which can make it difficult to maintain weight loss in the long term.

As a result, many health experts recommend eating patterns that involve only small reductions in calorie intake to promote weight loss and minimize negative metabolic adaptations associated with low calorie diets.

Benefits of a 1,200-calorie diet

Following a 1200 calorie per day diet may offer some health benefits, but it is important to note that these benefits are associated with calorie restriction in general and are not specific to 1200 calorie meal plans.

Consuming more calories than your body needs can lead to negative health consequences, including weight gain, increased heart disease risk, and diabetes. It is important to consume the right number of calories to maintain good overall health.

Many studies have shown that calorie restriction can benefit health by promoting weight loss, reducing heart disease risk factors like LDL cholesterol, and decreasing blood sugar levels and inflammation. While losing excess body weight can improve overall health, it is important to choose healthy, sustainable weight loss methods rather than extreme dietary patterns.

Some research has shown that people with obesity or morbid obesity who follow low calorie or very low calorie diets under medical supervision can lose weight and improve their blood sugar and lipid profiles, which can improve overall health.

However, these diets are usually followed for a short period of time and have high dropout rates due to their restrictive nature. If you are interested in following a low calorie diet for weight loss, it is important to speak with a qualified healthcare provider for advice.

Drawbacks of a 1,200-calorie diet

Calorie needs are highly individual and depend on many factors such as body size, age, and activity levels. A 1200 calorie per day diet is not appropriate for most adults, including smaller women. The average adult woman needs about 2000 calories per day to maintain her weight, while a man needs about 2500 calories per day.

These are just averages and do not take into account individual differences in calorie needs due to factors like age, activity levels, and height. However, these averages give an idea of how low 1200 calories is.

A 1200 calorie per day diet is too low for most people and can cause negative side effects like dizziness, extreme hunger, nausea, micronutrient deficiencies, fatigue, headaches, and gallstones.

Additionally, a 1200 calorie per day diet can lead to failure in achieving long-term weight loss goals. Restricting calories causes metabolic changes in the body, including increases in hunger-inducing hormones like ghrelin and cortisol and a drop in resting metabolic rate, or the calories burned while at rest.

This increases the chances of weight regain over time and can lead to a cycle of repeated weight loss and regain, which can be detrimental to mental health and may increase the risk of eating disorders, type 2 diabetes, and higher mortality.

Dieting Alternatives

Sometimes, healthcare providers and people trying to lose weight choose diets based on how quickly they can achieve the desired results, without considering the long-term health consequences of severely restricting calories.

While low calorie diets that provide significantly fewer calories than you need can lead to quick weight loss, some of the weight loss may be in the form of muscle mass, which can lower your resting metabolic rate. Large calorie deficits not only make it harder to maintain weight loss but can also have negative effects on your emotional well-being.

Most research suggests that dieting does not work and using healthier, less extreme weight loss methods is a better choice for supporting weight loss and weight loss maintenance over time.

Instead of restricting your intake to 1200 calories, which often involves tracking every food you eat, you can try the following evidence-based, healthy weight loss tips:
  • Eat whole foods

it is recommended to include whole foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, seeds, and eggs in your diet. These foods are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats and should make up the majority of your calorie intake.

  • Cut out added sugar and fats

Limiting your intake of added sugar and fat can help with weight loss. Foods high in sugar and/or fat that you may want to limit or avoid include soda, cakes, ice cream, candy, and sugary cereals.

  • Cook more meals at home

Cooking meals at home rather than relying on take out, restaurants, and fast food can lead to a healthier diet and lower weight. Studies have shown that people who cook more meals at home tend to have a healthier diet and weigh less than those who eat more meals outside the home.

  • Use a Healthy meal delivery service

Enter Wholistically Healthy. Our home delivery service is designed to empower you to eat clean, deliciously satisfying plant based food. No more faffing around hunting obscure ingredients and preparing fiddly meals. We do all the hard work for you, so all you have to do is enjoy. We hope to teach you, nurture you, and help you use your food as medicine to lighten up your mind.

  • Increase daily activity

To support healthy, sustainable weight loss, it is helpful to create a calorie deficit by burning more calories. Some ways to increase calorie burn include taking daily walks, participating in exercise classes, or joining a gym.

  • Work with a knowledgeable healthcare provider or nutritionist

Losing weight can be stressful and overwhelming, but a healthcare provider trained in nutrition, such as a dietitian, can offer guidance and support to help you lose weight in a healthy way without excessively restricting calories.


While it may take longer to lose weight using healthy, sustainable dietary approaches, it can help reduce the negative changes that occur with extreme calorie restriction and increase your chances of maintaining weight loss in the long term.

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