On Eating 1,200 Calories...

July 14, 2014

I've been getting a little frustrated recently seeing friends, bloggers and even strangers believing that eating around 1200 calories a safe and healthy way to lose weight. Many people know to not eat below 1200 calories, but that means it's a bare minimum.

Do you also walk during the day? Run? Lift weights or do body weight exercises? Do you play sports? All of those activities require EXTRA energy, whether you're on a diet or not. Eating too few calories is dangerous for your health. Been there, done that, and let me tell you: it doesn't work out in the end.

You might try and tell me - I'm not anorexic or bulimic, I just watch what I eat! However, there are so many ways to have "disordered eating" without falling into one of those two categories.

At the end of my college career, I decided I was going to take control of my weight for once and for all. I started calorie counting and would eat anywhere from 900-1200 a day. Obviously, I lost weight. I started reading blogs and weight loss websites and learned that these low numbers were unsafe. Since I'd lost the weight I wanted, I figured I should follow their advice. I upped my calories to 1200-1400 a day, while also training for races and weightlifting.

After a while, any weight-loss I had experienced had not only plateaued, but I started slowly gaining weight back. I started binge eating my healthy foods on the weekends. I'd finish off a tub of greek yogurt and a container of strawberries in a sitting. I'd find myself sitting on the kitchen floor with my hand in a cereal box and not able to stop eating even though I was stuffed full. My body was starving.

Eventually, I started gaining weight and didn't understand why. I thought I was eating enough because I wasn't ever truly hungry - but this was because I'd taught my body to ignore hunger cues. I could no longer tell when I was actually hungry or not - I just ate what I was "supposed" to eat.

When your body is in starvation mode, every time you do feed it, your body holds onto the fat that you give it rather than burning it. Because of this, I was gaining weight any time that I binged or "indulged" and my body refused to get rid of it no matter how clean I ate. I finally sought help and started eating more food and more intuitively, but again gained weight because my body was scared that I'd go into starvation mode again.

So you can see the problem: I starve myself to lose weight and in the end, I end up gaining weight and destroying my metabolism.

So no. You should NOT be eating only 1200 calories day. Please, learn from me and don't make this mistake yourself. It took me years to get to where I am today and I am definitely still not perfect but I wanted to share my experience as a way to reach out to anyone else who might be dealing with something similar. At the end of the day, loving how you look has nothing to do with the scale, it's something that comes from within.

Here are some great resources that I've found, and if ever have any questions, please feel free to email me at peaceloveandoats@gmail.com. Also, please remember that I am NOT a doctor or a dietitian, but am speaking from my own research and experience. Please talk to someone you trust if you're struggling with food and exercise or reach out to an expert who can work with your individual needs. 

The 1200 Calorie Myth

Restoring Slow Metabolism

Why 1200 Is So, So Wrong

The Weight Issue

Less Is Not More

Should You Count Calories for Weight Loss?