How can I stick to only eating 1200 calories? HELP?!

posted 2 years ago in Fitness
  • poll: What is your daily calorie limit?
    1200-1400 : (51 votes)
    27 %
    1450-1800 : (41 votes)
    22 %
    1850+ : (20 votes)
    11 %
    I don’t count calories : (74 votes)
    40 %
  • Post # 61
    122 posts
    Blushing bee

    Were you (before now) eating a significantly larger amount of food? Your stomach feels empty because it’s used to having more in it. Your stomach expands and contracts, you need to give it time to adjust. Push through a few hard weeks while your body adjusts to smaller portions. You’ll stop feeling so hungry after that.

    Eat a ton of fruit and vegetables. For the most part, with the exception of stuff like avocado and potatoes, fruits and veg are so low in calories you can eat a whole plate of them for the calorie equivalent of a snack.  It’s honestly the only thing that actually saves me when I’m calorie counting. Being hungry sucks but it will get better and you will feel better once you’ve given your body time to get used to it.

    Post # 62
    864 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2010

    azf0019 :  you’re welcome! I’m curious to see what you think 🙂 

    Post # 63
    1582 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2019

     ahh reading through all this is scary there is so much bad information out there. While studying for my NASM here’s some things I learned:

    First of all the body needs between 45 and 65% carbohydrates, 10-35% protein, and the rest from fat (20-35%) to work properly. You cannot just skip carbs and only eat protein, it is extremely unhealthy. You also can’t skip out on fat. There is fat stored in the brain and the brain REQUIRES fat to function. 

    That is why tracking your macros is so important. Are you getting enough carbs to protein to fat ratio? You won’t be perfect everyday, but it’s good to be aware of it and improve what you can. For example: my numbers are 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat.  

    The next question you need to determine is how many calories am I burning a day or what is my TDEE (total dail energy expenditure)?

    healthy amount of weight to lose a week is 1 to 2 pounds.

    Long story short- 

    Where are your calories coming from?

    Are you getting enough calories to live (thy body burns calories just by living/breathing/walking around), and then counting in extra activity like excercise- are you really getting enough calories?

    What is your TDEE?

    Orange Theory trainers should be able to make recommendations for you here and/or push you towards a nutritionist who can really quantity what your nutritional needs are. 

    Also drinking water is really important! 🙂 

    Good luck to you and I hope this helps!

    Post # 64
    740 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2020

    avprobeauty :  This. ^

    OP, how did you calculate your 1200 daily goal? Everyone is different, and it makes sense that your size, height, and weight will all affect how much energy your body needs to thrive or how much of a deficit your body can run on.

    I am 5’4″ and my 500 cal deficit is 1380 per day.

    I know you said you don’t want to increase your goal, but eating too little can cause you to have low energy and lower self control. By adding maybe 100 calories to your day, you could experience that extra burst you need to to gain control of your diet.

    You mentioned you don’t log your exercise, and that’s a big mistake for the above reason. You’re “goal” is to aim for that many net calories, NOT to “stand under” that many calories.

    I know it may feel frustrating and like you’re eating more, but these steps will make it sustainable and definitely will help you feel satisfied and not starving. Starving leads to binging which leads to yo-yo dieting.

    Post # 65
    740 posts
    Busy bee

    Well, you should be eating at only a 25% deficit of your tdee (total daily energy expenditure). My tdee is about 1200 because I’m super short and petite. You should first calculate your tdee and cut 20% from there.


    When I was trying to get fit I bought a custom meal plan from the following website. They also provide a cookbook.


    Post # 66
    1252 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2018

    I used to think that the less I ate the more I’d lose so I would just eat as little as possible (this obviously led to disordered eating). However, I read a blog post a couple years ago (I wish I could find it) that showed side by side photos of a woman when she was eating 1300 calories a day and doing lots of cardio and when she was eating something like 2000 calories a day and doing some cardio but mostly weight lifting and she was so much thinner when she was eating more. I’ve read more about it now and not eating enough can definitely sabotage your weight loss. 

    Just something to think about.

    Post # 67
    1596 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2017

    Yes OP, please listen to avprobeauty!

    The trainers at Orange Theory should be able to help you figure out your TDEE and help you determine your macro ratios. I’ve actually figured out that for me, it’s so much easier to plan out my meals knowing that I need to get X amount of grams of protein, X of carbs, and X of fat, and not worry so much about the calorie amount. My macros actually allow me to have a little over 1800 calories a day, which is way more than I was eating when I was just trying to count calories. There are actually some days that at the end of the day, I have to reward myself with a snack so that I can meet my carb and protein goals (fat is rarely an issue for me to meet…lol)

    Using my fitness pal works really well for me. I was able to adjust my macros so that I can easily track those along with calories. The free version works fine for me, but I’ve heard several people say that the premium version really helps if you want to learn more about nutrition!

    Also, if sweets are your weakness (like mine is), there are several resources out there to find healthy versions of some of your favorite sweets. I bought a protein dessert e-cookbook a few weeks ago and I LOVE it. I now get to eat reeses cups and gummies multiple times a week while staying on track. 😛 

    Post # 68
    2781 posts
    Sugar bee

    Do you have a fitbit or something that estimates your calories burned per day? Because it’s better to focus on calorie DEFICIT since how much you burn a day can vary so much. I sync my fitbit with myfitness pal and it calculates how much you should eat based on your calories burned and your weight goal. As a VERY loose estimate you only need about a 520cal deficit per day to lose 1lb a week. 

    So if you stay on the couch all day 1200 is fine, but personally I burn anywhere from 1600 – 2700 calories depending on how active I am, so if I tried to do 1200 every day I would probably just fall down. 


    Post # 69
    2781 posts
    Sugar bee

    Also just to add –  A lot of people recommend cutting food groups/types or counting macros instead, but you just have to find something that works for you.

    Personally I like math and numbers (and pizza and beer) more than I like shoppping and cooking, so I’d rather calculate calories than complicate my diet too much. Whereas some people hate having to count each thing and would rather focus on recipes and meal planning.

    When I’m calorie counting I usually do end up eating healthier foods and fats and proteins. For health reasons obviously, but also because it keeps me full longer – so I end up eating less calories. 

    Post # 70
    380 posts
    Helper bee

    If you want to maintain any weight loss then you need to create a maintainable eating habit. 

    I don’t count calories. I want to enjoy food so I made changes that felt natural. 

    I started slow and made changes I could adjust to. Week 1 I cut out pop, pizza, and alcohol during the week. I lost 4 lbs. I didn’t exercise more, I didn’t count calories. 

    The next week I added more changes. Additional water intake and at least two veggies per day. If I am craving pasta then I have a smaller portion but eat it at lunch so im not starving by dinner and then I could feel happy eating veggies and protein for dinner. Stopped snacking past 7 pm. Got more sleep. 

    Nothing felt like I was depriving myself of things I craved but it was small changes each week and eventually I got to a point of no longer craving those unhealthy foods. Now I eat healthier, don’t count calories, and enjoy the foods I’m eating. This is maintainable. Restricting yourself to a certain number of calories is not. 

    My goal is to lose 40 lbs in 6 months and I’m ahead of schedule. No crazy diets. Just slowly making better health choices. I have more energy now so I can start adding extra workouts because my body is fueled. 

    Post # 71
    105 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2019

    azf0019 :  stay out of the kitchen. Don’t have ANYTHING in your house that you shouldn’t be eating (chips, soda, pasties, icecream, bread, pasta etc). Hard boil some eggs and keep fruit like apples and berries around. Melon works too. If you’re hungry you can pretty much eat as much fresh fruits and veggies you want. Eat a HUGE salad (light on the dressing). Trust me after a while of doing this you’ll be sick of chewing. Also most of the time when you’re “hungry” it’s really because you’re thirsty. So make sure to drink 3 liters (or a gallon) of water a day. Especially if you’re working out. 

    Post # 72
    3015 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2008

    Um, I am 5’0” and 115 pounds and I eat about 1500 a day. I pretty much shoot for 3 500 calorie meals (it is pretty easy if you stick to lean meats/fish/tofu, brown/red/forbidden rice, and veggies). 1200 calories sounds dangerously low to me, which is probably why you’re starving and feel terrible. 

    One thing I do is just not have a whole lot of options at home. In general, I have hard cheeses, whole grain crackers (wasa, ak mak, woven wheats, etc.), brown rice cakes, unsweetened nut butters, and fresh fruits for snacks. Occasionally I’ll have a square or two of single-origin dark chocolate as a treat. 

    Another thing I do is eat off of salad plates and cereal bowls so I’m not tempted to fill a large plate or deep bowl with food. 

    The hunger drive is different for everyone, but in general you can trust yours. 

    Post # 73
    200 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2018

    Depending on some key factors, 1200 calories might not be sustainable for you, especially if you are working out and burning excess calories. I tend to stick to a 1300-1500 calorie diet depending on my activity level for the day. 1300 on days where I work at my computer for hours without much physical activity, and 1500 when I know I am going to be up and about. I am a vegetarian, which isn’t for everyone, but what I do to stick within my limits includes meal planning and really padding my meals out with a lot of extra vegetables. I also take a multivitamin just in case. I also increased my water consumption. I also try to not let myself get hungry. I used to diet by trying to see how little I could eat, and that always backfired because I would get ravenous. I would think that if I saved my calories for the end of the day, I’d be more satisfied. Instead, I try to see how I can maximize my consumption within my limits and make sure that I eat when I start to show actual signs of hunger. As stupid as it sounds, my fiance brought me some paperwork home from his work from a nutritionist that helps you really identify what hunger is and the signs of it. It sounds like it’s straightfoward, but it’s something that I have always struggled with.

    Post # 74
    498 posts
    Helper bee

    hikingbride :  what is helpfing me is to balance my meals out properly. for example, i cant eat much in the morning so i have a small breakfast or snack, then a huge protein lunch then a salad and glass of milk for dinner. also im veggie and if i dont eat enough protein i crave sugar and carbs in a gross pig out way

    Post # 75
    2358 posts
    Buzzing bee

    azf0019 :  Eat more protein and veggies. Stay away from carbs and sugar. Not eating protein makes you hungry. 

    I eat 1200 calories a day no problem because I am not eating fillers and am very satisfied. I”m also doing Keto. 

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