I’ve seen this a lot lately especially on Pinterest. This idea that somehow eating 1200 calories a day will cause you to lose weight. And if you’re asking, will I lose weight eating 1200 calories a day ? Then you need to just answer one question for me first.
How much do you weigh?
It’s really that simple. And don’t worry, I’m going to give you an exact calculation in this article so that you can figure out whether you’d lose weight eating 1200 calories a day. Not everyone will. In fact, to be honest, when I saw multiple pins on Pinterest about this exact topic, I was a little confused as to why this specific number is so relevant.
If I personally ate 1200 calories a day, I’d lose weight and I’d also be incredibly cranky, cause I wouldn’t be enjoying my life because I’d feel completely restricted. If I ate 1700 calories a day, I’d also lose weight.
I weigh 140 pounds.
If you’re reading this article, then the good thing is, you understand the concept that eating a certain amount of calories will cause you to lose weight. That much is true. But 1200?
If you weighed 110 pounds, and you ate 1200 calories a day, you’d lose weight. In fact, you’d lose about 4 to 5 pounds per month. But that’s if you weighed 110 pounds.
I just went into my phone’s calculator to do the math. Most people I know weigh more than 110 pounds. So, if you weigh more than 110 pounds, and you’re trying to lose weight, then yes, eating 1200 calories per day will cause you to lose about 4 to 5 pounds per month, pretty comfortably.
If you weigh 150 pounds and eat 1200 calories a day, you’ll also lose weight. But, you’ll be so damn hungry, it would be no fun at all.
The way I teach people to lose weight is meant to give you the freedom to eat foods you enjoy, while at the same time dropping 4 to 5 pounds per month.
Do you want to find out exactly how many calories you need to eat in a day to lose weight? Let’s figure this out.
Calculate Your Personal Calorie Deficit
The calorie deficit I follow is very simple. Take your weight and multiply it by 15.
Once you have your answer, subtract 400 from that final answer.
So, let’s calculate this for someone who weighs 150 pounds. Here’s the math:
150 lbs x 15 = 2,250
2,250 is the amount of calories a 150 pound person would need to eat each day to maintain their current weight. BUT, the goal here is to LOSE weight, so we need to subtract 400 from 2,250. So, let’s do that:
2,250 – 400 = 1,850
If that same 150 pound person ate only 1200 calories a day, they’d also lose weight, and a faster rate than 4 to 5 pounds per month, but my personal belief is that eating such a low amount of calories each day would not be sustainable.
This is why diets don’t last very long for most people and they revert back to their old eating habits. Many diets are so restrictive and they don’t allow us to eat the foods we love, or enough of them, that we eventually burn out and gain the weight back.
The reason I calculate a 400 calorie deficit per day, is cause losing 4 to 5 pounds per month is a nice and very realistic number. At the same time, it allows you to continue to enjoy life, while eating foods you love.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have more than 20 pounds to lose, then calculate your calorie deficit on your TARGET weight, not your current weight. So, let’s say you weigh 250 pounds, and your ideal weight is 200 pounds, then do the entire calculation above based on 200 pounds.
Now, aside from eating at a calorie deficit, it’s important to get enough lean protein into your daily diet as well. So, let’s discuss the numbers here.
Eat Enough Protein
Getting enough lean protein in your diet is very important to maintain muscle mass and it is optimal for anyone serious about burning fat and weight loss.
The calculation I follow is also very simple.
So, let’s use the exact same example as we did above for a person who weighs 150 pounds. We need to take 150 x 0.8:
150 x 0.8 = 120
So, a person who weighs 150 pounds should eat 120 grams of protein per day for optimal weight loss.
That 150 pound person should be eating 1,850 calories per day to lose approximately 4 to 5 pounds per month. Of those 1,850 calories per day, that person needs to also make sure they’re taking in 120 grams of protein.
IMPORTANT: Just as I mentioned above in the calorie deficit section, if you have more than 20 pounds of weight to lose, then do this exact same calculation using your TARGET weight, not your current weight. So, if you weigh 250 pounds, but your ideal weight is 200 pounds, do this protein calculation based on 200 pounds.
If calculating calories is new to you, or sounds complicated at all, it’s actually simple to do the way I’ve learned to implement it into my life. Here are the tools I use to track my daily calories.
MyNetDiary & Food Scale
I only use two things really to track my daily calories. I don’t always use the food scale in case I’m eating out. For instance, if I grab a Chipotle burrito bowl, I just enter it into the MyNetDiary app on my phone.
However, if I’m eating a home prepared meal with fresh ground beef, or chicken breasts, I weigh those on my food scale, so I know how much I’m about to eat. It’s pretty crazy actually to think how I used to eat meats, and I was overeating by a few hundred calories all the time.
A food scale will give you exact measurements, or much more accurate measurements than you used to do, and that is the name of the game if you’re serious about losing weight. It’s ridiculously inexpensive and one of the best investments I ever made in my own health. This is the food scale I use.
MyNetDiary is important because you enter your calorie budget into the app, and log the foods as you eat them throughout the day. So, if I eat a bagel, I just scan the package with the app, and bam, it’s already logged.
Installing this app onto my phone was a game changer in dropping body fat and losing weight. MyFitnessPal has the same functions so you could use that just as easily. I use MyNetDiary just cause it’s what I know.
This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I’m convinced that by having implemented this into my life, it’s one of the huge reasons I was able to drop 3% body fat and 12 pounds with ease.
If you don’t know much about intermittent fasting, it’s not a diet. It’s not about WHAT you eat. It’s all about WHEN you eat. This has changed everything for me. I now just wait 4 to 6 hours after waking up to eat. And I eat huge meals. Visit this page here to learn what a day in my life looks like with intermittent fasting.
I used to eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, and it just wasn’t fun to have to constantly think about what I was going to eat at every single meal. Intermittent fasting actually made eating so much fun and very enjoyable. It’s the reason I can go out and grab a McDonald’s meal and not really think about gaining weight.
I absolutely love being able to eat ginormous dinners now. Again, it’s not necessary to do intermittent fasting to lose weight, but for me, it’s the reason eating is fun again.
And if you don’t want your eating life to feel like restrictive dieting that doesn’t allow you to live how you want to, then I strongly suggest looking into it. I’ve written a few articles explaining the fat burning benefits of Intermittent Fasting. You can read up on it here.
So, Will You Lose Weight?
Will I lose weight eating 1200 calories a day ? That all depends. If you’ve gotten this far, you should definitely have the answer to that if you’ve done the calculations I’ve laid out above. I don’t know many people who weigh less than 110 pounds, so most anyone I personally know would lose weight eating 1200 calories a day.
But eating 1200 calories a day for myself would be extremely restrictive, so I just wouldn’t do it, because I want to enjoy eating. It’s up to you though. If you weigh 150 pounds and eat 1200 calories per day, I’m guessing you’ll have a very difficult time sticking to it.
If you’re okay with losing just 4 to 5 pounds per month, then the calculation above will absolutely help you do that, with ease, while you drink and eat what you love and eat what you love.
One other thing I didn’t mention in this article, is that I walk 10,000 steps per day. I used to do intense cardio 6 days a week, and since switching to walking only, I’ve gotten into better shape than I can ever remember. This will cause you to burn approximately 400 to 500 calories per day. You can learn a specific calculation of how many calories you’d personally burn right here.
My overall idea is to make life fun and simple with both exercise and eating. It’s interesting how I didn’t start noticing serious changes happening in my body and health until I stopped living such a restrictive lifestyle of low carb diets, and working out 6 days a week. It all changed when I let go and started doing things with less restriction and more fun.
I hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any questions at all about the topic of calorie deficit or anything related to weight loss and fat burning, I’m more than happy to help you. Please leave any comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you for reading!