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Why 1200 calories isn’t healthy or acceptable

Hey Dolls! How are you all doing?

Thought I’d enlighten a bunch of you on how your body and calories work since I’ve been reading a lot of questions which revolve around the same point.

Alright. So, the human body is a machine. It runs on fuel, called calories. Calories are also the reason you gain weight.

Here’s how it goes: your body needs a certain amount of calories to work. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate. This differs from person to person based on how active you are. A person who has a desk job will have a lower metabolic rate than, say, someone who works in a machine shop and is constantly moving. Generally speaking, you need between 1600-2200 calories a day, unless you’re an athlete, in which case, you are undergoing training and know all this stuff already. 

BMR is the calorie used by one’s body even if they lay in bed all day long. It’s the calories needed to be alive (breathing, heart beat, digestion etc..). Since most people don’t do nothing all day long, their body uses more calories. To know that amount, you have to multiply your BMR by a coefficient depending on your activity level.

You should never go under your BMR because it basically means your body don’t have enough calories to function normally so your metabolism slows down and you get energy from your muscle instead of fat (fat main usage is protection. when starving, it gets used after muscle). 

Anyway, your body needs these calories to work. If it doesn’t get them, you’ll feel tired. If you get too much of them, they’ll be stored as fat. Quite a dilemma isn’t it? When you eat foot, your stomach digests it’s components. However, different components are digested at different rates. Carbs are digested the fastest, while fat is digested the slowest. Now, while it’s being digested, blood is flowing in and out. The food that’s in your stomach is being deposited around your body. Since fat is stored the most in your stomach, it is the most that gets deposited around your body. There is another factor in the equation, and that is your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is how fast you burn calories. The faster your metabolic rate, the faster you burn calories, the less fat gets deposited in your body. Are you seeing a pattern here?

(FYI, that was a very simple explanation on how your body works. If you want to know exact details, ask a doctor or nutritionist.)

Now, how do you lose weight? You need to create a calorie deficit. What does that mean? If means your body has to have less calories than what it needs. That way, it will eat the calories stored in your body as fat. 

Now that’s the basic rule, but there are a few things to be aware of. You might be wondering “HEY! If I eat 100 calories, I’ll be able to lose a lot of weight really fast!!!”. Yes, that is true, but there is a catch. Your body needs to protect itself from harm, and to do that in this example, it goes into what is known as starvation mode. In starvation mode, your body is lethargic, you lack energy, you don’t move at all, and anything you eat will be stored in your body. That means even an apple will make you gain weight. That is because your body needs fat content to survive and it is saving everything it can since you won’t give it the fat it needs. 

Generally speaking, eating anything less than 1200 calories is considered dangerous because your body kicks into starvation mode. 

That 1200 thing was created as a shortcut but everybody is different so it’s not that accurate. When losing weight and doing that -500 thing, you should substract 500 from your total calorie use (BMR multiplied by activity level), not from you BMR. 

Now, while not eating any food is a good way to lose weight, the moment you put anything in your stomach, you’ll gain it all back, and then some. The only way to not gain weight by eating VERY LITTLE, is by EATING VERY LITTLE all the time, and staying on your diet, in which case, your body will shrivel up and you will die. THEREFORE STARVING YOURSELF IS NOT A GOOD PLAN.

So, to diet, you need to eat slightly below your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and over 1200 calories. To get exact numbers, visit a nutritionist. 

Now, a few points:
-Even if you eat less than your BMR, you still need to eat clean. The reason for this is you need nutrients for your body to function properly. Trust me, it’s a good thing. 

So, say you have a calorie deficit in your diet and you lose weight, can you go back to eating normally? Yes you could. Is there a fear of you gaining back all the weight you lost. Yes, there is. And there’s a trick to that. 

Remember when we spoke about your metabolic rate? That’s the thing that caused you to gain weight in the first place. It’s slow, and therefore made your body store the fat whenever you ate. So you could lose all the fat, and there’s still the possibility of gaining weight once you’re off the diet. 

The trick is to have a fast metabolic rate. But how do you do that if you have a slow one?

You eat. 

Now you’re probably confused. How is it that eating can boost your metabolism, yet eating also makes you gain weight? 

It’s a bit tricky, but here’s how it works:
If your body burns food fast enough, it gets used to burning food fast enough. It speeds up your metabolic rate because it’s gotten used to the rhythm. Therefore, you need to eat food that digests really fast so you can digest food really fast so you can boost your metabolism. Yes, I’m aware of the grammar in that sentence. 

So, eating two meals of 800 calories a day isn’t the best thing you can do. Even though your total is less than your BMR, it’s not healthy, as say, eating 4 or 5 meals with a total of 1600 calories. 

A good diet that boosts your metabolism is one where you eat every 3-4 hours while you’re awake. You should be getting hungry that often. That’s a good sign. It means your body is digesting fast. It also means if you keep this up, your body will boost it’s metabolism, and you’ll be eating all the fat calories you have. 

Start off by eating breakfast. Nothing fattening.  3 egg whites are a good start. 

A few hours later, have something small, like some almonds or greek yogurt with some fruit. 

For lunch have a slice of chicken breast, fruit, and veggies. 

After that, have another snack, some fruit is a great choice.

For dinner, you can go for some fish, or a salad and some protein. Try to keep it light, as your metabolism slows down when you sleep, and you don’t want to eat heavily right before bed. 

Follow this, and eventually your body will boost your metabolism so high that you will burn calories when doing nothing (like on your rest days :).

Please note though, just because you have 1 cheat meal a week, it won’t ruin your diet. Having 1 cheat day won’t ruin your diet either. To gain weight in 1 day, you will need to have a surplus of 8000 calories. So you need to sit and eat a ton of food to gain weight in 1 day. Don’t let that discourage you. One day won’t ruin your diet. Craving that ice cream won’t ruin your diet. Having that (slice of) cake won’t ruin your diet. What will ruin your diet is making them a habit and having them over and over again. So have that ice cream if you crave it. Know that all it will do is slow down your progress by a little bit, but it won’t kill it. 

Some foods worth having:

skimmed/low fat greek yogurt

Eat them. Snack on them. Have lots of vegetables and fruit (not too much fruit though). 

Remember, dieting is the major part of losing weight, but doing it alone without exercise won’t work. You need both. Cardio and strength training both help you lose weight, and doing both together will make you lose weight faster. Remember to have a recovery drink/meal/supplement after your work out. Your body will thank you for it. 

Remember, don’t starve yourself, but don’t over it. As with everything else in life, moderation is the key. Don’t lose focus, and don’t lose sight of your goal. Once you get there, you’ll love it, and you’ll wonder how you always lived without. 

Good luck, and happy weight loss!! 

If you’re doing a program and actually have a calorie intake question, message me :)  

Ps diets don’t work.  Eating clean and making changes (thus the name of my url) is how you get healthy and in shape.