Hey guys! I have had several conversations with potential clients over the past few weeks and all had the same type of story- they have been following a 1200-calorie diet, they feel hungry all the time and they are still not meeting their weight loss goals. I feel like we’ve all been there.
If this scenario sounds familiar then this post is for you!
In honor of National Nutrition Month coming to an end, I wanted to share several reasons why it’s okay to ditch the 1200-calorie diet.
1. You don’t really know how many calories your body needs
Have you ever popped your height, weight, age and desired weight into an online calculator? And then it calculated your daily recommendation for calories?
I’m not sure why 1200 calories seems to be the “magic number” for women, but our bodies are more complicated than that. An online calculator is not going to take into account our lean body mass, genetics, any hormonal issues, etc. So please don’t let a calorie amount define your diet. Just to give you some perspective, My Fitness Pal estimated that I need 1220 calories per day. When I last used indirect calorimetry (pretty accurate method for measuring resting metabolic rate), my estimate was 1480 calories. That’s more than a 200 calorie difference per day, which could mean an extra serving of something at a meal or even an entirely extra (substantial) snack.
Sometimes when we eat less calories than what we need, our body actually clicks into ‘starvation’ mode and holds on to extra pounds. Because of this, sometimes adding *back* some extra calories actually causes more weight loss after a 1200 calorie diet.
2. Not all calories are created equal
By putting emphasis only on calories, we are forgetting that calories come from protein, fats and carbohydrates. Each plays an important- and different- role in our body and can make us feel differently.
I always like to use this example even though I know it sounds extreme… imagine if we ate all of our “allotted” calories per day in nothing but potato chips. Maybe we would lose weight because we met your calorie goals, but would we feel good? Would we be healthy on the inside? Probably not. Having a healthy balance of carbs, fats and protein is really the spice of life. We sometimes run into trouble when we only focus on calories because certain foods have different affects on our hormones, hunger cues, gut function, and energy levels, and calorie counting doesn’t always take that into consideration.
3. We Forget to Listen to Our Bodies when we’re counting calories
Counting calories can seem counterintuitive. We are writing everything down on paper instead of letting our bodies tell us what to do. Have you ever been eating dinner and you feel kind of full but then you keep eating anyway? I’ve been there. Have you ever eaten a huge serving of dessert because it looked good, even though you were completely satisfied halfway through? Um heck yeah!
We probably didn’t need to worry about entering anything into a food log in these scenarios because our bodes were already telling us the perfect amount of food to eat.
We just have to listen
Weight-Centric vs. Health- Centric
While we’re on the subject of counting calories, I’d really just like to encourage us to take the focus off for the number on the scale and to put the focus on our overall health.
It’s unfortunate that as women, we have so many negative influences about body image coming at us from everywhere. I can easily understand how this causes us to focus so much on our weight when we’re talking about nutrition. But food is meant to nourish us and I also think we can enjoy it in the process. When we start eating based off of a calorie number then it is really easy lose sight of everything else in the process.
Let’s focus on listening to our bodies, eating what is best for us (hydration + lots of plants + great proteins) and doing what makes us feel best.
Hope you guys have a great day!
Love, Sam <3