Don't Eat Less... Eat Right...
You've heard about them and more than likely tried them, 1200 calorie diets is about eating less and right. What you want to do is eat right... and MORE.
So do 1200 calorie diets work? Initially, yes. Short term they are a great way to drop some excess water weight, maybe you'll shrink your stomach and learn about portion sizes. But - do they work?
You've tried them time and time again, you lost 5kg the first time, then you put back on those 5kg. So you tried it again, this time you lost 9kg. But now, you are 12kg heavier than before! How does this keep happening?
Restricted calorie diets are not maintainable, they are short term solution for quick weight loss. Often, that quick weight loss if generally water weight, as you are sticking to your 1,200 calorie diet you'll notice you're eating less processed carbohydrates, low fat foods, your intake of vegetables is quite good, and you are learning about portion sizing. Great. For now.
But how long can you keep that up for? How long will you enjoy working out what a 300-400 calorie meal looks like, how you will enjoy going out for meals with your loved one, meals with family, knowing that if you have that cheese burger that's all you are having until dinner time.
A calorie isn't a just a calorie.
When you follow a 1200 calorie diet you'll find your nutrition intake of protein, carbohydrates and fats are all out of whack. If you're having a small serve of muesli for breakfast, a piece of fruit mid-morning, a low fat whole meal wrap with some ham and lettuce for lunch, some rice crackers with dip for another snack and a chicken and vegetable stir fry with brown rice for dinner - you're eating healthy right?
Well, there is no denying this a 'healthy' diet because there are no saturated fats, everything is natural or baked. But look deeper than that, every-single-meal is loaded with carbohydrate. The only healthy fats you might getting is from the oats in the morning, the dip in the afternoon, and the oil you cook with at night. The protein, the small amount of ham, and the chicken or meat you might have in your stir fry. Again - not enough.
To ensure you achieve a well balanced diet you'll need to balance out your intakes of each macro-nutrient. You're weight training at the gym, or working hard in your morning boot camp - you need some protein to help repair and grow your muscle. You'll need to eat some good carbohydrate however to transport that protein to your muscle fibres through your blood stream. Healthy and good fats, like nuts, fish and avocados are vital for organ function and lubrication of joints, they are the most dense source of energy to help keep our body functioning right.
Put simply - when you eat negative calories (this is anything under your BMR - which is your basal metabolic rate, the amount of calories your body burns in a day just to breathe and function) you will lose weight, but you will plateau because your body holds onto it's last stores of fat on the in case you continue to starve your body and it needs energy for flight or fight.
When you eat a well balanced, healthy, LARGE and voluminous diet - your body will thank you. It'll start letting your metabolism work harder than before, it'll let your body burn more calories, it'll stop storing your excess carbohydrate as fat - on the in case you never feed it again.
So, don't eat less. Eat right. Understand what your body needs to burn fat, to build muscle, to keep healthy and to function to its best ability. Number one rule - never starve yourself, you'll do more damage which can be seriously hard to undo.