Unless you live in a cave, and have been doing so for some time, you’ve got the memo that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is of benefit to human beings of all shapes and sizes. And it is not all about looking sexy or youthful. Sure, it is awesome to feel like you look your best – who has the time and energy to avoid full-length mirrors?
But there are more serious reasons to get real about your weight. Consensus in the medical world is that obesity puts us at risk for countless ailments, including high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, and stroke. But lest you despair, there is some good news. Scratch that; great news. The Mayo Clinic points out that even a small weight loss can yield positive results for your overall health. And a small weight loss is totally doable, right? This article looks at the 1200 calorie diet. Is it the way forward for those of us that need to shed a few – or maybe more than a few – pounds?
Embarking on a quest to lose weight means being realistic and sensible. Not panicked and gullible. Diet supporters sometimes make outrageous claims. Like you will lose 10 pounds a week – guaranteed – if you follow this menu plan. Or that if you eat purple food on Thursday but yellow on Sunday, well… you need to do no more. Or if you just take this one pill a day, you’ll never be hungry again. Ignore the outlandish. And take your first steps toward reasonable weight loss.
Begin at the beginning
The first question to ask is if 1200 calories a day translates into the nutrients, proteins, energy and fats that your body needs everyday. And the answer for most of us is yes. The Mayo Clinic points out that 1200 calorie diet can provide you with the sustenance you need and let you lose weight. A caution: it has to be the right 1200 calories. If you decide to eat a huge hunk of cheddar and wash it down with a beer, well…. let’s have a look at a sample healthful daily menu that comes in at 1200 calories.
A healthful 1200 calorie menu
Fast fact: This menu has only 21 grams of fat.
- Green tea (0 calories)
- Natural Granola. 1/2 cup. (180 calories)
- Fat free soya milk. 1 cup. (70 calories)
- Blueberries. 1 cup. (83)
- Perrier with lime (0 calories)
- Old-fashioned vegetable soup. 2 cups. (79 calories)
- 2 dark rye crackers (70 calories)
- Fat-free vanilla yogurt (35 calories)
- Perrier with fresh mint (0 calories)
- Roasted chicken breast without skin (231 calories)
- Brown rice. 1 cup. (218 calories)
- Steamed broccoli. 1/2 cup. (22 calories)
- Air-popped popcorn. 1 cup. (31 calories)
- 1 red pepper cut into strips with 1 tbsp low-fat ranch dressing. (80)
Designing your 1200 calorie menu
The provided sample menu gives you a concrete idea of what 1200 calories a day looks like. But we all have foods that we crave and foods that well, we do not. Luckily, there are countless choices for us as we create our own 1200 calorie menus. It is important that we eat food that we enjoy. And it is easy to plan a daily menu that works for you. Read on.
Let’s take a brief ride in time machine that is set for, let’s say, 1972. Yikes. We have to look up all of our favorite healthful foods in a book (!), write down calorie counts, and punch numbers into a calculator. Whew. Enough of 1972. Because building a daily menu has never easier than it is today.
There are some brilliant apps, like My Fitness Pal, for our iPads and smart phones that do everything but cook our meals for us. Seriously. Check out this technology and build your own sample 1200-calorie – one that has food and drink that works for you. (These apps will even total your daily fat count, sodium count, carbohydrate count and more.).
But will I lose weight?
Yes. If you have been regularly eating many more than 1200 calories a day, you will likely see a weight loss of between 1 and 2 pounds per week. Or 16 pounds in 4 months. Or 32 pounds in 8 months. And this is a safe and healthy amount of weight to lose on a weekly basis. Remember that losing weight means a sustained lifestyle change. Diets that promise a weight loss of 15 pounds in 3 weeks are not the way to go. Confer with your family doctor.
The exercise factor
Healthful eating and exercise go together like pepperoni and cheese. (Oops, that comparison probably just made us all hungry.) But, seriously, you will benefit from getting into a regular exercise regime while you focus on healthy eating. It does not matter so much what you do, as long as you do it regularly. Find your passion: do you see yourself hanging off a wall in a rock-climbing gym? Jogging along a city canal? Taking a tennis lesson or two? Chasing a racket ball around a local court? Lifting free weights at the Y? Watching your iPad while hitting the treadmill? You are in this for the long haul. Variety is the spice of an exercising life. If you feel bored with you regime, change it up – but don’t give it up. Embrace the endorphin rush.
In closing, a 1200 calorie daily menu plan can contribute to you achieving your personal weight loss goals. It is a fact; no mysterious rituals required. But the big message is that though we do not have a crystal ball, we cannot read the future, we do know that getting down to a healthy weight can make a big difference in our lives. And it may be the difference between sitting in a chair in a doctor’s office hearing about your cancer diagnosis and never knowing what that conversation feels like. Be good to yourself.