Nutrition · Personal

The reality of eating 1,200 calories a day

Hips Dont Lie
Courtesy FreeImages.com/Stephanie Berghaeuser

Realistically, everyone should exercise calorie control, not just those of us with a target of losing weight. Intake of calories, the unit of measurement for the amount of energy found in food, determines whether we lose, gain or maintain our weight at the end of the day.

According to USDA guidelines, an average lifestyle requires 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day to maintain weight.

If you’re trying to lose, however you can go as low as 1,000 calories a day. Anything lower than that is insufficient for the body to function and long-term intake at these levels can cause organ damage. What you calorie limit should be is also based off of what constitutes “safe” weight loss which is no more than 2 lbs a week.

I’ve been living on a calorie controlled diet for over three years. It’s not a “diet” in the traditional sense, but a revamp of the way I prepare and purchase meals. This, with very light exercise, has propelled me to lose over 25 lbs. in about a year’s time. No, it’s not speed weight loss, but I can tell you I’ve maintained my new healthy weight for over three years.

I have two rules:

  1. Eat ~1,200 calories a day; no more than 1,500 and no less than 1,000.
  2. Stop eating early enough so that I wake up hungry.

That second rule takes a little eyeballing, but the reason is so that you don’t have gobs of food in your body just sitting while digestion slows throughout sleep.

Last week: Why you should get your water 50oz at a time

Meal management: Eat less; feel full

Recipe: Steamed and sauteed kale

Rather than sit on my pulpit and preach how to make lifestyle changes or throw recipes at you, I’m going to show you exactly what a typical week looks like.

Some days it’s hard to eat consciously, and we need to set realistic expectations for ourselves. We all put on our pants one leg at a time, myself included. I fall off the horse; I get back on.

Sometimes I log my intake and sometimes I don’t, but I’m currently in a logging bout so this is perfect timing to share.

I’m going to reiterate this is a typical week. You’ll see how I make some bad food choices, some good ones and you might even notice my inconsistent eating schedule. A part of that is due to my job, a part of that is due to me not being very good as spacing my nutrition.

Do you have any suggestions how can I improve my eating habits?

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