Why a diet of 1200 calories a day is a bad idea

chicken cabbage salad

Some people have told me they are on a diet of only 1200 calories per day, that they lost weight initially, but the weight loss has stopped, and they’re frustrated and hungry. When you are on a starvation diet, such as the one above, that doesn’t allow you to consume adequate calories, your body adjusts your metabolism downwards, reducing the amount of calories you burn.

The resting metabolic rate commonly referred to as RMR is simplified as the number of calories burned when just sitting around, sleeping and eating. Most people will burn a minimum of 1200 calories a day based on RMR alone (1) so if you’re exercising and on the go, you need to eat more. It does seem counterintuitive to eat more to lose weight, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed.


  1. Sport Nutrition for Healthy and Performance, 2nd edition by Manore, Meyer and Thompson (pg 146-147)

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