The 1200 calorie myth

It’s a 1, and a 2, and a double zero! 1200. This number is glued into our brains as the magical number for weight loss. Eating 1200 calories a day will guarantee a slim body. For years we have, or more or less, women have been slaves under the 1200 calorie diet.

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1200. Where did this random number come from you might ask yourself. If you’re not, I’m still going to answer it for you. 1200 calories have gotten this exclusive repp that it’s the perfect amount of calories you should consume just to be above that starvation line. But to be more exact, the 1200 calorie champ has got some history in its baggage. It all started with Lulu Hunt Peters. A female author who published a diet book for woman called Diet & Health: With Key to the Calories in the early 1900. What this book emphasized on was that starvation would keep you skinny. To be able to control your hunger and your appetite was a way to be in control, (hey early signs of eating disorders, but whatever…). To put the icing on the cake, (or maybe we should skip the icing to stay under our calorie limit) Lulu Hunt Peters was born in the 1800’s. Her book published in the early 1900’s. Guys, this is more than a 100 years ago. Yet, we are still clinging on to this 1200 calorie diet like it’s the holy scripture for magical weight loss. I mean, weight will drop since 1200 calories will put most people into starvation. The bottom line – this “diet” is not a healthy one for the majority of people. A one size fits all diet doesn’t work for everyone, just like anything in life.

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Whats wrong with 1200 calories?

Basic Metabolic Rate – Fact, we are all different. Fact 2, we all have different caloric needs to simply stay alive. Research has showed that the basic caloric need for an average woman to simply keep her alive, this means without any hard core exercise, is around 2100 calories. For men around 2800 calories a day. Imagine that you stick to your 1200 calories. You won’t even have the proper energy for you body to function the way it’s supposed to, and you’re most likely not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals you need.

Fact 3, we are again different. We are different heights, different weights,  ages, we’re more or less active, are digestion works differently, some of us might be aliens, we’re just different! We all have our own specific needs to be healthy and this includes our caloric intake as well. Gertrud from across the street might actually be healthy on 1200 calories, Doris might need at least 2300 calories and Magnus the hard core kick boxer might need up to 4000 calories a day. When we talk about the basic caloric need for every individual we refer to it as Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is how much calories our body will burn by simply staying alive. Meaning that you can sit on your couch a whole day, be indecisive about what to watch on Netflix, eat some snacks, and your body will burn these calories automatically. When we add activity to that mixture in some shape or form, our caloric intake goes up.

Metabolic adaptation – Going on a 1200 calorie diet when you actually need 3000 for the long haul will cause your body to go into metabolic adaptation. We have all heard of this in some shape or form and it’s usually called “starvation mode” or something in that ball park. This simply means that after a while your body will adjust to the fact that “Hey, I guess we’re just have to start surviving on these 1200 calories a day now! Let’s slow down our metabolism so we can use this energy for the major shit to stay alive!”. When our body has adjusted to this new calorie limit we’ll stop losing weight because now we have to store as much of these calories we can. Simply, to not frikkin die. Losing weight will not become the priority. What will happen though is that when you do eat more than those calories again, you’ll gain all the weight back if not even more. If you’re lucky you can get back on track pretty quickly, but if you’ve been doing this for a while your metabolism can go into the “metabolic damage” state.

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Metabolic damage – When worst gets to worse is when our metabolism get damaged. Or actually, to call it a damage is pretty extreme. Our metabolism will become normal after some adjustments, but it might take some time because of the adaptation it has adopted. This happens when we’ve stayed under calories for a long time. We might have went on a little binge here and there and over time our body doesn’t know what’s going on at all. Are we starving? Do we have all this food? What the fudge brownie is going on!? If you add heavy exercise on top of that cocktail our metabolism goes even more crazy. When our metabolism is stressed out, he checks out and takes a vacay to the Bahamas. What usually happens in this state is that no matter how healthy you eat, or how hard you exercise you’ll keep gaining weight or just stop losing anymore. This can be very frustrating for a lot of people, especially those who have started off on a weight loss plan with great results to suddenly come to a halt or even gain weight. So what can we do about this bullshit?

Eat more to loose more – This can be provocative for some people who swears by the calorie deficit method. It is the opposite of what we have been told about weight loss since our young ears first heard about it. When you start to eat well and enough your body will slowly start to go “Oh, okay, we’re safe again. I don’t need to stress myself out to keep us alive anymore. Nutrition is coming in, and we have plenty of it!”. This is where you want to be all the time. You should always focus to get the proper amount of calories that you need everyday – at least. When we have the proper calorie needs, it’s easier for the body to let go of the stored fat. I know, it’s all just the opposite of what we’ve been told. Don’t believe the lies!!!! #FakeNews

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Strength training – If you spice it up even more you should add some strength and resistance training into your life. Building muscles while your body has all the nutrients and calories it needs will make your metabolism fire up and burn fat like its never burnt anything before! You will keep burning calories even at rest which means that you can eat even more food now and still lose weight. I mean, how can we hate this!?  This lifestyle will make sure that  you lose weight and keep it off.

We live in a world that is terrified of eating. Especially woman. Bullshit since more than a 100 years ago as an addition to social media has caused this bad food cycle.We need to eat. It’s a basic survival mechanism. Food is fuel, not the enemy! I promise you, that when you’re feeding yourself the right amount of food (healthy of course, I’m not talking three meals a day from McDonalds) with an addition to some resistance training, you will magically drop all the weight your body needs to drop, to maintain the perfect healthy weight for you.

“One size fits all” does not apply to anything in life. Remember to never compare your body to somebody else. We all have different weights and shapes that are healthy and ideal for us. The best thing you can do is to rock out and knock out the world with your uniqueness, while eating a proper dinner. Maybe even two. Bon Apple Tea! 

 

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