Eating 1,200 calories a day can help you lose weight.

1,200-Calorie Diet Outline

by Emily Weller

An effective way to lose weight is to cut down the number of calories you eat daily. If you normally consume between 1,800 and 2,000 calories a day, you can lose about 1 1/2 lbs. a week if you reduce your daily caloric intake to 1,200. Talk with your doctor before starting the diet to make sure you are in good health.

Keeping Track

On a 1,200-calorie diet, you will need to pay attention to how much you eat. An easy way to keep track is to carry a small notebook around with you and record what you eat and how many calories it had.

Determine Caloric Content

If the food you are eating does not have a nutrition label or the restaurant does not provide nutrition information, you may be able to determine how many calories a food has using an online calorie calculator. Be sure to note the size of the serving of the food that you are eating.

Number of Meals

On a 1,200-calorie diet, you can either consume three 400 calorie meals a day or six 200 calorie meals.

Foods to Eat

Calories are king in a 1,200-calorie diet, meaning that you do not need to worry as much about limiting certain types of foods, such as high fat or high carbohydrate foods. You may feel better if you skip the highly processed foods and choose vegetables, fruits and whole grains.


Many diets encourage you to add exercise to your daily routine. Since the number of calories you take in on a 1,200-calorie diet is low, you may harm your body if you take up an aggressive exercise program as well. If you want to exercise, consider choosing a diet with a higher daily calorie intake. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the options.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.

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