There’s one important thing you should keep in mind if you’re considering cutting your daily calorie allowance back to 1,200 in an attempt to lose weight, though: “This would be the lowest you want to go,” says Keri Glassman, R.D., founder of NutritiousLife.com and author of The New You (and Improved) Diet). “I would say about 1,200 to 1,500 is what you’d want to aim for if you’re trying to lose weight.” (Consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day, and it’ll be nearly impossible to get the nutrients and energy you need—and you risk slowing down your metabolism, says Glassman.)
That said, Glassman typically encourages people not to get too caught up with counting calories—even when they’re trying to lose weight.
“I’m more about thinking about proportions, eating the right types of foods,” she says. “When you listen to your body and pay attention to proportions, you don’t really need to count calories.”
Granted, the subreddit above is proof that plenty of people swear by calorie counting to get to (and stay at) a healthy weight—and that lots of dieters are curious about 1,200-calorie meal plans in particular.
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Start tuning into calorie counts, and you’ll quickly find that some foods are way more calorie-dense than others. That’s why some research indicates that a vegan diet—which is typically built around lots of low-calorie vegetables—can be such an effective meal plan for weight loss.
If you’re thinking about trying a vegan diet, this one-day 1,200-calorie plan, courtesy of Glassman, is a good reference point for the minimum amount of food you would want to eat.