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Calorie Restriction and Fitness

Sunday, April 07, 2013

I'm about to bust a myth right now...

I've been practicing a low calorie lifestyle for about a year now. I struggle to get even the minimum amount of protein (which is 60 grams) and average about 1200 calories daily. Some days I eat more than that, but I make up for it on other days during the week when I eat less. I even have occasional fast-days.

There is a lot of criticism out there for people who practice low-calorie living. One criticism is that I won't enjoy quality of life with the mindset of restriction. This is simply not true! I find that when I eat less, I have much more energy to enjoy so much more that life has to offer other than food! Also, I've found that I ADORE naturally low-calorie foods such as fruits and salads. People ask me what kind of diet I'm on when they see me eating a huge salad or a giant bowl of fruit. My response is that I'm NOT on a diet... that I simply love to eat fruits and vegetables!

Another myth is that my level of fitness will not be as substantial. I'll let my most recent round of pictures tell the truth on that...

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It doesn't look to me as if your body is consuming itself. You are simply reaching fitness model body fat percentages! You feel strong and look healthy and glowing!
    1283 days ago
    OMG! You look more amazing every time you post a pic! I can't believe your arms! You give me hope because I have been strength training more but I am afraid it's not doing anything because of my low calorie diet. All the plans I look at wants you to consume 200+ calories, which I don't think I will ever be able to do without gaining. emoticon Love and Miss you!
    1293 days ago
    The proof is in the pudding! Love it! You are looking strong and beautiful! Love to see fellow sparker succeed! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1295 days ago
  • JENNY160
    People also have to understand that, when you are smaller, you are lugging around a lot less body weight. That translates to burning fewer calories. THAT translates to needing fewer calories to perform the same activities throughout the day.

    The Sparkpeople site even has a pop-up that tells you to re-calculate your caloric needs for every 15 lbs that you lose.

    Basal Metabolic Rate and Daily Caloric needs can be calculated at many online sites. I just did mine at:
    alculator/ and

    The difference between my daily needs at 175 lbs and 235 lbs was over 400 calories per day. And hey, if you maintain at 1200, then YOUR daily caloric need IS 1200. We don't all fit into a formula. But the underlying premise is the same: you weigh less now, and your caloric need is lower now.

    Just make sure you get all the essential stuff as others have suggested. I know I need to supplement for Riboflavin, Calcium, etc. (I love the Sparkpeople nutrition
    tools--it really gave me the head's up on what I have been missing, nutrient-wise).

    1295 days ago
  • CAMAEL100
    Those muscles speak for themselves! I think that people equate calories with nutrients which is why much of the developed world is now overweight and undernourished. I always feel my worst when eating more calories because when I am restricting calories I am more conscious of maximising nutrients.

    You are looking very lean. Do you do a lot of ST?

    1296 days ago
    You look fabulous and fit!! I see nothing wrong with eating 1200 calories a day, what works for you obviously working! Great job!
    emoticon emoticon
    1296 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1297 days ago
    I looked at your intake and exercise page and see that you are averaging about 1200 per day. Some days as high as 1500 and some as low as 600. At your weight I don't see the 1200 as being damaging, but since you are still losing weight, it is not a maintenance level. So when you finally figure out the weight you are happy with, you'll probably have to increase it by a little.

    I didn't look at the balance either, but I trust your assessment that you are not striving to push the balance as much as the calorie and good foods side. I don't know if you can actually say you busted a myth though. That will only come after years of this sort of "diet" or plan. Yes, you have won the the weight battle and I am so proud of you for that, but don't forget the health side of it. That doesn't always show up for years. Just as lack of calcium doesn't show up for many years, so does the lack of many other minerals and such. So you may want to rethink the balance side as you continue your journey. I know I struggle to get enough potassium and magnesium so I take supplements(which add NO calories). You may want to look into that to make sure your low calorie diet doesn't rob you of the other things your body needs to be healthy.

    I didn't see your cardio/ST on your profile so I'm not sure how much of that you are doing. Maybe you just don't take the time to list them. What is your exercise program if I can be so bold to ask? You are an inspiration to me and many others for your steadfastness of reaching your goals, but you need to make sure you are doing it in a way to remain healthy and fit too. By the way, love your guns. ;-)

    Don't take this as criticism, but as a fellow member and friend that is also trying to make sure that I don't just reach one goal at the expense of other goals. I also like to be honest with folks who may want to follow my plan to show them where I messed up and where I learned things to do better. We are all here to support each other and to help everyone reach their goals in a healthy and lifelong way. You ROCK. Keep the Faith.
    1297 days ago
  • SLEE103
    Inspirational!! wow! I strive to eat lower calories but its really hard...and I do absolutely love fruit and most veggies! I need to get into your mindset :)
    1297 days ago
    You look super toned and amazing! If you feel great eating the way you are eating, and looking this way, then who is to say what you're doing is wrong? I don't think I would feel full on 1200 calories a day, I have been eating tons of food lately. But my workouts demand that I eat, and I eat because I am hungry. So who is to say any way is right and wrong if it makes you feel great? You are incredible emoticon !!!
    1297 days ago
    Amazing! You just keep getting leaner! You have a great muscular build.

    Thank you for posting this! Excellent visual proof that dispels the myth that you must eat a ton of protein and calories to build muscles, feel good, and look fit. Way to go!

    emoticon emoticon
    1297 days ago
    You rock and 1200 calories is PLENTY! I'm sure you 'calorie cycle' some days and eat more.

    The problem is that most people PANIC when they feel a little bit hungry. One would think that hunger is a communicable disease it gets such a bad rap!!

    I have learned to LOVE and RESPECT my hunger gauge in the last 25 day (since I said "goodbye" to my scale) I'm eating between 1400-1700 calories, but then I'm 200 lbs! So I know as I lose, that I will need to crank it back a bit more over time and 1200 calories will be normal for me on some days as time goes on.

    You look awesome and I hope you feel fabulous. You deserve it!

    ( `♥ ) ♥'
    .`.. ♥ Spread the SPARK!!! *`*..♥
    ..) .*).*. ♥. ♥
    (. (. . ♥.`.♥..`. ♥
    1297 days ago
    A lot of research has shown calorie restriction leads to longer life, too.
    1297 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    Are you saying you do this on purpose or it just works out that way?
    1297 days ago
    I have also found that I can eat 1,200 calories a day and feel completely satisfied...but I have found that if I eat less than that, I often feel very hungry on the subsequent day.
    1297 days ago
  • EILEEN828
    I think your pictures speak for themselves. I recently watched a show on the value of fasting, so I think your on to something there. Kudos.
    1297 days ago
    you look great.
    1297 days ago
  • ROCKMAN6797
    Those guns are quite impressive!

    1297 days ago
    Thank you!! I often have people tell me I need to eat more if I spend a day eating fruits and veggies and that I need more protein etc, I just eat what I want and my muscles stay there, good to see that even as I drop fat my muscle will stay put!
    1297 days ago
    You look good and it looks like it's working for you, congrats!

    Are you doing ST or mostly cardio or both on the 1200 cals/day?
    1297 days ago
    Wow wth are you doing to get those guns?!?
    You look awesome! Now, go kick some a$$!
    1297 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.