My Fitbit Charge 2 finally died on me, which means I need to go back to paying closer attention to my intake versus output. Starting today, I’ll have to work on a 1200 calorie diet plan that works best for my activity. Which isn’t very high as I am glued to my desk for 16 hours a day.
Without a fitness tracker, I have less of an idea about how many calories I’m burning through physical activity. However, I have a pretty good idea of how my average day unfolds. This helps devise a strategy at least until I can replace my Fitbit Charge device.
Why a 1200 Calorie Diet Plan?
I’m not usually as active as a lot of other people. I work and play almost exclusively from my desk. And although this is something I’m trying to improve on, it’s not really feasible at the moment.
I don’t have a lot of money to go out and I am somewhat of a home-body anyway.
A 1200 calorie diet plan gives me 300 calories for each type of meal throughout the day. And I’ve found this is more than enough in most situations. In fact, I rarely eat more than 300 calories in one sitting.
What about days when I’m more physically active?
On days when I’m more active, I’ll simply have to adjust my intake. Burning too much too fast without having nutrients can put me into hypoglycemia. This is when the blood-sugar levels are vastly too low for what I’m doing. 1
Most of the time, this happens if I go to the gym without having some sort of snack.
Of course there will most likely be days when you’ll have to eat slightly over the 1200-calorie mark. Losing weight means nothing if you’re causing damage to yourself or going into shock because you don’t have enough nutrients in the body.
One way to prevent hurting yourself in this manner is by using MyFitnessPal. By entering your physical activity, the number of calories you can eat in a day will adjust. Think of it as bonus food for being active.
Personally, I set my goal in MyFitnessPal at 1200 calories. This is the base number I can have throughout any given day. If I do anything outside of my normal routine, I’ll enter it into the app.
This gives an average calorie burn for the activity. It’s not as accurate as my Fitbit, but it gives a pretty good idea about where nutritional needs are for the day.
With 300 calories at your disposal, there’s actually quite a bit you can have and still lose weight. Personally, I try to have something higher in proteins to give a boost to the morning.
For me, the following work as exceptional breakfasts:
- Homemade latte, egg, 1/8 cup of shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of chopped onions.
- 2 packets of instant Cream of Wheat.
- Maxpro Elite drink mix made with one cup of 2% milk.
- 2 Nutrigrain Bars and a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate almond milk.
- Smart Ones Ham, Egg and Cheese microwave meal.
Any one of these breakfasts work well to energize and sustain me until lunch.
The primary focus of my 1200 calorie diet plan is to stay away from sugars and high carbs first thing in the morning. This means staying away from donuts and other frosted pastries.
Fill your stomach with more while consuming fewer calories.
I found that eating higher proteins in the morning, on top of various anti-oxidants, has helped by delivering prolonged energy throughout my workday. While I do miss maple glazed donuts from Target, I’d rather be 30 pounds lighter. 2
Here is where a lot of people fall short on many diet plans. At lunch, people often head off to places like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. It’s just easier to quickly grab something and head back to work.
However, it’s also part of why millions of American’s are overweight or obese. In fact, one box meal from Taco Bell can range between 950 to 1300 calories by itself! It’s cheap, but it’s not conducive to healthy eating. 3
Here is a breakdown of what I’ll usually have for lunch:
- Homemade microwave meal – usually something I pick up from Trader Joe’s and portion it correctly after cooking.
- Can of Progresso Soup – most of which are under 300 calories for the entire two servings.
- Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine microwave meals – these are actually better than I thought they would be. Lately, I’ve tried to keep to those products which are under 30g of carbs.
- Sugar-free homemade latte with a Tiger’s Milk protein bar. It’s the milk that still puts the latte at around 175 calories…depending on what I put into it.
If you saved a few calories on your breakfast, why not add them to your lunch to give you something more to eat? For instance, sometimes I’ll have a 200 calorie breakfast and a 400 calorie lunch.
This means I can add something like a Kit Kat miniature to my lunch as a snack after the meal.
In my 1200 calorie diet plan, I’ll usually have the same foods available at dinner as I do for lunch. Well, with the exception of a latte. I am trying to reduce my caffeine intake at night to see if it helps me sleep better.
Essentially, it’s anything at 300 calories or less for dinner. So, soups and my microwave meals fit nicely.
In most instances, I’ll cook up an entire bag of something like Trader Joe’s teriyaki bbq chicken and chicken fried rice. Then, I’ll portion it out across five covered freezer dishes to create my own microwave meals.
Coincidentally, this comes out to 1/2 cup of chicken, 2/3 cup of fried rice and only 190 calories! I’ve also found it to be more than enough food for a single sitting.
Here is where I often struggle. But without snacks, it’s far more difficult to make it through the day especially if you’re trying to be more physically active.
Even fat people need to have food in their stomach as many vitamins and nutrients are not stored within the human body. To put it simply, you can’t rely on fat alone to sustain you. It’s quite possible for an obese individual to suffer from malnutrition.
With my 1200 calorie diet plan, I allow for 300 calories for snacks throughout the day. For instance, this is a Tiger’s Milk bar and a serving of white chocolate Kit Kat miniatures. Or, it’s up to four medium-sized peaches.
Snacks are a good way to calm those who have a sweet tooth, such as myself. The trick is to moderate your intake. If you want to eat more during your snacks, you need to adjust what you eat.
For instance, fruits and vegetables are far lower in calories and much higher in nutritional value. This means they make superb snacks for filling the belly.
The 300 calories in snacks doesn’t mean you should eat all of them in one sitting. It’s 300 calories worth of snacks in one day. For instance, you can do two-150 calories snacks…one for mid-morning and one in between lunch and dinner.
And you can also use calories you saved from meals for additional snacking. For example, I would have an extra 110 calories for snacking if I ate my teriyaki chicken and rice dish because it’s only 190 calories.
But don’t assume you can sacrifice all your meals and have 1200 calories worth of snacking while trying to be healthy. Donuts are not high in nutritional value.
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
On average, I burn about 2,953 calories. This includes playing the Xbox Kinect and going for walks throughout the week. If I stick to my 1200 calorie diet plan, I should theoretically lose about 3.5 pounds per week.
I could probably lose more if I focused on a keto-friendly diet plan, which greatly reduces carb intake, but I don’t like to restrict myself. I find I am less stressed and more likely to maintain a diet that doesn’t remove some of my favorite foods throughout the day.