1200 Calories Diet Plan For Weight Loss


This 1200 calories diet plan for weight loss is an effective holistic weight loss method. It is a three phase approach which lasts for eight weeks and helps you lose up to twenty pounds within this time frame. I’ve lost a lot of weight using this 1200 calorie diet plan and I want to share what I’ve learned with you!

1,200-Calorie Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?

To encourage fat reduction and get to their ideal weight as rapidly as possible, some people adhere to 1,200-calorie diet programs.

While research has shown that calorie restriction is an efficient approach to reduce weight, excessive calorie restriction is not helpful for long-term health or weight reduction.

The pros and cons of low-calorie eating habits are discussed in this article, which also discusses 1,200-calorie diets.

Woman cooking in the kitchen

What is a 1,200-calorie diet?

In another study, adults followed a commercial weight loss program that provided either 500, 1,200–1,500, or 1,500–1800 calories per day.

After 1 year, those on the 1,200–1,500-calorie-per-day diet experienced an average weight loss of 15 pounds (6.8 kg). However, 23% of the 4,588 people following the 1,200-calorie diet dropped out of the study

Studies have found that while initial weight loss using low calorie diets like 1,200-calorie diets is typically rapid and substantial, it’s often followed by greater weight regain, compared with diets using only moderate calorie restriction.

In the commercial weight loss study mentioned above, the researchers observed that rapid weight loss during the first 3 months was associated with greater regain during the 9-month weight loss maintenance phase in all three of the diet groups

Another study in 57 people with overweight or obesity noted that after following a very low 500-calorie diet or low 1,250-calorie diet for 5 and 12 weeks, respectively, study participants regained 50% of the weight they lost over 10 months, on average

This is because low calorie diets induce metabolic changes that conserve energy and prevent weight loss, including increased appetite, loss of lean body mass, and reductions in the number of calories burned, all of which make long-term weight maintenance difficult

This has led many health experts to recommend eating patterns that use only small reductions in calorie intake to promote weight loss while minimizing the negative metabolic adaptations that are associated with low calorie diets


A 1,200-calorie diet is considered a low calorie diet. Low calorie diets are used to promote fast weight loss and sometimes prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Can it help you lose weight?

Creating a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss. Cutting calories by 500–750 calories per day, as some health professionals advise, is likely to encourage weight loss, at least in the short term.

Many studies have shown that following low calorie diets, including 1,200-calorie diets, can promote weight loss.

For example, a study in 2,093 people with obesity demonstrated that a medically supervised 1,200-calorie meal replacement diet resulted in an average fat loss of 4.7% over 12 months

A 1,200-calorie diet is an eating plan that keeps your daily calorie intake to a maximum of 1,200. This diet is regarded as low calorie since it contains a lot less energy than the majority of ordinary persons require to maintain their weight.

Low-calorie diets are frequently advised by medical professionals, such as doctors and dietitians, as a primary method of weight loss.

A typical suggestion to jumpstart weight reduction is to cut calories by 500–750 per day. This typically amounts to an adult male diet of 1,500–1,800 calories per day and an adult female diet of 1,200–1,500 calories per day.

Remember that the low end of the suggested low calorie diet ranges for women is 1,200 calories.

According to some experts, low calorie diets fall into the 800-1,200 calorie range, whereas very low calorie diets are defined as those that contain less than 800 calories per day.

To encourage quick weight loss, these diets are often followed for brief periods of weeks to months.

Low- and very-calorie diets are frequently employed in therapeutic settings under medical supervision, such as weight reduction centers, but they are also well-liked by the general public.

In reality, a lot of weight loss trainers, personal trainers, and well-known diet websites provide 1,200-calorie meal plans, claiming that doing so will enable you to “slim down fast.”

These diets frequently encourage the use of “low calorie,” “fat-free,” and “reduced-fat” foods to help keep calorie intake low and typically incorporate calorie monitoring to help dieters ensure they are staying within their daily allowance.

Although a diet of 1,200 calories may be suitable in the short term in some circumstances, 1,200 calories are far insufficient for the majority of adults.

Additionally, research suggest that low-calorie diets rarely result in long-term weight loss, even if you may initially experience rapid weight loss while drastically cutting your caloric intake.


Although following a low calorie 1,200-calorie diet is likely to result in weight loss, the chances of keeping the weight off are slim.

Potential benefits of a 1,200-calorie diet

It’s vital to understand that while following a 1,200-calorie diet may have some health benefits, these advantages are often linked to calorie restriction and not just to 1,200-calorie meal plans.

Regularly exceeding your body’s calorie requirements can have a negative impact on your health in a number of ways, including weight gain, an increase in heart disease risk factors, and diabetes.

Maintaining good general health requires providing your body with the proper amount of calories.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that caloric restriction generally has positive effects on health, including weight loss promotion, reduction of heart disease risk factors like LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering of blood sugar levels, and reduction of inflammation.

There is little doubt that reducing extra body weight improves health, and that the best thing for your body is to stick to your specific calorie demands.

But how weight loss is achieved matters, and following a very low-calorie, restrictive diet increases the likelihood that you’ll gain weight in the future.

As a result, while lowering excess body weight might improve your health overall, it’s crucial to select healthy, long-lasting weight loss techniques over more radical food practices.

It should be mentioned that some studies has indicated that individuals with obesity or morbid obesity who adhere to low calorie or extremely low calorie diets while being closely monitored by a doctor lose weight and enhance their lipid and blood sugar profiles, which can enhance general health.

However, because to their restricted character, these diets are typically only followed for a short time and are frequently linked to high dropout rates.

But before starting a low-calorie diet to lose weight, it’s crucial to get counsel from a certified healthcare professional.


Losing excess body weight and fueling your body with the right number of calories is important for overall health. Although 1,200-calorie diets are associated with some health benefits, these benefits are related to calorie reduction in general.

Potential downsides

Calorie requirements are extremely personalized and based on a variety of variables, such as body size, age, and amount of exercise. For the majority of individuals, especially smaller women, a diet of 1,200 calories is inappropriate.

The average adult woman needs about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight, while a man needs about 2,500. Calorie demands vary from person to person, and precise needs can only be calculated using specific equipment or computations.

Once more, keep in mind that these figures are simply averages and do not account for variations in calorie requirements caused by elements like age, amount of exercise, and height. However, you may get a sense of how little calories 1,200 provides by looking at these average calorie need estimates.

Most people need far more than 1,200 calories per day, and eating only that amount might have adverse side effects like drowsiness, acute hunger, nausea, vitamin deficiencies, exhaustion, headaches, and gallstones.

Furthermore, if your aim is long-term weight loss, a 1,200-calorie diet may do more harm than good.

Your body’s metabolism alters when you cut calories. These include a rise in hunger-inducing hormones like ghrelin and cortisol as well as a decrease in your resting metabolic rate (RMR), or the number of calories you burn while at rest.

This increases the likelihood of weight gain over time and the vicious cycle of repeated weight loss and weight gain that so many chronic dieters encounter, which frequently results in feelings of hopelessness.

Weight cycling is harmful to mental health, and studies have shown that it can stress the heart, raise the likelihood of developing eating disorders, type 2 diabetes, and increase mortality.


Cutting calories too severely can lead to negative side effects like nutrient deficiencies and fatigue. Low calorie diets rarely work for long-term weight loss and can lead to weight cycling, which negatively affects overall health.

Better alternatives

Healthcare professionals and consumers trying to lose weight frequently adopt diets based on how quickly they can get the desired outcomes, disregarding the long-term health effects of excessive calorie restriction.

Even though choosing a restrictive, low-calorie diet that provides significantly less calories than you need each day would probably cause you to lose weight quickly, keep in mind that some of that weight loss will likely come from your muscle mass. Your RMR may decrease due to muscle loss and other metabolic modifications.

Large calorie deficits can have a detrimental effect on your emotional health in addition to causing undesirable changes that make sustained weight loss more difficult.

Most studies indicate that dieting is ineffective and that healthier, less drastic ways of weight management are preferable for supporting weight loss and long-term weight maintenance.

Try some of the evidence-based, healthy weight loss strategies below, for instance, rather than recording every single item you eat to reach your daily calorie goal of 1,200 calories:

  • Eat whole foods. Whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, seeds, and eggs, should comprise the majority of your calorie intake. Whole foods are packed with the fiber, protein, and healthy fats your body needs to thrive.
  • Cut out added sugar and fats. Reducing your fat and added sugar intake is a healthy way to promote weight loss. Common sugar- and/or fat-laden foods include soda, cakes, ice cream, candy, and sugary cereals
  • Cook more meals at home. Rely less on take out, restaurants, and fast food and cook more meals at home. People who cook more meals at home tend to weigh less and have a healthier diet than those who eat more meals outside the home
  • Increase daily activity. One of the best ways to promote healthy, sustainable weight loss is to create a calorie deficit by increasing the number of calories you burn. Try adding in daily walks outside, taking exercise classes, or joining a gym
  • Work with a knowledgeable healthcare provider. Weight loss can be intimidating and stressful. A knowledgeable dietitian or other trained healthcare provider can help you lose weight in a healthful way without extreme restriction.

While losing weight using healthy, sustainable dietary approaches may take more time, it reduces the unfavorable adaptations that occur during extreme calorie restriction and can help increase your chances of keeping the weight off for good.


When trying to lose weight, using less restrictive methods can help you achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss.

The bottom line

A 1,200-calorie diet is a low-calorie eating regimen that frequently involves calorie counting and the consumption of foods with fewer calories in order to encourage rapid weight loss.

Although a 1,200-calorie diet is expected to induce short-term, rapid weight loss, the metabolic changes brought on by calorie restriction make it very difficult to maintain weight loss over the long run.

Furthermore, 1,200 calories is far less than the typical calorie need for individuals, including tiny women, to power their bodies.

While diets with 1,200 calories or fewer are a common weight-reduction strategy, it’s preferable for your general health to select a diet that fuels your body healthily and encourages gradual but long-lasting weight loss.

1200-calorie meal plan

1200-calorie meal plan


  1. Mixed berry and almond smoothie For a healthy breakfast on the go, whip up this fresh fruit smoothie loaded with berry and banana.


  1. 1/2 wholemeal sandwich thin, toasted, + 1 roma tomato, sliced, + 1 tbs cottage cheese


  1. Quick veg and cheese frittataReady in 20 minutes, this vegetable frittata is loaded with healthy ingredients and makes for a great weeknight dinner.


  1. 1 cup carrot & celery sticks + 2 tbs hummus


  1. Warm Vietnamese chicken saladReady in just 25 minutes, this healthy salad with a Vietnamese twist makes the perfect easy weeknight dinner.


  1. 1/2 fresh mango + 1/4 cup natural yoghurt

Time Plan

Easy-as menu

Our resident nutritionist Chrissy Freer loves good food and her week-long
eating plan shows it. This seven-day kickstart is designed to help you get into
shape by sticking to the daily intake of 1200 calories for weight loss for women (men may wish to add an extra 300-400 calories a day). Fresh herbs and spices amp up the flavour while keeping the calories down. You won’t feel like you’re missing out with this range of flavoursome meals and snacks, we promise!

12-hour fasting

Try a gentle version of time-restricted eating (a type of intermittent fasting) while doing the meal plan. This involves stretching out the time of your usual overnight fast (which is when you sleep) to at least 12 hours. For example, try having your last meal at 7pm then not eating again until 7am. Eating your last meal of the day at 7pm is also a great way to prevent any late-night snacking. According to scientific studies, time-restricted eating is associated with improvements in several health-related biomarkers, such as insulin sensitivity and inflammation, as well as longevity and wellbeing.

Family-friendly food

All the dinner and weekend meals are portioned for four, so you can get the whole family involved – the kids will love it too!

Stay hydrated

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and avoid sugary or alcoholic bevvies. Not keen on plain water? Add a squeeze of lemon or lime, mint leaves or slices of fresh ginger. Use a jug or water bottle, so you can easily track your intake. For hot drinks, keep caffeine down to one coffee or tea with a dash of milk per day (no sugar). You can drink as much herbal tea as you like.

7-Day 1,200 Calorie Meal Plan & Recipe Prep

1,200-calorie meal plan

We think there isn’t a single, universal strategy for leading a healthy lifestyle. Individualized eating programs that take into account the full person are necessary for success. Consult a healthcare professional or a trained dietitian before beginning a new diet plan, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

It can be quite helpful to plan ahead when following a 1,200-calorie diet to keep on track and satisfy your calorie requirements. When your schedule becomes hectic, planning ahead might help you maintain your calorie goal while eating a good and balanced diet.

No matter what your nutritional objectives are, meal planning can help you stay on target. Planning and preparation don’t have to take a lot of time or be difficult. Meal planning can be a useful tool to help you stay energized, fulfill your nutritional objectives, avoid food waste, and save money. These simple procedures include creating a shopping list, buying wisely, and meticulously preparing food ahead of time.

Why Nutrition Is Important for a 1,200 Calorie Diet

If you wish to reduce weight, a 1,200-calorie meal plan can be suitable for you. 1 By combining complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and entertaining foods, this meal plan may be able to assist you in achieving your goals.

Consider making each meal between 300 and 350 calories and your snacks between 100 and 150 calories. The appropriate food selections at each meal and snack will keep you satisfied for longer. Depending on your level of hunger between each meal and snack, you might require more or less.

7-Day Sample Menu

This one-week meal plan was created for a person with no dietary restrictions who needs roughly 1,200 calories each day. A person who is trying to lose weight with the assistance of a dietitian or healthcare professional often consumes this amount. Your daily calorie target can change. Discover what it is below, then modify the strategy to suit your unique requirements. To better precisely analyze and prepare for your dietary needs, think about working with a certified dietitian or discussing with a healthcare physician.

A balance of carbs, lipids, and proteins are included in each of the three meals and two snacks that are eaten each day. The meal plan also contains a lot of whole grains, veggies, fruits, and legumes, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can substitute different menu items for those that are similar, but be sure to cook them in the same way. For instance, substituting grilled fish for grilled chicken is acceptable, but frying the fish will increase the meal’s fat and calorie content.

Note that different populations may require more than 1,200 calories per day. Before settling on a daily calorie intake or adhering to a particular eating style, take into account your personal needs.

Day 1


  • 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (make per directions with water)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Macronutrients: 219 calories, 7 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat


  • One 8-inch 100% whole wheat wrap
  • Two romaine outer lettuce leaves
  • Two slices of tomato
  • 3 ounces turkey slices
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle mayo

Macronutrients: 318 calories, 17 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat


  • 1 small apple

Macronutrients: 77 calories, 0 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat


  • 3 ounces baked chicken breast coated in 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 1 cup whole wheat pasta mixed with 1 tablespoon pesto
  • Six asparagus spears mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper, grilled

Macronutrients: 497 calories, 31 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams fat


  • 1/2 ounce 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 cup plain popcorn

Macronutrients: 129 calories, 2 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1240 calories, 57 grams protein, 130 grams carbohydrates, 58 grams fat

Note that beverages are not included in this meal plan. Individual fluid needs vary based on age, sex, activity level, and medical history. For optimal hydration, experts generally recommend drinking approximately 9 cups of water per day for women and 13 cups of water per day for men.3 When adding beverages to your meal plan, consider their calorie count. Aim to reduce or eliminate consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and opt for water when possible.

Day 2


  • One slice 100% whole wheat toast
  • One poached egg
  • 1/2 medium avocado

Macronutrients: 313 calories, 12 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams fat


  • 1/3 cup black beans and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese quesadilla on an 8-inch whole wheat tortilla
  • 1/4 cup salsa

Macronutrients: 337 calories, 17 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat


  • 1 large peach

Macronutrients: 68 calories, 2 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat


  • 3 ounces grilled salmon
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup steamed broccoli

Macronutrients: 305 calories, 23 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat


  • 3/4 cup regular whole milk ice cream

Macronutrients: 205 calories, 4 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1228 calories, 58 grams protein, 130 grams carbohydrates, 57 grams fat

Day 3


  • One slice 100% whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • One sliced banana

Macronutrients: 280 calories, 9 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat


  • Veggie burger patty
  • One whole-grain English muffin
  • 1/4 avocado
  • One red bell pepper sliced into strips

Macronutrients: 336 grams, 19 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat


  • 15 cherries

Macronutrients: 77 calories, 1 gram protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat


  • Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai with 3 ounces of tofu

Macronutrients: 348 calories, 16 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fat


  • Two Medjool dates

Macronutrients: 133 calories, 1 gram protein, 36 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1174 calories, 46 grams protein, 188 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams fat

Day 4


  • 1 cup high-fiber, whole grain cereal (such as All-Bran)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 4 large strawberries, chopped

Macronutrients: 286 calories, 17 grams protein, 64 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat


  • Hummus wrap with 1/4 cup hummus, 1/2 cup lettuce, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 chopped cucumbers, 1/4 cup olives, and 1/4 cup feta cheese on an 8-inch 100% whole wheat tortilla

Macronutrients: 380 calories, 15 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams fat


  • 15 almonds

Macronutrients: 116 calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat


  • 1 1/2 cups lentil pasta with 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup broccoli sauteed in 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Macronutrients: 324 calories, 21 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat


  • 1 medium chocolate chip cookie

Macronutrients: 148 calories, 1.5 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1254 calories, 59 grams protein, 163 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams fat

Day 5


  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low sugar granola
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Macronutrients: 316 calories, 24 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat


  • Two slices 100% whole wheat bread
  • 4 ounces sliced turkey
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard, slice of tomato, and lettuce leaf
  • 10 baby carrots

Macronutrients: 345 calories, 25 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat


  • One cheese stick

Macronutrients: 85 calories, 6 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, 6 grams fat


  • 3 ounces grilled chicken with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup grilled summer squash in 1 tablespoon olive oil

Macronutrients: 402 calories, 28 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams fat


  • 1 cup cubed watermelon

Macronutrients: 46 calories, 1 gram protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1198 calories, 84 grams protein, 124 grams carbohydrates, 84 grams fat

Day 6


  • 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (made per directions with water)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Macronutrients: 209 calories, 7 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat


  • Salad with 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup olives, 1/4 cup feta cheese, 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumbers, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar dressing

Macronutrients: 381 calories, 15 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams fat


  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup hummus

Macronutrients: 119 calories, 5 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat


  • 1/3 cup black beans and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese quesadilla on an 8-inch whole wheat tortilla
  • 1/4 cup salsa

Macronutrients: 337 calories, 17 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat


  • Two Medjool dates
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter

Macronutrients: 231 calories, 4 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1277 calories, 48 grams protein, 153 grams carbohydrates, 59 grams fat

Day 7


  • One hard boiled egg
  • One slice 100% whole wheat toast
  • One slice swiss cheese

Macronutrients: 262 calories, 18 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat


  • One 8-inch 100% whole wheat wrap
  • 3 ounces canned tuna in water mixed with 1/4 mashed avocado
  • Two outer leaves of romaine lettuce

Macronutrients: 326 calories, 26 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat


  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Macronutrients: 178 calories, 21 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat


  • One whole-grain English muffin
  • One tomato slice and a few leaves of lettuce
  • 3-ounce turkey burger patty
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

Macronutrients: 345 calories, 27 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat


  • Three slices dried mango, no sugar added

Macronutrients: 100 calories, 0 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1211 calories, 92 grams protein, 104 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams fat

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