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Cutting Calories

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Somehow, the magic weight loss number has become 1,200 – eat only 1,200 calories a day and drop the pounds and inches fast! I am not sure how many people have tried this method of diet, but here is why you are either not getting results or your body has stopped responding to your minuscule calorie intake. This blog starts a three part series about why just cutting calories from your diet will not equate to a successful and long term weight loss program.

Cutting calories for weight loss can actually harm your weight loss goals. “Skimping can slow your metabolism,” says Elisa Zied, RD, author of So What Can I Eat?! (Wiley, 2006). Your body’s metabolism is less complex than you might believe. If your body is used to consuming 2,000 calories a day, then a sudden drop to 1,200 calories a day will cause initial weight loss. Your metabolism has been set to a “speed” to burn 2,000 calories a day. If your speed is up to 2,000 calories a day, and you only intake 1,200 calories, then there will be some initial weight loss.

However, that’s where the success stops. Eventually, your body will realize that it is only getting 1,200 calories a day, and will adjust its speed accordingly. Your metabolism will slow down to meet your daily caloric intake. Now, if you exceed the 1,200 calories that you have set for yourself daily, your metabolism will not be running high enough to handle the additional intake. You are negatively impacting your body by only cutting calories, and by cutting calories to such a low daily limit.

That is not to say that cutting calories is a bad thing or that it won’t work. On the contrary, every successful, long term weight loss program is comprised of a special diet and exercise combination that both speeds the metabolism and cuts down on excess calories and fats (Stay tuned for the next blog on how to plan your diet according to your goals). You must incorporate exercise into your daily routine to maintain your high metabolic rate (or to increase it). If your metabolism stays high and your caloric intake stays low (not at 1,200 if you are exercising daily), your weight loss will be healthy and maintained over a long period of time.

While this initial blog post is an overview of why simply cutting calories from your diet will not lead to a successful weight loss plan, the next two segments in this series will explain how to plan your exercise program and your diet to fit your body and your weight loss goals.

Please take a moment to share your weight loss successes and challenges below! If you have any questions, please contact Julie Ashlock, owner of MBJ Health and Fitness at