Calories are the fuel of life, what gives us energy, what we turn to muscle (or fat!), what keeps us going. Take in too many and you’ll soon find yourself a size or shape that’s not what you wanted. Take in too few, and you’ll lack the energy to maintain a viable lifestyle.
That’s why 1200 calorie diets have become such a popular weight-control method. 1200 calories per day is the recommended caloric intake for an adult female, so there’s no shortage of 1200 calorie diets out there all claiming to provide the most bang for your buck, and the most weight-loss and muscle growth potential.
One thing you’ll want to focus on in your new diet is the type of protein you take in. Proteins are what your body turns into muscle. Once you build muscle, that muscle takes more calories to feed, so you end up burning more and more calories. In the end, building muscle becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy in that the more fit you are, the more fit you will become so long as you take sensible steps.
The best proteins are lean proteins like fish and white-meat chicken. Avoid fatty proteins like red meat, shellfish and dark-meat chicken. The leaner protens are more easily converted to muscle and lack the side effects that the fattier proteins come with – side effects like inflammation, hardening of the arteries, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and gastric ulcers.
Another great source of protein is beans. More and more, nutritionists are recommending that we eat plenty of beans. Most 1200 calorie diets already include a healthy amount, but it’s important to know why: Our ancestors used beans as the staple foodsource of their daily lives. Beans are hearty, so they exist in almost every climate and are easy to grow. The provide both protein and fiber, both of which our bodies need, and they can be eaten cooked, raw, mashed, mixed… your choice. We ate so many beans that, as we evolved as a species, we our bodies actually started to be able to absorb the nutrients from beans more easily than we could from any other source. It’s Darwin at work, and it’s something you need to be aware of if you’re going to get the most out of the limited food you’ll eat.
Make sure you do your research and consult your doctor or nutritionist before you choose which of the 1200 calorie diets is best for you. Not all diets are created equal, and not all people are created equal, so you’ll want to make sure that you can have a good idea of how your body will handle its new regimen.