I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight. Somehow somewhere along the road, It was taught that if you want to have a flat stomach you need to limit your calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did.
What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.
Interesting, isn’t it? The line between health and what they call starvation mode is 1200 calories. The dangerous tightrope that many women are trying to walk, because they think this is how thinness is achieved.
What this means is your body realizes it is not getting enough food /calories and thinks that you are starving, and slows down your metabolism to a crawl to conserve energy because it thinks you are starving. When you do feed yourself, your body will try to store more of your calories as fat, because those are your long-term energy deposits.
A long term calorie deficit can mess with your blood sugar levels, reduce bone mass, cause weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance, irregular menstrual periods, dizziness, constipation and swelling of your hands and feet. If a woman decides to get thin by maintaining a steep calorie deficit (1200 calories is very steep) and pairs it with long sessions of steady cardio, it results in thyroid issues. Too little T3 (hypothyroidism), and the body accumulates body fat with ease, almost regardless of physical activity level. Women inadvertently put themselves into a hypothyroid condition when they perform so much steady cardio
If you are trying to go about your business during the day, on only 1200 calories, and perform cardio to burn those dreaded calories, you really are not going to succeed. You will most likely pass out.
It is unfortunate that there is one – and only one – message the majority of weight loss campaigns use when targeting women:
Calories, calories, calories…more specifically, less calories.
Calories are the enemy. You must either reduce your consumption of them, or obliterate them via exercise. Calories are the devil. Calories must be avoided at all costs. Calories must be burned away pronto, quick, before that one cookie turns into a lump of fat on your thighs.
One of my main issues is how health & nutrition is marketed to women versus men. Do a quick Google search on women’s health magazines versus men’s health magazines and you’ll immediately see the difference in keywords. Women’s magazine covers frequently use terms like “drop X pounds fast!” and “calorie-torching workout!” and “low-calorie foods”. Men’s magazines use keywords like “build“, “power“, and “strength“. Men’s magazine hardly ever talked about burning or cutting calories or losing pounds.
For anybody who knows anything about weight loss and nutrition, you will immediately recognize how shallow, and ultimately harmful, only focusing on calories can be. That is because 1) a healthy body cannot be measured simply by poundage and 2) less calories does not equal good nutrition.
It is especially saddening because of the blatant misinformation fed to women by the media about how to be fit, or even, what fitness is.
“Toned” is MUSCLE, goddammit, just call it by it’s effing name! Muscle.
When women want to get “toned” they are saying the female word for “muscle”. They often don’t know that “toned” actually means “muscle”, and they would never actually say “My health goal is to build muscle”. But what is a round, shapely butt made out of? Muscle. How does an abdomen stop being jiggly? Muscle. How do you get a back that doesn’t produce bra-bulge? Muscle.
Women want a body that looks “toned”, unaware that this “toned” look is achieved by building muscle.
I have never seen any weight loss campaign targeting women that informs their audience that muscle is more dense than fat.
I have never seen a women’s magazine talk about fitness other than pounds on a scale… as if body fat, muscle mass, and skeletal composition are completely negligible to what a body looks like. The end result is all these women trying to lose weight the wrong way…by cutting calories in their diet and trying to burn as many as possible aka. Cardio.
Women are, for the most part, unaware that if they are exercising right they will be building muscle and their weight might not change very much. In fact, if they are doing everything right, their weight might even go up! And that’s totally ok.
Even more infuriatingly, I have never seen any women-oriented campaign that says the word “muscle”. “Muscle” in woman-land, is like a dirty word.
If you want a rounder, firmer, tighter, anything, it requires building muscle. Simply burning fat and cutting calories is only one part of the equation of sexiness.
Sexiness = Nourish your body with fresh, whole foods + strength train to build shapely physique + choose your amount of cardio depending on how much body fat you want to lose or keep.
A lot of food products aimed at Health conscious women talk absolutely nothing about quality of calories, only quantity. Nothing about proper nutrition, only less. Everything is about reducing. Reduce your calories by reducing the amount of food you eat.
Even more infuriating is how women are advised to exercise by popular magazines. …If you want to waste a lot of time at the gym flapping your arms around and wondering why you don’t look “toned” yet than follow these plans. If you’re trying to strength train… why don’t you use your strength? Why aren’t fitness models, who obviously got her fitness model body by lifting heavy, showing heavy lifts?
There is no reason women should strength train differently from men. Man muscles are not alien tissue. Man muscles and woman muscles are the same. They are human muscles. They respond to the same fuel and the same stimulus.
This is why women’s workouts bother me.
Women should be shown the same fitness routines as men. They should be exposed to the same messages of eating nutritious food, with lots of protein, and enough calories to build your bodies into Goddess-like proportions. You should not fear muscle. You should not shy away from the weight room because it is perceived as “odd” and out of place when a woman approaches the squat rack.
Hungry people are – let’s be honest – not very nice. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry it means I’m unfocused, cranky, distracted, grumpy, irritable, and generally miserable. Snickers did get something right: You are not your best self when you are hungry.
It is time for the misinformation to stop.
Please do not skip meals, especially if you are under the age of 18. Your body and mind are still developing, and they need fuel! Please do not limit your calories less than 2000. Eat unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables. Eat eggs, lean meat, even dairy in moderation. Eat a variety of foods with nutritional value. Stop with the empty calories! And the soda pop. Seriously, sugar is suicide.
Please do not throw your own physical – and mental – potential out the window by starving yourself into skinny bliss. It’s not worth it.
I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !