What Does 1200 Calories Look Like?



1 cup whole grain cereal 100-140
1 cup lowfat milk 100
1 banana 70-100
300 calories



Loaded lunch salad- How to Make a Delicious 400 Calorie Salad
400 calories




3 ounces Simple Poached Salmon with Pesto and Feta
2 cups cooked vegetables or roasted broccoli
300 calories



1 scoop frozen yogurt on a small cake or sugar cone
200 calories

Friends, don’t ever eat below 1200 calories. Or I should say- please don’t. This is the lowest calorie budget I will post because anything less compromises health and happiness.



35 thoughts on “What Does 1200 Calories Look Like?

  1. hawley

    Couldn’t help but notice the Crescent Ridge logo on the milk bottle. I grew up drinking it and eating those AMAZING chocolate covered raspberry frozen yogurt pops. Cheers!


  2. Amy

    Hi Andie,
    Thank you for these wonderful pictorials! I work as a weight loss research dietitian and I wish we could send similar things to our patients to remind them that weight loss and maintenance isn’t about missing out on all the things that you love; the journey is about being kind to yourself and your body and still enjoying life!
    Thank you.

  3. Mary S

    I can’t find any pictures of you during your weight loss journey- would love to see the middle of “before and after”

    ps- you were just as beautiful at 268 lbs as you are now!

  4. Kendra

    I can’t ever imagine feeling full on a 1200 calorie day. Ever. But I also know I overeat. How do you reduce your calorie intake in a way that sets you up to succeed ( ie., doesn’t take a high-speed turn from so-stuffed-I’m-carrying-a-food-baby to STARVING )?

    1. Sarah

      I’m right there with you…1200 cals and I would be tired, miserable, and starving. I have done it, but felt sick and out of sorts the entire time.
      I have recently made a huge change in the way I eat, and initially seemed to be losing, though not now…not sure what that is about…

    2. Julie

      I’m a little late to the party here, but my advice on getting yourself down to 1200 calories a day is to take it in steps. Don’t try to go from 3000 calories one day, to 1200 the next. I used to eat 4000-5000 calories a day. Now I try pretty successfully to stick to 1200-1400 during the week and 1800-2000 on weekends. I found it was too hard for me to do 1200 7 days a week, since I love eating out and me and my bf like to go to the bar on weekends with friends. I tried going straight to 1200 once and I was pretty much ready to kill people. So, then I decided to slowly work my way down…. just cut down my portions and/or not take seconds (or thirds!) on one meal a day until it got easier and easier. Also, figure out some low calorie snacks for those days when you are STARVING, and your next meal is still 2-3 hours away, and always keep those on hand. Mine was a handful of baby carrots with some spicy hummus, or just eating an apple or a cheese stick.

  5. Alice

    Looking beautiful! Will you be photographing for your cookery/recipe book? It would be a lovely touch, and you are a great photographer.

  6. Mary

    Thank you for living up to what I knew you would believe :) And I agree with others, you made 1200 calories look very good!

  7. Dianekay

    Thank you for such great ideas – you make it all look so good. Feel free to come to my house anytime and make me lunch!

  8. Tiffany

    Alright, it’s finally time to break my silence. I found your blog earlier this week and just absolutely love it. Honestly, it’s restored my hope in the weightloss/health blogging world. I began blogging over 2 years ago, weighing in at 352lbs and although my passion for weight loss has not stopped and I’ve lost 158lbs, my interest in reading and keeping up to date with blogs really was squelched. You & your blog have reignited that fire for me. It’s so refreshing & reassuring to be able to identify with someone who’s line of thinking is so similar to mine in regards to diet/ nutrition.

    In short, you’re amazing & please keep the amazing posts coming!


    1. Luzena

      Tiff, How did you keep your skin from sagging. I lost 50 pounds (58 years old with very dry skin)and hated the sag so I stopped reducing. I found Andie’s blog and decided to quit running from happy and healthy, saggy or not-I would rather not sag but I will get down to my goal of 170 pounds, with the help of my new friends. May God Bless us all Abundantly Congratulations on your success. Thank you all for sharing.Lu

    1. Lori

      I have 1200 calories in one meal! And I weigh 104 pounds. My total caloric intake is about 2000-3000 calories per day. I’m in my late thirties.

      Please don’t calorie restrict. You are doing metabolic damage to your body and eventually you will binge out on all the wrong things. You are teaching your body to store fat because it doesn’t know when the next famine will come. And you will be on the fad diet merry-go-round forever.

      Adopt a high carb low fat vegan lifestyle and you can eat as much as you desire. As long as it’s vegan whole plant foods. Fruits and vegetables. Ditch the meat. Ditch the dairy! Never restrict calories again! Not only will you lose weight, but you will feel amazing!

      Carbs do not make you fat!!!
      Fat makes you fat!!!

      “Don’t have a cow! Go bananas!”

  9. Kari

    This is the calorie intake I’m on right now-well really it’s 1250. Thanks for sharing! The worst part for me is that my husband and I are doing the weight-loss journey together and he gets 2000 calories a day-so when I’m scrimping and saving my calories for my hard time-right after dinner-he’s eating what feel like a ton of food to me!

    Newlyweds on a Budget

    1. Yazmin @ A Pretty Rock

      I’m having the same issue, Kari. Finally, I got my husband on the bandwagon and at the end of the day, he has sooo many calories left while I’m right at my limit. Watching him eat a bowl of cereal to meet his calorie goals is not my idea of fun. :/ Hang in there!

  10. Bee

    Yay! This one is my actual calorie range :) And they all look like things I can eat, even sans-gallbladder! Thanks again lady!

  11. Elizabeth

    I try to keep my days between 1250 and 1450, so this is very helpful. The only difference for me is that I eat a 200-calorie breakfast (usually a hardboiled egg and half a grapefruit, and of course, coffee) because I’m just not hungry in the a.m., and I have a glass of wine or hot chocolate (this stuff is insanely good: http://shop.equalexchange.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=18502) instead of dessert.

    I think it’s very helpful for people learning portion control to see visual evidence of a full day, and then they can adjust as necessary.

  12. Sharon B

    This is what I need to do. But I really like to eat and this seems like such a small amount of food. I struggle to stay with it. Sooooo need to learn to savor every bite and not rush through. Thanks

  13. knh771

    I love the “What __ Calories Looks Like” posts. Informative and inspirational at the same time. There are delicious ways to spend your calorie budget!

  14. KerriAnn

    I love how you include a salad everyday for lunch. The guys at work always tease me because that is what I do. Everyday. A huge salad. I never tire of it either!

  15. Tracey

    I LOVE this!! It gave me some many ideas! Would love to know what cereal(brand)fits well into this plan and maybe what type of frozen yogurt you like?

  16. Megan

    Thanks for this various calorie menus. I’m working towards something closer to the 1500 calories rather than this, but its good to know it can be done. It’s made me wonder though: if I’m eating on a 1400 or 1500 calorie and I want to add more vegetables, is that going to have a negative impact? (Going off the idea that more veg is always good, here)

  17. Kate

    I love this series! I feel like the hardest thing about eating healthy is getting new ideas so that you don’t feel bored. I’m totally trying that salmon recipe!

  18. Caroline

    andie! this has helped me more than you know! it makes me realize that 1200/1300 calories doesn’t have to look like deprivation! it can still be a happy, healthy, delicious diet. you are so great for posting this and your 400 calorie salad post was INCREDIBLY helpful as well. as always, you are a huge blessing. keep posting FOREVER. your wisdom is much appreciated. Love, always.

  19. melissa@the hungry artist

    Your photographs are beautiful as always. I love your blog and your recipes!

    I love that you make 1200 calories look healthy but not depriving. At below 5 feet tall, and on a rest day, 1200 calories or maybe even a bit less is fine for me. If I’m eating well — getting protein and vegetables in there, and I’m not hungry except right before a meal, then I think it’s all good. That said, very few people are as small as me, so going below 1200 might not be a good idea.

  20. Maggi Veltre

    This is for Kendra from May 4. I encourage you not to try to eat 1200 calories at this (or possibly any other) point. If you are relatively short, look at the higher calorie days and adjust the portions down some. Start by getting used to eating good meals and not making a lot of random, spontaneous decisions to eat this or that. You had a great meal awhile ago and will again later! Don’t be in a hurry. After a time, you will likely want less food. It’s always easier to start with more and go downwards as your appetite changes, as long as you aren’t hovering over the scale. And you may never need to limit yourself to 1200 calories a day.

  21. Marz

    Wow..I don’t think i could do 1200, but the 2000 looks doable. I know, that’s probably not a good weight loss amount but its probably still a lot less than I eat now when I do pay attention. I’ve got a lot to loose myself and I’m actually kind of liking the exercise part , so hopefully that will balance out to something reasonable. I also decided a while ago that if I ever do want to cut my calories down quite low (meaning 1200, 1500) I’m going to eat a hell of a lot of veggies like red peppers and cucumbers and such, which I like and hardly have any calories so I don’t feel deprived. And maybe cilantro on everything, because I could eat it by the bucket and I suspect a bucket of cilantro is 100 calories or something. :)

  22. Stacy Dalton

    I love these pictures. I struggle with how many calories I actually eat…I usually ruin a great day with snacks, overeating nuts and fruits…and cheeeeeese!

    Man, I need to keep a journal.

  23. Marc

    I am a person that until just four days ago was much for familiar with what 5000 calories looked like (not at one sitting – hey, I am not an animal!) Within the past four days I have re-learned what 1000 calories looks like! My journey is just beginning.

  24. DeeDee

    What a wonderful and inspirational journey!!!! Thank you for sharing. I am struggling to loose weight, to find motivation and energy…


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