Are you contemplating giving Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet a go? You may have spotted it on TV and heard a few things about its use with weight loss, but you’re not feeling so sure. Its 1200 calorie limit really doesn’t sound like much, after all! If you’re looking to find out more about this diet plan, its effectiveness and how it helps patients, you’re in the right place.
Here we’ll be exploring a little more behind the creation of Dr Nowzaradan’s famous 1200 calorie diet, covering his recommendations, permitted foods and even a 7-day meal plan.
The 1200 calorie diet plan: What do you need to know?
Put simply, the 1200 calorie diet plan claims to be a healthy way of shedding pounds by restricting your food and drink consumption. That’s right, you’re limited to 1200 calories per day, forming an energy deficit. With the average American consuming over 3600 calories each day, this is one hell of diet change for even the seasoned dieter.
However, it is only recommended to those considered morbidly obese (weighing 600+ pounds) due to its extreme measure. Plus, it is commonly used for those preparing for bariatric surgery, rather than being considered a go-to for the everyday dieter trying to lose weight.
How did Dr Nowzaradan create the 1200 calorie diet plan, and why?
The Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet plan was developed – you guessed it – by a man called Dr Younan Nowzaradan, a well-known bariatric surgeon. With over 40 years of experience under his belt, he soon became a household name after working as a consultant on the highly popular TV show ‘My 600 Pound Life’.
His unique dietary approach helped turnaround the lives of many morbidly obese people, enabling them to lose weight and significantly improve their health. Through his super-strict diet plans, paired with exercise regimes, patients were being prepped to undergo surgery to help shift their excess body weight.
That’s right. Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet plan was developed for bariatric surgery patients – not the average Joe. With surgery on the horizon, the aim of his 1200 calorie diet was to help them shift as much weight as possible before undergoing surgery. Like any surgical procedure, there are always risks involved. However, when operating on the morbidly obese, these risks are even greater. Dr Nowzaradan’s diet plan aimed to help keep these risks at a minimum by helping patients lose as much weight via dieting beforehand.
So, why 1200 calories? Why not 1500 or an even lower 900? Well, studies have shown that 1200 calorie diets have shown to be incredibly effective in helping obese patients lose weight. But that’s not the only one. Further research showed that a 1200 calorie limit daily reduced the hunger hormone, leptin, making the diet easier to maintain.
We wouldn’t suggest trying to lose weight in an unsupervised environment this way, however, as studies have shown it can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing and increase stress hormone levels.
How does the 1200 calorie diet plan aid bariatric surgery?
For Dr Nowzaradan, his 1200 calorie diet is more than just a way of reducing risks during surgery. Although this is incredibly important when operating on the morbidly obese, there are other benefits for his patients, too. So, how else does his 1200 calorie diet plan help?
- Encourages patients to become familiar with smaller portion sizes which will be crucial post-surgery.
- Helps patients to form healthier eating habits, over-processed foods.
- Compel patients to show their commitment to a new healthy approach to food.
- Encourages weight loss fast to reduce risks during surgery.
Undergoing bariatric surgery can have serious risks involved, although Dr Nowzaradan’s diet plan aims to reduce those risks. Not only does the diet help obese patients lose weight beforehand, but it also helps them get into a healthier mindset when it comes to how they view food. The surgery itself reduces stomach volume, resulting in the inability to eat as much. This is where Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 diet encourages healthy eating habits and smaller portion sizes before surgery – so patients know exactly what they are letting themselves in for post-surgery.
With bariatric surgery including a huge amount of risk, surgeons need to ensure that the patient is serious about committing to their new eating lifestyle. Some believe that Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet plan is a form of testing their commitment to improving their health. While some may see surgery as a quick fix for shedding the pounds, the truth is, there is no surgical solution for removing real-life triggers, emotions and cravings that only we can personally tackle. For better success in the long term, these triggers need to be fought head-on. The ability to stick with Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet plan shows a huge amount of commitment to upcoming surgery and ongoing weight loss later on.
Foods to eat on this diet
Much like many diets, the Dr Nowzaradan diet encourages people to choose healthy, natural foods over-processed, sugary options. A diet rich in vegetables has shown to reduce the risks of chronic diseases and increase life expectancy. While those delicious veggies may be filling and nutritious, they also contain few calories – making them perfect for those trying to lose weight healthily.
As well as the nutrients found in many fruits and veg, protein’s rich amino acid content helps to support lean muscle mass and tissue recovery – both which are crucial for recovering post-surgery.
In order to reduce portion sizes, Dr Nowzaradan recommends patients cut out carbohydrates and instead maintain a 1200 calorie diet packed with meat, eggs and low-carb vegetables. If you’re wondering what foods to expect on this diet plan, we’ve covered a few to get you started:
- Plant protein – tofu, tempeh, etc.
- Dairy – yogurt, kefir, milk, and cheese, etc.
- Fish and seafood – mackerel, salmon, shrimp, sardines, etc.
- Low-sugar fruit – such as berries, apples and others.
- Eggs – simply just egg whites or including the yolk.
- Meat and poultry – lean beef, chicken, turkey, etc.
- Low-calorie drinks – green tea, water, coffee.
- Veggies packed with nutrients – tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers, kale, etc.
Foods to avoid on the 1200 calorie diet
Following any diet means having to pull the reins in on your food choices. Choosing to follow a 1200 calorie diet plan can be even tougher, so it’s important to take a smart approach to the food you eat. To help keep your calorie intake low, avoid energy-dense and sugary foods. If you’re not sure what else to kick to the curb, check out the following list to avoid when following a 1200 calorie diet plan…
- Drinks rich in calories – such as soda, energy beverages, juice, sports beverages and alcohol.
- Nuts or nut butters.
- Replacement shakes or meal supplements.
- Anything sweet, such as candy, chocolate or desserts.
- Carbohydrates – including pasta, rice, cereal, popcorn and potatoes.
- Spreads that are packed full of sugar – jams, jellies, honey, syrup and molasses.
- Fruits rich in sugar – melon, mangoes, grapes, bananas, pears, anything candied or dried.
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Starchy veg – butternut squash, beans, peas and carrots.
- Processed snacks – such as chips or crackers.
Although this diet would usually discourage most carbohydrates, a small single ounce portion of whole grain bread is allowed – when eaten in the morning.
1200 Calorie 7-Day meal plan
Cutting out the calories is difficult for a lot of people. The thought of missing out alone can make you want to eat more and instantly crave the foods you know are out of bounds! The key to keeping to your 1200 calorie diet is to plan your meals in advance, so you know exactly what you’re eating ahead of time.
Need a little inspiration to get you started? Here is a simple 1200 calorie diet plan for the week.
Breakfast – Omelette muffins
Lunch – Tuna salad
- Keep it simple. 1 can of tuna, 2 cups of mix greens, ½ apple (sliced) and 1 stick of celery.
Dinner – Steak with cauliflower
- 1 beefsteak, 2 cups of steamed cauliflower.
Breakfast – Poached egg on toast
- 1 egg, 1 slice of wholegrain toast.
Lunch – Vegetable soup
Dinner – Grilled chicken salad
- 1 grilled chicken breast, 2 cups of spinach.
Breakfast – Boiled egg with toast
- 1 egg, 1 slice of wholegrain toast
Lunch – Chicken and kale salad
- 4 ounces of grilled chicken, 1 sliced tomato, 2 cups of kale, balsamic vinaigrette.
- 4 ounces of grilled shrimp, 1 ounce of grated cheese, 2 cups of sautéed peppers and onions, 1 tablespoon of full-fat sour cream.
Breakfast – Green breakfast smoothie
- 1 apple, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 handful of leafy greens.
Lunch – Light chicken soup
Dinner – Grilled turkey salad
- 1 grilled turkey breast torn into strips, 2 cups of kale, squeeze of lemon juice.
Breakfast – Spinach omelette
- 2 eggs, 1 cup of spinach, 1 ounce of grated cheddar cheese
Lunch – Tuna wrap
- 1 tin of tuna, 1/2 avocado, 1 sliced tomato, a handful of salad leaves, 1 large lettuce leaf to wrap everything up in.
Dinner – Eggplant melts
Breakfast – Berry yoghurt bowl
- 1 cup of plain yogurt, 1 cup of berries.
Lunch – Tomato soup
- 1 tin of tomato soup, 2 boiled eggs.
Dinner – Salmon and roasted cabbage
- 4 ounces of cod, 1 cup of roasted cabbage.
Breakfast – Berry breakfast smoothie
- 1 cup of frozen berries, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 handful of leafy greens.
Lunch – Vegetable wrap
- 1 sliced tomato, 1/2 avocado, a handful of salad leaves, 1 large lettuce leaf to wrap everything up in
Dinner – Baked salmon with broccoli
- 5 ounces of baked salmon, 2 cups of roasted broccoli.
What natural supplements can aid weight loss?
Deciding to follow a low-calorie diet is a big step for anyone. Which is why it can be helpful to take supplements on your diet journey, too. Certain foods and supplements can help to suppress your appetite, so you can concentrate on your diet rather than snacking. Some can give your metabolism a boost, which can help kickstart your weight loss. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started…
Caffeine – As well as being quite filling, a cup of your favourite coffee in the morning can help you boost your metabolism so you can burn more calories while you rest. No, that doesn’t mean you can lay down instead of exercising, but it does mean quicker calorie burn, less snacking and it makes your 1200 calorie diet a little easier to keep to.
L-carnitine – If you’re already filling your new diet with healthy vegetables and lean meat, you’ll be pleased to know that they contain l-carnitine which helps to boost fat loss and increase energy to off-set any tiredness.
PhenGold – PhenGold is loaded with fat-burning ingredients that are clinically proven to help you lose weight. Think green tea, l-theanine and cayenne pepper – Yep, that’s right, cayenne pepper can trigger a powerful metabolism boost, helping you to burn calories.
So, is Dr Nowzaradan’s 1200 calorie diet plan worth it?
Dr Nowzaradan’s high protein diet may have been made famous on ‘My 600 Pound Life’, but if you’re just looking to lose a little weight, it may not be for you. Aimed solely at the morbidly obese in preparation for bariatric surgery, its 1200 calorie limit is often too strict for the common dieter. This requires cutting out carbohydrates and sugar and eating a combination of nutritious vegetables and lean protein. While planning your meals ahead makes things easier, there has got to be another way…
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