A conceptual image of a small amount of food on a plate that spells out diet. A woman's hands are near the plate bound with a measuring tape.Your weight loss goals may actually be compromised if you decide to eat too few calories per day. It’s more effective to find a balance between reducing your calories and meeting energy needs to keep your fitness optimized. Be sure you continue to cut calories, but also take some time to learn why consuming too few calories keeps you from realizing maximum weight loss.

Don’t Consume Fewer than 1,200 Calories Per Day

Nutrition therapist Andrea Spivack of Penn Behavioral Health and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia says that “consuming less than 1,200 calories per day may make it difficult to meet vitamin and mineral needs via food.”

It’s important to remember as you diet that your energy and vitamin intake needs don’t stop; even if you’re working with fewer, you still need to consume enough calories to run your body’s systems on a daily basis. You also can’t provide necessary vitamins and minerals to your body through supplements alone.

Your Body Needs Energy

Exercise should be a part of your weight loss plan whenever possible. You’ll be able to convert more of the nutrition you put into your body to strong muscle and burn extra fat by engaging your body in workouts that call for it to make use of its excess energy stores.

If you consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day, you won’t have the energy necessary to perform a full workout. While you may find that an initial burst of motivation will carry you through a handful of workouts, you will quickly burn out and your exercise habits will falter, compromising your total weight loss.

Opt instead to try to target your caloric needs and don’t exceed them. Giving your body exactly what it needs to perform rigorous exercise while leaving just enough room for it to burn excess fat storage is ideal for healthy weight loss.

Your Metabolism Slows with Too Few Calories

Of course, no rule of dieting and exercise is universal. But very commonly, dieters’ bodies switch into a state of starvation when they do not consume enough calories. Your body becomes concerned that you may not have access to food on a regular basis and will attempt to store more of the food you consume as fat in case your food supply continues to dwindle.

The varying rate at which the body slows down to compensate for a lack of food is most often the answer to the question of why some people experience more rapid weight loss than others. If you find yourself struggling to lose weight despite diet and exercise, reexamine your total caloric intake for the day and ensure that it doesn’t drop below 1,200 calories.

Your Mood Drops and Motivation Disappears During Malnourishment

It’s difficult to self-identify when you’re struggling to lose weight. You may find yourself frustrated for any number of reasons, but one of the most common is that you’re calorie intake is too low. Even in healthy individuals, hunger causes immediate mood swings that affect decision making heavily.

Sudden downward spikes in mood inevitably affect overall motivation, and your frustration may prevent you from sticking to your diet and exercise plan. Even a day or two of off-diet eating or a skipped workout session has a significant impact on your rate of weight loss; consistency is your friend when trying to reduce your waistline.

If you’re carefully counting calories, diligently exercising, and maintaining top-level motivation without the results you seek, consider some of the other available methods for boosting weight loss available from Diet Doc.