When you have been dieting and exercising diligently, but the number on the scale is not going down, don't give up. Reassess your habits to determine where the problem lies. You may be eating too little and causing your body to store fat, or you may be eating more than you think. Talk with your doctor about the struggles you are having, and ask for advice on changes to make.
Eating Too Much
Even though you may intend to follow a 1,200-calorie diet, you may be eating more than you realize. The best way to keep track of your daily intake is to keep a food journal and record everything you eat and drink. If it turns out that you have been sneaking in extra calories, work on eliminating them to get back on track. If you are diligently consuming 1,200 daily calories and not losing weight, seek medical attention, as you may need to go on a lower-calorie, doctor-monitored diet to drop excess pounds.
Not Eating Enough
In general, women should not eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day and men should not eat fewer than 1,500. If you consume less than this, you may not be giving your body the fuel and nutrients it needs to stay healthy, which might be stalling your weight-loss. Consuming too few calories can force your body into starvation mode, causing it to hold onto fat and even slow your metabolism. Try adding another 200 calories to your daily diet or easing up on your workouts to see if this jump-starts your weight loss.
If you have been eating 1,200 calories and working out for some time, only to have your weight loss suddenly stall, you may have hit a plateau. This occurs when your body becomes accustomed to your new diet and exercise regimen, and your metabolism readjusts to reflect your new weight and lifestyle.
Since it is not generally recommended to eat fewer than 1,200 calories, try increasing the length of your workouts by 15 minutes or heightening the intensity to push past this plateau. Also aim to be more active throughout the day by walking to work or doing more household or outdoor chores. Any form of movement will up your daily calorie burn and help you lose more weight.
Perhaps the reason you are unable to lose weight is that you have already attained the weight that is right for you. If you are eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, pushing your body to lose more weight may not be realistic or even healthy. Consult with your health care provider to determine what your ideal weight should be, and remember that your body composition, diet and fitness level can be a better indicator of your health than the number on the scale.