Menopause, and the hormonal changes associated with it, often causes weight gain around the midsection, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eating just 1,200 calories a day helps many people in menopause lose weight during a time when it's often difficult to do so. Using healthy meal plans helps people in menopause meet nutritional needs and stick to a daily limit of 1,200 calories.
People who have overweight and are going through menopause can achieve healthy body weights by consuming 1,200 calories daily, thereby reducing risks for chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes. People in postmenopause who lose weight are also less likely to experience vasomotor symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flashes, according to a study published in Menopause in 2012. A 1,200-calorie diet is the right approach for people in menopause with overweight if it leads to a weight-loss rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Diets consisting of 1,200 calories a day aren't appropriate for all people in menopause trying to lose weight -- some of these people will feel hungry when consuming 1,200 calories. Active people and those who weigh 165 pounds or more may need up to 1,600 calories a day to safely lose weight at an appropriate pace, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Your individualized energy needs for weight loss are often 500 to 1,000 calories less than your usual intake.
Talk to your doctor to see if a 1,200-calorie meal plan is right for you. They will be able to recommend the proper dietary requirements needed for someone of your weight, height and health goals.
1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
Using 1,200-calorie meal plans helps people going through menopause stick to their daily calorie limit. A sample meal plan provided by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans contains 4 ounces of grains, 3 ounces of protein foods, 2.5 cups of dairy foods, 1.5 cups of vegetables, 1 cup of fruit, 4 teaspoons of oils and 121 extra calories daily. One ounce from the grains group equals a slice of bread; one-half cup of cooked oatmeal, rice or pasta; or 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal. One ounce from the protein-foods group equals 1 ounce of meat, poultry or seafood; one egg; one-half ounce of nuts; or one-fourth cup of legumes.
On a 1,200-calorie menu, breakfast might include 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, one-half cup of blueberries, two-thirds ounce of sliced almonds and 1 cup of low-fat yogurt. A morning snack might be 1.5 ounces of reduced-fat cheese and one-half cup of strawberries. For lunch, try 2 ounces of grilled chicken, 2 cups of leafy greens with 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing, and five whole-grain crackers. An afternoon snack may consist of 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese. For dinner, try 2 ounces of grilled salmon, one-half cup of quinoa or brown rice, one-half cup of steamed broccoli and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Eating Right During Menopause
- Menopause: Effects of a Dietary Intervention and Weight Change on Vasomotor Symptoms in the Women's Health Initiative
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: How Are Overweight and Obesity Treated?