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The 1200-calorie diet plan for men was devised in an era when the understanding of weight loss was "eat less, weigh less." Eating less is essential for almost any weight loss program, but there are creative ways to use the old 1200-calorie-a-day method.

Nearly every diet guru tells us "You can eat more and weigh less, if you just follow my rules" (after buying a book or signing up for a weight loss program). The reality of dieting is that losing weight almost always involves eating less, that is, consuming fewer calories. However, there are more effective and less effective methods of calorie restriction.

Restricted-calorie diets take the guesswork out of the "how much" questions for dieting. Just eat prepackaged meals (whether they are specifically "diet" foods or not), with the calorie values already counted, and nothing else for a week, a month, or 90 days, and watch the weight fall off. "Reduced calorie" diets for men usually offer 1500 or 1800 calories per day, while a faster method of weight loss, the truly low-calorie diet for men, provides just 1200 calories.

How Can You Limit Your Eating to 1200 Calories a Day?

It's not hard to devise a 1200-calorie diet. Simply choose any three packaged meals of about 400 calories each. Eat them, and nothing else, being sure to drink adequate fluid (at least 5 cups--not 8 glasses--or about 1200 ml of water per day). Nearly all men will lose weight on this diet.

However, nearly all men will cheat while they are on 1200-calorie diets for the simple reason that they get hungry. There are a number of quick fixes for hunger on restricted-calorie diets. One is to drink more water. That only helps until the water passes out of the stomach, which is in as little as 15 minutes when you are not eating. 

Another quick fix is to eat a low-calorie soup, such as cabbage soup, or the even more faddish cabbage-and-acai berry soup.

Filling up with low-calorie vegetables fights hunger a little longer, but eating the same soup over and over again quickly becomes so boring that men quit eating it (or their significant others chase them out of the house on account of flatulence). Eating a variety of slowly simmered soups, just a cup (about 250 ml) of soup at the beginning of a meal, helps control appetite better. The colloidal particles formed as the soup simmers take longer to digest, and keep you fuller longer. However, if you are on a 1200-calorie diet, even a cup of soup is enough to interfere with weight loss. However, there is a smarter way to lose weight, and keep it off, using this low-calorie approach.

If You Can't Eat 1200 Calories Every Day, Eat 1200 Calories Every Other Day

Following a diet every other day would seem to take off weight half as fast, but for many men, alternate-day fasting results in losing weight faster than dieting every day. It is a lot easier to eat "diet meals" one day if you know you can have "normal meals" the next. 

More importantly, diets only help you lose weight if you stick to them. An every-other-day diet plan not only is easier to follow, it reinforces willpower. Men who pick a realistic diet program and follow it can take credit for their weight loss. They aren't at the mercy of some diet guru's latest suggestions.

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