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1000 Calories or Less: The Danger of Extreme Calorie Restriction


By +Carolyn Richardson on Feb 25, 2012 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

When you first joined Calorie Count were you shocked to see that your goal weight and goal date didn't quite match up? Did you shun the note that healthy weight loss is achieved by losing 1-2 pounds a week, and that it could take you much longer than you intended to get the weight off? Did you still strive to lose 4, 5, or even 10 pounds a week despite the guidelines to eat more calories? You're not alone. There is a growing trend about extreme calorie restriction, well below the amount of calories your body needs to function properly. While you've heard losing muscle mass, going into starvation mode, and other buzz words regarding extreme calorie restriction, it may not hit home how your decision to cut calories too low could effect you in the long term. To grasp an understanding of this, read one of your fellow Calorie Count Member's post about how extreme calorie restriction led to a harsh reality.

In the Weight Loss forum last month, shainarance, shared a post called "Trust Me, It's Not Worth It." It is so poignant, we're running it here unedited.

This is solely from my perspective, but to everyone that has asked, "why can't I eat <1000 calories a day for weight loss? I've seen the numbers on the scale, it's working..."

I've been there. Ten years ago I lost 65 pounds in about six months. For ten years I consumed between 700-900 calories per day. I started at 1000, but as I got older the weight kept creeping on even at that low amount, so I cut further to maintain. When I started eating 400 calories per day about six months ago, I realized it's not worth it. There are consequences for losing that quickly and in such an unhealthy way.

I have been put on new medication and doctors orders, 1600 calories per day. Not an amount that a person should gain on, but I am. I have put on fifteen pounds in an incredibly short period of time. When I finally balance out, I have a long road of weight loss ahead of me. 

Starving like that has put me in a ten year battle with my weight that didn't have to happen. When done in a healthy way, weight loss can be achieved and maintained. Do it the way I did, and you are in for constant misery with the scale dictating your life. People would always say to me, "You're so lucky you're thin." They didn't know that I kept two food diaries (in case one was off), an exercise diary and an activity diary. I became a group fitness instructor so that I had a reason to exercise MANY hours a day. This is the path of starvation. This is what happens when you cut too drastically, and lose too quickly. It's still misery, it's just skinny misery. 

I finish my medication in two weeks. I can tell you that I have been happier these last four weeks than I have been in years. I am not counting calories to the last degree. I am not constantly moving to burn more, and I'm not worried about what the scale will say next week (I only weigh once a week now instead of every day). I will drop some of these pounds, and I will do it in healthy way. I even increased my calories to 1850 to ensure that I can do it the right way. I can't go back to being a slave to the scale.  

The next time you ask yourself if you should eat less calories than is wise, ask yourself if you are willing to give up eating and drinking with friends. Ask yourself what you will do as you age and can't maintain the loss anymore. Ask yourself what you will do when start driving everyone around you away because of your obsession with your weight. It's a road that is VERY hard to come back from. 

Weight lost from starving CAN'T be maintained. What will you have left when the weight creeps up? It's not worth it.   -end

The Takeaway

To avoid the pitfall of extreme calorie restriction, you must consider where you are. It's not enough to say, I want to lose 50 pounds in 5 months, and that equals 10 pounds a month. You must consider the basal metabolic rate at your current weight before you start slashing calories all over the place. While you may have read the minimum recommendation for daily caloric intake is 1200 calories, that number may be too low and therefore damaging to both your body and your mind.



Your thoughts...

How has extreme calorie restriction affected your weight loss? Have you tried a more realistic draw down in daily caloric intake?



Comments


I'm at that point right now. I was on very low calories for 2 years, the weight loss eventually stopped and then Chistmas time was here and I ended up bingeing for a few days, which is very unlike me, Ive never done anything like that before. I gained about 24lbs or so, and have since lowered my calories to try and lose it, but I haven't lost anything.



I'm at that point right now. I was on very low calories for 2 years, the weight loss eventually stopped and then Chistmas time was here and I ended up bingeing for a few days, which is very unlike me, Ive never done anything like that before. I gained about 24lbs or so, and have since lowered my calories to try and lose it, but I haven't lost anything.



This rings very true. When I was growing up there was a point when my younger sister got a bit plump. She was aged around 9 years old. Our mother, who has always had serious issues around food, put her on a 400 calories a day diet for around 6 months.

When I could, I smuggled food to her; and she ate 2nd and 3rd helpings of school lunch whenever possible. However, the majority of the time she was on this hideously restricted intake.

She's now in her late 50s, and she's spent her entire adult life overweight.

Don't do it! and don't do it to anyone else, or encourage them to do it! It's sick!

 



A niece had anorexia with similar diet habits.  Scarey situation.

 

 



I think the takeaway is that I must realize, I didn't get this overweight overnight and I'm not going to lose the weight overnight. It will take many months of dilligent attention to diet and a retraining of eating habits to lose the excess fat.



Not to mention the other side effects of not getting enough nutrients...thinning hair, weak teeth, lack of energy, and dull skin tone. That is only a few!!!! It is NOT worth it! More calories and a realistic workout plan is the way to go!



The question is - if you do got to this stage or are on your way there - what can you do to fix it now ? eat more calories - of course, but this will make you gain weight , so is this a loose loose situation anyway ?! even when starting over - your body is still funny and doesn't lose weight....

what can be done then ?

what kind of medication is this article referring to ?

 



I have real issues with this subject. I am constantly counting every calorie, petrified to eat anything, and depressed and miserable when I do eat. HOW CAN I GET HELP?



I too was shocked how long it would take me to lose 100 lbs.  I think we have all been brain washed by fad diets that you can take it off in 30 days or 3 months or whatever their new "miracle plan" offers.   It has taken me 11 months to lose a little over 60 lbs.  It is not be extremely hard but at times so very hard.  It is all about control of my mind for me. Right now I would love to have something to snack on while on the computer but it is just a want not a need.  My body has had the requirements it needs for the morning so instead of eating I'm going focus on how great it is going to feel not to dread stepping on the scale in the morning and seeing the result of mindless snacking!  I going to get outside and walk and enjoy and burn some calories!!!  STOP LOOKING AT HOW FAR YOU HAVE TO GO AND LOOK HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME!!



I am closing in at a year on 1,000 calories a day. I have reached my goal weight and am now working on maintenance. Everything about this article rings true with me except the fitness instructor part. I don't exercise--I don't have the time. Calorie Count is my second food diary.

I'm like the previous poster. Ok, I have a problem. Now, how do I fix it?


As much as diet is an important factor this diet doesn't seem to provide answers to the problem its highlighted, one simple way of raising basal metabolic rate is exercise strength training build more muscle mass/tone up and you'll burn more when resting. or higher protein diets also raise basal metabolic rate. just a few thoughts



Thank you for brinining this issue to light. For a half year or so last year I was consuming no more than 1,000 calories a day while working 6-8 hours a day on a farm. I had somehow managed to get it into my head that if I ate more than that, I would be too heavy (despite being a young adult female of around 120 lbs. 

By the end of that time I found I could not focus and was loosing my friendy nature in turn for a snappy, obsessive person who I never wanted to be. 

Don't let this happen to you, it really IS NOT worth it. Progress may be slower with less calorie reduction, but the overall experience will be far better. It's not all about just obtaining your goal, but also on the path taken to get there. 



I did this in college. It spiraled out of control and created an eating disorder that I had for 4 years. I was miserable the whole time! It's not worth it! I reached out and got help and am eating healthy and properly. I can say I'm living a very happy and healthy life now!


I've been close to this.... I did "South Beach Diet" for over 2 years, but I stayed on the Phase 1 portion for like, 6 months... and I was skipping Breakfast and Lunch every day... I have no idea how low my calories were, but they must of been very low cuz I dropped 60+ LBS like nothing in a short amount of time...  As great as that was, as soon as I started enjoying life and eating regular food, I went back up to over 120 LBS (I'm only 5'2") and started getting obsessive again... Lowest I've gone to now is 102... It's become this insane struggle for me, and I weight myself 2-3 times a day, and I get upset when I gain even a pound... I'm only at 110 now, which I feel is a little too heavy for me... but I would be OK with it if I was in better shape.

I really want to try and do this the healthy way... and I want to be healthy and exercise and eat healthy, but not be OBSESSED. I'm pushing everyone away with the obsession.



 i would like to hear how women in 50 year age range deal with menopause weight gain without straving themselves?



You start to weight lift, you HAVE TO build muslce or you will be back to your old weight plus 10 pounds.



You know, I'm a little dissappointed that Calorie Count would link us in the blog to yet 3 more links and 30 minutes of reading to yet another way to spend money on some workout book. I get the main drift about starving yourself and I think that is absolutely accountable. I even appreciate the link to obtaining your bmi for calculating optimal calorie intake. But then to read page after page, only for the wonderful opportunity to spend another 39 bucks...really sucks. I would hope that Calorie count not pander to that shifty, sensationilist salesmanship. :-(



Me too!!!!! We are on a whole new universe of rules. An hour a day of aerobic exercise 7 days a week my Dr. told me--the latest findings. Is there anyone out there who would like to support me so I can find the time to do that as well? When I drive by the local prison I consider how restricted their exercise time is, so I can value my own, but unforturnately life keeps crashing in to steal the time away.



Original Post by: cyndrn

You start to weight lift, you HAVE TO build muslce or you will be back to your old weight plus 10 pounds.


Me too!!!!! We are on a whole new universe of rules. An hour a day of aerobic exercise 7 days a week my Dr. told me--the latest findings. Is there anyone out there who would like to support me so I can find the time to do that as well? When I drive by the local prison I consider how restricted their exercise time is, so I can value my own, but unforturnately life keeps crashing in to steal the time away.





Boy!!! What a perfect time to read this....I have many comments. First of all, to address the "women in 50's - menopause": (pls discuss with doctor before anything you do/try....) I am nearing 50 and have been already battling menopause for a couple of years. Yes, the weight creeps on during this time, however, with a clean diet and fueling your body with the right foods AND exercise, you can maintain and/or lose weight! I have been in that "starvation mode" in the past. I was a slave to the scale and calorie logging. I ate healthy foods - I am totally aware of the nutrients my body needs BUT I kept it to a minimum. I run daily.....4-6 miles on average and a long run (10-15) on Sundays. I like to do marathons and 1/2 marathons. I strength train 3x/week and I did all this with 1000 or less. Why didn't I lose on those amount of calories?? Because my body held on to each and every calorie/food to survive. I am thin.....I'm 5'6" and a size 1. I am fit - in that, I don't appear skinny but fit and healthy. Now - that being said, I would gain a pound when I ate something out of the ordinary and it wouldn't even be unhealthy, it was just that my body needed more fuel so held onto everything and anything! I gained 12 pounds over Christmas and again, not due to "crap", just because of the addition of extra calories. I decided in January to read up on calorie restriction etc. I then upped my calories to 1400 (and more on my longer runs etc) and I have found that I feel great!!! I didn't realize how weak I was with such a low calorie restriction and workouts. I am energetic and happier(mood has changed significantly!) I have also lost those 12 pounds - yes, lost the 12 pounds and I was actually feeding my body more food!!! Granted, I eat clean (no refined, no fast food, no "whites" etc) but upping the calories has given me energy and life again and my workouts are better as well. I had lost hair in the temple area and I thought it was due to age but it's growing back!! So many positives out of this. I still log in my food daily but I believe that's important so you don't eat mindlessly. You can do this - find a chart (or check w/doctor) to find out the amount of calories you need to lose or maintain. Simple math will help you get that total. It's not a quick fix which is what's going to keep you healthier in the long run and a better quality of life!


I was at the same place the writer was a few years ago.  Low calories and constant movement.  Then I had a heart attack.  At 50.  My weight was quite low I ate a very healthy diet.  Given my age I think the doctors were surprised that it happened.  However, I was told to not exercise more than 1 hour MAX per day.  I had added a lot of stress to an already stressful life by working out all the time and moving constantly and they felt that it was just too much for my heart.  That was over a year ago, I've gained 18 lbs. and am slowly losing it with healthy amounts of food and exercise and I feel that I've haven't had such a healthy relationship with food since I was a child.  Life is good.  

Good luck to all!

 



ljl516- I didn't have a change in my weight with menopause, but it shifted around from my hips towards my stomach, which I am working on. As for the original post above, I am very sympathetic with anyone who feels obsessed and out of control with eating. Having Calorie Count has actually helped me so much, because it gives me rational tools to help me make decisions and keep me from panicking about what I've eaten. Learning the actual calorie content of specific portion sizes has been so empowering. I haven't been starving myself- when I get hungry, I eat- and I avoid foods with high caloric density.  The whole concept of "starving" the way you use the term is very complicated and its often not actual hunger people are feeling.  That's why it's good to experience the satisfaction of real hunger. 

Other things I've learned: maybe it's just me, but I'm on a knife edge about calories. I have a fairly consistent level of mild activity at work and do some sports on the weekend.  So if my diet changes ever so slightly- such as that week when I went to Mexico and liberalized up to around 1800 calories per day - I gain real, solid, fat, weight. Not fluid. On the other hand, if I drop down to 1200 I start to lose. (It took me 3 weeks to lose what I gained in 1 week). 

Glorybox20 and other posters here - the 1000 calorie diet may or may not be hazardous to physical health -depending on how much medical supervision you have.  As you have pointed out, the equal or greater hazard lies in the amount of mental obsession and dysfunctional social behavior it may require for many people to comply.  That definitely is not worth it. Better to be disciplined, have a plan, stick to it, have the numbers make sense, eat that and ENJOY it. As a successful poster put it a couple of weeks ago, learn that food is really FUEL, and it's all about the intake and output. If you aren't losing, then you need to rebalance those, but only a modest adjustment should do the trick. If you honestly have to do aerobics 6-7 hours a day, eating only 1000 calories, to maintain your desired weight- #1 you are trying for an unrealistic weight, and #2 you may likely have anorexia nervosa or another medical condition that urgently needs attention.  

It's wonderful to have these tools that let you plan, decide, act and move on. Because then you can STOP WORRYING!  There is so much else to do in life and you can't do any of it while starving or obsessing about food.  You are needed elsewhere. Take all that energy you are putting into worry about food and weight and direct it somewhere else where you can have a constructive engagement. I have found that to be my best recipe for weight loss and maintenance.



I think one issue is getting a realistic sense of where we should be. "Glorybox20" feels a bit too heavy at 110 lb and 5'2". I'm 4"shorter than that, but when I get below 109 or so people say I look gaunt. AND the charts for my (obviously lacking :)   ) height show 120 lb as a maximum--that was my original Weight Watchers goal.

So...we do need to get, perhaps, an outside perspective on where we should be, since our own body image is sometimes part of the problem.



Reading this article helps me realize just how fortunate I am.  I have been on both sides of the extreme with the weight loss.  About 4-5 years ago, I was an overweight coach potatoe who ate what he pleased and drank sugared sodas like they were water.  So I decided to go on a diet, fearing what was written in this article I decided I would set my goal to one pound per month and if I lost more than that great.  My slogan (and I still use this) was "It took me years to put it on, it will take me years to take it off".   During the first 6 months when I did my first triathalon I lost 30 lbs but then I maintained that weight for the next 3 years.

Then last year, I was tired of maintaining and I was going to train for a half-ironman (its a triathalon that has a half-marathon built into the end).  So I read on what the maximum I could lose per week and aimed for that.  I counted the calories on everything, and if I couldn't figure out what the exact calorie content was I didn't eat it.  But this is where I am lucky, I have had coaching for the triathalons and they talk about the importance of eating; and I have witnessed that if my nutrition is off, I can't run, bike or swim very well.  So I was only aiming at a net calories and when I increased my exercise I would increase my food intake to have a net effect of 0 calorie wise.  I only kept the diet for 3 months prior to the actual training for the race because at the end of the 3 months I was at my mental limit and I was also wanted to build muscle and I read somewhere you can't build muscle and be on that restrictive of a diet.  I continued to lose weight but instead of 30 in 3 months, it was 10 in 3 months, then 5 in 3 months (when the training program was over).  I still have another 20 to go (I think, really what I want is my gut to be gone more than any specific weight)  This is why I say I am so fortunate.  If I hadn't wanted to build muscle, if I wasn't taught the importance of calories for exercise; I would be another person in trouble. 

The last thing I want to say, and I felt it desrerved its only paragraph.  My bodies shape changed more during the slow periods of weight loss than it did during the fast period of weight loss.  So much so, when I was on the extreme diet and I looked in the mirror all I saw was my fat self.  Now when I look in the mirror I don't recognize the person stairing back at me.



Comment Removed

Original Post by: allisonjewell

Thank you for brinining this issue to light. For a half year or so last year I was consuming no more than 1,000 calories a day while working 6-8 hours a day on a farm. I had somehow managed to get it into my head that if I ate more than that, I would be too heavy (despite being a young adult female of around 120 lbs. 

By the end of that time I found I could not focus and was loosing my friendy nature in turn for a snappy, obsessive person who I never wanted to be. 

Don't let this happen to you, it really IS NOT worth it. Progress may be slower with less calorie reduction, but the overall experience will be far better. It's not all about just obtaining your goal, but also on the path taken to get there. 


I so agree with this!!  I'm back now to exercising 5-6 days a week.  I've been on this track now for four months.  I feel sooooo great in every way!!!  On the dayws when I have a good workout, I get to eat a little more.... better said, I have to eat a little more to make sure I'm eating enough for my body. I even add a little treat now and then (less than 100 calories if possible). I'm losing at a fairly slow rate, but I'm gaining back my strength and LOVE that!!!  Skinny hasn't been enough for me.. i tried the fad diets... I wanted my strength back and I wanted to be strong.  That's what made the difference for me. 

The truth is that we're are beautiful, handsome, wonderfully created no matter our current weight.  When we see ourselves in the truth of that reality, then we can slow down the weight loss and enjoy the process of getting and being healthy.  That's my hope for me and the rest of you alls too. 

Have a super great day enjoying all that life has to offer... and... let's eat wisely today.

 



Original Post by: glorybox20

I've been close to this.... I did "South Beach Diet" for over 2 years, but I stayed on the Phase 1 portion for like, 6 months... and I was skipping Breakfast and Lunch every day... I have no idea how low my calories were, but they must of been very low cuz I dropped 60+ LBS like nothing in a short amount of time...  As great as that was, as soon as I started enjoying life and eating regular food, I went back up to over 120 LBS (I'm only 5'2") and started getting obsessive again... Lowest I've gone to now is 102... It's become this insane struggle for me, and I weight myself 2-3 times a day, and I get upset when I gain even a pound... I'm only at 110 now, which I feel is a little too heavy for me... but I would be OK with it if I was in better shape.

I really want to try and do this the healthy way... and I want to be healthy and exercise and eat healthy, but not be OBSESSED. I'm pushing everyone away with the obsession.


110 lbs at 5'2" is a BMI of 20.1 which is a healthy weight and body mass index.  I'm 5'2" as well.  I haven't seen 120 lbs since early in high school.  I'm struggling to get down to a BMI of 23 or 24 which should be around 130 to 135 lbs.  Just recently, I switched focus from weight to just achieving a healthy BMI.  The switch has helped me take my mind off of the scale and start to focus on being healthy. 



I was speaking to a internist yesterday and he told me if he has another patient walk in proud of their 30 lb weight loss they have done since Jan 1 he is going to scream.  One of my coworkers announced she has lost 25 (2 of us looked at each other to say--where?--last year we were the same weight and she lost 20 lbs quickly and alas--gained it and more fairly quickly).  If the quick weight loss could be maintained then the doc and us skeptic co workers would be estatic, but we all know the wieght comes back with vengence with a few more of its evil buddies.  I have lost 54 lbs in 19 months.  I have maintained my muscle mass (as measured with a tanita scale) andthe habits I have developed will enable me to keep it off.  I should reach my goal next May of 50 more lbs.....yes, that is a long time, but you know what, I enjoy my food, exercise and my life.  I have no depravation, because I am in control.  I know my basal metabolism rate and build the calories around that (yes that changes as we get smaller!!).  Small changes do result in a lifetime of good health.....to all who are following a smart plan, keep the faith, you will achieve your goal.  To all those who are starving themselves reevaluate your habits as they could be destroying your body and your health.  Best wishes to all.



Comment Removed

You have a serious problem its called ANOREXIA you don't have to be rail thin to be anorexic but restricting your diet to 400 is clinically an eating disorder! In addition to your doctors new medication you should enter a treatment program and get a therapist or something.  



WoW!  This is an interesting article.  I posted on the page of one of my supporters yesterday, because she mentioned that her parents have told her she is not allowed to count calories anymore.  I hope she sees ths article.

For me?  I have accepted that it will take until April 2013 for me to lose the 60 pounds that I allowed to happen with bad habits and mindless eating.  My goal is 1 pound per week and no more.  I've lost before and then when "life happened" I let it all creep back plus some.  12 years ago I weighted 136 - the doc said that was too thin.  It was, one of those "life" events had happened and I was unable to eat.  LOL-that is the only time stress and sadness has ever caused me to not eat!  I am normally a stress eater, and a celebration eater, and a bored eater, and comfort eater.  So, the point is, I am learning to eat wisely, acknowledge my body when it says stop and when it says it is hungry.  I'm exercising as often as I can fit it into my schedule; my goal 5-7 ties a week.  I'm an auditor and it is our busy season, so this week, I only hit the treadmill 3 times.  it's better than nothing and I ate well and I lost my 1 pound for the week.

Be well!



When you've messed up your metabolism through calorie restrictions, when you go on to reset, or fix your metabolism by eating more, how do you know when it's safe to diet again? 

 

I messed my metabolism up through dieting for 2 years with exercising 7 days a week, then a binge resulted in 24lbs of flab regained, and I really want to get rid of that fat but it'll not happen until my metabolism is back to where it should be.

 

Can anyone offer any advice?



For 20 years in the Navy, I yo-yo'd from a low of 160 lbs to a high of 250 lbs. Having to meet Navy fitness standards, I would go on starvation diets and then gain it all back plus later.  After bypass surgery, I changed my diet to heart healthy, but gained weight. It is extremely frustrating as eveyone on this site is aware.

After I was diagnosed pre-diabetic, I changed everything I did for 50 years and am now a steady 185 lbs and in excellent health. I am no longer on any medications, I am fit and very active, scuba diving, golf, hiking, etc.

I recommend you google plant-based nutrition and Mastering Leptin. It could change your life!



I was obsessed with dieting and loosing weight. I was eating as little calories as I could and exercising like crazy. One day when i was at work I went into a Grand Mal seizure. My husband came to work to get me and I got in the car and had another one. He took me to the emergency room where I had multiple seizures and had to be strapped down to the bed. I could have died that day. I realized that trying to loose weight is never worth loosing my life. So now I make healthy decisions and eat around 1800 a day depending on my activities for the day. I may not be loosing weight but at least im healthy and alive.



I am sorry but this article is completely wrong! I urge you all to read and research this topic on your own. Every study done from a nutritionist or doctor who has zero ties to food companies or corporations will tell you that calorie restriction = longer life. It is a scientific fact!!! Now I agree that you need nutrients and vitamins and minerals but you don't need to consume 2500 calories a day to achieve those. I am also not saying that eating 500 calories a day is good either but eating your required daily calorie intake or slightly less is not a bad thing. And so many low calorie foods have all the vitamins and nutrients you need. i.e. cocoa powder, chlorella, spirulina, nuts, acai, and so many more.

And I realize you all are complaining that eating less caused this or caused that but why don't you stop for a minute and take responsibility for what is happening or has happened in your life. Don't blame the calorie restriction for you anorexia or whatever problems you have. Blame it on yourself because it all comes down to will power. We all try to point the finger at everyone or everything else when we have a problem but the truth is WE are responsible for being overweight or sick or underweight. 80% of disease comes from our diet!

1 book and 2 movies will set you free. Eat Stop Eat is an amazing book that explains intermittent fasting(people have been fasting for centuries!!!) and the movies Forks over Knives and Food Matters will save your lives and change your mindset instantly.

Take responsibility for yourselves and have the will power to be happy and live healthy.



Yes, I have learned it is ABSOLUTELY critical to eat at least 1350 calories a day. I have just started to get help for my anorexia nervosa and right off the bat I started to gain weight, but now, two months later, I am levelling out and have actually dropped a little weight again eating a healthy amount (1700 cal no gluten) and It has virtually cured my depression. I may not be a lean mean 97lb wrist cutting machine, I may have gotten kicked out of my modelling agency, but At least I am happy!


I've been there too so I can understand. The question I'm seeing is "how do I stop?". Here is what you do, admit you have a concern, problem , whatever. Then make an appointment to see your doctor, a nutritonist or a psychologist.  Maybe even all three. I thnk many of us with this issue have distorted body images.  We need to see a professional, get an outside opinion and start restructuring what "done" really looks like. Start thinking in terms of a range rather than an absolute number. Give ourselves permission to not achieve our own "perfect" line. Give up control just a little bit.  It isn't easy, especially if you've been doing this for a long time. But as the original poster noted "it isn't worth it" to destroy your long term health.



exercise is the answer, I have a very low metabolism and have watched this for 20 years, I stop exercising - 2 hours per session (Bike Riding or gym rep rotations) 3 days a week and the weight all comes back, (I would say the average person needs 1 hour 3 time per week of aerobic exercise) This time I am staying on the program, I wont go below 1200 calories and make sure my analysis is a -A - A, I was low in fat but read the article on Virgin Olive oil and added one tablespoon on a slice of wholewheat bread



Original Post by: hoodsclass

I am closing in at a year on 1,000 calories a day. I have reached my goal weight and am now working on maintenance. Everything about this article rings true with me except the fitness instructor part. I don't exercise--I don't have the time. Calorie Count is my second food diary.

I'm like the previous poster. Ok, I have a problem. Now, how do I fix it?

I had a friend that went through this similar thing.  As a graduate student in dietetics I can only give you advice based on what I have learned so far.  First, take a multi vitamin, because there is no way you are getting all you essential vitamins and nutrients on that low calorie of a diet.  Second the best thing you can do is to increase your calories slowly.  Add 25 calories extra a week until you reach at least 1200.  (preferably 1,400) Then after that don't drop below 1200 for any reason ever.  There are some things you can do to promote good health in the mean time.  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and try to substitute refined grains (white bread, pasta etc...) for whole grains.  Fiber (found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and Protein (best from lean meats, fish, and plant sources) are gonna be your best friends in the upcoming road.  You may start to gain a little bit of weight in this process.  But it shouldn't be as dramatic as what the original poster wrote about.  Try to fit in 10 min walks too, this will combat the weight gain you MIGHT experience from slowly upping your calories.  I hope this helps!  



Original Post by: leobiasiucci

I am sorry but this article is completely wrong! I urge you all to read and research this topic on your own. Every study done from a nutritionist or doctor who has zero ties to food companies or corporations will tell you that calorie restriction = longer life. It is a scientific fact!!! Now I agree that you need nutrients and vitamins and minerals but you don't need to consume 2500 calories a day to achieve those. I am also not saying that eating 500 calories a day is good either but eating your required daily calorie intake or slightly less is not a bad thing. And so many low calorie foods have all the vitamins and nutrients you need. i.e. cocoa powder, chlorella, spirulina, nuts, acai, and so many more.

And I realize you all are complaining that eating less caused this or caused that but why don't you stop for a minute and take responsibility for what is happening or has happened in your life. Don't blame the calorie restriction for you anorexia or whatever problems you have. Blame it on yourself because it all comes down to will power. We all try to point the finger at everyone or everything else when we have a problem but the truth is WE are responsible for being overweight or sick or underweight. 80% of disease comes from our diet!

1 book and 2 movies will set you free. Eat Stop Eat is an amazing book that explains intermittent fasting(people have been fasting for centuries!!!) and the movies Forks over Knives and Food Matters will save your lives and change your mindset instantly.

Take responsibility for yourselves and have the will power to be happy and live healthy.


It is VERY difficult to obtain all your nutrients on a very low calorie diet.  



This is ridiculous, who would go on 800 calories a day for 10 years? That person obviously has other issues to work on. Calorie restriction is for short term use only. I even fast (zero calories) every now and then, only for a few days. Then sometimes juice fast (500 or so calories a day) for maybe a week. Never had any problems. I'm toned, great abs, can bench press 200. The best way is to exercise regularly. You can't just sit on the couch and expect to be svelte, no matter what you're eating. If you need to lose weight, go ahead with the calorie restrictions, but be sensible about it. I know many folks who used the 800 cal per day thing for a few months to lose a desired amount of weight, and kept it off. 



Original Post by: ljl516

 i would like to hear how women in 50 year age range deal with menopause weight gain without straving themselves?


ljl516- Weight gain in menapause s controllable, you just have to be smart, saavy and also- EMBRACE who you are, age and maintain a positive outlook!! The steps in general are these- EXERCISE- weight training; preserve lean tissue, metabolism, and no, if you eat right you will NOT get bulky!!! Cardiovascular- whatever you ENJOY!!! Variety is great!!! Walking- briskly- Zumba, elliptical, bike done effectively, whatever!! EATING- 90 percent!DO NOT go on a diet!!!!!! CHANGE your lifestyle- be aware but not obsessive. Advoid sugar/refined/ processed/ saturated, trans fat- eat a menu of whole foods like fruit, veggies, lean proteins (organic if able- personal experience for me showed a major major difference due to hormones, etc.) and keep ajournal. Do not feel discouraged- working as a personal trainer my clients between 40-50's are the STRONGEST whan they put thier mind to it :)Of course, DO NOT STARVE!!!A>K>A> ARTICLE!!!



Exercise is sooooooo important (along with not starving of course) - one of the best ways I've found to fit in enough strength & cardio in a little time is to do a workout video in the comfort of my own home - just 20 minutes of Jillian Michaels keeps the metabolism up and revving all day!  And once you learn the moves you can do do them anywhere anytime on your own - no excuses.  :)



After reading all of these I am more confused now that I was before.  I started my new lifestyle plan May 2, 2011 and by the end of june I had lost 30 lbs or so.  Then the pounds came off slowly and I have only lost 14 lbs since then.  In January I cut back my calories to about 1000 a day, go to the gym 4 times a week and still no weight loss since January.  Then I read to increase the calories because my body is hanging on to all the food since Im not eating enough.  I am not doing a 'diet' as to me those are something short term - over the years I formed terrible eating habits and that is where the weight packed on.  I am now learning how to eat healthy and make the right choices.  My question for anyone that can help me is - how many calories should I be eating to lose weight.  I am 5'8" and weight 272 and go to the gym 4 times a week for 40 - 45 minutes. Help please.Laughing



Wow!  Well, I didn't quite go that far for quite that long (10 years?  I don't think I could keep it up for that long), but for one year, I restricted calories like crazy (I'm sure I was under 1200 calories at times).  I was in a "race" with my husband (then my boyfriend), but didn't use percentages or pounds (because I knew I'd "lose" to him if I used pounds).  Instead, I tried to beat his "calories under" every day.  At the end of the day, we'd tally up how many calories we'd eaten and we'd subtract our respective calories eaten from our respective calories needed.  I'd try and be the larger negative number.

I lost the weight and got to the number I wanted in about 5 or 6 months, but I was miserable.  Worse, when I finished "dieting" (because I'd gotten to my goal weight), I ballooned past my starting weight and began gaining an insane amount of weight.  Now I have a lot to lose AND I remember what my body felt like when I was restricting calories.  Even if my body doesn't go into starvation mode when I start restricting calories, my mind does and refuses to go there again.

I've been "off and on" dieting since putting on all this weight.  I get to the point where I'm eating right and then I sabotage my dieting -- probably because I don't want to go back to what it felt like when I was "dieting."

After failing to lose the weight last year, I'm focusing this year on athletic events -- I'm hoping that will allow my body to focus on nutritional requirements I need to complete the events (one 5K run, three 40K bicycle time trials, two metric centuries, one hill climb race and at least one cycling vacation -- last year, I went to California.  This year, I might do Colorado, too -- all spaced out over the months of March-November) and will allow me to at least start the weight loss journey (get over the feeling that I'm going to starve myself).

Wish me luck :)



Original Post by: leobiasiucci

I am sorry but this article is completely wrong! I urge you all to read and research this topic on your own. Every study done from a nutritionist or doctor who has zero ties to food companies or corporations will tell you that calorie restriction = longer life. It is a scientific fact!!! Now I agree that you need nutrients and vitamins and minerals but you don't need to consume 2500 calories a day to achieve those. I am also not saying that eating 500 calories a day is good either but eating your required daily calorie intake or slightly less is not a bad thing. And so many low calorie foods have all the vitamins and nutrients you need. i.e. cocoa powder, chlorella, spirulina, nuts, acai, and so many more.

And I realize you all are complaining that eating less caused this or caused that but why don't you stop for a minute and take responsibility for what is happening or has happened in your life. Don't blame the calorie restriction for you anorexia or whatever problems you have. Blame it on yourself because it all comes down to will power. We all try to point the finger at everyone or everything else when we have a problem but the truth is WE are responsible for being overweight or sick or underweight. 80% of disease comes from our diet!

1 book and 2 movies will set you free. Eat Stop Eat is an amazing book that explains intermittent fasting(people have been fasting for centuries!!!) and the movies Forks over Knives and Food Matters will save your lives and change your mindset instantly.

Take responsibility for yourselves and have the will power to be happy and live healthy.


I appreciate that you have a will-power message in this post, however I think that you are being much too harsh with the people on this forum. I have read many of the comments - apparently much more closely than you have - and have not seen anyone denying that they themselves developed the disordered eating patterns. They are owning that they have had difficulties, with either too much or too little consumption, and are either sharing their successes or asking for help. The tone of your post is borderline abusive and not at all constructive to those reading it.

Additionally, your opinion that "this article is completely wrong" on the issue of calorie reduction seems to be predicated off of a misunderstanding that it is written against calorie reduction. The article does not recommend against calorie reduction, it recommends against excessive, detrimental levels of reduction. Any doctor will tell you that your body needs a minimum amount of energy (Calories) to function properly, in addition to proper nutrients. You are damaging the message of the article, which is simply that you can damage your body as much from not eating enough as you can from eating too much. Both issues need to be addressed because it is difficult for everyone to find the appropriate balance in their lives and once you have started reducing sometimes it is difficult to stop.

There are many people on this site that suffer from complex and oftentimes unhealthy relationships with food that they are attempting to find support in trying to balance. Please be cognizant of that before you hop on your high horse to beat everyone around you down. Self-righteousness to that degree is not welcome on a site that is geared to helping people who have issues.



The compulsion to lose weight is so compelling. I have fallen into this trap several times over the years. The first time was when I was in college. It didn't start as a way to lose weight, but because I had no money for food. I literally lived on an 18 pound bag of grapefruit for 4 months. I was working in a restaurant and could have eaten, but I made it a goal to get through the entire semester without eating. I have no idea how I even did it, how I survived. I can only imagine the harm I did to my body.

One year I lost 150 pounds, and prided myself on the fact that I only ate about 700 - 800 calories a day, while exercising 20 hours a week or more. Do the math on that calorie deficiency!

I've also found that the lower the number of calories I eat, the fewer I want, so over the years there have been other times when I have been on a 3 - 4 week detox that turns into several months of less than adequate calorie intake.

Even though I knew intellectually that eating so few calories for extended periods has detrimental effects on my health and my long term ability to lose weight, it is easy to get dragged in by watching the number go down on the scale.

Now, I do my best to maintain a healthy, balanced, nutritious, organic diet and adequate levels of exercise to keep my metabolism and energy level high and my weight down.



In some ways I resent the above article.  Granted, illnesses like anorexia are serious and ought to be warned of.  On the other hand, the CRdiet is the only proven way to extend life and delay senescence.

I am an active male, and ought to be eating about 2400 calories - instead I have cut my calories by half - 1200.  The conventional wisdom is to frown on this, when instead evidence is strong that what I am doing is the healthiest thing for my long-term well being.

I strongly recommend people reading this post to go to the non-profit website on the Calorie Reduction diet (google it).  My goal isn't directly weight loss (although I was obese, and have since lost 35 pounds and counting), and if weight loss was my primary goal I wouldn't lower my calorie intake like this because it slows the metabolism and retards weight loss.

To not include a caveat on the CRdiet in the above article is shameful, and just reflects a main-stream prejudice against it.  Oh well, those who laugh last laugh best, and I will probably be outliving you (in good health).  Your orthodoxy is preventing you from adopting a brilliant viable strategy for saving tons of money on medical bills, and earning more money by being employable later in life.



I have been in a similar situation of many of you.  I was desperate to be able to eat, but not gain weight! I have tried many, many diets, including Protein Diets on which I lost huge amounts of weight - only to regain it all and then some, when I started to eat normal food.  Then i stumbled on a movie "Fat, sick and nearly dead", which led me to find our about dr Joel Furhman.  I did not follow the movie's way of loosing weight, but looked up dr Fuhrman's website and started to read about him.  I read his book "Eat to Live" and that changed my life!! It is not a diet, but a lifestyle, and he explains the plus and minus of every diet on the market.  Read the book, and it will change your life as well!! Now i eat a lot and feel better then ever!!



I've been trying to lose weight for well over 10yrs and have taken the extreme route several times because I thought it might work for meCry. I can recall debating over getting the gastric band and suffering through the pre-op liquid diet for about 2yrs just to get my weight down. I lost 50lbs in 3 months which was really good so I kept to it not realizing I was torturing my body to the extreme.
I didn't gain all of the weight back instantly , but slowly and surely the weight started to trickle back on. I'd lose a few lbs here and gain them there often times not losing any weight for months. Only in the end to become angry with myself because I thought I wasn't working hard enough - pushing myself far enough. I'd eat 900-1000 calories and work out 6 times a week and still with no success.

It's only been a few days now and I'm learning that not everything is for everyone and although my BMR seems pretty high for me it's in the neck of the woods I should be. My doctor suggests listening to my body first and not doing what others do and not trying to starve myself to skinny because in the end my body is just going to retain everything I give it. I'm not giving up on myself and I'm not going to starve my body. Laughing



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