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900 calories a day, 30lb weight loss goal, 2 weeks into it and feeling fine. Am I stupid?


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lol.

Okay so, I'm 23 years old. I am 5'5" tall and I weigh around 170lbs. According to this website I should be eating 1300 calories a day in order to lose weight. I listed my activity level as sedentary in order to be conservative, because I'm on summer break and I'd say I get about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise around 4-5 days a week but it's just walking and I'm not always reliable. When I'm home I'm not normally doing a whole lot. Anyways...3 weeks ago I began eating less than 1000 calories a day. It started out due to a period of high anxiety, I just didn't eat hardly the equivalent of 1 meal a day for week or so because I was nervous and a bit depressed, I had no appetite. I lost a few pounds of initial water/etc. weight. Once my appetite returned I decided to consciously limit my caloric intake and eat healthy foods, since my stomach had shrank a bit and I wasn't able to eat large amounts anyway. I have been wanting to lose around 30 lbs for a while now, and suddenly I found the willpower to actually eat sparingly. Normally it's hard for me to resist sugary foods, even though I don't eat huge meals I tend to eat meals high in sugar/carbs. However, for the past 2 weeks I have had little to no trouble limiting my intake to around 900 calories a day. I cut out all drinks other than water and unsweetened green tea. I also cut out bread and pasta, even though I'm not really in a low carb mindset. After doing a lot of reading I concluded that for me personally the easiest way for me to lose weight would be a restricted calorie diet, because I am not a huge eater as it is I just eat the wrong stuff. 

Here is what I have been eating lately:

Breakfast- big bowl of steel cut oatmeal, all natural, sweetened with a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. Dried fruit added. Oatmeal cooked with 1 cup of 2% milk. 

Dinner- filet of broiled salmon, 1-1/2 cup of cooked fresh spinach. 

Snacks- Throughout the day I snack on pieces of fruit, quaker rice cakes [lol, so empty] and I try to fit in a cup of milk and/or a hard boiled egg for protein each day.

Regardless, I tally everything I eat down to the tablespoon and keep track of my calories and I know I'm not taking in more than 900 a day. Normally not too much less than 900 a day either. 

I am taking a vitamin B supplement and I'm definitely going to try to fit more protein into my diet starting tomorrow when I go to the store. I drink around 8 cups of green tea a day. I honestly am not having cravings, the longer I go the easier it seems to be. Again, this website says my target should be 1300 calories a day to lose  2 lbs/week. I'm eating 400 less than that, which doesn't seem so drastic. I have lost around 8 lbs so far. I am not looking at this as a diet, I'm trying to change my outlook on food. I'm not denying myself any major foodgroup, if I want something I'll eat it within a certain caloric range. I'd eat pasta if I really wanted it, it just seems like empty calories to me that won't fill me up. Yesterday my aunt baked a bunch of cookies and somehow I managed to stand in that kitchen with that aroma filling the air and cook myself a boring bowl of oatmeal, lol, without feeling much if any temptation to eat a cookie. I am not ravenous the way I have been when I've tried other kinds of diets, because I allow myself to snack all day. I just snack on low cal stuff and stay within my target. 

HOWEVER, I am aware of the dangerous such a restricted calorie diet can present. I don't think I know everything and I am open to suggestion. I am making this thing up as I go in many ways, so I'd really appreciate advice. It just seems to be working fine so far and I'm not miserable. But again, I don't know everything, so I'd love to hear your all's input. Thanks :)

Edited Jun 08 2009 16:07 by peaches0405
Reason: Locked. starvation diets/undereating posts are prohibited
68 Replies (last)

Geeze Louise!  Your last paragraph starting with HOWEVER, you say you are making this thing up as you go.................you'd really appreciate advice.    Well then, why are you trying to reinvent the wheel?

What do you mean by trying to reinvent the wheel? I'm sorry I just don't know what you mean. I do appreciate advice. And by "making this up as I go" I just mean that I'm not overly familiar with dieting, normally I tried exercise for weight loss and kinda sorta just ate whatever. Didn't always work so well, lol. This has been the most consistent thing I've done since that dreadful Atkins diet back when I was 18. I lost a lot of weight but I could NEVER stick to eating high fat low carb only food, it was miserable. I was also exercising. I'm not miserable this time, I feel just right, so forgive me if I'm more fond of this seemingly drastic diet than I might should be given its possible risks. 

Less than 1200 calories a day is not healthy.  CC promotes a healthy lifestyle.  You are in need of bumping up those calories to at least 1200.  You want to lose weight the healthy way.  Starving yourself will only create other problems.  I can understand the desire to lose it instantaneously but need to lose 1-2 lbs a week. 

Take the healthy road and bump up those calories.  Your body will thank you in the long run.

"According to this website I should be eating 1300 calories a day in order to lose weight."....

I think this is why we are confused, because you have the info right here!

900 will send you into starvation mode, and you'll have to keep eating less and less to lose weight while your muscles then organs break down.

I am not an expert, I just know what the site says. So that's all I can really say.

Original Post by dollldecay:

HOWEVER, I am aware of the dangerous such a restricted calorie diet can present.

This sentence suggests to me that you know why this kind of a diet is neither healthy nor sustainable in the long term. I don't think you're stupid, or ignorant - I just think you need to trust us when we tell you that this is not the best way to go about weight loss. It may be working okay for now, and you may be feeling okay for now, but eventually, it's going to come back and bite you in the ass - in more ways than one. Do yourself a huge favor, and just eat a little bit more. Your body will thank you for it in the long run, I promise.

 

The site is basically obligated not to at all encourage anything with any risk involved, which is why I'm skeptical. With all the concerns about eating disorders you are in litigation territory pretty quick if you encourage something with any risk whatsoever. I have read quite a lot of conflicting reports about the "starvation mode" theory, honestly, one side says what you are saying and the other says it's a scare tactic and that while unhealthy, it is effective and can be done with success. At any rate, I'm no expert either and it's probably not super smart of me to attempt doing a risky diet that only experts or those under care of experts can get right nutritionally. I guess I just don't understand how one can be doing some so purportedly dangerous for a sustained period of time [3 weeks] without any indication from my body that I'm under the weather. Not saying it's not possible, but I think it's understandable how someone can think this type of thing is ok for them without being "deeply stupid" as another [classy and tactful] poster suggested. 

Original Post by miso_soup:

Original Post by dollldecay:

HOWEVER, I am aware of the dangerous such a restricted calorie diet can present.

This sentence suggests to me that you know why this kind of a diet is neither healthy nor sustainable in the long term. I don't think you're stupid, or ignorant - I just think you need to trust us when we tell you that this is not the best way to go about weight loss. It may be working okay for now, and you may be feeling okay for now, but eventually, it's going to come back and bite you in the ass - in more ways than one. Do yourself a huge favor, and just eat a little bit more. Your body will thank you for it in the long run, I promise.

 

I think it's weird that they say no woman should ever eat less than 1200 a day, but this website says in order for me to lose weight I can safely eat only 1300 a day even though I'm 5'5" and 170 lbs. That's just 100 calories more than the "no man zone" women are told not to cross. But I am willing to bump up my intake a few hundred calories, since I see this thread has resulted in a visceral reaction from a few people, maybe there really is a reason for it. It just seems so counter-intuitive to me to eat more for once instead of less, lol, especially with no real sense of hunger. 

Original Post by dollldecay:

 one side says what you are saying and the other says it's a scare tactic and that while unhealthy, it is effective and can be done with success.

So actually, both sides say it's unhealthy, right?

There are some people who have spent there life on one crash diet after another - the trend? When they stop, they gain the weight back, faster, and it gets harder to lose it again, because the crash diet gets rid of muscle as well as fat, so the body burns less calories.

Slow and steady - as many of us can attest, it's worth it.

And I understand that you don't feel like you are doing anything bad to your body yet - people have different reactions to eating too little - a lot of people find that, because they believe that what they are doing will help them, any discomfort is worth it and can be ignored. Others just don't have a good sense of hunger. But just because your body doesn't recognize that this is too little, doesn't mean that it is healthy.

Eugh, that's an awful plan. Calorie restriction doesn't work in such a way that you can just drop the calories more and increase your weight loss with no problems. When you lower your calories enough, your body slows metabolism to cope with too little energy.

Secondly, you're snacking on fruit all day? What kind of fruit? And rice cakes? Sweeteners? Chances are you're developing insulin resistance on this plan; not to mention leptin levels decreasing, and losing a high ratio of muscle to fat is a given on any extremely low calorie diet (Not to mention that you're not getting enough protein for optimal muscle maintenance anyway). Losing muscle is a part of losing weight usually; but when you restrict your calories too much you end up losing more muscle and less fat.

You're not an expert, and honestly I don't think you've really even done your research. You don't have to be an expert; just look at what has worked for other people. Have you ever met anyone who professed a good body transformation via a 900 calorie diet?

Really, if you plan to successfully lose weight, just do it right. I personally caused myself enough problems on a high carb 1800 calorie diet, I can't imagine what you're setting yourself up for on a high carb 900 calorie diet.

 

Well I mean, most of the "starvation mode is a myth" pieces I've read have said that 900 calories can only be "ok" if you are very careful about getting the right about of protein, vitamins, etc. and that it's rather hard to do without professional insight, which I don't have, so yes in my case it's probably technically unhealthy. I am relatively self-destructive, lol, so I guess the idea of doing something "unhealthy" doesn't put me off the way it should, all I think about is results. To be honest the only reason I fear I may be eating too little is that I fear the weight gain that could result later on if I don't stick to a low calorie lifestyle. I'm just being honest, not trying to piss anyone off. I'll try bumping my intake up a bit and see how I do, but it's such a hard decision to make after realizing that you have the ability to eat so little and not be miserable. I never thought it possible. 

Original Post by dollldecay:

I think it's weird that they say no woman should ever eat less than 1200 a day, but this website says in order for me to lose weight I can safely eat only 1300 a day even though I'm 5'5" and 170 lbs. That's just 100 calories more than the "no man zone" women are told not to cross. But I am willing to bump up my intake a few hundred calories, since I see this thread has resulted in a visceral reaction from a few people, maybe there really is a reason for it. It just seems so counter-intuitive to me to eat more for once instead of less, lol, especially with no real sense of hunger. 

The way I figure it, why should I limit myself to below 1000 calories when I can eat 1300 calories and lose the same weight? If you can get doctor or nutritionist supervision to do a sub-1000 calorie diet, then you lessen your risk. But to me, it just seems like a painful way to do something that has a much less painful alternative - eating at a reasonable deficit.

BTW, I thought the post saying you are either stupid or ignorant was very rude too.

Original Post by dollldecay:

I think it's weird that they say no woman should ever eat less than 1200 a day, but this website says in order for me to lose weight I can safely eat only 1300 a day even though I'm 5'5" and 170 lbs. That's just 100 calories more than the "no man zone" women are told not to cross.

That 1300 calories/day is the MINIMUM you should be eating - not the maximum.  Though I expect the real minimum is actually a bit higher than that since I started out at the same weight as you (give or take 10 pounds) and ten years older and I wasn't supposed to eat less than 1500 calories/day.  For a healthy intake that will still let you lose weight, you can also check out this website: http://www.phord.com/cc/

Original Post by dollldecay:

Well I mean, most of the "starvation mode is a myth" pieces I've read have said that 900 calories can only be "ok" if you are very careful about getting the right about of protein, vitamins, etc. and that it's rather hard to do without professional insight, which I don't have, so yes in my case it's probably technically unhealthy. I am relatively self-destructive, lol, so I guess the idea of doing something "unhealthy" doesn't put me off the way it should, all I think about is results. To be honest the only reason I fear I may be eating too little is that I fear the weight gain that could result later on if I don't stick to a low calorie lifestyle. I'm just being honest, not trying to piss anyone off. I'll try bumping my intake up a bit and see how I do, but it's such a hard decision to make after realizing that you have the ability to eat so little and not be miserable. I never thought it possible. 

I really can't imagine it ever being sufficient for weight loss. Weight loss is more about hitting the butter zone than seeing how low you can go, calorie-wise.

I know you're not doing this just to annoy people, but you really should not be too stubborn when it comes to weight loss; because that'll only help you toward the aforementioned compensatory weight gain. I'm not going to preach about self destruction, we're all dying, but if you have goals you might as well do what works to achieve them. And you don't have to listen (and shouldn't listen) to me... (A lot of the users here are misguided about some things, and I'm not necessarily on a high horse nor infallibly wise either), just do research from lots of different expert sources (Generally I would recommend looking for experts in the bodybuilding community; their job is to perfect and profit off of the process of weight loss and gain, and they're hardly keeping secrets, you can find plenty of free and informative articles).

It's just best for your own sake to not go to extremes for weight loss, because it can make it that much harder to lose weight if you do the wrong things.

Original Post by ibez:

Eugh, that's an awful plan. Calorie restriction doesn't work in such a way that you can just drop the calories more and increase your weight loss with no problems. When you lower your calories enough, your body slows metabolism to cope with too little energy.

Secondly, you're snacking on fruit all day? What kind of fruit? And rice cakes? Sweeteners? Chances are you're developing insulin resistance on this plan; not to mention leptin levels decreasing, and losing a high ratio of muscle to fat is a given on any extremely low calorie diet (Not to mention that you're not getting enough protein for optimal muscle maintenance anyway). Losing muscle is a part of losing weight usually; but when you restrict your calories too much you end up losing more muscle and less fat.

You're not an expert, and honestly I don't think you've really even done your research. You don't have to be an expert; just look at what has worked for other people. Have you ever met anyone who professed a good body transformation via a 900 calorie diet?

Really, if you plan to successfully lose weight, just do it right. I personally caused myself enough problems on a high carb 1800 calorie diet, I can't imagine what you're setting yourself up for on a high carb 900 calorie diet.

 

I think the rice cakes do have artificial sweeteners but I don't use them otherwise, I can't stand the taste. I've been eating a bit of grapes, apple, oranges, melon, blueberries...

I haven't met anyone who has specifically said to me that they did a 900 calorie diet, no, just read accounts. I do know of one man who did like 700 calories a day plus a lot of exercise and lost 100 lbs in a few months, but that doesn't sound healthy to me at all and he was 300 lbs. I just figured since I am so inactive during the summer that this would be ok for me, is that outrageous? I mean for the past few weeks I've barely left the house except to go on walks for 30 mins to an hour. I don't think you understand how little I do, lol. But you're right, I haven't done a whole lot of research, I dont' even know what leptin is. That isn't to say I haven't done ANY research, but I am taking this diet to an extreme that is a bit more drastic than most of what I've read suggests, if even by just a little. I have some reason to believe I'd be ok at 1100 to 1200, it's just I'm a product of American society and American society seems to dictate that starvation is just penance for years of self-indulgence and irresponsibility. It's hard to see it as a bad thing and have that instinct of self-preservation, at least for me. 

But I'm not sure I'd call my diet high carb, are you referring to the fruit? Perhaps you mean the rice cakes...I've been wary of them for a few days now for that reason. Why cut out potatoes, bread, and pasta if you're gonna eat a few puffed rice cakes every day? 

I don't think ibez said you're specifically going high-carb, but...you're not getting anywhere near enough protein with one serving of fish and one of dairy.  That's what, 40-50g of protein a day?  I eat more like 100 on 1700 cals.  You probably aren't getting enough fat, either, although salmon and eggs would have moderate healthy fat.

For the record, I'm not much heavier than you (182 as of this AM - down 13 from when I started).  I am losing pretty consistently on 1700.  I have a very sedentary job, strength train 2 hours/week, and do cardio/interval training for probably another 1.5 - 2 hours/week.  Overall, not all that different from your activity level, although it sounds like mine is higher intensity.  Obviously everyone isn't the same even with similar stats, but you should easily lose weight on 1300.  I like to eat, and I like chocolate, so I choose to get more of my calorie deficit from exercise rather than eating less.  90% of the food I eat is healthy, but I sure enjoy the 10% that's not! 

I would die on 900 cals a day - it's 3:30, I'm at 950 so far and that's a light day for me.  I'll have to have a largish dinner plus a snack to get up near 1700.

Um, just eat lunch.    You will still lose weight, and you won't be in the danger zone.  Your diet sounds great otherwise.

The calories are too low.   Check out medical sites, or even the government's sites on healthy eating.  

If for no other reason, your body will eventually "adjust" to the lower caloric intake, and when you start eating more again (and you will), you'll balloon up.  I have done this so many times myself, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Moderation is key.

Original Post by dollldecay:

Original Post by ibez:

Eugh, that's an awful plan. Calorie restriction doesn't work in such a way that you can just drop the calories more and increase your weight loss with no problems. When you lower your calories enough, your body slows metabolism to cope with too little energy.

Secondly, you're snacking on fruit all day? What kind of fruit? And rice cakes? Sweeteners? Chances are you're developing insulin resistance on this plan; not to mention leptin levels decreasing, and losing a high ratio of muscle to fat is a given on any extremely low calorie diet (Not to mention that you're not getting enough protein for optimal muscle maintenance anyway). Losing muscle is a part of losing weight usually; but when you restrict your calories too much you end up losing more muscle and less fat.

You're not an expert, and honestly I don't think you've really even done your research. You don't have to be an expert; just look at what has worked for other people. Have you ever met anyone who professed a good body transformation via a 900 calorie diet?

Really, if you plan to successfully lose weight, just do it right. I personally caused myself enough problems on a high carb 1800 calorie diet, I can't imagine what you're setting yourself up for on a high carb 900 calorie diet.

 

I think the rice cakes do have artificial sweeteners but I don't use them otherwise, I can't stand the taste. I've been eating a bit of grapes, apple, oranges, melon, blueberries...

I haven't met anyone who has specifically said to me that they did a 900 calorie diet, no, just read accounts. I do know of one man who did like 700 calories a day plus a lot of exercise and lost 100 lbs in a few months, but that doesn't sound healthy to me at all and he was 300 lbs. I just figured since I am so inactive during the summer that this would be ok for me, is that outrageous? I mean for the past few weeks I've barely left the house except to go on walks for 30 mins to an hour. I don't think you understand how little I do, lol. But you're right, I haven't done a whole lot of research, I dont' even know what leptin is. That isn't to say I haven't done ANY research, but I am taking this diet to an extreme that is a bit more drastic than most of what I've read suggests, if even by just a little. I have some reason to believe I'd be ok at 1100 to 1200, it's just I'm a product of American society and American society seems to dictate that starvation is just penance for years of self-indulgence and irresponsibility. It's hard to see it as a bad thing and have that instinct of self-preservation, at least for me. 

But I'm not sure I'd call my diet high carb, are you referring to the fruit? Perhaps you mean the rice cakes...I've been wary of them for a few days now for that reason. Why cut out potatoes, bread, and pasta if you're gonna eat a few puffed rice cakes every day? 

The man who lost on 700 calories a day was severely overweight so it's no surprise. The more overweight you are, the easier it is to lose the bulk of your weight. It's once you get ~20-30 lbs overweight that things get a lot harder and there is less room for error. The guy probably lost a ton of muscle within that 100 lbs as well, and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he gained alot back after that.

"High carb" just reflects the ratio of carbs in your diet. Do you log everything? In my opinion, high carb starts around 55-60%, though I'm sure there's people who go up to 70 or even 80% of their calories as carbs. I'm guessing from what you posted that you're at ~65-70% carbs? It might not be such a bad thing if you had higher cals, but still, for weight loss, anything over 40% of calories as carbs is honestly superfluous.

I know how inactive you are, I'm probably less so. I swear I wouldn't move if not for exercise (No social obligations can do that to you); it's pathetic, but yeah, even in such an extreme sedentary lifestyle 900 cals is too little.

It might feel nice to eat so little, but you're not aiming for feelings and intuition, losing weight should be about precision if you want results, you know?

Obviously, there's nothing magic about the number 1200.  It was picked because it's very hard to fulfill your body's nutritional requirements on less than that.  And when I went on a 1200 calorie diet while excercising several years ago, I lost nothing.  Now, I eat 1600 calories a day, and my weight loss seems to have picked up to about a pound a week.  It was very slow when I started, but I'm pretty sure I  was losing fat and gaining a little muscle when I first started.  I'm 5'1" and 147 lbs.

I totally understand the feeling of "Why eat more if I'm not hungry?"  Last week, I was sick, and my appetite all but disappeared.  I didn't count calories during those few days, but I'm absolutely sure I was eating way less than 1200.  And that happens.  Your body decides it has better things to do with its energy than digesting food.  The body does a lot of things that are ok in the short term, but a really bad idea over a long period of time.

I'm assuming you would prefer to lose a lot more fat than muscle, and I'm also assuming that you want to lose the weight for good.  Losing the weight by eating 900 calories a day is not going to accomplish either of those goals, especially if at some point you would like to eat more than that.  My mom lost a lot of weight very quickly on Medifast years ago.  I believe that was an 800-900 calorie diet.  She gained it all back.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, I firmly believe that you have to lose it by adopting a lifestyle you can live with that you will continue after you've reached your goal.  If you think of it as a "diet" that you can then go off of when you've reached your goal, it's almost guaranteed to come back.

What you say makes sense. I'm terrified enough of consquential weight gain to consider upping my calories. However, I will say that this site didn't tell me my bare minimum was 1300, it said my target was 1300, which was strange to me because it seemed rather low. Other websites have said higher. That tip about body building communities being good for advice is right on point, I've visited a lot of them, but it's hard because these people are doing so much more exercise than I am. I don't even think they can relate to being so sedentary, lol. 

Today I've had:

2 egg omelette with spinach and a tablespoon of cheddar cheese, a teaspoon of ketchup on top. 

1-1/2 cup of spinach with 1 tsp of horseradish. 

80 calories worth of low sodium beef jerky for protein. 

1 cup of milk.

Multivitamin.

I'll finish it off with broiled chicken breast and carrots. 

Probably going to tally to around 1000 calories. I'm going to the doctor Monday as it is, I'll get a look over and tell him what I'm doing. Being that I've eaten this way for 3 weeks he'll probably be able to detect any burgeoning negative effects. Maybe he'll slap me upside the head. I was wondering, if I just added a basic Ensure can to a day like today, would that be wise? I don't really want to become accustomed to indulging in much more food than I am at the moment. I've tried to lose interest, and it has worked. I walked through the grocery store today and instead of what I normally do which is crave chocolate and macaroni and cheese, I felt no attraction to anything in particular. 

Feeling a bit of nervous energy on this plan, I must admit. I don't know what that means.

Thanks for the advice and even the insults, I know it comes from a well meaning place with most of you. And I am doing something rather naive so it's understandable. 

Original Post by dollldecay:

What you say makes sense. I'm terrified enough of consquential weight gain to consider upping my calories. However, I will say that this site didn't tell me my bare minimum was 1300, it said my target was 1300, which was strange to me because it seemed rather low.

 

Probably going to tally to around 1000 calories. I'm going to the doctor Monday as it is, I'll get a look over and tell him what I'm doing. Being that I've eaten this way for 3 weeks he'll probably be able to detect any burgeoning negative effects. Maybe he'll slap me upside the head. I was wondering, if I just added a basic Ensure can to a day like today, would that be wise? I don't really want to become accustomed to indulging in much more food than I am at the moment.

 Your target of 1300 is that low because you set your activity level to sedentary.  If you upped it to light, it would be higher and probably more accurate since you are at least taking walks.  Your maintenance calories are much higher than that - probably over 2000 since you are overweight, and you should not have a calorie deficit higher than 1000 per day on average.  A deficit of 1000 per day translates to a 2lb per week weight loss, which is about the max you should look to lose.

Going over 1000 calories is not "indulging".  It is normal eating.  Thinking that eating less than 1000 calories is ok is a sign of disordered eating, if you know the consequences, which you (now) do.  I don't think adding Ensure or another drink is that beneficial, you should get used to getting calories from real food. 

Hopefully your doctor will reinforce what everyone here has said!  Kudos to you for going to see him, which many people avoid because they don't want to hear anything bad.

68 Replies (last)
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