General Diet Plans and Questions - Low Fat/Low Calorie Diet

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10-26-2004, 12:14 AM
Is anyone on a VERY low calorie diet? I lost over 100lbs eating 5 grams of fat and under 1000 calories a day, and then I got pregnant and now need to lose about 40lbs. Is anyone else on a VERY low calorie diet? Any success? Most importantly does anyone have ant meal plans for a low calorie diet? Thanks!


Jennifer 3FC
10-26-2004, 01:08 AM
Oooh, that isn't a good idea to lose weight that way. Your body thinks it is starving and it wrecks your metabolism. 1200 is the lowest your body should go. If you want some good, lowfat recipes, try the Weight Watchers forum.

10-26-2004, 01:15 PM
I agree...1200-1800 is a much better, healthier calorie range. You also do not want to go so extremely low fat. You want your fat intake to be around 30% of your calories each day...*a good guide is 3 grams of fat per 100 calories eaten-so 36 grams of fat per day on a 1200 calorie diet is sufficient*

Too low calorie can wreak havoc on your body...and too low fat can do horrid things as well-such as causing dry, brittle easily breakable hair...dry scaly OLD looking skin...your body needs a certain amount of fat in the diet.

A healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds per week after the first week. (You will often lose a little more the first week because you lose water weight at first as well)


10-29-2004, 10:10 AM
1200 is the complete and total BOTTOM LINE for caloric intake. Try 1400, thats a nice medium to prevent you from being hungry.

12-04-2004, 12:56 AM
A couple of times a year I go on some type of modified fast -- I am just ending a week of cabbage soup diet! But I wouldn't do anything like that as a main thing -- just as a little shake up very occasionally.

Did you see "The Wendie Factor" that was posted somewhere around here? I have hear this from various sources, that varying your caloric intake from day to day within a certain range keeps your metabolism revved up, plus, you have days when you can eat a bit more than usual, which is nice! I'm starting this tomorrow now that I'm done with my 7 - day thing, modified from the original "points" (WW speak) here the same idea in calories. You just try to eat as close as possible to this amount of calories per day:

Day 1: 1200
Day 2: 1550
Day 3: 1300
Day 4: 2000 (yay....)
Day 5: 1400
Day 6: 1600
Day 7: 1500

Then back to Day 1....while it may sound silly to very just a couple hundred calories from one day to the next, the easiest way to work it is to have a base plan for 1200 and on the other days add accordingly.

Kind of nice because if you really are craving a particular thing it's easy to fit in on the fourth day, providing you really count it. And then the rest of the time you have to eat good for you stuff since you don't have a lot of room to splurge on empty calories.

12-25-2004, 12:07 AM
K8-EEE, does this really work for you?? Sounds like the Wendi plan in calories.

01-03-2005, 06:59 PM
Very Low Calorie Diets can also be those calorie controlled liquid medically supervised diets like Optifast or Medifast...there are others as well. These allow under 800 calories a day, but it is medically supervised as i said.

01-04-2005, 10:11 AM
I would only recommend a medically supervised 800 calorie "fast" diet like Medifast or Optifast only in emergency situations-like morbidly obese patients or obese patients who are having weight related health issues and really need to get off the weight as soon as possible-not someone who just wants to lose 40 pounds.

If the situation called for something like this-I would also recommend counseling of some sort along with it.

These diets consist of the Medifast/Optifast products only-you are not eating any real food during most of the plan.

FYI-I think Optifast is what Oprah did in the 80's when she dropped a lot of weight the FIRST time. She obviously didn't keep it off-she has succeeded with a proper diet and a lot of exercise.

01-04-2005, 11:13 AM
What about having Optifast/Medifast in addition to a balanced diet? For example, one month of low-calorie/low-fat foods, and one month of Optifast. Has anyone tried that? I'm considering this option currently.

01-04-2005, 12:14 PM
Even with that option-you are going a month without any fruits or vegetables. I am very health conscious-not just "weight conscious". Fruits and vegetables provide so many nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidant properties that manufactured nutrition products just cannot provide.
You have currently (going by your ticker) lost 38 pounds without Optifast/Medifast...and your mini goal is very doable without those extreme medical diets. Looks like you are doing just fine to me. ;)
I have a sever problem with diets that go under 1200 calories a day anyhow...they can really do a number on your metabolic rate-something you want to INCREASE through exercise-not slow down by starving yourself. If you absolutely insist on Medifast/Optifast plan-I would suppplement their 800 calorie a day prepackaged food/shake plan with a couple fruit and veggie servings added with it-to make it more of a 1000-1200 calorie range. Still less calories than you should be taking in per day-but better than the Optifast/Medifast plan alone.

01-04-2005, 01:25 PM
What about having Optifast/Medifast in addition to a balanced diet? For example, one month of low-calorie/low-fat foods, and one month of Optifast. Has anyone tried that? I'm considering this option currently.

Speaking as someone who HAS done Optifast (back in 1990) I can tell you that the program doesn't work that way, unless it's been changed.

Optifast is ONLY available through physicians - you can't just buy the powder yourself. There's a reason for that - people on VLCDs (Very Low Calorie Diets) MUST be medically monitored throughout the fast. It's also VERY expensive (because of the medical requirements), and generally not covered by insurance. I myself was fortunate enough to be one of around 1,000 women chosen for a Stanford University research project on weight-loss maintenance which ran for 18 months - three months of that time I was on Optifast. About a month prior to starting the VCLD, I was required to keep a food diary - not necessarily be on a diet, but list everything I put in my mouth for two weeks. I also had to go to Stanford twice a week - once a week for a blood draw, and once a week to attend the required support group (this was a requirement for six months, including the three month fast).

All the study participants were required to take Actigall during the fast to keep from having gall bladder problems as a result of the VCLD.

During the fast, along with the blood draw we were required to undergo resting EKGs at regular intervals along with basic checkups.

At the end of the 18 months, most of the remaining study participants (quite a few dropped out during the fast) had gained back most or all of their weight. I was in the very, very small group (3-5%) who maintained the fast loss (and even lost a bit more). Maybe I was just more determined, or I didn't have the kind of social life where I would have to cook a lot of food - I don't know. I do know I never missed a support group meeting or a medical appointment.

Even though I've done it myself, I can't recommend Optifast as a weight loss plan, except as a last resort - the regain factor is just too great. I didn't know that much about metabolism back then - I believe one of the reasons I was able to continue to lose weight and not regain is because I embraced the concept of daily exercise for the rest of my life.

If you're serious about doing Optifast, I would STRONGLY suggest talking to your personal physician. It's a VERY expensive program with a high rate of rebound. Especially if you have a family or a busy social life, it can be VERY hard to stay on the liquid fast while having to prepare 'regular' meals for others. (Before starting the fast I cleaned my kitchen of pretty much all food - except for water and Diet Coke - my then-husband ate out during the three months.)

Just my two cents.

01-04-2005, 03:00 PM
Thanks for your advice MrsJim! I've read several of your posts about it before, and that's given me a lot to consider. You are very straightforward with your results and the program, and that's invaluable. I do have a lot of concerns about Optifast/Medifast, concerning fatty liver or gall bladder possibilities, but I still have to consider it as a possible option.

I don't know if they're now available without a doctor's supervision, but my doctor is willing to get me on the Optifast program through the hospital if I decide to do it. I am fairly strong willed when it comes to food too. I very rarely want to eat if someone else eats near me, even if they're having something I would enjoy. I can ignore it, I've trained myself not to care over the course of low-calorie restrictions. I've sat through 6 hour long pizza-filled college parties without having more than a drink and an ounce of pretzels or a fruit, and not binging upon getting home. ;) But if I were to go on Medifast, I'd be living with my sister, who eats foods that I think are pretty gross anyway. :P So I shouldn't have any family/friends problems.

5% is a very low rate, but my problem is this: I can never get below 220. I can diet and exercise, and I hit 225 or 220 and that's it. It stops. It stayed there for 6 months, and I moved my calorie consumption around, changed my exercises.. nothing. No thyroid problems either. I've tried Xenical with no (good) results either. :P That prescription was like $150 a month, too.

I've had great success in maintaining my weight after losing about 40 pounds on Atkins - I've never regained it all even though I quit Atkins 2 years ago. I believe I have the ability to maintain my weight, but not to lose it. 3500 calories doesn't seem to equal a pound for me if it's below 225.

I've eaten low-calorie, low-fat for a long time. I don't know how Medifast will work on my body, but I am hoping that if I were on the program for a certain period of time, then switched back to a low-calorie/low-fat diet for maintainence, it would still keep my weight stable. I don't know, but I do have the will to try.

I have kept a food diary of everything I have eaten for the past 2 years or so, with a few gaps. I include everything that goes into my mouth - even a tablespoon of 5 calorie ketchup. :P The diary is actually a 2 part journal, one with the actual food I've eaten, and the other with nutritional references. For example, the journal may list 3/4 cup Special K, and the nutritional reference will have the serving calories, fat, etc pasted into the book. I also write down my exercises, which I do nearly every day for 20-40 minutes. Kinda obsessive, but I had to do it to prove to my doctor that I wasn't cramming bon-bons, whatever those are. (Seriously, I've never even seen a bon-bon, but they always acuse big people of eating them all the time, what's up with that? :devil: )

I was about 160 pounds for a while, which is still overweight for my height (5'3") but it was acceptable - I was also very muscular. Then I got in a car accident and I gained a lot of weight. About 100 pounds in less than a year because I couldn't move much. I've since healed, but now I'm just overwhelmed by the weight. I can't seem to shed it steadily. I have wobbled between the same ~15 pounds since the end of Atkins. I could eat the biggest, most fatty fast food dinner or the lightest salad and still stay within this 15 pounds. Who knows. I'm cursed or something. :P

I'm currently doing this diabetic exchange thing, which is just obnoxious, if I do say so myself. :P But I'm working with it. :D

Basically, I am fine with low-calorie foods. I can be comfortable at or below 1400 calories. So, I guess my question is, how did you transition from Optifast to a "regular" lifestyle?

01-04-2005, 04:19 PM
Optifast is not, but Medifast IS available online without a doctor's consent. They have the nice little disclaimer in the website that you should be under medical supervision to cover their butts.

Optifast isn't sold to the public-but you can get it through Ebay...and both of those things worry me-that you can do a liquid fast like that with no medical supervision. I hope anyone who does decide to do this plan will use their brains and talk with their doctor.

niksa-can I ask what you exercise regime has been? Any medical issues other than being overweight? Any medications? What your calorie intake has been like the past 2 years-what the average ranges were through the two years?

Oh...and "bon-bons" are sort of another name for fancy boxed chocolates-like truffles or ones with fillings inside-like Valentine chocolates. :lol:

01-04-2005, 08:15 PM
Oh, so that's what bon-bons are. :P I figured they were like twinkies or something. I don't really eat sweets though; my fatal flaw has always been fatty fried fatty fat grizzle southern double-dipped fry food with extra crispy fried crispies. :P :( But I've actually lost my taste for that too in the past year or so.. to some extent anyway.

Well, I don't have any other medical conditions except being overweight and having a slight back problem from my car accident. My knees are a little sore if I do vigorous exercising, but it's not pain and it's entirely from being overweight, my doctor thinks. My blood pressure is normal to low-normal, and I have a healthy level for cholestrol. With my back, I can basically do anything I want, it just hurts if I do it for a long time without taking a break or stretching. The only medication I'm taking is erythromycin, an antibiotic 2 times a day, which I've been taking for a few months. I don't take any other medicine.

During the winter I use a gazelle and a stationary bike, alternating times for about 20-30 minutes on average, combined, depending on how my schedule is like that day. On Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I do 40 minutes total split between the two machines. I limit them to 20 minutes tops because after that I get some back discomfort, but I'm trying to push this limit to 30 now. I also walk a mile about 3 days a week. I plan to get a pedometer and add in the whole 10,000 steps/day routine too though, maybe with a treadmill if I can find one that's not an absurd land yacht in size and price. :P

During the summer I do a bunch of stuff though, ranging from bike riding to using a push-mower on my giant yard (it takes 4 hours to do the whole thing!). I also do more walking, usually twice as much. But I am hoping to possibly add in basketball and maybe start jogging. In the summer, I do about 45-60 minutes of activity a day.

I wrote up a summary of the major diet changes I've had since I started to tackle my weight problem:

Prior to car accident in '99: No diets, but martial arts 3 times a week for 2 hours each session. (~160-170 max).
After Car accident '99 to August '02 : Regular stuff. Fast food mainly. (~270-280ish)
July '02 - October '03: Atkins. (220 to ~215) I lost all the weight by thanksgiving, and then stayed at 220-215 until October '03.
October - March '04: Nothing special. (~230 to 235 tops)
March - August '04: 1200/day low-calorie, low-fat nutritionist supervised. (225)
September - October '04: junk/fast food! (~235)
November: home-cooked foods, brief 2 week dip into atkins. (~235)
December '04 - Today: calories = 1500, diabetic exchange (~227)

So my ticker says I've lost so much weight, but that's since Atkins. I've lost 8 pounds with the low-calorie stuff - which isn't bad! I'm just worried I'll hit 220 and get stuck and discouraged.

I have three doctors - two general practitioners and one nutritionist. The nutritionist won't tell me how many calories I should eat (she doesn't want me to focus on calories, I think), she just gives me the diabetic exchange bubble sheet and sends me on my way. My main doctor wants me to get gastric bypass, and that's her only suggestion. Useless. But after I introduced the idea of Medifast/Optifast, she said it might be an option, but she is so gung-ho for gastric bypass, it's insane. My other doctor doesn't really know anything about weight problems, and she only says "That phen-phen is bad stuff." Very helpful. :( I'm getting a third doctor this month, I hope. Perhaps this one will test me for hormone imbalances or figure something else out.

01-05-2005, 10:37 AM
Okay...before I start-PLEASE don't hit me or throw anything my way. ;)

First of all-forget the gastric bypass. You don't need it. If she is so gung-ho for that-then change physicians. I don't believe that you have any metabolical issues that cause you to not be able to lose weight-but I do see a pattern in your diet, weight changes, and fluctuations in weight. You are yo-yoing. Plain and simple. You are going for a few months on plan-and you DO lose weight. Maybe not as fast as you would like to-but you are losing weight (maybe only 1/4 to 1 pound a week-but you ARE losing-some people lose a little slower than others. This is still NORMAL.)

Where I think the problem may lie is that you watch what you eat for a few months-and get discouraged because you are not losing as fast as you THINK you should be, and when you get discouraged you go off the wagon for a month. Then you gain back the weight you just worked so hard to lose. Then you get back on the wagon, lose that same 5-15 pounds-and get discouraged again. It has nothing to do with a certain weight-you are getting discouraged after a few months time and going off plan.

I did this same thing when I was younger-and there were a few things that I had to come to terms with. I am NEVER going to be one of those people who can eat whatever they want to and sit on the couch and be thin. I have to watch what I eat forever-and exercise daily forever. Once I came to accept that-and stop fighting it-things have been easier and more successful.

Something I think is very important is when you DO go off the wagon and overeat-don't let one meal or evening turn into a month-which is what you are doing. Get right back on the horse the next day or next meal. This is where your problem really lies. This is why you get to a certain weight range and never get any lower-you are going off plan every time in that same 10 pound weight range.

Also-I would recommend that you vary your exercise routine. Challenge yourself-and write it down in your food journal somewhere to track your progress. Work your way to a higher fitness level. You can continue to do the 20 minutes on the treadmill-but do that this week-and next week increase the speed ever so slightly and do the 20 minutes. In a couple weeks, start doing 25 minutes. Maybe a couple weeks after that-increase the speed again, or raise the incline level one notch. If you do the same thing over and over-your body becomes accustomed to that.

I would also recommend that you add in some sort of strength exercise-be it strength training with weights/stretchie bands, Pilates, or yoga. (Yoga does have some strength benefits because you use body weight as resistance for some of the poses.) You need to add something to strengthen your muscles. This will also help to speed your metabolism because muscle burns more calories "just existing" than fat does. Maybe alternate a strength workout of some sort with your cardio days.

You also need to challenge yourself with strength training as well-if you are doing a weighted workout and start at a VERY beginner level with 1-3 pound weights-as soon as you aren't struggling to finish all the exercises-move your weights up. This is the only way to progress to a higher fitness level.

If you keep doing the exact same workout and at the same intensity-you will get to a certain level of fitness and STAY there. You are not requiring your body to work past a certain level-just maintain the level it is currently at. So-when the strength training is getting easy, and you are not working up a sweat during that cardio workout-you need to bump it up somewhere-either in the workout time or the intensity.

Please don't give up...I think that the diabetic exchange diet is a GOOD one-because it makes you eat a variety of foods in your diet. You will get used to it, it may just take a while. Don't give up-and if you do have a moment of weakness-don't turn it into a month-and regain all you worked so hard to lose in the last 2 or 3 months.

Good Luck,