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I am currently using a very low calorie diet, how unsafe is it?

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  • I am currently using a very low calorie diet, how unsafe is it?

    For about a month I have been eating 500 calories or less a day, the reason for this is because I want to have lost a certain amount of weight within a few months, and I felt like a very low calorie diet was the fastest way to do this. I don't have an eating disorder, I think I will find it really easy to go back to 2000 cals a day (after reverse dieting +200cals a day each week so I don't ruin my metabolism). I also only plan on doing this for another month or so. Are there any major risks I need to be aware of with this diet?

    Edit: I had also cut my calories a decent amount for three months or so before the 500 cal diet started, but iirc it wasn't particularly extreme.
    Last edited by JustWantToAskAQuestion; 07-28-22, 12:47 PM.

  • #2
    Nutrition and weakness are your major risks. I don't think your diet is safe under any circumstances. 500 calories is not enough to give your body it's basic functioning requirements, so you're going to end up burning through way more than fat but also muscle. Careful of what difference you see on the scale because you'll be burning tissues you don't want to burn and you'll be stressing out your organs. You can't get all the nutrition you need at that level. It'll also be bad for your skin, nails and hair. You'll risk weakness and fainting. I highly recommend you ask this question to a doctor. This strategy is very unsafe for you. Please take good care of yourself. You deserve your respect and care.

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    • #3
      You OK? That's an extremely low calorie number. I don't think even easing back into eating more calories each day will recover your metabolism if you keep that up. Have you seen what happened to the people from The Biggest Loser after the show. Those diets really mess you up for a long time. Don't go below 1200 or you'll hurt your vital systems and your metabolism. YOu'll strain your kidneys and liver and will deprive your brain. You've got to rethink this one. You're endangering your health. No amount of weight loss is that important.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JustWantToAskAQuestion View Post
        For about a month I have been eating 500 calories or less a day, the reason for this is because I want to have lost a certain amount of weight before uni starts up again, and I felt like a very low calorie diet was the fastest way to do this. I don't have an eating disorder, I think I will find it really easy to go back to 2000 cals a day (after reverse dieting +200cals a day each week so I don't ruin my metabolism). I also only plan on doing this for another month or so. Are there any major risks I need to be aware of with this diet?

        Edit: I had also cut my calories a decent amount for three months or so before the 500 cal diet started, but iirc it wasn't particularly extreme.
        Are you okay? Just want you to know that I see you. I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling so much.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike View Post
          You OK? That's an extremely low calorie number. I don't think even easing back into eating more calories each day will recover your metabolism if you keep that up. Have you seen what happened to the people from The Biggest Loser after the show. Those diets really mess you up for a long time. Don't go below 1200 or you'll hurt your vital systems and your metabolism. YOu'll strain your kidneys and liver and will deprive your brain. You've got to rethink this one. You're endangering your health. No amount of weight loss is that important.
          Just to clear it up, I'm fine mentally, not having any major insecurity issues or depression or anything. I'll switch to 1200 if 500 is that bad, didn't expect it to be that much of a risk over a short period of time. Thank you!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JustWantToAskAQuestion View Post

            Just to clear it up, I'm fine mentally, not having any major insecurity issues or depression or anything. I'll switch to 1200 if 500 is that bad, didn't expect it to be that much of a risk over a short period of time. Thank you!
            Thanks for updating to clarify. I was genuinely worried for you. Glad to know you're just looking for the right balance. I'd definitely go for a minimum of 1200 calories. That really is as low as you want to go without starving your organs and killing your metabolism. If you consistently keep that up while exercising a reasonable amount and getting decent sleep, you should be watching the pounds come off each week (and get some lean muscle mass preserved in there, too, which is great for metabolism to burn calories regardless of whether you're exercising). Wishing you all the luck!

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            • #7
              I did a 1100 calorie diet for about a month and a bit (I'm 5'3", so I probably need less than the average person who is taller) and didn't have any problems at all. I Lost 3 pounds in my first week and about 2 pounds every week after that for the month and a half. Then I added 100 calories per day and kept losing at 1 pound per week average (except for a couple of plateau weeks) until I reached my goal. I also tried not to load up on too many carbs. I think that also helped me. I was all about veggies and lean protein for most meals and snacks. I hope this helps. Good luck to you, JustWantToAskAQuestion

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              • #8
                JustWantToAskAQuestion Progress going good? I have found that if I try and keep calories within reason overall but get my carbs lowered, it makes a big difference. I wouldn't say I go keto or anything, but I basically try to go for lean proteins, a bit of healthy fats (not too much because of the calories) and vegetables and a bit of fruits, then I get the best results. It's the processed foods and refined carbs like sugar or white flour that seem to stand in my way. If I load up my plate with tons of veggies, then add the protein and/or fat, I find it easiest to stay in my calorie limit plus the results I get are just better overall. Better calorie quality, I guess? Good luck to your efforts!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JustWantToAskAQuestion View Post
                  For about a month I have been eating 500 calories or less a day, the reason for this is because I want to have lost a certain amount of weight within a few months, and I felt like a very low calorie diet was the fastest way to do this. I don't have an eating disorder, I think I will find it really easy to go back to 2000 cals a day (after reverse dieting +200cals a day each week so I don't ruin my metabolism). I also only plan on doing this for another month or so. Are there any major risks I need to be aware of with this diet?

                  Edit: I had also cut my calories a decent amount for three months or so before the 500 cal diet started, but iirc it wasn't particularly extreme.
                  I'm tall and have a big appetite so I'd never be able to cut back as far as you, just because I know I wouldn't stick to it. I'm 5'8", for reference. I have been cutting my calories to 1700 per day. I don't track carbs and fats and proteins, but I try not to go overboard too much with sugar. I lose about 1-2 pounds per week. According to my fitbit, I'm at around 10k steps per day. Of that, about a half hour is a brisk walk on most days. Other than that, I do yoga once or twice per week. I don't really exercise too much. I just can't fit it into my life regularly.
                  I don't know how tall you are, so your calorie intake and mine wouldn't be the same, but I thought I'd share what I'm doing in case it helps you to decide what's right for you and your body. I wish you really good luck in getting the results you want. You've got this!

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