5 Tips For Surviving On A Very Low Calorie Diet

Surviving Low Calorie

It may be good for your health to lose weight if you are overweight or obese but getting the motivation to stick to a low calorie or very low calorie diet can be hard, especially if you are having to deal with hunger, which can be a problem for the first 3 days. The benefits can seem a long way off, while that piece of confectionery or extra dessert is immediate and may be right in front of you.

Sometimes, we sabotage our own diet but other people can also cause problems for us, possibly jealous of our success in losing weight or through pity at seeing us struggle when we so obviously would love a cookie! Some people who do not need to lose weight do not seem to realize that “just one won’t hurt” or “a little bit won’t make any difference” makes it very hard for you to resist, especially when you would love to have some, or even a lot. They also do not realize that having that extra piece of food or a forbidden food can trigger cravings that will be even more difficult to overcome tomorrow.

There are also those who believe they are telling us to stop dieting for our own good. In some cases that may be true. A person with anorexia or who is below the ideal weight for their age, gender and height should not be on a weight loss diet. But others seem to believe that weight loss is bad altogether. They may have their own reasons for saying this or even believing it, including the fear that they themselves may need to follow a similar way of eating or because they have been fed misinformation or misunderstood something they heard.

So here are tips for overcoming the problems and staying on your low calorie diet.

1. Ditch the NaySayers

If you are having difficulties with someone trying to sabotage your weight loss diet, then ditch them, at least for a little while. The 8 week 800BSD is only for 8 weeks. If someone is trying to stop you from improving your health by losing weight with a recognized way of healthy eating, then they are not thinking of your health and you need to avoid them for a while or at least when you are feeling particularly vulnerable.

OK, it’s not always possible to ditch them, so if not, try to avoid conversations about food or diet or weight loss. If they say something like “you’re looking so thin!”, then remind them that you are not yet at your healthy target weight or that you still weigh more than you did when you both first met and that you were not exactly skinny then! They have a picture in their mind of you as being an overweight person. They need to adjust their picture of you to being one of a person at their ideal target weight. That will take them time.

It’s especially hard if the person who appears to be sabotaging your efforts is your nearest and dearest or your parent, who cooks your evening meal every day. They presumably have your best interests at heart but they also have their own interests to serve, even if they don’t acknowledge that. They may be proud of their cooking and feel hurt and rejected if you don’t eat it or not as much as previously. Try to get them on your side, so they are more concerned about your health than about their own cooking prowess. Try to get them to serve more salads and green vegetables and fewer potatoes or less pasta, bread and rice. Even if they are playing the guilt game “you don’t like my cooking any more”, try NOT to play them back, “you don’t care about my health”, but instead, let them know how thankful you are that they care about your health and that they take the trouble to make you a meal, which is much appreciated. Once they realize that their time and effort are appreciated, they may be more willing to make changes that can help.

2. Overcome Hunger

There are some foods you can eat without having to count them in your daily allowance. I have found fresh celery very useful. It’s only about 30 calories for 2 large stalks and that is very filling as well as providing useful fiber.  You can cut up some stalks of celery and keep them in the fridge when you just have to nibble. Cucumber is another useful vegetable. I buy a whole one and cut off a chunk every so often. I don’t count those in my daily allowance. Occasionally, I buy a single red chili pepper and cut it up along with the celery, to give it a bit of “bite” but I try to make the chili pieces last at least 2 days.

Sugar free chewing gum is another way of overcoming hunger. It doesn’t provide (many) calories but it gives your mouth something to do and overcomes mouth boredom which is sometimes translated as being “hungry”. Be careful with this though, if you are not used to it. Many of the types available contain phenyalanine which some people must stay away from and most of them can have a laxative effect, which may or may not be helpful to you.

Eat plenty of green veg or green salads with your meal. Spinach, green beans, cabbage and broccoli (and cauliflower, though it is not green) will all fill you up and provide more fiber, without many calories, as will lettuce, cucumber and other salady green stuff.

If you find you have eaten fewer calories than your daily allowance, make sure you have something quick and reasonable available so you are not tempted by cookies or candy. A small can of tuna has about 100 or 120 calories. A spoonful of mayonnaise has 100 calories, so you can make a quick snack of tuna and mayo to eat with a fork to keep you well fed and with no excuse for eating what you have chosen not to.

3. Renew Your Motivation

If you have a favorite book or article that prompted you to get started on your weight loss journey, keep a copy of it nearby and read it again, to remind yourself of why you wanted to lose weight. Fear; and feelings of doom if you don’t lose weight may not be the best motivators but they may be what you need in order to stick to your diet at times.

Get advice from your doctor. They may already have been trying to get you to lose weight. Some can be very helpful, though many were never trained in nutrition. If not, find a doctor with whom you CAN work and who will support you on your journey.

4. Work out your REASONS for losing weight

  • Do you want to get a beach body for a special holiday?
  • Maybe you want to get new clothing for an event, such as a wedding?
  • Maybe you have had a diagnosis of diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and want to improve your situation?

Reminding yourself of your reasons and what you will get at the end of your diet will help you stick to it.

5. Record It

Keep a journal or a vision board. Write down your reasons for losing weight and find pictures that will show you how you want to look in 6 weeks or 6 months’ time. Maybe one of you at an earlier age or someone who looks similar to what you want to look like. Keep a record of what you DON’T eat when you are tempted and give yourself a reward for that. Even a check mark in a list can keep you going. You could always give yourself a small monetary reward for 10 check marks and save it towards something special, maybe new clothes or a special outing.

Keeping a record of what you DO eat can also be motivating. The very fact of having to record it, may help you avoid eating something on the no no list.

Keep a record of meals you CAN eat and enjoy and a record of calorie counts in case you are worried about going over your allowance or can add something extra in.

High Fiber Low Calorie Foods

Getting Enough Fiber

If you are on a low calorie or low carb diet, it can be hard to get enough dietary fiber in your diet while remaining within your calorie allowance or on the allowed foods. Plenty of foods have high fiber contents but not all of them are low calorie or suitable for a ketogenic diet.

How Much Fiber Do I Need?

The current healthy recommendations are between 20 and 38 grams of fiber a day, depending on your gender (men need more than women), age (less as you get older) and the amount you normally eat. It also depends a lot on your own metabolism. Some people have very quick pass through in their digestive systems, others have much slower turn around times. According to WebMD, it is believed that most Americans get only about 15 grams of fiber each day and that includes those who are NOT on diets.

Just Eat More Veggies?

No, it’s not just as simple as that, though eating more veggies is part of the answer. It is difficult to get enough dietary fiber from low calorie vegetables without eating massive amounts of them. For instance, take celery, a lovely vegetable, I am very fond of it and it’s great for keeping hunger at bay and giving my mouth something to do. It has only 16 calories in 100 grams (about 3 ounces), but it also has only about 2 grams of dietary fiber in that same 100 grams (the actual amount depends on which source you consult), so to get 20 grams of fiber from celery, I would need to eat 1000 grams of celery, 2.2 pounds, every day. That probably equates to two whole heads of table celery every day. Much as I like celery, I don’t think I could manage two pounds or more of it every day and that would also use up 160 calories of my daily 800 calorie allowance on the 8 week, 800 calorie BSD diet. It’s the same for many other vegetables that are perfectly fine as part of a low calorie or low carb diet. They do not contain enough fiber to fill your daily needs without having to eat massive amounts of them and I MEAN massive amounts. It’s the same with broccoli, spinach and lettuce. Great foodstuff, fine for adding to your lunchbox to keep hunger at bay or for eating as part of your low calorie meal but by themselves, they are unlikely to add enough fiber to your diet.

High Fiber Low Calorie Soup

Some useful foodstuffs that contain high amounts of fiber include lentils, with 8 grams of fiber in 100 grams. These

High Fiber Soup

are much easier to eat (in soup for instance) and will keep you feeling full for a long time. I sometimes make my own bone broth (basically boil meat bones or chicken carcass with a bay leaf and some apple cider vinegar for a number of hours, or in a slow cooker overnight, then drain and store) and use this as the basis for a soup. Or you can use a stock cube or low sodium bouillon. I add some veggies, such as celery, half an onion and garlic to 500 millilitres (1 pint) of stock and simmer until the vegetables are almost cooked, then add 50 grams (about 2 ounces) of red lentils and continue simmering until the lentils are soft. Once finished, I divide the soup in half and save one half for the next day. Just before serving, I add about 25 grams (about 1 ounce) of oat bran or wheat bran to the soup. This thickens it and makes it very filling, so it keeps me filled for several hours. It also contains about 17 grams of fiber, almost a daily amount for some people. This makes a filling high fiber meal, which can be fitted into a low calorie diet.

Dietary Fiber Supplements

If you still cannot get enough fiber in your diet, you may need to take a high fiber, low calorie supplement such as psyllium husks or apple fiber. Both are available as powder or in capsule form. It is VITAL to take plenty of water with these, to make sure they flush your intestines, instead of clogging them up worse than ever. These may not be suitable for people who have difficulty swallowing or have a narrow food pipe – consult your doctor.

Benefits of Dietary Fiber

There are many benefits to making sure you get enough fiber in your diet. For instance, people who have lots of dietary fiber in their food intake appear to be much less likely to develop heart trouble, to get strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes or to become obese.

Increasing the amount of your fiber in your diet can reduce your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol levels and improve insulin sensitivity for both diabetics and non-diabetics. Also, supplementing your fiber intake can help with weight loss in people who are obese and also help improve gastric and intestinal problems like diverticulitis, duodenal ulcers, hemorrhoids and gastric reflux.

And when that extra fiber gets into your large intestine, it appears to improve your natural immunity.

So What’s Not To Like About Dietary Fiber?

As with anything, use your commonsense about increasing the amount of fiber you take in. If you are sensitive to gluten, don’t use wheat bran. Don’t increase your fiber intake a huge amount in one go, it can lead to uncomfortable intestinal problems, including bloating and gas, if your body isn’t used to it. Increase your intake gradually and spread it out over the day. Take plenty of fluid, especially water and anyone who has difficulty swallowing, should be very cautious about taking supplements like psyllium husk and apple fiber, for instance. If in doubt, or if concerned about your bowel movements or intestines, consult your doctor or medical adviser.

 

Blood Sugar Diet 800

Measuring waist

Low Carb Lifestyle

I have tried a number of diets, all of the low carb type recently but haven’t lost anything. I had great success with a low carb dietthe Atkins diet – back 16 years ago but I am a lot older now, possibly not as active and would be considered on “older” woman, these days. I like the low carb lifestyle, which is also known as the ketogenic diet and feel it is healthy for me, as I lose the craving for sugar and sweet things, however, I have also developed a very pronounced taste for Almond butter! This is really good stuff and very healthy but the amount of carbs I need for losing weight is very low, less than 20 grams a day and with the amount of almond butter I eat, it is not possible to keep to that low level. Almond butter contains a lot of protein and good fats but also a fair amount of carbohydrate, so I can’t blame the diet but my liking for Almond butter!

I also tried the low carb high fat diet (LCHF) which is also healthy and which I enjoyed but didn’t lose anything on that either, again, I think, because of the Almond butter. But I certainly enjoyed coffee with cream in it and a number of the other recipes. While I didn’t lose weight on that diet, I didn’t put it on either.

Low Calorie Diet

The most success I had recently was with the 5:2 diet, which I tried for a month and lost 3 Kgs on – which is 6.5 pounds, fairly respectable for one month. That is an intermittent fasting diet, because you eat a very low level of calories (partial fast) on two days of the week and eat normally the other 5 days. It is also a low calorie diet because research shows that you do not tend to eat too much extra on the 5 days of the week when you eat normally to make up for the 2 days on which you partially fasted. It seemed to me that I needed to go back to a low calorie diet even though I had resisted them for over 30 years, believing they did not work for me or that I would be ravenously hungry (in total denial!).

I also heard of a book that I downloaded to my Kindle, called the 8 week blood sugar diet by Dr Michael Mosley. It sounded interesting and I read it from start to finish very quickly as it was also  very readable and interesting, with lots of personal stories from different people, which I always thinks makes a book more enjoyable. I had previously heard of research at a University in the United Kingdom that used very low calorie diets to reverse diabetes. It had put diabetics on an 800 calorie diet for 8 weeks and many of them were no longer diabetic at the end of it. At the time, I had thought “that’s interesting” but I wasn’t diabetic and was not likely to take part in any medical experiments like that. BUT Dr Mosley’s book is based on this work in Newcastle University and he shows how anyone can use this diet to lose weight quickly, whether they are diabetic or not.

Up until now, I had believed the current wisdom that losing weight quickly was not good for you and you would put it all back on quickly and more once you stopped dieting. Dr Mosley’s book showed that this was not so. He also said that millions of people in the western world are probably pre-diabetic and do not know it. I have a sister who has type II diabetes and our grandmother was also diabetic, so this is something that concerns me, however, the book is also for those would would like to lose weight quickly. I had found the 5:2 diet a little hard to stick to, remembering to fast on certain days, but I had never felt totally ravenous, so I thought I might be able to try to 800 calorie diet for a couple of days and see how I liked it, maybe even run it as a 5:2.

Dr Mosley had mentioned that the original participants in the 800 calorie 8 week trial had been placed on a liquid diet, using shakes, so that their diet could be fully monitored but that some others had tried it with their normal diet, reduced to 800 calories and found great success. This was a no-brainer for me because I keep a bag of protein shake in the house! I happen to like it and so does my son and also my daughter and we all like it mixed with almond butter as a quick dessert too. One scoop of protein powder in 500 ml of water provides 100 calories (it uses sweeteners, not sugar). That meant I could have two protein shakes during the day and eat a small meal, with no potatoes at night and probably keep within 800 calories. That was something I was willing to try for a day or even two days. I started on 5 December, with two protein shakes during the day and an evening meal of 4 ounces of meat and green beans. I don’t eat first thing in the morning anyway, because I go for a walk with my husband most days and my internal system wouldn’t let me make it right round if I ate or drank anything, so my normal breakfast time is 11.00am or so. At 11.00am on 6 December, I wasn’t ravenous, so I decided to see whether I could do it another day, taking 2 protein shakes, one at 11 and one at about 2pm, then a main meal at 5pm. And the same happened the next day, I have been able to keep on this diet.

I have done this faithfully every day now for over 1 week. I didn’t measure my weight at the start because I just wanted to get going on it and I don’t have scales in the house. I am assuming I weighed 75 Kg because that was the best weight I have been able to achieve at any time in the past couple of years and I had not dipped below that at any time I weighed my self in the past year. Last night, I weighed 72.6 Kgs! That’s 2.4 Kgs in one week. What I have been measuring is my abdomen size (around the belly button). That has not moved during the week. I am assuming that the diet is removing the internal fat in my liver first. This is the dangerous stuff.

How do I feel after a week on 800 calories or less each day?

I feel a little cold (losing my insulation) but not too tired. I had expected to feel weak but I don’t. I am still able (in my late 60s) to walk a 3.5 mile course that climbs a hill to 180 feet with no noticeable slowing down. I also have found that when in bed, I am now more comfortable lying on my side. Previously, I had found that my chest cavity seemed to be being compressed and I was uncomfortable. That suggests I may have lost some internal fat. 🙂 I also feel that my thighs have more room inside my trousers!

How Did I Manage When Dinner Was Not Suitable?

Only on one day did I feel I could not eat any of the dinner (fish fingers and chips), so I had 3 hard boiled eggs and a spoonful of mayonnaise. That filled me up. Most days I take a bigger portion of a green vegetable, rather than a starchy vegetable.

How Do I Look To Others?

Others have commented that I have lost weight around my face. I notice that myself. I am happy with that. 🙂

Am I getting All My Nutrients?

I believe so. I don’t eat processed food. Our main meal is cooked from scratch each day and I eat vegetables, together with a protein source. I occasionally take vitamins.