View Full Version : What's the lowest daily caloric intake that is safe?

04-30-2011, 03:04 PM
I'm going to my doctor (PCP, internist) this week. I need to go on a diet. I've been weaning off one medicine for my chronic panic/anxiety disorder that makes you gain weight like crazy and slowing upping another medicine that does not have the weight gain (although I might have to add Wellbutrin to handle the side effects (Cymbalta)).

I went to Target the other day (love their deals for quick food). I found Marie Collander's (spelling?) Teryaki Chicken Stir Fry that I LOVE .... the cost is only $1.77 each and they are 280 calories. I was thinking that I could eat those for lunch and dinner (I'm one of those types that could eat the same thing every day for months) and maybe a packet or two of instant oatmeal for breakfast. That's probably another 200-300 calories. So max, my caloric intake would be only about 860 per day. I could add fruit in for snacks.

I'm also asking for an appetite suppressant (which I'm sure he'll give me). He asked me to go get lap band surgery a few months ago ... I looked into it, and frankly, I've already had enough surgeries (including three abdominal ones) that I have no interest in that ... also I don't meet the weight requirements anyway. This doctor has been my doctor forever and I know if I ask, he'll give me an appetite suppressant. I'm also adding in biking (DH got me a beautiful purple cruiser bike for Christmas) and doing laps as soon as the pool is open. I think knowing what I'm eating every day would help tremendously because I frequently skip meals, which isn't healthy (or weight loss productive).

Is a diet of less than 1000 calories a day while being monitored by a doctor too little?

04-30-2011, 03:16 PM
I do think that is too little from what I have heard. I believe that under 1300 is considered "starvation mode" but I could be wrong. And if you are adding exercise then you should be eating more calories. I LOVE myfitnesspal.com and it has really helped me get an idea of what I am eating, what I should be eating and how the calories effect my weight loss. You might want to check it out, it is totally free.

04-30-2011, 03:54 PM
I did have lap band surgery and my doctor wants me to stay at 1200 calories per day to maximize weight loss(not that I do. I should but I'm bad about keeping track)
I'm not recommending you get the surgery, just saying what my Dr told me was a daily target. I also agree with PP, "my fitness pal" is great, they had a regular website if you don't have a "app" device.

Tondi G
04-30-2011, 04:02 PM
you need more calories than that... I think it's 1200 min but many people need more like 1400-1500 to keep their bodies from thinking it's being starved and holding on to fat.

04-30-2011, 04:16 PM
I think part of how many calories you need is dictated by your height and activity level. Fewer than 900 sounds REALLY low, and I would worry about feeling weak and lethargic and not having the energy to exercise. I am 4'10" and my naturopath recommended nothing less than 1000 for me. In reality I eat between 1000-1200/day depending on the day, and have lost 20 pounds since January 3.

Making lots of changes at once can be a recipe for failure. I think you need to start slowly and see where the journey leads you. Start by adding in exercise and maybe subbing one Marie Callendar meal for what you normally have for lunch a few times a week. Keep in mind that those meals are typically VERY high in sodium, which can make you retain water (and feel bloated).

04-30-2011, 04:42 PM
Please, please, please do not eat 860 calories a day! That is #1 incredibly dangerous and #2 impossible to maintain.

You need to make changes to your overall eating habits. No fad diets, just a different way of looking at food and eating FOR LIFE.

If your Dr is talking lap band then you have more than 40 lbs to lose, right?

Do you do any exercise?

Please, no less than 1400 calories a day, 1600-1800 if you are exercising.

Making sure you eat food that is high in fiber will fill you up and keep you satisfied longer.

Try to eliminate sugar, or at least lessen it, a lot.

Also try to avoid all white bread and pasta. Look for items that are WHOLE wheat, not just wheat. Rye is also great. Try to avoid products that are "enriched" so if it say enriched wheat flour...skip it.

Eating a protein and a healthy, high fiber carb at every meal AND make sure you have a healthy fat at all three meals (olive oil, avocado...)

It's really more important WHAT you are eating vs the calories. If you eat a cleaner diet you WILL lose weight without counting calories.

I'm a fitness professional, so please PM me if you'd like to talk more, but please don't restrict yourself to under 1000 calories especially with non-nutritious foods like Teriyaki Stir Fry which is probably loaded with sugar and white pasta.

04-30-2011, 05:54 PM
Weight Watchers--Points Plus. Awesome, healthy, sustainable eating that lets you lose weight at a safe pace. and KEEP it off.

05-06-2011, 11:28 PM
The lowest number of calories depends on your weight & height and activity level. There isn't just one number for all people.

That said, for an average adult, it take about 500 calories a day to keep our organs working, especially the heart and lungs.

I would ask your Dr for a referral to a weight loss specialist who does not just do lap bands. Phentermine has worked extremely well for me combined with following a vegetarian diet with limited refined sugar and limited refined wheat.

Here is a basic calorie calculator for weight/height http://nutrition.about.com/library/bl_nutrition_guide.htm

If you are ok eating the same thing over and over, you may want to look at a program like Medifast which they use in Johns Hopkins or The Rice Diet which is used at Duke.

Medifast involves buying meal replacement shakes - they are decent. The Rice Diet is a heart healthy diet which is used for more than just weight loss - it is used for cardiac patients, cholestrol issues, etc. I recommend reading their whole website and buying both books.

And I also recommend reading Dr Michael Anchors book and check out the stuff on his site. (The "old" site as he calls it...archives on left. He has great info on phentermine and he taught me alot about portion control...but please forgive me...he can be really kooky. I have actually been a patient of his. He is a good man, but you'll have to take some of his stuff with a grain of salt!)

05-06-2011, 11:39 PM
If you decide to do that -- you're exercising, remember to eat those calories in addition to whatever you'd normally eat. So if 866 calories plus fruit is your goal intake for weight loss, that plus whatever you burned with exercising, at a minimum. It's explained here (lots of text, but worth it): http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/153704-myth-or-fact-simple-math-3500-calories-one-pound-eat or http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/10589-for-those-confused-or-questioning-eating-your-exercise-calo

Also watch out for sodium intake. Frozen dinners are notoriously high in sodium. A high sodium diet can be bad for heart health and can make it more difficult to lose weight.

05-14-2011, 10:07 PM
Beyond caloric intake, the diet you propose is way low on vegetable intake and high in sodium if it is like most teryaki items. I would aim for a higher number of vegetables for optimal health and wellness. Have you considered having your resting metabolic rate calculated? That, combined with working with a nutritionist, led me to lose a lot of weight...while eating more calories.