The 1,000 Calorie Diet – 7 Important Things To Know

woman-eating-saladGoing on a 1,000-calorie diet is usually something that is done by women more so than by men. For one thing, many men think of dieting as a ‘woman’s thing’ and are of the opinion that a good workout in the gym is all that is needed to lose weight. For another thing, a 1,000-calorie diet, which can be classified as a very low calorie diet or VLCD, would be unhealthy for most men, who require more calories on a daily basis than women. This article, therefore, is mainly directed towards women.

The following are several things you should know or want to be aware of before embarking on what at first might be a difficult diet for many to follow. It has its upside as well as its downside, and you will want to make your decision as to whether a 1,000-calorie diet would be best for you knowing both the good and the not-so-good aspects of following a plan that provides less than the daily recommended amount of calories.

Make Sure You Know Your Objective

diet-planYou should not be going on any diet, especially a somewhat severe one like a VLDC, without having an objective in mind. The usual objective is of course to lose weight, but you have to ask yourself questions like how much you need to lose, how fast you want to do it, and how long you need to stay on the diet. It’s especially important to have a specific goal or set of objectives in mind so that once you’ve started, you can see how you’re progressing. It’s also important to be able to determine whether you should go off the diet or not if you are not progressing as much as you would like to. There can be dangers involved in staying with a diet that might not be a good one for you for too long. A diet that does not provide the number of calories you normally need can certainly be unhealthy if pursued for too long a time.

Also, once you set an objective, lay out a plan of attack and stick to it. If you do, you’re more likely to succeed. If you go on a diet simply because someone told you it’s a great diet or worse yet, if you go on a diet because someone other than your doctor told you that you need to go on one, you’re likely to get nowhere, and become frustrated in getting nowhere.

Understand the Significance of 1,000 Calories

food-pyramid-pie-chart1,000 calories is a nice round number, but that’s all that it is. There’s nothing magic about the number itself. You would probably lose more weight and faster if you were to go on a 500-calorie diet, and you would likely become quite ill as a result if you stuck with that diet for too long. A 1,500-calorie diet might do you more good than a 1,000-calorie diet would, or it might not. An average size female should take in from 1800 to 2000 calories a day. The majority of women living in the United States, and this applies to men as well, are not of average size in terms of their weight, and tend to take in more calories than they really need. If you are overweight, it’s important to get a good understanding of your present calorie intake and what you might need to be doing about it before you settle on the number of calories you should be consuming day in and day out.

The positive thing about the VLCD is that it usually results in rapid weight loss. The negative aspect of a VLCD is it can easily make you ill if you attempt to stay on it for too long. If you are indeed losing weight at a satisfying rate, you may well be tempted to stick to a VLCD longer than you should. Another thing to take into account is the fact that when people lose weight too rapidly, they are more apt to put it back on fairly quickly, which is not healthy.

Know if Your Weight Loss Objective Makes Sense

nutritionistYou’ve set an objective to reach, and you’ve possibly come up with the time frame in which you are determined to meet that objective. You’ve looked into what a 1,000-calorie diet entails, and possibly looked into a few dieting plans, many of which are guaranteed to produce outstanding results. Now it’s time to give some thought as to whether your objectives really make sense, and whether a VLCD really makes sense, or if you should make some adjustments. While it’s natural to want to lose weight quickly, you would often be better served by taking it off gradually. If you’re significantly overweight, it would be best to consult with your doctor or a professional nutritionist to see what the best approach might be.

If you define your objectives in terms of needs rather than wants, you’ll more than likely find an ally in your doctor or nutritionist rather than an adversary. In other words, if your objectives are reasonable, all you really need is a little assistance in achieving them.

Be Aware of the Safety Concerns Sometimes Associated with a VLCD

caduceusThere’s no shortage of dietary plans and ideas, and there never has been. Like so many of the things you read about, it’s sometimes difficult to tell what is true and what is not true, and many claims made in support of the so-called fad diets tend to fall into the latter category. You also want to be aware of the fact that what works for one person might not work for the next. The famous grapefruit diet may help your neighbor loose a few extra pounds relatively quickly and safely, but that same diet may do little for you, or vice versa.

Insofar as calorie count is concerned, there are two things you want to take into account:

1) Is your caloric intake going to be sufficient to keep you in good health?
2) Do the foods you’ve selected in order to stick to a particular calorie count satisfy your nutritional requirements?

An additional concern has to do with medication. Those who are on statin medications would generally be ill-advised to go on a grapefruit diet since that particular food item tends to cancel out the cholesterol management benefits that statins provide, even though grapefruit itself is low in cholesterol. In other words, when you are taking medications, you sometimes have to be careful with which foods you eat, although you’ll likely already be aware of that. Just don’t put together a diet plan which, while adhering to a specific calorie count and meeting you nutritional needs, could still make you sick because of a medication, disease, or disorder.

Low-calorie diets are generally safest for those who want to lose a lot of weight quickly but have a lot of body mass to begin with, since the lack of calories in the diet causes the body to burn those calories that are stored in fat. If you are not significantly overweight and simply feel a need to lose a few pounds, going on a VLCD might not be in your best interest. You might be better off making sure you are getting plenty of exercise, while at the same time trying to avoid an excessive caloric intake.

A VLCD can be safe if the food items in it are carefully chosen, and if you’re constantly monitoring both your physical and mental conditions while you are on the diet. If you take great care in choosing the proper food items, you could and should end up following a very healthy diet, and when the time comes where you feel you need to increase your caloric intake a notch or two, you might find it much easier to stick to a similar healthy diet in the future.

The bottom line is that a VLCD is not necessarily unsafe, but in some instances it could be, and should be pursued with caution. If you are on a diet that is too low in calories for too long a time, you can increase your risk of gallstones, heart problems, and chronic anemia. Following a plan that has been put together by a knowledgeable dietician who can then monitor your progress is usually the safest approach.

Understand What Exercise Can and Cannot Do for You

diet-vs-exerciseIt could be said that diet and exercise go together like love and marriage. The baby carriage will metaphorically represent your overall state of ideal health and ability to maintain a healthy weight. There is a problem with this metaphor however; at least as far as weight loss is concerned. It is much harder to lose weight by working out than by going on a diet. You’ll often see people in your gym or health club who are physically very active, but are still overweight, and over a period of time never seem to be losing any of that weight. The reason, in most cases, has to do with what they eat. In other words, they’re consuming calories just as fast, if not faster, than they’re burning them.

These same people would, of course, likely be even heavier if they didn’t exercise. The point is simply this. Exercise is essential for most people when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, as well as maintaining one’s general health and well-being. Getting plenty of exercise in combination with a proper diet should be everyone’s goal. Exercise alone, however, is not an effective way to lose weight. Think about it this way. If you eat a 3,000-calorie lunch, there is nothing short of a marathon that’s going to burn off those calories before the end of the day.

Exercise can and will help you meet your weight loss objectives, even if the diet is carrying most of the load, and it will certainly help to maintain your target weight once you’ve reached it. Exercise is also enjoyable if you choose the right way to go about it getting it, which may be nothing more than taking your dog for a long, brisk walk every day.

Know Which Foods Provide the Best Nutrition on a Per-Calorie Basis

woman-looking-at-food-labelThis is where calorie counting comes in, but it needs to be emphasized, or reemphasized that the nutrients that are contained in the foods you select are every bit as important as the calories they contain. What you should be trying to do is to get the most bang for your buck, or in terms of calorie count, it might be getting the least bang for your buck.

Selecting the right foods for your diet does not need to be difficult. Think in terms of fresh fruits and vegetables, most of which are reasonably low in calories. Add grains and nuts to make certain you are receiving enough fiber, and a low-fat dairy product or two for protein. When the diet is a short term one however, fruits and vegetables alone will likely provide you with all of the nutrients you need.

What might a VLCD consist of? The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its pyramid plan, suggests a daily serving of 3 ounces of grains, preferably whole grains, 1 cup of vegetables, 2 ounces of meat or a meat-like product that provides essential protein such as beans and/or nuts. While one cup plus 5 ounces does not sound like much, it’s roughly the same amount of food by weight as you’ll find in a quarter-pound hamburger with cheese which, while it can carry someone through the day, is not conducive to weight loss.

Drinking plenty of liquids will help. Water is best, a morning cup or afternoon cup of coffee or tea is fine, but avoid sweetened drinks, alcoholic drinks other than an occasional glass of wine, and milkshakes. You can always make a smoothie.

Know What You Need to Do for Your Follow-Through Plan

There are two parts to a good diet. Part one is where you take the weight off. Part two is where you keep it off and work at maintaining a target weight. Too many people forget part two, or don’t give it much thought in the first place. When you embark upon a diet of 1,000 calories daily, you should have a plan in place that will enable you to capitalize on your success. This is where exercise can come in handy. As it was noted earlier, exercise can be a great way to maintain a healthy weight, but it is not necessarily the best way to lose weight.

After you first make a decision as to what you want to achieve, and have a plan in place as to how to go about it, you’ll want to make certain your diet, especially if it is a 1,000-calorie diet, will not only be effective, but safe. You should take in a certain amount of calories every day. Taking in fewer over the short term will usually result in weight loss, but taking in too few over the long term could be detrimental to your health. If you follow a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and drink plenty of fluids, success is within your grasp.

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