Calories fascinate me – but what fascinates me more are peoples feelings about calories. In fact, one of my favorite books is "Why Calories Count - From Science to Politics." It's a very science-y type of read - if you like that sort of thing.
But for years and years, diet creators have fought each other on whether calories matter or not. You know, you have seen it....diets that claim you can eat whatever you want as long as you eat ONLY these specific foods. And I am sure you have seen the other side who says to measure and weight absolutely everything that goes in your mouth.
Calories, unfortunately do count.
There are many schools of thought that say that if you are eating “whole” foods or “eating clean” - that there is no need to count calories. Well, yes and no.
Christine came in to seek my assistance in losing about 15 pounds – not too difficult, right? She switched to whole foods, whole grains, more fruit and vegetables and removed all processed foods – but she was still not losing weight. I asked if she knew her calorie intake and she repeated that she was eating whole foods, whole grains and eating clean. Well....that does not mean that if one eats clean that it is automatically a great reduction in calorie intake – it's STILL CALORIES!!
She finally gave in and started charting her food intake using My Fitness Pal (which, by the way, is a TERRIFIC free calorie counting tool).To much of this woman's surprise – she was taking in about 400-500 MORE calories than her body required to MAINTAIN her CURRENT weight. This is an all too common problem. I likened it to wanting to take a road trip – what does one need to have a successful road trip? Transportation, directions, a map and money. Would the trip be successful without one of these items? Maybe....but it will be A LOT harder and much more frustrating, never mind a LONG TRIP. Many components are needed to have a successful road trip – just as many components are necessary for successful weigh loss. Knowing how many calories you consume on a daily basis is an important piece of the puzzle!!!
So how do you know if the “1000 calorie diet plan” is something you should do? Are you a candidate for a 100 calorie diet plan?
This is an IMPORTANT QUESTION.
You are a candidate IF for a 1000 calorie diet plan IF....
First let me say that personally I do not think of “diet” the same way most people think of a “diet”. A “diet” can suggest “short term changes hoping for a long term result”. If that is how you think of a diet – it may be time to re-think going on a “diet”. Short term changes for long term results rarely happen. If you already eat whole foods that are not processed or refined foods and decide to reduce your total caloric intake down to fit a 1000 calorie diet plan while keeping your macro-nutrients balanced – then it should only be applied short term. But if the foods you consume are not balanced (meaning a healthy ratio of carbs, fats and proteins) then not only will you starve your body for certain nutrients which can wreak havoc on your hormones and deplete lean muscle mass – but you may not even lose weight!!
All that calorie restriction for NOTHING. Sometimes the difficulty of sticking with a 1000 calorie diet plan is just not worth it!!
Lauren came to me frustrated because she had been working out 1-2 hours per day and restricting her intake to about 1200 calories per day. She could not believe after eating barely nothing and killing herself in the gym that she was not losing weight. I asked her to chart everything she ate for one week. When I looked at her weeks worth of what she ate I noticed that she consumed mostly carbohydrates and sugars and alcohol.
Although she was in her caloric range of 1000-1200 calories per day and was sticking to the 1000 calorie diet plan – she had little protein intake and an even less intake of healthy fats. Since her workouts consisted of mostly cardio and weight training – her “diet” did not support what her body was demanding. The result was NO weight loss. She was stuck. She also had dry skin, brittle nails, lackluster skin and fatigue. There were other symptoms as well – but these were the most obvious. After about 2 weeks of balancing her caloric intake with the ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS – the results were amazing!! She was able to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds per week, her hair and nail texture greatly improved, her skin now retains a bright complexion and she has more energy throughout her day.
So my point is – NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL. IF you do decide to reduce your calorie intake to accommodate a 1000 calorie diet plan – then be smart about it. Losing weight does not always mean you will be healthy – but.....if you EAT HEALTHY you will LOSE WEIGHT.
After my ranting – if you do decide to go on a 1000 calorie restricted plan – I have supplied a sample menu that provides all the essential macro-nutrients that your body requires. If you do exercise while on this diet – be aware of your TOTAL CALORIE INTAKE after exercise to be certain that your net calorie intake is not too low.
Click here to see my example of a healthy menu--even on a budget.
Click here for the best free online diet plan.
To help understand weight loss plateaus a bit more check out:
“Cannot Lose Weight? Six Reasons Why You Are Stuck”
Here are other articles that you might like:
“The Best Diet to Lose Fat When You Are On a Tight Budget”
Real Diet Plans for Weight Loss Vs. Short-Term Diet Scams
“Food to Lose Weight for Under $35 a Week”
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