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Very Low Calorie Diet ..any experiences?

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Mumcoach
Mumcoach Posts: 16 Forumite
edited 8 April 2015 at 2:39PM in Health & beauty MoneySaving
Thank you for the contributions.
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  • jenniewb
    jenniewb Posts: 12,837 Forumite
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    edited 5 April 2015 at 1:29AM
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    Speaking as someone who obtained an eating disorder that way, I would advise against it.

    You could say that it's not just anyone who gets an eating disorder and the person who ends up that way has to already have a lot going on for them already, but to have that much importance and emphasis on cutting back to such an extreme I would already argue that your in a very vulnerable position right now and putting yourself on such an extreme diet would put you at risk, not just physically
    -(your heart being the number one organ affected by this and if you're already obese it's very likely your heart isn't in great condition as it is- sorry)
    -With calcium levels in your bones (once your body gets rid of all it's food energy it leeches nutrients from your bones to sustain itself; calcium keeps your bones strong, without it you will end up with brittle bones)
    -Muscle wastage (again; a very useful energy source for your body once it has run out of food)
    -Also (but not finally- there are many other very possible problems); huge cravings for carb rich (ie high sugar) foods which can lead to all sorts of problems if you end up eating a high sugar diet. (Google the dangers of a high sugar diet if you need more on that; many sites have info on it).


    You mention very little energy; this is your body trying to conserve what it has. It's slowing down and your metabolism is falling. It means your body can run on even less to keep you functioning. It wont suddenly switch back to normal when you hit your goal weight, it will if you move more and eat more (even just eating more can help short term to give you a boost) but it is a big problem and can result in metabolic issues. It's a sign you're body is struggling at the moment.

    And that's if you manage to catch yourself before the damage has been done- many people are so strong minded they don't realise these physical problems have crept in until the affects are quite obvious. Some even die this way. I know, I've met them.

    Look; don't just take this all from me. I know I've been there but I'm just one person and you don't know me from anyone else on the street.
    Can I ask that you speak to your GP and talk about your plans before you start anything? It is such an extreme and would put your body under a lot of pressure and if your GP is aware of any underlying issues you may not be, they can offer well qualified advice or at least shove you in the right direction.
  • Westywoodpecker
    Westywoodpecker Posts: 6,512 Forumite
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    Firstly well done for wanting to loose weight after several years. It took me a long time to get myself into the right frame of mind.

    I am very over weight & due to being in hospital recently for 5 weeks lost a total of a stone. This was even when I wasn't mobile.
    I then realised it was purely down to portion control & not eating between meals & snacking.

    Due to other health problems I decided to carry this on at home. I don't count calories as such but just simply eat less & snack on fruit. I'm not yet able to exercise but have managed to loose 3 st 10 lb in 12 weeks.

    I feel so much better for it & peoples reactions when they see me spurs me on. (That & loose clothes)

    500 kcal a day is no way nearly enough, no wonder you feel fatigued!! I agree with jennie that it's not a good move.

    Eat less & move more will help you keep any weight loss off.

    Honestly just eat less, smaller plate, & stop when your full helps me. Good luck x
    Now thanks to Tommix & Queen Bear, now Lady Westy of Woodpecker :)
  • flea72
    flea72 Posts: 5,392 Forumite
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    No GP would recommend a diet of 500 calories a day. You need more than that for yr body to just carry out its normal functions, let alone provide extra to give you energy. Being overweight, you actually expend more calories from cell regeneration and breathing than a thin person, so your calorific starting point for weightloss, wld be way above 500 calories. A very restrictive diet wld start around 1000 calories a day, so half that is madness.

    I wld be back to the GP and getting a referral to a dietician/nutritionalist, who knows what they are talking about
  • ciderwithrosie_2
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    I did a VLCD a few years ago - I lost 8st in 9 months. I did not suffer any ill-effects at the time (I don't know whether I can attribute subsequent painful bones and joints to that or just being obese for so long) apart from becoming a light-weight where alcohol was concerned! I had more energy than I knew what to do with. However, it created problems in my marriage and I gave it up before I'd reached my goal.

    It did take about 5 years to get back to and then pass the weight I was originally and I did have a further couple of goes at doing it, but I'd lost my momentum by then. Looking back at it now, I can't believe I stuck it out for that length of time. I think the positive comments from people and rapid changes spurred me on.

    In January, I started WW and have lost nearly 2st so far. Much slower going but sustainable. I don't feel I'm missing out on anything.
    Over futile odds
    And laughed at by the gods
    And now the final frame
    Love is a losing game
  • ciderwithrosie_2
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    I don't know if this will be of help to you Mumcoach, but what I used to tell myself was 'I know exactly what that chocolate biscuit/bag of crisps/roast dinner tastes like and therefore I don't need to eat it. One day I will have it again, but not at the moment' then go and find something else to do.

    Accept the irony in the term 'meal replacement' and just view it as 'fuel'
    Over futile odds
    And laughed at by the gods
    And now the final frame
    Love is a losing game
  • WantToBeSE
    WantToBeSE Posts: 7,729 Forumite
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    I am not medically trained (i had to say that bit before i continue) but i think that prescribing a 500 calorie a day diet is incredibly un-professional and unbelievably dangerous.

    A VLC diet wont work LONG TERM. You may lose weight in the short term, but long term it isnt sustainable! Your body will go into starvation mode, and your natural survival instincts will take over and make sure that you eat what it needs.
    By that time, what it NEEDS will be very high calorie and sugar filled carbs (i.e. cake, chocolate and all the other junk foods).
    This will lead to binge behaviour, and maybe also into Disordered Eating.

    Are you SURE that your GP has prescribed this?
  • jenniewb
    jenniewb Posts: 12,837 Forumite
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    Mumcoach wrote: »
    Thank you all for your opinions. I have spoken with the gp before starting this and he gave me the green light. It is very hard going but all other attempts at weight loss have failed for me even seeing a dietician didn't help.

    I have to say this morning I'm struggling to even move. I find it hard preparing food for everyone else knowing I can't have any but hopefully the results will be worth it. The tiredness is extreme, yesterday I slept for 15 hours but today I'm finding myself alot less hungry, so hopefully I'm past the worst!
    I just need to resist the urge to weigh myself every day!



    The reason your tired is because your body is shutting down because it is trying to conserve calories to keep you alive- you need a base amount of around 1200kcals just to keep your heart beating. If you want more info on this, look for information on Basal Calorie Requirements. This is what scientists have worked out your body will need just to keep you breathing unassisted and your heart beating unassisted when in a bed and in a warm room.


    Without keeping to this your body will begin to eat itself and it does so in a particular order; it picks what costs you the most energy first. Muscles cost your body a lot of calories to use. Your heart is a muscle and your body will take from these muscles to keep you going as it is harder work for it to extract your energy from body fat.


    Please get some medical advice on this. You could be causing yourself damage. I can understand it would feel like the last thing you want to do to eat more but that is what your body needs to function at the moment- just a basic amount. At least get some medical advice on this because your experiencing symptoms right now which do need medical advice which do need professional support.


    This isn't my opinion by the way- it is medical fact. I have had a lot of experience in this area and I have had to learn more about this area in particular in order to help myself out. I have not gathered this as an opinion but as proven-by-science and experience (of others as well as myself).
  • WantToBeSE
    WantToBeSE Posts: 7,729 Forumite
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    jenniewb wrote: »
    The reason your tired is because your body is shutting down because it is trying to conserve calories to keep you alive- you need a base amount of around 1200kcals just to keep your heart beating. If you want more info on this, look for information on Basal Calorie Requirements. This is what scientists have worked out your body will need just to keep you breathing unassisted and your heart beating unassisted when in a bed and in a warm room.


    Without keeping to this your body will begin to eat itself and it does so in a particular order; it picks what costs you the most energy first. Muscles cost your body a lot of calories to use. Your heart is a muscle and your body will take from these muscles to keep you going as it is harder work for it to extract your energy from body fat.


    Please get some medical advice on this. You could be causing yourself damage. I can understand it would feel like the last thing you want to do to eat more but that is what your body needs to function at the moment- just a basic amount. At least get some medical advice on this because your experiencing symptoms right now which do need medical advice which do need professional support.


    This isn't my opinion by the way- it is medical fact. I have had a lot of experience in this area and I have had to learn more about this area in particular in order to help myself out. I have not gathered this as an opinion but as proven-by-science and experience (of others as well as myself).

    PLEASE read this, Jennie is right.
  • purpleshoes_2
    purpleshoes_2 Posts: 2,653 Forumite
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    I wouldn't ever do a vlcd. Nor would I recommend it to anyone trying to lose weight. You are basically starving your body. I also wouldn't recommend 1000 or 1200 cal diets either.

    When you start eating normally again which you will, because no one can eat that little food for life, don't be surprised if the weight goes back on.

    I wouldn't recommend herbalife, body by vi or slimfast either.

    I was over 25kgs heavier than I am right now two years ago. The weight has come off with lifting weights, eating clean with the occasional treat and hiit classes.

    The problem is, if you need to do a diet like this to kick start weight loss what are you going to do when the weight loss starts to plateau?
  • Katiehound
    Katiehound Posts: 7,694 Forumite
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    edited 5 April 2015 at 3:44PM
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    I'm thinking you would be better advised to try the 5:2 diet (or you can work it 4:3) Which means 5 days per week you eat normally (well, smaller portions) and the other 2 you have a very restricted diet of 500 calories. This would give you gradual weight loss and the body would not go into famine mode. OK- weight loss isn't fast but it is sustainable.

    Many years ago I did the Cambridge diet and lost a lot of weight... but of course it all went back on + even more. Atkins worked for me, but eventually I got bored, now trying the fast diet (the 5:2) and losing about 1lb per week. I can live with this!
    Take care
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