It’s tempting to go this extreme on a calorie deficit for a short period of time if the end result is more weight loss at a faster pace. But whether it’s a good idea and something that’s worth it, is a whole other thing.
If you’re deciding now to embark on this 1000 calories per day journey for the first time, there are so many things you should keep in mind before you step in.
It’s best to set realistic expectations and know what you’re getting yourself into before doing something like this you’ve never done before.
Let’s detail some milestones you’re likely to encounter when embarking on this journey.
The First Few Days
1- You’ll Feel Tired, irritated, and sleepy
It will feel like hell at first, especially if you were overeating before and you drastically moved to this extreme caloric deficit.
Your mind and body won’t be getting enough energy. They will feel that and they will let you feel that they feel it, too.
You won’t be fun to be around, either for those around you or for yourself.
2- Your Hunger Can Skyrocket
Your body will ask for food. And it will do so loudly, in a way you can’t ignore.
What many people face in these circumstances is that after a couple of days of this suffering and deprivation, they binge eat, even more than the large deficit they have set for themselves.
Our bodies need energy and nutrients. And as soon as you start eating, it knows it has been deprived of them and it will want you to keep on eating until you make up for the deficits you created (which will create an imbalanced, vicious cycle)
3- You’ll Be Going To The Bathroom (A Lot)
Especially if you’re eating way fewer carbs, your body will be excreting your glucagon stores, which are bounded by water molecules.
And the weight you might lose in the first few days is, in most cases, that water weight. This often leads people to think, “Wow. Although I’m suffering, at least it’s working.” Not knowing that as soon as you have a couple of days in which you’re eating normally, you’ll put those few pounds back.
The First Week
4- You’ll Feel Your Metabolism Slowing Down
When you consume too few calories for an extended period of time, your body may go into what we call “starvation mode” in an attempt to conserve energy. This means that your metabolism slows down, which can make it harder to lose weight in a healthy way.
When your body is not getting enough calories, it begins to break down muscle tissue for energy, which can lead to a loss of muscle mass. Since muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain than fat tissue, this can further slow down your metabolism.
In addition, when you are not consuming enough calories, your body may also conserve energy by slowing down other bodily processes such as digestion and circulation. This can lead to constipation, cold hands and feet, and other symptoms.
Eating too few calories can also cause your body to produce fewer thyroid hormones, which help regulate your metabolism. As a result, your metabolism may slow down even further, making it harder to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. This is something I hear from people all the time, and they always wonder why it’s happening. They just don’t get the relationship between calories and hormones, and why would anyone feel cold, for example, when eating a certain way.
In fact, as I polled those who tried the extreme 1000-calorie diet, 37.3% of them said they felt physically weaker, and 21.9% admitted to having felt abnormally cold.
5- You Might Feel Trembles In Your Muscles
Muscle trembling is a common symptom of hypoglycemia, which is a condition where blood sugar levels drop below normal levels. This can occur when a person is consuming too few calories, particularly if they are not getting enough carbohydrates to provide the body with the energy it needs. When blood sugar levels drop, the body responds by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can cause muscle trembling or shaking.
And for instance, we were taught in med school that when that hypoglycemia occurs, it’s important for the patient to consume a source of glucose, such as a piece of glucose table or candy, in order to prevent further complications. However, especially if you’re doing a diet like Keto, this might go at odds with your diet and further hinder your progress.
16.4% of those I polled reported having experienced muscle trembles on this diet.
6- Weight Loss (but you won’t like it)
Losing weight too quickly usually lead to an ugly impact on your appearance. This is because losing weight rapidly leads to muscle mass loss, which can result in a less toned or softer appearance. Additionally, your skin may not have enough time to adjust to your new shape, leading to sagging in your belly, thighs, or arms.
Another potential impact of unhealthy, rapid weight loss is that your face might look less vibrant. Rapid weight loss can cause you to lose fat from your cheeks and other parts of your face, which can create a sunken or tired appearance. It can also decrease collagen levels in the skin, resulting in wrinkles and other signs of aging.
The First Month
7- The Weight Loss Will Continue (& you’ll continue not to like it)
71% answered my poll saying they didn’t like their body after losing weight with this diet, while 16.3% said they looked older after it.
I don’t think this is how you would like to feel after blood, sweat, and tears, especially with a diet like this that is very hard to commit to.
It’s important to remember that a healthy weight loss journey should not make you feel unhappy with your appearance or affect your self-esteem. Instead of focusing on consuming as few calories as possible, try focusing on nutrient-dense foods that will help you feel energized and satisfied.
It’s also important to give your body the time it needs to adjust to your new weight, so you may need to adjust your expectations and goals accordingly. Above all, focus on making healthy choices that make you feel good inside and out.
8- Your Body’s Shape Will Start To Change
Consuming too few calories can cause your body to hold on to fat, particularly in the belly area. This is because your body can go into starvation mode and try to store more energy as fat, in case of future calorie deprivation. This can lead to a wider waistline and a less defined shape overall, which can be frustrating.
This might seem counterintuitive, but it is something I have seen with people who tried to go to the extreme, and it ended up backfiring at them.
To avoid these changes, it’s important to focus on consuming enough calories and nutrients to support your body’s needs, while still creating a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Average, consistent efforts, lead to average but consistent results.
9- You’ll develop nutrient defecencies
If you’re not eating enough calories, it’s important to know that you could be putting yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies. This means that your body may not be getting all the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to function properly, which can impact your overall health. This lead to feeling fatigued, weak, and generally unwell.
For example, not getting enough iron can make you feel really tired and weak, while not getting enough calcium and vitamin D can weaken your bones and make you more susceptible to fractures.
Not getting enough protein can lead to a loss of muscle mass and can also impact your immune system. It’s also important to get enough fiber and healthy fats, which can help with digestion and brain function.
I’m not going to put consequences here, because this is something you should not even be thinking about doing. There are dire consequences from doing something like that long-term. And you don’t have to look far to see that in action, just think about all the people living in a famine for years that you have probably seen on the news at some point.
Yes. You’re on your way to something this dangerous and this abnormally looking if you decide to eat this low amount of food regularly.
A 1000-calories diet is something that usually backfires on those who attempt to embark on it, and you shouldn’t think about doing one unless it’s something your doctor advised you to do and they will be monitoring you throughout the process.
There is nothing I have seen work more than having realistic expectations and dreams and developing a realistic plan to get there and sticking to it.
It might sound too boring or slow for you, but remember, what comes fast, goes away fast.