calorie restriction for health

I lost a lot of weight at the beginning of this year. From sometime in January to sometime in April, I lost about 30 pounds (a little over two stone, in old money). I did this without dieting, without a dramatic change in lifestyle. I simply ate less, ate when I was hungry only, and moved around a little more (not regular exercise, but more movement every day). Weight leapt off my petite 5’3″ frame. I felt better, looked better, and fit into clothes I haven’t been able to wear for nearly eight years.

I’ve let myself slip a little in the past month or so. I’ve gained five pounds back, but still fit into everything. I am ramping up my activity with walking for fitness, and will be returning to my practise of yoga. I also use a rowing machine (which I love). The big change is that I starting eating more again and giving in to snacks when I wasn’t hungry. This is my enemy, clearly, as I am exercising more now than when I was losing from January.

Neil, Pete, and I watched a recent episode of Horizon (a BBC documentary series) on calories restriction – fasting – for health. Weight loss is a side effect of this undertaking and health chemistry is the focus. I want to live a long, healthy, pills-free (perhaps even without ADHD and depression/anxiety drugs) life. I want to reduce my chances for getting all manner of the diseases associated with ageing, and I want to feel good.
The documentary has convinced me that two days of weekly calorie restriction is the way forward to get the results I want. I’m using the iPhone app from CalorieCount (free with sign-up) and I’ve found tracking and consuming my food easy as can be.

For my body height and age, my daily calorie intake should be around 1300 calories. It’s not much, I know, but I find it is more than adequate for my mechanical needs. As I am trialling a calorie restriction lifestyle (not a diet), I have tapped into my eat-when-hungry/eat-only-what-you-need mindset and found today very easy. Granted, it’s only a little past lunch, but I’m doing well.

So far today, I have consumed 182 calories. That was a plum and a coffee for breakfast, a cup of white tea (it’s a black tea, but white leaf), and 450ml of vegetable broth containing 2 tablespoons of dry couscous. The broth and couscous was delicious and satisfying, and I don’t feel low on energy at all. I’m keeping up my water intake, but I reckon that the restriction fast level I need to achieve is in my grasp. According to Horizon, the calories should be around 500 for my day. I’m only at 182, so this is going well.

I’m planning on doing this again tomorrow, and I’m expecting that Wednesday is going to feel like the most indulgent day in a long time.

2 thoughts on “calorie restriction for health”

  1. What concerns me about any very low calorie diet (and I’m an ex-dancer so know my way around existing on next to nothing) is the chance of missing out on important nutrients. For us women in particular the lack of calcium, and the fact that very low calorie diets are not going to leave much energy for weight bearing exercise makes me concerned about osteoporosis among other things: http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Eight-things-about-osteoporosis-and-fracture-risk.shtml

    I’m extra concerned about this because I was underweight and not eating properly for a few years which will naturally raise my risk. These days I do long distance running and a lot of weight training neither of which would be sustainable on ultra low calorie diets! However I would look into the osteoporosis issues if you are doing this long term and make sure you are getting the right nutrients. Don’t want to nag or be a hideous health bore, it’s just an issue I’ve looked into as I am likely to be higher risk.

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