1000 calorie diet
In order to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. Doing so forces your body to use its fat stores as a source of energy. Following a 1000 calorie diet will lead to weight loss, but is not recommended for everyone. In fact, most people would be able to eat far more calories and still lose significant amounts of weight.
You can use the calculator below to estimate the number of calories you should eat to start losing weight.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 35 year old lady who weighs 70 kg, is 175 cm tall and exercises 4 times a week would need to consume around 1800 calories to start losing weight. If she wanted to lose weight at a faster pace, she could consume even fewer calories. However she would generally be advised not to consume fewer than 1300 calories per day.
If you want to eat 1000 calories per day, it is important to speak to your doctor before doing so. Following very low calorie diets for a short period of time may be fine. But if followed unsupervised for longer periods, they can lead to health problems such as fatigue, gallstones, nutrient deficiencies, muscle mass loss, electrolyte imbalances and nausea.
Provided that your doctor has said that it is fine to follow a 1000 calorie diet, below are some pointers that make it easier to achieve this.
Eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit
Because a large part of fruits and vegetables is water (often more than 80%) they tend to be very low in calories. For example, a cup of spinach only has 7 calories and a whole cucumber has around 50.
At the same time however, vegetables are also rich sources of fiber. This is especially true for green and cruciferous ones like artichokes, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, kale, okra and broccoli. Fiber helps you to feel full, and studies such as this one have found that making a simple change and increasing fiber intake can help with weight loss.
Vegetables are also abundant in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For example, a medium sized carrot provides you with more than double your daily requirement of vitamin A, and a cup of kale has almost the same amount of vitamin C that a cup of oranges has. Eating a variety of vegetables will ensure that you get sufficient amounts of vital nutrients including potassium, magnesium, the B vitamins and vitamin K.
Vegetables can be steamed and eaten as a side, used to prepare soups or incorporated into a wide variety of delicious recipes.
You should also include 2 – 3 pieces of fruit in your diet as they are a source of natural sugars and are loaded with vitamins & minerals too. Like vegetables, they are mainly made up of water and tend to be low in calories. Fruits can be eaten on their own, frozen to make desserts or used in smoothies.
You can find a wide range of vegetables and fruits that you can add to your diet here.
Increase your protein intake
Protein has a high satiety, which means that eating it helps to fill you up faster and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. Because of this, eating plenty of protein can be beneficial when following a low calorie diet.
Numerous studies have shown that increasing protein intake assists with weight loss. This study found that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of total calories resulted in 441 fewer calories being consumed per day. And this study found that eating more protein reduced obsessive thoughts about food and the desire to snack late at night.
It is recommended that some protein is included in your breakfast. Studies such as this and this have found that a high protein breakfast promotes weight loss by suppressing subsequent food intake and regulating appetite hormones.
You should aim for 25% – 30% of total daily calories to come from protein. There are lots of different protein rich foods that you can include in your diet including eggs, legumes, fish, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds and some vegetables.
Carbohydrates and fat are important too
It is true that reducing carb intake does help with weight loss. However, even though you will be following a low calorie diet, getting some carbs and fat is vital because they are a source of energy. However, the type that you eat is very important.
Foods such as cookies, cakes, pastries and battered foods tend to be high in both sugar and fat and because of this, their calorie numbers shoot through the roof. A single piece of chocolate cake for example has 235 calories.
Many foods that are rich in refined carbs tend to be a source of empty calories because they are energy dense but provide very few nutrients. They also have a low fullness factor. Whenever you are deciding what foods to eat, it is important to choose foods that provide nutrient dense calories rather than empty ones.
Good carb rich foods are those that have been processed very little and are as close to their natural state as possible. This includes things like sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, quinoa and beans.
It is also important not to fear fat. Yes, it does provide more than double the amount of calories per gram that protein and carbohydrates do, but if eaten in moderation, it is perfectly fine. Healthy sources of fat include nuts, seeds, avocados and fish. Coconut oil is also a very good source of fat and has actually been shown to help with fat loss.
Drink plenty of water
Water comes in very handy when trying to lose weight. To begin with, it has 0 calories, which means that drinking it does not add on to your overall daily calorie intake.
Studies have also shown that it is beneficial to weight loss. This study involved 48 adults aged 55 – 75 who were split into two groups. Both groups followed a calorie deficit diet but one group drank 500 ml of water before each meal. After 12 weeks, the group that drank water lost an average of 2 kg more.
Another study found that adults who drank water before breakfast had a 13% reduction in calories consumed. Water consumption has also been shown to increase energy expenditure in both overweight and obese individuals.
Sugar sweetened beverages on the other hand are a source of empty calories and should be avoided. For example, a can of cola has 136 calories and provides your body with no nutrition whatsoever. An advisable method to reduce caloric intake on a 1000 calorie diet would be to minimize or eliminate sugar sweetened beverages and replace them with water. Coffee and tea are also fine, provided that sugar and cream are not added.
Example 1000 calorie meal plans
Following the tips stated above, below are some examples of 1000 calorie meal plans.
Dinner: 1 cup of vegetable soup – 84 calories
Total calories: 1074 calories
Snack: 1/2 an avocado – 161 calories
Snack: 1 cup low fat cottage cheese – 163 calories
Dinner: 1 cup black turtle bean soup – 218 calories
Total: 1019 calories
Example 3 (3 meals, no snacks)
Total: 1033 calories
Eating 1000 calories a day is not recommended for everyone and should only be done for long periods of time under medical supervision. If your doctor says it is fine to do so, provided that you make the correct food choices, it is achievable.