500 Calories a Day

by (748) Updated December 20, 2012 at 4:40 PM Created December 20, 2012 at 3:43 AM

So I'm Paleo for my skin mostly, it breaks out horribly if I don't eat a low carb Paleo diet (fruit, or foods that raise my insulin are a no no) so it's almost like I have to eat a diabetic diet just for my skin, rather annoying but it is what it is. I'm able to cheat a little every once an awhile without bad results, but it's seldom. Anyways I finally have come to the conclusion that weight loss is about CALORIES (wow, shocker there right?) haha whether Paleo foods or not sadly, (for most anyway, unless your totally screwed up metabolism wise and have to eat Paleo to fix your insulin). And I've been doing a 500-600 calorie diet everyday for a few days with non Paleo foods, eating any food I want, (pasta or whatever) with good results, but now my skin is breaking out like crazy, and I'm getting kind of ravenous lately. SO I am going to switch this low cal diet from "ANYTHING i want" to low carb Paleo so I can heal, since your skin is a blueprint of your insides, I guess its kinda a reminder for me to change my ways. Anyways so I'm hoping by going low carb Paleo again that my skin will heal (has in the past very quickly), and that it will make eating the 500 cals easier since Paleo blunts hunger. So I guess I was planning on doing something like this, but no fruit, and fat included http://crossfitfire.com/starvation-paleo-faulty-science-part-i/ I know most of you will think this is ridiculous but the -1 lb a week thing Paleo is just TOO SLOW for me. Just want opinions on if this will work or not? xoxo

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415 · December 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM

I've done something similar in the past. I've averaged 500kcal per day six days a week (I've only counted retrospectively, it would probably scare me if I'd known at that time :)), one refeed (more like a planned binge) day on weekends. I was losing around 1.5kg (over 3 pounds) weekly for three or four months. I suspect those refeeds were the key to avoid plateaus.

But I had no muscle mass to lose at that time. Also I wasn't eating paleo (my diet was mostly legumes, I was still vegetarian at that time). I wasn't exercising at all, I'm not sure if I would be even able to at this level of caloric intake. I was hungry for first two days, then eating became more of a routine. Interestingly, I wasn't even able to tell if I'm full or hungry, the feeling was somewhat ambiguous if it makes any sense. I've read 4HB around that time, so I was trying some other stuff TF mentions like cold exposure, various supplements etc., but I think those had negligible effect, if any at all.

I've switched to paleo for weight maintenance after that and didn't have any yoyo effect.

So it definitely can work. Is it healthy? Hell no. Would I do it again? I'm not sure, I'd probably try some other way. Dave Aspreys protocol seems probably even more crazy, but might probably work even better. I'd probably give potato diet a try too, seems like a painless and effective way.

2970 · December 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

You have said here before that you have "an awful relationship with food" and with binging/fasting, and it's clear from your past questions that you have not eaten anything like strict, or even not-strict, paleo for any decent length of time (as recently as October you talked about 5 days of eating grains & sugars, and then again earlier this month you talked about binging on SAD foods, and now you say you've been eating SAD foods again this week). I am not trying to be mean, but it does not appear that you've actually stuck with a paleo diet long enough to know if it will result in weight loss or not.

And you acknowledge in your question that most people here, which is probably an understatement, will think 5-600 calories a day is ridiculous. You are correct, and I suspect that YOU also know that 600 calories a day is not a healthy amount of food. It would not be wise for anyone, but it seems especially unwise if you've had binging problems in the past. It is not likely to help your skin, nor is it likely that it is a long term weight loss solution. It is more likely that your body will go into starvation mode, and do its best to hang on to what weight you have for as long as it can. This is not the way to encourage a healthy metabolism.

I wish you luck, but I do think maybe it's time you give some more thought to a healthy long term eating program.

799 · December 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

You will harm your health even more by doing something like this. Anything more than a modest deficit from your caloric maintenance needs over a sustained period will eventually slow your metabolism to a crawl and put a tremendous amount of stress on your thyroid, adrenals, and liver. A VLCD like this will also strip your body of lean mass as you hold on to fat reserves in response to starvation signals. Eat an elimination diet at a modest deficit to your caloric needs (10 - 20% max reduction in calories) to heal your gut, which will require time and patience. Its not realistic to expect to correct a systemic condition in any meaningful or lasting way in a short period of time. A leaky gut / autoimmune response / skin condition is systemic so just because it stops showing up on your skin doesnt mean the root cause has been eliminated. Take your time, do it once, do it correctly and then you can maintain where you are at in a sustainable way. A race to the finish line wont help to establish any healthy habits that will be needed to retain a state of improved health once you are able to achieve it. And you can achieve it if you commit to lasting change. Best of luck in your endeavor.

11251 · December 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

500 calories is too low.
From what you have written, it sounds like you shouldn't be counting calories at all, because it feeds into an unhealthy habit that you have created.
You need to eat nutrient dense foods in order to get the appropriate nutrients while maintaining a mild calorie deficit. Liver should be high on your list- and you need enough protein to keep your musculature. 1lb of weight loss a week is about as fast as things can happen- believe me, I understand that it feels awfully slow when you are doing it, but when it is over it will feel like you've broken some sort of record, and this sort of stuff (the 500 calories a day stuff) will seem like a silly stunt that was very likely counterproductive.

571 · December 20, 2012 at 5:35 AM

Eating only 500 calories a day is dangerous. That is not enough. Eating paleo is for your overall health, weight-loss being a natural side-effect most of the time. Starving yourself is not paleo. This is Dave Asprey's rapid weight-loss protocol: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/rapid-fat-loss-protocol/. Maybe it will help you, but instead of starting some extreme diet, why don't you just tweak your paleo diet to lose weight a little faster? Lower carbs, dairy, don't cheat for a while, etc.

588 · December 20, 2012 at 5:28 AM


This amount of calories is too low. It's detrimental to your health to put your body through starvation. You probably already know this. Even if you lose the weight you won't necessarily be healthier for it, meaning it probably won't fix your skin problems. I would suggest eating paleo and maintaining a reasonable caloric level.

I would also like to add that what is more annoying than having to eat a 'diabetes diet' for skin, is having diabetes.

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