I’ve read from a few sources (and some of them were even reputable) that a woman’s daily calorie intake shouldn’t drop below 1200. However, I’ve been eating ≤1000 calories a day* for the last 4 or 5 weeks, with only the occasional “splurge,” and I feel terrific! I have more energy, my pants fit better, and while I am losing weight, it hasn’t been disturbingly rapid. My hair isn’t falling out, my skin is only as dry as usual, my eyesight is fine. Of course, I don’t plan on doing this long-term, because I LOOOOVE food! The Mayo Clinic calculates my “maintenance” calories at 1500-1600/day once I hit my goal weight, and I will happily indulge in the casino buffet at VLV. I love a buffet (sung to the tune of I Love A Parade). I seem to be eating enough calories to not be malnourished. It’s not as though I’m sipping on Diet Coke and eating a box of Snackwells and calling it a day. I’m eating mostly fresh veggies, fresh fruit, and whole grains. For example, my lunch today was the following salad:
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup butter beans (canned)
1/2 avocado, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 “dried plums,” diced (remember when they were prunes?)
2 Tbs crumbled feta
2 Tbs ginger-sesame dressing
Dinner tonight of steamed potatoes topped with nonfat yogurt and some salt-free Spike, which brings me up to juuuuuust over 1,000 calories, and I am STUFFED. (For anyone counting, that’s 19.3g of mostly monounsaturated fat, 29.6g fiber, and 28.4g protein).
So I’m wondering… what are the negative effects of eating too few calories over the long term? And how long is long term? What should I be on the lookout for?
*I mentioned in a post the other day that I’m using LoseIt to track my calories, and while it does suggest a daily caloric intake of just under 1200 for me right now, I am eating fewer than the recommended amounts only because I get distracted, not because I’m crazy. I frequently make plans to save room for some high-calorie, low-nutrition food (Cambozola!) for dessert, and then feel too full or don’t get around to it.