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Am I really going to live on 1000 calories?



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I'm 45, 6 feet tall, and started out at 396 my heaviest (was 366 at the start of the pre-op diet).

I am very, very active. Outdoor work, sports, CrossFit.

I did track my food and, like you, was on way more than 3,000 calories a day.

Now, two months post-op, I am 94 pounds down from my heavy and 64 from the start of the pre-op diet. I eat more than most people—I take in between 1000 and 1400 calories a day, including up to 120 g of carbohydrates, which is unusual for bariatric patients. I am still in the fast-lose "honeymoon" period and am losing 3-5 pounds a week after the initial massive weight dump.

And yet... I'm satisfied. Thriving, even. The only thing is the restricted amount means my strength isn't what it was—probably lost about 30% off my PR lifts. I don't really care, because now I can run, and jump, and my palms can touch the floor, and I'm off my meds.

I do feel hunger when I haven't eaten in too long, but it's not the gnawing "feed me or I will make your life miserable" HANGRY feeling I would have had before. It's more like... "things are not right, please to be feeding me now."

Here are a couple of typical days for me, all approved by my nutritionist:

Meal 1: Fairlife Core Power Protein Shake

Meal 2 (post-workout): oatmeal with Protein Powder, a bit of maple Syrup, blueberries, and raspberries

Meal 3: Koussa (summer squash stuffed with ground meat and rice, braised in Tomato sauce)

Meal 4: tuna salad on one of those little dense squares of European-style flat rye bread

Meal 5: collagen peptide Protein and an apple

----

Meal 1: Fairlife Core Power protein shake

Meal 2 (post-workout): Scrambled egg with a bit of cheese, spinach, and hot sauce

Meal 3: Ground turkey with sugar-free Korean BBQ Sauce, green Beans, a bit of rice

Meal 4: Skyr (Icelandic nonfat yoghurt) with raspberries

Meal 5: Lentils with ham

The biggest thing I had to teach myself was that it's okay to leave food on the plate, EVEN IF IT'S JUST ONE TINY BITE. Because the line between "I am full" and "debilitating nausea and acid reflux" is sometimes just that one single bite.

Edited by vikingbeast

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6 minutes ago, vikingbeast said:

I'm 45, 6 feet tall, and started out at 396 my heaviest (was 366 at the start of the pre-op diet).

I am very, very active. Outdoor work, sports, CrossFit.

I did track my food and, like you, was on way more than 3,000 calories a day.

.....

Wow! Thank you so much for all that detail. It's so helpful to hear that from someone in such a similar situation. You are officially my hero now! 😂

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16 hours ago, doobie31 said:

Thanks everyone for the responses. I have talked to my doctor which is how I arrived at WLS. She felt it was a good option for me. I'm in the early stages of going through the process with the surgeon now, so we'll see if they agree I'm a good candidate. I assume for a few months I'll have a much smaller appetite, it's the long-term 1000 cals a day I was more thinking about. Maybe that's too few. Maybe that's just what my body will get used to. Just seems so incredibly small but if it others in my situation do it and get used to it, I'm sure I can, too.

you'll likely be eating more than 1000 kcal/day long term. That's really just during the weight loss phase. How much you'll need to maintain your weight depends on individual factors, and it's different for everyone. I can maintain my weight if I stay in the 1500-1700 range - and if I stay pretty active (exercising 5+ days a week), I can push that up to about 1900 kcal/day.

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11 hours ago, doobie31 said:

I can't wait to find out!

I have to agree with all the posts on this. I could not imagine going down to 800-900 calories per day either. I actually struggle getting more than that in on a daily basis. Yes, if I went crazy and ate fatty foods and fast foods I could, but with healthy food choices, it is very difficult. I eat a lot of fish which is very low in fat and calories and high in Protein, particularly tuna and cod. You will not have a problem staying satisfied.

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49 minutes ago, Tony B - NJ said:

I have to agree with all the posts on this. I could not imagine going down to 800-900 calories per day either. I actually struggle getting more than that in on a daily basis. Yes, if I went crazy and ate fatty foods and fast foods I could, but with healthy food choices, it is very difficult. I eat a lot of fish which is very low in fat and calories and high in Protein, particularly tuna and cod. You will not have a problem staying satisfied.

Miraculous! I tend to eat pretty healthy foods (being a vegetarian helps), I just eat way too much of it. So feeling positive about things right now.

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I was shocked at how much energy I had when I was only consuming 500/600cal in the beginning, and how well I feel on under 1000cal a day currently (5mo out). I can’t tell you the how or why, but I can tell you it works! I can see where you are coming from, I would have been hangry or dizzy before surgery if I only had 500cal in a day. But, now I feel like a million bucks & hope I never feel the need for more. You may just have to experience it. :)

Oh and yes, nutrient dense, Protein rich foods & Vitamins are key. 🥦🥕

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Your body will get the energy it needs from the fat it is burning.

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On 11/14/2021 at 22:19, Arabesque said:



The calories you need to maintain will depend on many factors like age, gender, metabolic rate, how active you are, height, build, etc. Yes, you will be eating much fewer calories than you did before surgery (but let’s be honest that was why you were overweight - it’s why we all were) but the calories will increase as you progress & are physically able to eat more. To begin, I was eating <300 calories, <900 by goal & now eat about 1300 to maintain at my weight. But I’m also female, older than you, have a small frame & am not very active.




It all comes down to that basic equation: to maintain a weight the calories you burn must equal the calories your body burns to function. Eat more than you need you gain. Eat less you lose. If you want to maintain at a lower weight eat fewer calories. If you want to maintain at a higher weight eat more calories.




I eat way more food now in a day in terms of volume than I did when I was overweight. I eat way more frequently now too. The difference is the number of calories I eat & the quality of the food I choose to eat.


I totally agree!

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I’m 15 months out from a revision (gerd caused by hernia), have been at goal for about 11 of those months and maintain on around 1300-1500 calories a day. Most of the meals I eat are pretty plant-based as most animal Protein sits heavy these days.

These are pretty typical days when I’ve packed all my meals for the day for work. The red Blender Bottle is a green smoothie with kale, spinach, a frozen fruit, Protein Powder and almond milk. The little thermos is almost always some kind of vegetable heavy Soup. The calories for the day are pictured after each one. While they’re convenience food heavy (protein shakes and bars) I know that’s what I need at work as I rarely have time to sit and eat regularly meals.

As you get closer to surgery and after surgery you’ll eventually find what works for you and you’ll be able to better gage hunger/fullness cues, what your body needs and the calories you’ll need.

For now, work on tracking what you eat and making small changes, mindful eating, and finding ways to make your favorite dishes healthier.

If you ever have questions we’re here to help the best we can even if that means directing you back to your surgery team and dietitian.

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Edited by Starwarsandcupcakes

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Thank you so much! What a helpful post. I'm giving myself until after the Thanksgiving weekend and then I'll start tracking everything and make a concerted effort to drop some pre-surgery pounds (wait until Monday .... no overweight person every said that). I have made small improvements already but I know, realistically, there's only so much I'm going to do before the holiday weekend.

But wow, I'm honestly looking forward to eating like this and feeling satisfied.

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2 hours ago, doobie31 said:

Thank you so much! What a helpful post. I'm giving myself until after the Thanksgiving weekend and then I'll start tracking everything and make a concerted effort to drop some pre-surgery pounds (wait until Monday .... no overweight person every said that). I have made small improvements already but I know, realistically, there's only so much I'm going to do before the holiday weekend.

But wow, I'm honestly looking forward to eating like this and feeling satisfied.

Not only am I satisfied on a small quantity of food (my stats are almost exactly like @Starwarsandcupcakes' though they are much further out than I am), I literally don't think I could eat more without grazing all day.

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Hi @doobie31, I also think it may depend on the type of surgery you end up having. I had the SADI and during the loss phase I was very satisfied and consistently lost each week when I consumed 700 to 800 calories per day. Now that I’m trying to maintain, I’m up around the 1600 to 1800 calories a day and if I’m very active then I need around 2000 to not lose more weight. With my restriction, I am finding it difficult to each that much at the moment but it will get easier over time.

Each person is different and will have different needs but as all of the other posts have said, it becomes a new way of living and it’s definitely worth it.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your journey!! :)

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Hi doobie. I had gastric sleeve surgery 8 months ago. With my program you dieted for several months prior to surgery, then two weekes before surgery we had to drink only 800 cal of Protein Drinks a day. After surgery your sleeve will prevent you from eating for several weeks. broth and Water only to start, then back on shakes. You will gradually start eating solid foods egg whites etc. It took several weeks to finally eat 800 cal again. I really never felt hungry just frustrated that I couldn't eat. I didnt starve and now 8 months later I have lost 154 lb. I am 5' 6.5" and I weighed 324.2 lbs when I started in the program. I am 68 and nobody recognizes me now. This was the best thing that ever happened to me. So, hang in there and trust your nutrition team. They have done this for several hundred people before you. Good luck.

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1Thank you so much everyone. @Butterflyeffect, I'm about the same height as you and pretty active, especially when I'm a lower weight, so hearing you can eat like that and still lose weight is helpful. And of course, I do trust "my team". So far they're all great and I can't wait to continue down the path.

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I'm 8 months out and struggle with getting 1000. I have 0 problem meeting Protein and Water goals daily. Usually I don't go over 500 to 800. Which sucks. I get full really fast. Hopefully this improves for me.

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