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TOPIC: 800 Calorie Diet Recommended by Doctor

 
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June 6, 2012 11:36 AM
If you've ever heard of Medifast the calories only add up to about 800 calories per day and they have been a reputable company for years. Many doctors endorse Medifast. I know of a woman who lost 100 pounds on it and she is very healthy. I'm going to be starting the program on Saturday for 6 weeks because I gained back some of the weight I lost and am not done yet. I need the structure of Medifast. If you feel like you need to see a dietitian that's good too. Good luck on your journey. flowerforyou
Edited by SusanMcAvoy On June 6, 2012 11:39 AM
  6139819
June 6, 2012 11:37 AM
Holy crap NO! On 800 a day you'd need to be consistently supervised by a doctor. For 30lbs? I'm honestly appalled by this. I'm hypothyroid and net at least 1500 a day, my intake is 1800-2000. I've lost 43lbs. Please get a second opinion or see a dietician who specializes in dealing with Thyroid disorders.
June 6, 2012 11:38 AM
I'm a 6 foot tall male weighing 299lb (today I went under 300) the specialist told me to restrict my calories to 1200 and not to eat back exercise calories. I've been doing that for a week and have gone down from 141kg to 135.5kg. I suppose a fair amount of that will be fluid. 1200 calories seemed crazy to me 1000 less than my bmr. Seems to be working at moment so I'm going to stick to it for a while
June 6, 2012 11:39 AM
If you're feeling shaky and weak, that's telling you right there that 800 cal/day is way too freaking low, and I'm speaking as someone who's had a low-functioning thyroid for 21 years. As many other posters have already mentioned, doctors are not necessarily knowledgeable about nutrition -- hie thee to an accredited nutritionist and talk to them.

One thing that I HAVE noticed about people with low-functioning thyroids -- we tend to do better in weight loss with lower carbs and higher protein percentages in our daily intake. Make sure you tell the nutritionist about your thyroid issues and ask about bumping up your lean protein intake. And good luck!
  14072794
June 6, 2012 11:39 AM
When I decided that I wanted to get healthier I went to my doctor for a physical. I weighed close to 340 lbs. He said I needed to eat around 1600 calories in order to lose weight. (even now my cal goal is 2350, and thats at 1lb per week) I did that for 3 weeks, I lost weight, but I was miserable doing it. During the fourth week I said screw it: If being skinnier means being that miserable than I don't want to be skinny, and went right back to my old lifestyle.

QUOTE:

I tried it at first to see how that would feel & was shaky & weak.


^^^This is all you need to know. If you're comfortable at 1400 calories...and 1400 calories is effective. Roll with it. I'm not going to say weight loss is going to be comfortable all the time, but it shouldn't be miserable to the point of being shaky and weak.

I changed Doctors after I lost my first 30 lbs with MFP 6 months later.
June 6, 2012 11:41 AM
QUOTE:

I recently had a not-so-pleasant experience with a doctor who I saw because I'm having some symptoms that seem thyroid related. Turns out I'm in the low end of normal for thyroid activity - so borderline hypothyroid. I'm 43, short and have gained weight after having 3 children. I probably need to lose about 30 pounds. The doctor told me that I need to be walking for an hour a day and consume no more than 800 calories! I know this was NOT a misunderstanding since he told me verbally and also wrote it down. I knew right when he said it, that seemed like a ridiculously low calorie count and now the more I read, the more it's shocking that a Dr. would recommend it to a patient. Has anyone else ever heard of such a low cal diet? I tried it at first to see how that would feel & was shaky & weak. No surpise. MFP says I should be at 1200 (as seems to be the case for many) but I am usually at 1400 since that's how I feel best, especially when exercising & my BMR is just over that. I'm only at the beginning of this journey & havent seen the scale move yet but would love to have some insight from those who are more experienced with such a lifestyle change. That recommendation from him made me question anything else he's told me.


You said you saw "a doctor" who recommended the 800 calories per day, but did not say "my doctor" which seems to indicate this is a specialist you've just seen for the first or second time who doesn't know your medical history. Is this correct? If so, talk to your primary care/family doctor who knows your health history and see what he says. My family doctor was emphatic that nobody should go under 1200 calories per week when trying to lose weight, especially if exercising.
  19202879
June 6, 2012 11:41 AM
QUOTE:

If you're not confident in your doctors recommendation then I would get a second opinion.


This!
  3289437
June 6, 2012 11:42 AM
i have had thyroid issues for the last 10 years. I have to be on a daily medication and watch my levels with blood test every 6 months. I have had raidation treatments and have been on both sides of the scales for the levels. I have never heard of treating the side effects with a 800 caloric diet. that sounds off. I would for sure get a second opinion.
  1588671
June 6, 2012 11:43 AM
Can I throw in my 2 cents (whether I can or not, I will anyway!!!).

About 800 cal diet. I'd do it, at least for a time I would. I'm on 1000 a day diet per doc recommendation. He's been my doc for years, knows me, knows I have battled eating disorders most of my life, is understanding of my low metabolism. He said it will work and it is. Weight is coming off, albeit slowly (19 lbs since mid-Feb) and I'm taking the vitamins he recommended so I haven't had any energy loss.

About the thyroid. Have you checked into seaweed? A friend of mine has a hypothyroid and so did my father before he passed. Both use/used seaweed. What kind of seaweed? I have no friggin' idea (I do remember something about iodine if that helps). All I know is that it worked well for my father (he died of complications from bi-pass surgery, nothing to do with thyroid) and for my friend here at work (she is losing weight now she eats seaweed).

Best of luck to you!
  21398304
June 6, 2012 11:43 AM
He is an endocrinologist who loves to put people on the HCG diet. I let him know right off that I was not interested in that. I do know people who have done it - and it starts you off w/ 500 calories a day - they've lost but they have gained the weight right back. I'm not interested in a crash diet. I'm looking for a lifestyle change. He did put me on Armour (supposed to be better for you than Synthroid) and I was sweating and my heart was pounding out of my chest. Obviously, I'm not taking that anymore & I'm not sure they know what to do w/ me. My thyroid is in normal range, just at the low end of normal so many doctors would not consider me a candidate for medication.

I have enough experience with health issues that my children have had that you go to doctors for advice & possibly treatment but ultimately, they are not perfect. We've been given bad advice from doctors in the past for our kids and had to make our own decisions. My instincts have not failed me yet in that regard. Thank you for all your advice. I think seeing a dietician is an excellent idea.
June 6, 2012 11:44 AM
Unless a doctor takes "extra classes" their diet education is limited to only a few hours. My doctor also recommended I go on a less-than-1000-calorie-diet. That's primitive and only shows how little interest they ever had in learning how to treat obese people. Before I would take that advice, I would go to a dietician or nutritionist with hopes they are current in dieting and how to do it successfully. Good luck.
June 6, 2012 11:44 AM
you idiot of a doctor is trying to kill you.

does he have a masters degree in nutrition? will he be medically supervising your blood electrolytes and hormones? if you say no one of those two questions, run away.
June 6, 2012 11:44 AM
and never take diet advice form a fat doctor.
June 6, 2012 11:44 AM
I don't know- that just seems so hard and impractical. I am hypothyroid, being treated with synthroid, and have lost 133 lbs since I started. I have eaten 1600-2300 or more calories throughout my weight loss. I don't know how I could live on 800 calories a day and function!
  718405
June 6, 2012 11:44 AM
800 can totally be done. The trick make very good food choices, fill up your grocery cart from the vegetable section and you can eat lots during the day. Be carefull about the salad dressing they can kill every bit of good that you are trying to achieve. Good luck
June 6, 2012 11:45 AM
Your doctor is WRONG! You will not be able to stay on that low calorie diet for long. YOU need to find something that you can adhere to as well as something that makes sure you are getting enough nutrition. THat is one of the biggest problems with severe low calorie diets. I would up it to a minimum of 1200 calories and start moving. Moving=more calories. Try to eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables as that will help you feel satisfied and will insure a proper intake of vitamins and minerals. AND don't skimp on the protein either as you will lose muscle if you don't take in enough protein. Stick with lean meats (grassfed beef or bison is a great choice), white meat turkey or chicken, tofu, fish. Eat protein with each meal in small portions 1-2 ounces with each meal. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein make sure you get the no fat kind and try to stick to the plain or the vanilla for the lowest sugar content. Good luck! This is advice I have learned over and over again from licensed dieticians who know more about nutrition than doctors.
June 6, 2012 11:45 AM
QUOTE:

Consult an endocrinologist. If the doctor you are seeing is an endocrinologist, get a second opinion.
This is my advice. Though an endocrinologist is likely to give you similar advice. A nutritionist, no matter how good, is not going to have the depth of knowledge nor experience that a specialist doctor would.
  12987047
June 6, 2012 11:47 AM
I am 45, hypothyroid, and started at 1200/day + eating exercise calories back. I'm currently at 1800. No way I would survive on 800/day!

Become your own advocate. Do some research. Visit a nutritionist, etc.
June 6, 2012 11:51 AM
QUOTE:

He is an endocrinologist who loves to put people on the HCG diet. I let him know right off that I was not interested in that. I do know people who have done it - and it starts you off w/ 500 calories a day - they've lost but they have gained the weight right back. I'm not interested in a crash diet. I'm looking for a lifestyle change. ...My thyroid is in normal range, just at the low end of normal so many doctors would not consider me a candidate for medication.




Oh my goodness, definitely no then!! I've known a few people who got really sick from the HCG diet, and as you said, ended up gaining the weight back besides having other problems as a result. Definitely talk to your own doctor and/or a dietician/nutritionist.
  19202879
June 6, 2012 11:51 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I recently had a not-so-pleasant experience with a doctor who I saw because I'm having some symptoms that seem thyroid related. Turns out I'm in the low end of normal for thyroid activity - so borderline hypothyroid. I'm 43, short and have gained weight after having 3 children. I probably need to lose about 30 pounds. The doctor told me that I need to be walking for an hour a day and consume no more than 800 calories! I know this was NOT a misunderstanding since he told me verbally and also wrote it down. I knew right when he said it, that seemed like a ridiculously low calorie count and now the more I read, the more it's shocking that a Dr. would recommend it to a patient. Has anyone else ever heard of such a low cal diet? I tried it at first to see how that would feel & was shaky & weak. No surpise. MFP says I should be at 1200 (as seems to be the case for many) but I am usually at 1400 since that's how I feel best, especially when exercising & my BMR is just over that. I'm only at the beginning of this journey & havent seen the scale move yet but would love to have some insight from those who are more experienced with such a lifestyle change. That recommendation from him made me question anything else he's told me.


You said you saw "a doctor" who recommended the 800 calories per day, but did not say "my doctor" which seems to indicate this is a specialist you've just seen for the first or second time who doesn't know your medical history. Is this correct? If so, talk to your primary care/family doctor who knows your health history and see what he says. My family doctor was emphatic that nobody should go under 1200 calories per week when trying to lose weight, especially if exercising.


Yes, he is a doctor who specializes in thyroid/endocrine system issues. He doesn't know me except what I have told him. I think it's important for us to listen to our bodies and my body tells me that it can't function on 800 calories a day! I will listen to it.
June 6, 2012 11:52 AM
QUOTE:
Has anyone else ever heard of such a low cal diet?
Yes indeed, and less.

http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diet/newcastle-study-600-calorie-diet.html

Such diets are approved for use in the UK, they are nutritionally complete (lots of added minerals and vitamins etc). Protein sparing modified fasts are widely used. Did the doctor prescribe a particular formulation to use, or just tell you to eat less ?

Ignore the hysteria by the way, 44 days on zero calories wasn't enough to get rid of David Blaine http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200511243532124

and a morbidly obese Sctosman fasted for over a year.
  18022302
June 6, 2012 11:54 AM
I've had friends on 800 cal diiets as per doctor recommendation but both of them were in a hospital during it to be monitored and were morbidly obese so the risk of their weight outweighed any risk of the low calorie diet.
Maintaining 800 cals per day on your own would be extremely difficult and requires good planning, make all the cals whole nutritious foods. I would get the doc to refer you to a registered dietician, here with a referal gets it covered by insurance so worth looking into to in case you can see one for free there as well.
June 6, 2012 11:56 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I am no expert, but I would say that if you are under his supervision and only walking, it's no biggie. I have done it before



A brisk walk can burn over 410 calories for someone weighing 170lbs. If you add that into the equation i would say that 800 is way to low.

A couple of ideas -

Be careful taking nutritional advice from anyone who doesn't understand thyroid problems, including random strangers, friends, and Dr's. For example the above numbers are in reference to a person without a thyroid problem If you're hypothyroid you may have a lower metabolism - that's why hypothryoid folks tend to gain weight. Then again you may not have a significantly reduced metabolism. Dr's can't tell from looking at you nor can they tell from your thyroid levels. They can, however, measure your BMR (resting metabolism). Have they done this? They should! Definitely before telling you to eat 800cals a day! It should (hopefullY) be covered by your insurance if you are hypothyroid.

Also, there are some foods you should avoid and some you should try to consume more with a thyroid problem. My thyroid problem is different from yours (although similar) so won't list anything - but recommend looking into it.

Did the doc measure just TSH or T3 and T4 also? If just TSH and he prescribed medication for a thyroid problem, go to another doctor - a reputable endocrinologist right away. TSH alone does not tell the whole story. From my experience they should not prescribe medications without checking these other levels, at least every now and then.

Finally there is a hypothyroid / hyperthyroid group on MFP - I recommend joining it.

Good luck & welcome to the wacky thyroid club.
June 6, 2012 11:58 AM
QUOTE:

if you got your 800 calories from filling vegetables and fruits you could stay full all day long. but like everyone else said i'd would talk to a dietician.

If she got all her calories from fruits and veggies, her diet would contain no fat and probably very little protein. Fat is important. I think 800 calories is way too low for anyone. I eat three times that and weigh 125lbs.
June 6, 2012 12:00 PM
My endocrinologist recommended a VLCD, and so did my naturopath (my GI MD on the other hand, is... no longer my MD). I'll be going back to that soon, unless I can break through this plateau again soon. My body has a very slow metabolism and PCOS-- I'm on liothyronine and levothyroxine (Synthroid generic) but VLCDs are how I tend to lose weight (and a lack of carbs-- that too). I maintain my strength training and focus on getting mostly protein to minimize muscle loss if possible.

Get a second opinion, but your doctor may actually be right and it's probably worth a try. Fill up on lots of vegetables and lean proteins-- you can eat a surprising volume of very low calorie foods.

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