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TOPIC: How do you maintain low calorie diet without starving?

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July 31, 2012 9:18 PM
I tried the 1200 calorie diet, but it was not enough for me. I lost weight WAY too quickly and ended up messing with my period and didn't have enough calories to exercise.

I changed it up to 1400 and I'll let myself go up to 1500, but not more than 1400 average for the week.

Also, PIRATE"S BOOTY. Its like styrofoam with flavor. Fantastic, low calories, etc. And homemade popcorn with olive oil.

Good luck!

I'm 5'10 and 160 lbs, trying to get down to 150-ish again.
July 31, 2012 9:24 PM
I faced the same my first total week counting at 1200 on low carb. I immediately went to the net and googled "what are the lowest calorie foods".... there were 25 listed and it helped a lot. I'm eating a lot of those...and eating white fish and shrimp as ways to get protein and cut calories so I can add more stuff.

I also eat an Atkins advantage bar everyday..they are so good! I'm still under most days by about 200 calories.
July 31, 2012 9:24 PM
August 1, 2012 9:57 AM


I feel hungry a lot also. I'm trying to 'make friends' with that 'hunger pang' feeling, rather than thinking it's dangerous. I tell myself that pang is the feeling of losing weight, and it's good!

But here are my tricks for avoiding the feeling:
(1) I make breakfast the biggest meal of the day, and load on the protein. It has "staying power" to get me through to lunchtime.
(2) When I feel hunger pangs in the afternoon, I drink a giant glass of water.
(3) Lifting weights seems to kill my hunger pangs, so that's kind of a motivator to get to the gym.

I have been working out and dieting all summer with very little results, by the way. At the beginning of the summer I set my stats to lose one pound per week and guess what? I lost zero pounds per week. So I reset my stats to drop two pounds per week. I immediately started losing weight, but I also started feeling hunger pangs. Maybe it just comes with the territory.

I am glad to know I am not the only one with that feeling! =) I just need to find a way to deal with it, I guess. My weight seems to go up and down, up and down and I realize I can't be too excited every time I lose a bit of weight. =( Yes, I am trying that breakfast = biggest meal of the day... and I do feel better when I eat a lot in the morning. Thanks for the suggestions!

Good work! Keep it up, and the pounds will eventually come off. The most important exercise you do every day is to keep on keeping on. Quitting gets you nothing.
August 1, 2012 10:02 AM
try eating a big bowl of air popped popcorn if you want spray it with pam and thensalt and a lg glass of water I garenty you wont be hungry at midnight and even if you go over you wont gain weight from it !flowerforyou
August 1, 2012 10:52 AM

try eating a big bowl of air popped popcorn if you want spray it with pam and thensalt and a lg glass of water I garenty you wont be hungry at midnight and even if you go over you wont gain weight from it !flowerforyou

Huh?? Do tell me what causes weight gain then. yes if you go over but remain in a deficit you won't gain but this is true of any food you eat. "Going over" your TDEE will cause a gain, period.
August 1, 2012 10:57 AM
I found high protein snacks (3-5 almonds) and lowering my carbs to under 50% made me a lot less hungry. Also, I know things that are high in PROCESSED carbs - white flour, white rice, quick oats - make me really hungry after 90 minutes or so. Low processed foods and I feel more and more full for the first few hours after I eat.

I also never let myself get hungry. First little hint of hunger and I pop an almond or two or a cherry tomato or even a teaspoon of ice cream. My 'folk theory' is that I'm teaching my body that I'm not really starving it - food is readily available. My more scientific theory is that I am keeping my blood sugar/insulin levels at a fairly steady level that doesn't trigger hunger.

Anyway, I am virtually never hungry now - even on those days when I (accidentally) net under 1000 calories.
Edited by nxd10 On August 1, 2012 11:00 AM
August 1, 2012 11:01 AM
I can eat all day long and still only hit 1200. Lots of fruits and veggies so I can munch on food all day and nuts and protein to keep me full.
August 1, 2012 11:24 AM

Easy. Reduce carbs, eat more healthy fat. Fat helps keep you full and is less depressing than low fat/high carb *cheesy grin*

^^This is what works for me. Im not cutting carbs out completely anymore, but if I tried to eat all nonfat low fat food all day i'd be starving. a little peanut butter, avacado or nuts really keeps the hunger at bay for me. I'm allowed 1500 but I never hit that always short...and i'm not hungry
August 1, 2012 11:28 AM
Try eating small "healthy snacks" often and skip the idea of three meals a day. I eat all the time. Oatmeal, yougurt,baby carrots etc. Get awaw from big meals and eat when your body tells you to. Also if you cant keep you caloric intake down, don't feel guilty, just exercise.
August 1, 2012 12:03 PM
I had a really hard time with it when I first started - I would feel really tired and sometimes get pretty cranky. But after about two weeks of holding to it, I started to settle in alright. I think one of the biggest things is that your stomach will shrink or expand based on how large your meals are regularly. So when I had been eating a lot of large meals, I would frequently feel like I was hungry, verses eating small items throughout the day, which helps to make you feel less hungry constantly.

The easiest way I found to do this was to concentrate on foods that give you a lot of bulk for the calories. I really like boiled broccoli with salt and pepper, which is 100-200 calories for the entire head (depending on its size). Low-calorie crackers, most fruits and veggies, and cottage cheese are good go-tos.

I also found it easier in the beginning to get pre-packaged foods (I know there are a lot of people who are going to disagree with this one, but whatever, it worked for me). It was a lot easier to put up with eating celery sticks (5 calories each...) to feel full if I knew I could look forward to a 250 calorie lean pocket or 300 calories worth of chicken nuggets in the evening! That also helped since I'm a college student, so it was too hard for me to buy lots of ingredients that involve lots of preperation, and a lot easier to stuff an apple and some crackers in a bag, or microwave something in the evening. Cheaper, too.
August 1, 2012 12:12 PM
For me, I find that I'm not really hungry in the morning so I just drink coffee which seems to curb my hunger until around lunch time. At lunch I eat some sort of low-calorie meal and on days that I'm extra hungry, I add a salad with lots of veggies and fat free salad dressing. Then for snacks I eat fruit to curb my hunger. But the key for me is exercise. I exercise so I can eat more rather than starving myself all the time. For example, I'm planning to burn around 600 calories later on the treadmill, so I get 600 more calories to eat today. To me...that is a huge motivation to exercise each day. But I will admit that when I try to stay under 1200 calories, I am hungry at times.
August 1, 2012 5:24 PM
I just took a look at your food diary, and you should find foods that fill you without being high in calories.

I know this is hard, as an Asian myself I do miss cup ramen, but you will have to start eating foods higher in protein and fiber (makes you fuller) and lower in fat and refined carbs.

First you need to cook more. When you eat out instead of cook, most restaurants use a lot of oil and butter to make it taste better but this adds calories.

Also you need to find low calorie substitutes - for example Miracle noodles are made out of mushrooms that have no calories and are much healthier than ramen noodles which are flour fried in oil. And multigrain whole wheat bread has fiber that will make you feel full longer than white bread. Another strategy is eating closer to Japanese style food rather than Chinese style (less grease).

For example one of my favorite Asian meals that I cook is a lean pork chop from Trader Joe's sliced with some chopped up vegetables for fiber with miracle noodles in a light fish broth - all this in a huge bowl makes me very very full for hours (some times I don't even need dinner), but is less than 400 calories, most of which are protein.
August 3, 2012 4:29 PM


Just eat as many 0 calorie foods as you can bc they dont count

Agree I like paper (shredded paper goes down easier). That keeps me full all the time.

Ah, that`s the trick!
Edited by Aedrah On August 3, 2012 4:30 PM
September 25, 2012 3:25 PM
September 25, 2012 3:33 PM
Eat a low carb, high fat whole food diet to lose weight without hunger. I didn't read any of these other posts so I don't know if it's been suggested and you're not interested or not but here's a link to what I'm talking about:

LCHF for beginners:
September 25, 2012 3:34 PM
When I switched to a vegan diet (I am vegetarian now -- I couldn't stay away from the cheese!), I found that you can eat a TON of vegetables and lots of fruits (but not all fruits because some have a very high sugar content) to fill yourself up. You can literally gorge yourself on vegetables if you so desired and still be under your limit. Of course, this is only eating plain vegetables. I would not suggest eating just tons of veggies for every meal but for a snack it is good because you can actually eat a lot more than you would if you just had a normal snack.

Another thing to to remember with MFP is to put your exercise into your diary, because it rearranges your calorie intake.

Good luck! If it gets unbearably hungry for you, just change your weightloss goal a bit because 1200 can be a little ridiculous for some people.
September 25, 2012 3:37 PM
I can't eat enough calories and I'm worried. I eat and eat, but only get in about 1000 and I'm stuffed. I'm looking for foods to add that won't raise my fats, carbs or sugars too much.... mostly my calories. Someone recommended Hormel 70% fat free pepperoni and that has helped as well as the powdered peanut butter and cream cheese on my wraps.
September 25, 2012 3:39 PM
also drink enough water! it helps to fill you up
Edited by mandyysue On September 25, 2012 3:40 PM
September 25, 2012 3:40 PM
I find that if I meet my protein macros I am not hungry. I set my macros to 40/30/30 for carbs/fat/protein and it's pretty hard for me to keep my carbs that low, but I can keep my calories down if I try to eat: protein and a fruit for breakfast, protein and vegetable for lunch, protein and a fruit for snack, protein and a vegetable and a complex carb for dinner.

I also like the Jamie Eason approved foods list, you can just pick and choose your preferences for meals. It's here:
September 25, 2012 3:40 PM
Honestly, you may just need to bump up your calorie intake. 1200 is way too low for most people, especially if you're active and working out.

Slow and steady wins the race. Eating more and losing slower is going to be more maintainable over the long run, because you'll be less hungry and more likely to stick to your plan. You may lose faster at 1200, but how long can you stick to that?

Also, keeping active certainly helps. I find my appetite is smaller on days I'm active, plus once I add in my exercise calories, I get to eat more.
September 25, 2012 3:41 PM
Try eating low gi, so that your blood sugar stays stable throughout the day, like brown rice, sweet potato, basmati rice, new potatoes, lots green veggies & NO processed food. Rick Gallop Gi diet book is ace. I eat 4 meals day & 2 snacks & rarely go over 1200 cals.
September 25, 2012 3:43 PM
I also have trouble eating 1200 a day. My average is 500-600 and after I spend 30 minutes on my elliptical and burning 450 calories MFP wants me to eat more. I work 3rd shift and don't really eat anything but sandwiches through the week. the good thing is that I've lost 5 pounds in a week. I also count weight watcher points.
September 25, 2012 3:45 PM

I was having a difficult time recently trying to stay at 1200 calories but opted to up my caloric intake to 1350 per day and increase my activities. By increasing my workouts, I can earn extra calories to my daily intake. Yes it's extra work but it allows me to indulge a little so I don't feel like I'm being deprived of anything.

Same exact thing here except I went to 1300. Plus, working out makes me feel less hungry and keeps me from snacking when I'm just bored.

I also eat small meals constantly. I eat about 60-100 cal every hour in the morning by taking my lunch apart and eating it piece by piece. Then I get home and have a big (600+ cal) dinner and go exercise to keep my mind off eating for the rest of the night. I also drink a TON of water (usually seltzer water with no cal) and skip on juice. I watch my calcium intake and build a cup of milk in before bed if I'm low.

Btw, my 60-100 cal snacks are plain nonfat greek yogurt, mozzarella string cheese, 100-200g of raspberries, strawberries or watermellon, a small apple and/or 2oz maple turkey.

I DO eat back my exercise calories. If I don't want to eat them today, I horde them for the end of the week and go out to dinner with my friends for a monstrously delicious 1000+cal meal. I horde for dinner too because it allows me to eat things my boyfriend likes that tend to be higher in calories. I usually have a light breakfast (350ish or less) at like 9am AFTER I get to school/work so that it lasts longer. Eating at 6-7am made me STARVING by 9am but I discovered that if I just made breakfast and brought it along I could put up with being hungry until 9.
Edited by crimsoncat On September 25, 2012 3:49 PM
September 25, 2012 3:52 PM

I also have trouble eating 1200 a day. My average is 500-600 and after I spend 30 minutes on my elliptical and burning 450 calories MFP wants me to eat more. I work 3rd shift and don't really eat anything but sandwiches through the week. the good thing is that I've lost 5 pounds in a week. I also count weight watcher points.

trouble as in it's hard to eat more?

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