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I am very fat and want to lose weight as fast as possible. Is 600 calories OK?

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answered 09:36 AM EST, Fri February 17, 2012
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I am very fat. I am 23 years old and 5 foot 9 and I weigh 240 pounds…and it is not muscle. I am tired of being fat and I want to lose this weight as quickly as I can. I am determined to do it this time. I plan on doing a calorie journal and tracking everything I put in my mouth. I was thinking about aiming to eat just 600 calories per day, or about 200 calories for 3 small meals per day.
I know that this is a fairly small amount of calories but I am thinking it is safe since my body has so much fat that it can burn for fuel. Is there any danger to eating such a small amount each day?

William Anderson Says...

It's great that you are tired of being fat and want to change this. I can assure you that this heartfelt desire will produce the success you want if you approach things correctly.

Actually, what needs to be changed can be changed quickly, and you can feel like the job is done in a matter of weeks. However, it's not your body that needs to be changed as much as your thinking and habits. If you focus on changing your thinking and habits, you'll feel very successful very soon, and your body will start to change as a result, not as quickly as you might like, but in a way more important, healthy and lasting than quick weight loss that doesn't last. Dramatic permanent weight loss is the inevitable result of getting your eating habits right.

However, getting your weight down to what you want will take a while. Also, to be successful, you need to develop habits that you'll have for life, so what's the rush? Doing something that you can't live with, like a 600-calorie diet, will not help. Eventually, you'll have to do something you can live with, and if you've not developed habits of eating what you like in the right ways, you'll just go back to what made you overweight and regain it. There is a better way.

To answer your question about the safety of a 600-calorie diet, it is absolutely not safe. It is a prescription for health problems. Very Low Calorie (VLC) diets around 600 calories have been used under medical supervision, with special diets mainly of protein and supplements, when a person's life depends on rapid weight loss. Even then, they are medically monitored constantly and used only for short periods of time. You risk serious health problem if you attempt it without close medical supervision and intervention.

Your body needs specific nutrients to run every day, not just the energy of calories from stored fat. If you don't get enough protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals from the food you are eating, your body will strip them from your muscle, bones and organs to stay alive. You will suffer malnutrition and disease, perhaps be at risk of sudden death. Extended starvation, which a 600-calorie diet is, is serious. I'm sure you've heard of the RDA, the recommended daily allowance of all the nutrients I mentioned that the medical professionals believe is absolutely necessary to stay healthy. It is next to impossible to get them all from food with less than 1200 calories worth of food, even if you had a dietician's carefully formulated diet of all the right foods. That's why you hardly ever hear of doctors' diets of less than 1000 for women and 1500 for men. And when you are eating that little, you need to be making the right choices of foods, in variety and balance, to get the nutrients, besides taking vitamins and minerals, like a one-a-day pill.

Rest assured, there is a way to lose weight that is healthy, results oriented, and satisfying. I lost 140 pounds in about 18 months once I figured it out, and I've maintained my ideal body weight for over 25 years since then. It's a method of Behavioral Therapy that I teach to clients and other therapists. I call it The Anderson Method. I've written a book about it of the same name and I'm training other therapists to provide it in their own towns. You can learn more about it at http://www.TheAndersonMethod.com .

I congratulate you on your decision to lose weight, and I encourage you to know that it can be done. Put your overall health first, and you'll be able to do it in a way that will make your whole life better. If you seek quick weight loss without regard to other more important considerations, you not only risk failure, but serious health consequences.

I'm happy you've decided to get to work on this. Write again if I can help.

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