How Much Weight Can You Lose On 1,000 Calories a Day?

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Joe is an online weight loss coach and qualified personal trainer of 15 years who helps busy, professional men and women lose fat and build muscle.

Having a 9-5 desk-job, Joe understands the struggles of juggling a hectic life with trying to maintain a good physique.

If you want to know more, check out the about page, or get in touch

If I Eat 1000 Calories a Day Will I Lose weight?

1,000 calories per day is low enough for almost anyone to lose weight. For men, this would be classed as a very low-calorie intake, and for women it’s low.

I can almost guarantee that if you eat 1,000 calories a day consistently, you definitely WILL lose weight.

The real question is, how long can you maintain it?

Let’s say your maintenance calories (the number of calories you need to maintain your weight) is 2,000 per day .If you ate 1,000 per day, you’d be in a 1,000 calories deficit every day.

Over a week, that would be a deficit of 7,000 calories.

That would produce exactly 2 pounds of weight loss.So, if you want to lose 20lbs, you need to eat 1,000 calories per day for ten weeks.

And there are VERY few people that have the discipline to do that or are willing to make the number of sacrifices required to stick to that calorie level for more than a couple of weeks.

For most people, eating 1,000 calories a day means giving up on;

  • Treats and snacks throughout the day
  • Takeaways/takeout food
  • Drinks with friends
  • Lunches and dinners out
  • Letting loose at events like weddings or birthdays
  • Indulging in food and drink on holiday

And EVEN if you are happy to sacrifice all of that for a significant period of time, you may even need to take more drastic measures and pay attention to things you would have before like;

  • Milk in tea and coffee
  • Cooking oil
  • Bites/tastes here and there
  • Condiments/sauces like Mayo and Ketchup

Is 1,000 Calories a Day Enough For The Average Person?

The question really isn’t ‘is 1,000 calories a day enough for weight loss because the answer is a resounding yes.

The question is, is 1000 enough to allow you to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle?

And the answer to that for most people is probably not.

Even if you don’t like going out to eat, or getting takeaway now and again, most people stil find pleasure in food, and realistically, 1,000 calories a day is going to mean denying yourself of that for quite a long time.

The other thing to consider is, is 1,000 calories going to have you enough physical energy to do what you need to do?

If you have a physical job, the answer is almost definitely notIf you are weight training in the gym or training for and playing a sport, the answer will also be no 

So Who Is 1,000 Calories a Day Right For?

Well, if you have a very sedentary job, i.e. sitting at a desk all day, AND you are relatively initiative in your spare time, 1,000 calories a day might be ok.

In my opinion, the only people this sort of calorie level will work for are;

  • Women (NO, this is NOT a sexist statement/assumption, women are generally lighter and have less muscle mass than men, meaning they need fewer calories to maintain or lose weight)
  • Has a sedentary job
  • Has previous dieting experience (If you haven’t dieted before, suddenly eating 1,000 calories is going to be a HUGE shock)
  • Already very light. The lighter you are, the lower your metabolism will be, and therefore your appetite will be lower, making it easier to stick to 1,000 calories

So How Much Can You Lose Eating 1 000 calories a day?

Well, this will vary dramatically from person to person.

In order to know roughly how much you’d lose by eating 1,000 calories a day, you’ll first need to know your maintenance calories.

You can calculate your maintenance calories here > LINK

If you already know your rough maintenance calories, great! The table below will give you some guidance as to how much you could expect to lose 

MAINTENANCE CALORIESDAILY CALORIE DEFICIT (ON 1K CALORIES PER DAY)WEEKLY CALORIE DEFICIT (ON 1K CALORIES PER DAY)WEEKLY WEIGHT LOSS (POUNDS)MONTHLY WEIGHT LOSS (POUNDS)WEEKLY WEIGHT LOSS (KG)MONTHLY WEIGHT LOSS (KG)
15005003500140.51.8
175075052501.560.72.7
200010007000280.93.6
2250125087502.5101.14.5
25001500105003121.45.5
27501750122503.5141.66.4
30002000140004161.87.3

So you can see from the chart above roughly how much you’d lose each week and each month by eating 1,000 calories a day

What Does 1,000 Calories a Day Look Like?

Well, it can look like quite a lot of food – just check out the sample 1,000-calorie-a-day meal plan below.

What you’ll notice however is that is very fruit and veg heavy.

Eating a ton of fruit and veg will be vital to bulk out meals as much as possible while keeping calories to a minimum

1,000 Calories a Day Results

Again if you refer to the chart above, you’ll see the predicted results from eating 1,000 calories a day.

N.B. Results will vary from person to person, and achieving the exact results laid out above would depend on tracking calories very accurately

It also relies on everything staying exactly the same; if you start exercising more, you’ll lose weight quicker. Start exercising LESS and the rate of loss will be slower!

One other thing to be aware of is that as you lose weight, your metabolism will reduce (and therefore your maintenance calories will come down).

This means that you MAY need to eat less than 1,000 calories at some point if you have a specific weight loss goal in mind.

You’ll generally be able to spot when this point comes as your weight will plateau for a week (or more), providing you’re tracking your weight on a regular basis – I recommend daily weight tracking.

How Much Can You Lose in a Week?

Well, if you’re an average male with a maintenance calorie level of 2,500 per day, you can expect to lose 3lbs, or 1.4kg per week eating 1,000 calories a day.

If you’re an average female with a maintenance calorie level of 1,750 per day, you could expect to lose 1.5lbs per week, or 0.7kg per week.

How Much Can You Lose in a Month?

Using the numbers above, if you’re an average male, you could expect to lose 12lbs or 5.5kg a month eating 1,000 calories a day.

Average females can expect to lose around 6lbs a month or 2.7kg a month eating 1,000 calories a day

Is Eating 1000 Calories a Day Bad For Your Health?

Well, that really depends on son your lifestyle.

As mentioned above, if you’re a heavy male, with an active job and you train and/or play sports outside of work, then yes, eating 1,000 calories a day is not going to turn out well for you.

In fact, it’s just downright impractical.

Eating so few calories is potentially going to have negative impacts on;

  • Your mood
  • Concentration
  • Productivity and alertness at work
  • Performance in the gym or on the sports field

And, depending on your job, your centration levels could mean the difference between life and death. In this case, that low of calorie intake is simply unsafe

If you operate complex heavy machinery at work, or you’re in the police fire service, just think about all the dangerous situations that could arise out of a lack of concentration.

The benefits of super fast weight loss are outweighed by all the disadvantages in this case, and that’s before you even take into account how it’ll impact your enjoyment of life.

So, before you start this crazy low-calorie diet, you need to seriously consider the impact it might have on your safety, and livelihood lifestyle.

But what about your overall health?

Well, eating so few calories could make it hard to get all the macro and micronutrients into your diet that you need for overall health and well-being.

While this doesn’t pose an immediate danger to your safety, it could impact your health in the longer term, especially if you plan on doing this diet for a long period of time

What Does The Science Say?

This 2013 study found that people eating 1,000 calories a day lost more weight than people on 1,500 calories a day.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, lower calorie diets will result in greater weight loss by default, BUT what is interesting is that the participants eating 1,000 calories a day saw greater weight regain in the long term.

This reinforces the theory that while eating 1,000 calories a day is of course possible, the likelihood is that it will ultimately lead to binging and a return to poor eating habits.

This sentiment is echoed in this 2011 study which suggests that small reductions in calorie intake e.g. 100 calories per day cooped with physical activity have a greater likelihood of producing long-term, sustainable weight loss.

This means that if your maintenance calorie level is 1,500 per day, you could eat 1,400 calories (and perhaps burn an additional 100-200 per day by doing some moderate exercise) and although the weight loss would be slower than it would be on a 1000 calorie a day diet, it would be mich easier to maintain.

This 2020 study defines a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet as a ‘low-calorie diet’ and an 800-calorie-a-day diet as a ‘very low-calorie diet’. 

This study recommends 1,000-1,500 calorie-a-day diets for routine weight management but says 800 calories a day (and below) diets should only be ‘used in limited circumstances such as the treatment of obesity or diabetes.

Based on ten findings of the study, a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet, therefore, treads the line between something that should be used by the general public and something that should be used more as a medical intervention.

My interpretation of this is that it should really only be used for general weight loss by people that are already very light, and very inactive.

So, the weight of evidence seems to point towards the opinion that 1,000 calories a day is simply going to be too low for most people just looking to lose weight

What Foods Will Help you Stick to 1,000 Calories a Day?

While it is true that it technically doesn’t matter WHAT you eat in a calorie deficit, if you are going to be on a low-calorie diet (i.e. 1,000 calories a day), you will need to pay close attention to the kinds of food you’re eating on a regular basis.

Yes, you can fit ‘fun’ foods like Pizza into pretty much any diet, but if you’re only on 1,000 calories a day, you need to be mindful that a typical slice of pizza could be around 250 calories.

That’s a HUGE chunk of your daily allowance GONE.

Yes, it’s possible but it means you’re not going to be left with many calories to play with

So, if you really do want to attempt to stick to 1,000 calories a day, then the foods you eat are going to be much more important than if you were on 1,800 calories a day, for example.

You’ll need to be sticking to foods that are;

These types of food are more likely keep you full, and provide all the micronutrients you need.

So what are these foods?

Well, as you can probably guess I’m talking about;

  • Fruits
  • Veggies
  • Lean poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • Lean fish (cod, haddock)
  • Lean red meat (rump steak, lean ground beef)
  • Low-fat dairy (e.g. skimmed milk)

Notice here how I’m not just saying ‘eat chicken’.

If you are on a very low-calorie diet, every calorie you save counts, so eating leaner cuts of chicken like breast over thighs or legs is going to save significant amounts of calories.

Below are some of the lowest calorie-density foods you can eat, along with the calories per gram.

Making foods like this the mainstay of yours it will make sticking to a very low-calorie diet much easier.

FOODCALORIE DENSITY (KCAL/G)
Lettuce0.15
Spinach0.23
Watermelon0.3
Strawberry0.32
Carrot0.4
Orange0.48
2% Fat Milk0.5
Apple0.52
Grapes0.69
Boiled Potato0.87
Banana0.89
Ketchup1
Chicken Breast (No Skin)1.1
Brown Rice1.1
White Fish (Tilapia)1.13
Tuna1.16
White Rice1.3
Pasta (Spaghetti)1.31
Pork Loin1.36
Quiona1.43
Salmon1.45
Egg1.48
Avocado1.6
Whole Wheat Bread2.48
Steak2.5

My number one tip for structuring a diet around these foods would be to include a lean protein component and a fruit or veg competent in each meal.

Below are some examples;

BREAKFAST

Low-fat Greek yoghurt with berries and honey

Protein component: Greek yoghurt

Fruit/Veg component: Blueberries, Raspberries 

LUNCH

Ham sandwich with tomato, lettuce, mustard and low fat mayo

Protein component: Ham

Fruit/veg component: Lettuce, Tomato

DINNER

Chicken breast, baked potato with sour cream and Asparagus

Protein component: Chicken breast

Fruit/veg component: Asparagus

And What Foods Should You Avoid?

Just as important, is knowing the types of foods you should be avoiding for the most part.

This is going to involve calorie-dense foods (food that has a number of calories per gram) 

These foods generally won’t fill you up, but will provide a LOT of calories. Some of the worst offenders are below.

FOODCALORIE DENSITY
White Bread2.64
Burger Patty2.82
Mozarella3
Raisins3
Fries3.07
Black Beans3.41
Frosties3.67
Mayonaise3.86
Nutella5.41
Peanuts6
Butter7.21
Olive Oil8.85

While my philosophy generally goes against banning specific foods completely, I do think that if you are limiting yourself to 1,000 calories a day, you should at least completely avoid any oil, butter, nuts or chocolate.

What Else Can you Do To Help You Stick to 1,000 calories a Day?

In order to stick to 1,000 calories a day, you’re going to have to take as many measures as possible to keep yourself feeling full and satisfied.

If you don’t manage your hunger properly, the chances are you’ll be driven to eat high-calorie-dense foods which will quickly undermine all your efforts.

Here are my best tips for keeping a lid on your hunger levels throughout the day.

Limit exercise

I know, I know this sounds mental.

If you think about weight loss, exercise is probably the first thing on your mind.

But hold up.

Exercising too much could actually undermine your main goal. How so?

Well, if you are eating 1,000 calories a day, you might decide to start burning an extra 500 calories through exercise. This is a great idea in theory because it means you get to eat an extra 500 calories.

BUT…

It takes A LOT of exercise to burn 500 calories, and that amount of exercise will most likely aggressively stimulate hunger levels.

So, rather than eating 500 calories that you burnt via exercise, you might in fact eat back 750 calories.

This means that net net, you’ve eaten 250 calories more than you would have if you’d done no exercise.

So, your best bet is to exercise moderately and aim to burn an extra 100-200 calories a day through movement.

The best way to do this?

30 minutes extra of walking a day. Simple

Enough to burn some extra calories, but not so much that you’ll end up straving.

Drink Water

Yes, drinking water is boring but it does help to fill you up.

Your aim is to fill your stomach with food or liquid that contains as few calories as possible, and water contains exactly zero calories.

Drink. More. Water.

Drink Carbonated Beverages

Even better than drinking water, is drinking carbonated water.

This study found that carbonated water produced significantly higher feelings of fullness when compared with still water.

Makes perfect sense when you think that carbonated water contains bubbles, i.e. air, which take sup more room in your stomach.

Don’t like carbonated fizzy water?

Thought so.

Don’t worry, ‘fun’ fizzy drinks like Coke, Pepsi, Sprite etc will have a similar effect, just make sure you stick to the zero calorie/zero sugar versions

Go to Bed Early

When do you tend to overeat on calorie-dense foods like chocolate or peanut butter?

Yup, late at night when you’re watching Netflix laying on the sofa.

If you’re in bed, chances are you can’t be bothered to go all the way to the kitchen to grab a snack.

So, set a bedtime of 10pm to remove the likelihood of the snack cupboard being raided.

Summary

The amount of weight you’ll lose on a 1,000 calorie diet will depend on your current weight, and your activity levels.

If you can stick to 1,000 calories a day, you will lose weight very quickly (most likely more than 2lbs per week).

But the chances are you won’t be able to because it’s just too low for most people.

Go for a more moderate calorie deficit, and lose weight in a slower sustainable way, it’ll be much easier, you have a greater chance of success, and you’ll be able to maintain it in the long term.

References

Effects of Prescribing 1,000 versus 1,500 Kilocalories per Day in the Behavioral Treatment of Obesity: A Randomized Trial: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5771240/

Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017325/

Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225890/

Oral Carbonation Attenuates Feeling of Hunger and Gastric Myoelectrical Activity in Young Women: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28757533/

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