The 1000 Calorie Diet: The Secret To Rapid Weight Loss Or Complete BS?

April 8, 2021 | 183 Comments

1000 calorie diet

Hey you!

Yes you, reading this article.

I know what you’re thinking…

1000 calories per day.

“Man if I just went on a 1000 calorie diet, I would lose weight so fucking fast.”

“I could lose like 50 pounds in 6 weeks if I just ate 1000 calories per day.”

Oh but my friend, I hate to burst your bubble.

A lot of people like the idea of 1000 calories a day.

It’s a nice round number and it’s associated with rapid fat loss.

Problem is, it doesn’t always work in the way most people intend it to.

The#1 problem with a 1000 calorie diet

Does eating 1000 calories per day work?

Yes, if you’ve spent your whole life eating 3000+ calories per day, then dropping to 1000 calories per day is going to result in weight loss.

Nothing mind blowing there.

And let’s put aside issues like muscle loss and not getting enough nutrients.

The #1 problem with doing a 1000 calorie per day diet, above all else, is adherence.

In other words, people can’t stick with this shit long term.

90% of people who do 1000 calorie diets are in the “I want to lose weight as fast as possible” mindset.

This means they don’t give a fuck about anything else but bringing the scale down.

But deep down these people know that they’re just looking for a magic bullet solution to fix their shitty habits.

Eating 1000 calories a day will likely help you lose weight, but it’s damn near impossible to maintain.

Focus on fixing your habits. Focus on finding a sustainable way to create a calorie deficit.

But no wants to hear that.

That advice is just way too logical 🙂

Who should eat 1000 calories a day?

While I’m not a huge fan of telling people to eat 1000 calories a day, there are a few groups of people who would benefit from doing it.

Group 1: Short people weight loss

Group 2: People with 30+ pounds to lose

Group 3: People who want to eat a lot on the weekend and still lose weight

And this isn’t just mindlessly following a 1000 calorie diet. It’s eating 1000 calories per day in context of your goals and lifestyle.

Group 1: Shorter people who don’t weigh a lot

short people calories

Who should use this: People on the shorter side and weigh 120 pounds and below.

I ain’t hating on short people.

But truth is, shorter people just can’t eat as much, especially if they aren’t active.

Reality is, if you’re 5’1” and weigh 110 pounds, then yes, you’ll likely need to eat as little as 1000 calories if you want to lose weight.

That’s just the truth.

But if you’re on the shorter side, you need to first ask yourself: Do I even need to lose weight?

Using the same example, if you are 5’1” and weigh 105 pounds, is losing weight really the right move?

Everyone I encounter who wants to lose weight at this height and weight range just wants to “look better” (vague as fuck, I know).

But looking better doesn’t always equal losing weight.

In a lot of these cases, these people would do better focusing on getting stronger and building muscle.

Building more muscle will also let you eat more food.

The big issue here is that these people have spent all of their lives obsessed with the scale.

So when I tell them to pay less attention to the scale, start lifting heavy weights, and eat more, they tell me to fuck off.

(Okay, they don’t tell me to fuck off, but they don’t listen to me).

If your goal is to “look better,” then explore the possibility that maybe losing weight isn’t the answer and maybe you just need to build muscle and strength. 2

Group 2: People with 30+ pounds to lose

1000 calorie a day meal

Who should use this: People with 30+ pounds to lose

With Group 2, we have people with a lot for weight to lose (30+ pounds).

The more you weigh, the longer you can stay on a 1000 calorie per day diet without any crazy negative effects.

Your body can survive longer because you have more body fat to fuel it.

So someone with 30+ pounds to lose can likely stay on a 1000 calorie diet for a few weeks without negative effects.

But I’m not going to recommend that since a few weeks is just too unrealistic.

Here’s my protocol for people with a lot of weight to lose and want to try a 1000 calorie diet:

If you have 30+ pounds to lose, you can eat 1000 calories per day for a week.

After the week, transition to a more sustainable diet – one where your daily calorie intake is about 10-12x your bodyweight in pounds.

Very simple.

Don’t fuck this up.

Knowing people, they will fuck it up.

But man, just follow the tip I just gave.

It’s 2 steps:

Step 1: Eat 1000 calories for a week.
Step 2: After the one week, set your daily calorie intake to daily calorie intake to 10-12x your bodyweight in pounds.

I swear to fucking shit, if someone leaves a comment asking me if they can do this for more than a week, I will punch a goldfish.

Think of the 1000 calorie week as a “jumpstart” to your weight loss.

You could probably do it longer, but most people just can’t maintain such a large deficit.

This is not a crash diet.

This is not a quick fix or hack.

It’s a jumpstart.

Some people lose up to 15 pounds in a single week.

But remember that the majority will be water weight which is is good to lose as well.

Once you transition to a more sustainable and realistic diet like I said in Step 2, your weight loss will taper off eventually into the realm of 1-2 pounds per week.

Group 3: People who want to eat a lot on the weekend and still lose weight

1000 calories a day diet

Who should use this: People who want to eat a crap ton of food on the weekend and still lose weight.

This is is exactly what I recommend you to do if you know you’re going to go out on the weekend and drown in an orgy of beer, burgers, and fries.

Here’s the 3-step process to pulling this off:

Step 1: 1-2 days out of the week, eat just 1000 calories. I recommend eating just one meal during this day to make the meal more filling. You can do 2-3 meals but then each meal becomes tiny as balls. Also make this day a high protein, low carb, low fat day. That means 90% of your calories should be pure protein. I recommend a lot of lean meat and veggies.

Step 2: On the day you know you’re going to be eating a lot, enjoy yourself. Don’t be stupid and binge but there’s no need to count calories. Still make sure to get plenty of protein.

Step 3: On all other days of the week, follow a more conventional diet where your daily calorie intake is around 10-12x your bodyweight in pounds.

By inserting one or two 1000 calorie days during the week, you’ve effectively created a “buffer” for you to enjoy yourself on the weekend and still lose weight.

When it comes to weight loss, your overall weekly calories matter more than your exact daily calorie intake.

You can eat in a surplus on one day, but as long as you course correct that somewhere else during the week, you’ll usually be fine.

Note: If you’re going to try any of the 3 approaches and need a solid workout routine, I recommend Superhero X12.

183 Comments - Leave Your Thoughts

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  1. Hi, I LOVE your advice. I am a 52 year old female. My weight is 254.6 and I have tried SEVERAL diet calculators and they all tell me different calorie amounts as a daily allowance ????? This confuses me. Maybe because i’m old LOL. I was doing low carb (20 or less) on and off. I really started HATING meat. So I decided to do low calorie but I cant figure out how many calories I should eat. Right now I am eating 1000 a day. I’m just using it to jumpstart me. I am 5ft 3in if that helps. Thanks

    1. all calculators are different since they all have diff inputs and factors. At your weight, 1000 per day is fine for a bit, but something more sustainable would be 1800-2000 per day

  2. Hi Keith,

    It was a great read, highly informational.
    I am 33 year old, female, 5’2” weighing 145 pound, I want to loose 25 pounds. A friend suggested 1000 cal diet with no carbs and sugar. What would you suggest can I try it for short period say. 1 month and then go to some sustainable calorie intake. Also what would be sustain calorie intake for me. Thanks

  3. I’m 5’4 female weighing ~160lbs. I used to be super thin and fit, but over the past two years I’ve put on nearly 45lbs. I can’t seem to get the weight off. I’m young, so I don’t know what my issue is.
    I’ve decided to do a 1wk 1000calorie diet and then from there start a 1600 calorie healthy eating diet. I’m two days into the 1000 calorie diet and I feel pretty good about the healthy choices I’ve been making. Cooking more is fun too. I’m really hoping this will help me lose the weight. I want to lose 30 pounds total, but I’ve decided to set a 15 pound goal for the year.

  4. Hi Keith, I am a 53 yr old female. I am 4′ 11″ I’m a vegetarian. I weigh 148 lbs. and I want to be 125. It’s hard to find a vegetarian diet. Can you help me find one that will work for 1000 calories pls.

  5. 14 yo, 5’4 Female, weighing in at 106 pounds right now, lost about 5 pounds in a couple of weeks and my BMI is at 18.8, I didn’t know why until I calorie counted each day and found I was only eating about 1,000 calories each day. I’m not underweight and I don’t really want to start eating more because I feel bloated and sick, but is it safe to keep eating so little?

    1. you really dont need to be dieting at this age, your body isnt even developed yet. Please dont be in a rush. I know too many people who started at your weight and age and tried extreme dieting and developed eating disorders down the road. If you feel bloated, try eating less processed foods and eat stuff that whole and natural.

  6. Hi, just happened on this while browsing. I’m 64, 5’8″ and a couple of months ago weighed 326lb- not v healthy. I’m in self isolation due to the pandemic and have dropped 26lb by following a very similar path to that which you suggest. Weight loss now about 2lb a week, and I eat about 1500 cals a day. So for other readers, Keith is absolutely right with what he’s saying.

  7. Im 30 y/o male, 6’2 and 247lbs. I was 227lbs prior to the pandemic 🙁 and eating about 3500cal/day and STILL losing weight because my job was so intense (I was 280 when I started the job). Unfortunately that 3500/day translated in pandemic work was a net gain of 20lbs over 3 months.

    Been trying to get my cals down low for the past week now. Ive mostly been at about 1500-1800 with multiple failed 24hr fasts (more a willpower test). Did 1000ish today and feeling pretty good. Trying foods I never actually was interested in (like eggs). Started doing some Yoga and planking.

    Interesting enough, before this weight gain I never actually paid attention to what I ate or gave a damn about my body (besides if it was high in sodium).Im determined now to get down to 180 and get my BMI lower and in a safer range. This post was a good motivational read. Thanks

  8. I’m 16yo I am on a wrestling team and need to stay fit I weigh 170 pounds. I want to lose 45 pounds. I want to lose the weight fast what should I do.

  9. I am 5′ 6″ and weigh 205. I’m hugh. I need to loose 75 pounds. I’m 67 years old and have COPD. So exercising is out of the question. I was always a size 6 (now an 18) until I quit smoking 16 years ago. Now all I do is gain weight. I never feel full. But I’m trying the 1000 calorie a day diet. I’ve seen it work on others. Help me.

  10. Hey. Good advice. I’m 250 pounds, 61, male, and my only medical issues are hypertension and spinal matters being treated – stenosis etc. Been losing awhile, but its stopped. I’ve lost 85 pounds already over a year and a half. I have 50 more to go, and have badly plateaued, even with the following: I’m stuck sedentary at home in post-virus lockdown, except for a fast walk everyday at 4mph flat ground on the balcony- It’s all the energy I’ve got. The rest of my day is reading, internet, and T.V. I do 15 minutes of physical therapy prescribed exercises a day – stretching mostly. I eat what I am told is about 2000 calories a day, but the big breakfast makes it more I think. No snacks, No or little sugar, no junk food. 3 whole fruit a day. Veggies. Oatmeal, eggs. cheese, bacon, half a bagel breakfast. small lunch and dinner. 4 quarts of water a day one diet pop. I should be losing by deficit. I’m not though at present. I’m 5’11”. No programs that cost money are in my forecast, as I’m on a fixed income. Thanks. Your thoughts? I’d sure appreciate it.

    1. you might be eating more than you think. If you’re actually getting 2000 per day, you def should be dropping weight.

  11. I do 1000 calorie spans regularly, usually 1-2 weeks a month. I’m 6’3” @ 192-200 lbs. I have done this for years. I mix this with intermittent fasting using 8:16 spread over two-3 meals.

    I work out of town a lot, so I have routines that are pretty regular. At noon I eat at chipotle, salad: steak or carnitas with black beans (no rice) 2 scoops mild and two scoops tomatillo salsa. Then at 6 I usually make a sandwich and eat half. Then at 8 I eat the other half.

    I will usually drop 4-5 lbs each week I do this. Then in the alternating weeks or on weekends my weight will bump back up. So it’s like a narrow seesaw 190-200 lbs that I just float up and down.

    I also do stairs and weight lifting to keep muscle mass. This is really important when you are doing low calorie intake. If you do t your body will burn muscle and fat so you will end up being a smaller but just as flabby version of yourself. Lift weights and keep the muscle while losing the fat.

  12. Hi, i am a female aged 66 i am only 4 ft 10 in height weighing a huge amount for my height of 177 lbs. i have been doing between 1000/1200 cals a day For 10 weeks and lost 9 lbs the first 6 weeks but not a sausage in the last 4 weeks, weight loss seem’s to have come to a standstill. I know if i up my calories the weight will go back on as have learned from experience i cannot have any more cals without gaining. I am eating sensibly I have just cut out any of the rubbish and having 3 meals a day. Doing some gentle exercise as well. I would be grateful for any advice from yourself.

    1. 9 lbs in 6 weeks is a lot and weight loss is never linear. Chances are you might just be holding water. You can increase cals slightly for 1-2 weeks. then go back to 1000 per day. That should break the plateau.

  13. I just came here to say thank you for this post. You just saved me from the possibility of flinging myself into an eating disorder.

  14. I am 205 and 5’6″. I lost 75 lbs 5 years ago and over the past year I have put on 25 lbs. Im assuming its due to menopause. Im healthy and in pretty good shape, except for the weight gain. I dont eat a lot, but I eat healthy. I went to a nutritionist and she put me in 1800 calories a day. I gained 10 lbs over a month, and honestly….I felt like I was stuffing myself with food…but hey…don’t want to slow down the metabolism. Personally…I’d rather have a slow metabolism than be fat! So, how do I drop 25 lbs? If 1000 calories works for me…if Im healthy and happy why is 1000 calories stupid?

    1. Look, if you’re eating 1800 a day and gaining weight, chances are you’re not actually eating 1800. If you want, track EVERY SINGLE THING you eat for the next week, take pictues of every single thing you eat, and email it to me. Don’t lie or leave out any meal or snack. Every single piece of food or drink counts.

      I’ll tell you if you’re accurate with your cals.

  15. Hi, I am 37 years old female, 5’1 and 185 lbs. I need to lose at least 30lbs in 30 days for a fitness test. Back in May I was 147 lbs, I’ve gained almost 40lbs in five months after some health and musculoskeletal issues… I was put on steroid meds which did not help the process. Now I have 30 to get to at least 150lbs. What do you suggest?

    1. that’s….not happening. Sorry Kyla. You gained 40 lbs in 5 months, you just cant lose 30 in a month without putting your life in danger.

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