Before diets like Atkins and other low carb diets came to the market, the popular way to lose weight was a low-calorie diet plan. These diets are still popular, but it is best to follow such diets under the supervision of a doctor, especially the very low-calorie plans.
The concept behind this type of plan is very simple. Your body requires calories to do all the basic functions and day to day activities. If you cut down on calories then your body will utilize the stored fat for generating energy and you will hence shed some pounds.
The good thing about the low calorie diet plan is you can eat anything as long as you don’t exceed the daily calorie limit.
However switching to very low calories, typically less than 800-1000 calories is tricky. With very low calories your body may start utilizing lean muscles instead of fat for generating energy. And when you stop this type of diet you will gain a lot of weight fast enough. This happens because your body recognizes this as an end of famine and starts to store all that you eat as fat for later use.
If you want to follow a diet that is based on limiting calories then first thing is to decide on the minimum calories that you require for day to day functioning. For women leading a sedentary lifestyle this may be 1800-2000 calories and for men it would be 2000-2400 calories. However if you are more active then you may require an additional 500 calories per day.
The second step would be to keep a track of caloric intake. You will have to read the labels on food items and maintain a dairy to keep track of what you eat. This is critical if you are serious about a low calorie diet plan. There is no point in guessing and following this diet. You will have to know the exact amount of calories that you are consuming.
When you cut down on calories you are bound to feel hungry. This is because the portion sizes will be much smaller and your stomach may not fill up. You may have to live with hunger pangs until your stomach gets used to the new regimen. If you feel extremely hungry then eat some fruits.
Make sure you include all the food groups – proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Keep down the level of fats consumed. Include lots of fruits and vegetables that have high fiber content. This will help in giving you the feeling of fullness.
Even when following a low calorie diet plan it is important that you make sure your diet is healthy and includes all the nutrients. Moderate exercises can further help you to speed up the weight loss.