You pay me to starve you!

by Denis Faye | December 16, 2009

Overweight? Maybe you should take a look at LighterLife, the British company that, for around $10,000, will feed you astronaut food to the tune of 530 calories a day with the goal of massive, speedy weight loss. Conversely, you can pay me $10,000 and I’ll lock you in a room for a year and toss in a bowl of milk and a banana twice a day. Nothing like a little good, old-fashion starvation to turn your life around!

CNN ran an interesting report recently about LighterLife and other “Very low calorie diet” companies. As it turns out, the secret to a proper VLCD is a magic blend of herbs and spices:

The diets use a process called ketosis to prompt the body to burn stored fat for energy while being fed anywhere from 500 to 800 calories a day. Patients may eat or drink only manufactured food, shakes, and snack bars especially created for and sold through specific programs. The products are designed to supply the patient with adequate nutrition without offering excess calories.

Oh, bummer. Well, so much for my banana and milk diet idea. That would require you to eat real foods.

Here’s a little more from the CNN article.

Diets of less than 800 calories can lead to numerous complications, according to Jampolis, including heart arrhythmias, which could lead to death. Extreme dieters are also at risk of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure and high uric acid, which could lead to gout or kidney stones, she says. Also, losing weight quickly could lead to gallstones and thinning hair because dieters are getting the minimum amount of nutrition, which can affect hair and bone density.

Awesome! Another fact the article doesn’t go into is that after a year of completely unrealistic eating, you go right back into the real nutrition world with absolutely no knowledge of how to eat properly. Plus, given you were consuming 500 to 800 calories a day, you probably didn’t have the juice (literally) to do much exercise, so you don’t know how to do that either.

Sure, you could buy a healthy cookbook and try your best, but if you couldn’t pull it off before LighterLife, why would you be able to do it now?

Eating properly and exercising are learned behaviors and learning experiences. If you have the willpower to submit to an 800 calorie VLCD for a year, you also have the willpower to eat 1600-1800 calories, get a little exercise and learn how to operate your body in a sustainable fashion. Yes, it’ll probably take a little longer to lose the weight, but it’ll also stay off a hell of a lot longer.

The only downside is that you need to take accountability for your own actions, and who wants to do that?

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2 thoughts on “You pay me to starve you!

  1. Allison

    One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Which I liken to starving yourself on a “diet”, losing weight, then going back to your old crappy eating habits and wondering why you gain all of your weight back. Is losing weight the “right” way hard? For me it’s the hardest thing I do. But I keep it off. And I feel great because working out makes all the difference in my life. If I couldn’t run (who could eating only 800 calories a day?) I would go insane! This diet reminds me of the HCG craze here in the states. Insanity.


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