What to Expect During the First Week on a Very Low Calorie Diet!
Congratulations! You have either just decided to try or are contemplated embarking on the journey of trying out a Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) to lose weight! Whether you have a small amount to lose before a holiday or a large amount to lose for your health (like I did!) then you can expect to face the same challenges in the first week as everyone else embarking on a similar journey.
To read about how a VLCD works; click here.
So, you’ve probably looked at the amazing results that come with VLCD’s and decided it’s the most excited challenging you’ve planned to take. The success stories will have you geared up for change and that’s a good place to begin with; but managing your expectations along the way is what will really give you the consistency and sustenance needed to stay on board the success train!
The first week will affect us all differently, but up to day 5 will generally be some of the toughest diets days that you are about to face. This is for a combination of reasons but there are some common factors which people express really challenge their mindset in these important first few days on the VLCD.
1. The Hunger. There’s just no way to avoid the fact that you are initially going to be hungry. If you jump from eating crazy calories, to a modest 600 calories per day, then your body is really just doing its job in highlighting that you are hungry. I personally found day 4 hunger peaked for me. It is painful and upsetting, but also a good indication that you are one step closer to ketosis. I survived the hunger stages with a lot of rest and early nights! Also, key for me was really getting in to the habit of drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep “full”. Tip; Hot drinks can make you feel fuller than cold!
2. The Head Hunger. The psychological hunger. The one you didn’t realise has so much power over your thoughts. This is the one that tricks you in to thinking “I can just eat salad from now… it’s so much easier than this!” The one that tells you that the cold chicken nugget your 4-year-old left out on the kitchen counter will taste like a gourmet meal (SPOILER: IT WON’T!) They key to tackle this is really to keep a positive outlook. Especially when people tell you the plan is a FAD (Read all the counter arguments here!) and doesn’t work (Here’s another success story just for good measure!) The main track to tackling this is to keep busy. Set your meals at a time that is convenient to your lifestyle, but also allows you a goal time to get to without leaving yourself dizzy! If you usually get active as a distraction like I do, then try to keep it light to 20 minutes in the first few days. Something as simple as a walk as you really don’t want to use too much fuel too soon!
3. The Aches! Last but certainly not least it’s the aches. Mainly headaches, but other aches and pains are noted, a general sense of lethargy is common whilst going through ‘keto flu’ before you hit full ketosis! The first week, and few days especially I recommend taking a pain relief. Your body is used to consuming excessive amounts of fat, sugar, salt, caffeine and carbs on a constant basis, that when you start a VLCD you are essentially going cold turkey and experiencing a detox. You may begin to feel the effects of withdrawals which will make everything that is so crappy for you seem so much more desirable! This is TOTALLY NORMAL! Prepare for this to happen and this mindset will see you through. Your body is really going to thank you once you take all the junk back out of your system!
You can expect to feel better by the 5th day on a VLCD! You’ll start to feel fine and notice less need to manage a headache. Your energy will boost as you will now be in ketosis and converting energy instead from your own fat stores! BYE BYE FAT! You may even feel a sense of elation that you didn’t feel before… It’s certainly a small achievement that you should be proud of! Your desire to over eat junk will start to disappear and you will the fly through the plan. As the weeks go by and the weight starts to drop off you will literally wonder what all the first week fuss was about!
Remember; the hardest part of a VLCD is the first week. It then begins to get easy and the crazy fast weight loss will encourage you too!! Just remember – you deserve to do well, so keep your Mindset, Body and Soul first.
Tell me - How did you get through the first week on a Very Low Calorie Diet?