Trying to lose weight on a VLCD - starting my journey


New Member
Disclaimers up front:
  • I am on a medically supervised VLCD.
  • No one should follow my example. This is not medical advice.
  • If you are on a VLCD, you should be monitored by your health care provider.

I'm 44 yo, male, and hit my highest weight ever about a month ago. Last month, there was a confluence of events that helped me to get motivated to make a change:
  • Someone at work commented on my weight gain in a negative (but well meant) light.
  • I had a low back strain.
  • I had difficulty bending over to clip my toe nails.
  • My apnea-hypopnea index was up near 5 despite using CPAP at optimal levels.
  • My brother lost a lot of weight.
  • My pants were too tight even though they had a stretchy, elastic waist band.

So, I got on the scale for the first time in forever to see that I was well past the 250 mark. 258 to be exact. At 5'11, that put my BMI at 36. I know BMI isn't a perfect test, but I am not a muscular individual, so it's a good measure for me.

I got motivated and made a bunch of changes:
  • Got a Fitbit and starting trying to do at least 10k steps a day
  • Got a treadmill desk to let me walk while surfing the web or doing work at home
  • Started a medically-supervised VLCD.

My VLCD uses real food, not meal replacements, but it isn't "home made". My doctor and dietician closely monitor my food log to make sure I am getting enough protein, vitamins, minerals, and nutrition. Mainly I'm eating eggs, chicken, beef, fish, lots of above ground vegetables, and a ton of water. I take a multivatmin daily, and the doctor is also prescribing me a medication to lower my risk of gallstones, which are a known risk of rapid weight loss.

This table summarizes my progress to date:


It's still very early, but here are some observations so far:
  • My appetite dropped dramatically after about two days. I didn't know if I could eat this little calories. It actually hasn't been that hard. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I wish I could eat a couple hundred more calories before going to bed at night. But by spacing out my calories and saving a couple hundred for the end of the day, it hasn't been bad.
  • My hands are freezing pretty much all the time unless I am exercising. I have to run them under hot water multiple times a day. Apparently this is another known side effect of VLCD. My feet are also very cold, but hands are on another level.
  • My energy levels are far higher than they were before VLCD. I don't want to sit or lie down as much. I do more housework. My wife can't believe that I do all the dishes, etc, now.

I know the first 5-10lbs was "water weight" (glycogen + water) and that I have a long way to go. But I'm feeling motivated and determined. Hoping to get to 170 lbs and stay there!
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Full Member
S: 16st12.6lb
Congrats on the positive start. I think its great you are able to do this on real food, I know how hard that is from experience. Good luck going forward


New Member
It's been a little over 3 months since my last post, and I've made a lot of progress. After 42 days on VLCD, I increased my calorie intake to aim for a 1000 calorie daily deficit. Not long after that, I started going to the gym 3x/week to do about 30-40 min of weight lifting.

I think doing the VLCD with real food prepared me to make the transition to a higher calorie diet without losing momentum. It taught me to do meal prep, to weigh food, and to log everything. When I increased my calories, I added back many kinds of food I wasn't having on VLCD, eg bread, rice. I'm not trying to restrict carbs or aim for any macro targets other than to get enough protein. My diet is more plant based than before.
I still eat meat and eggs, just less than when I was in my VLCD phase.

In total now, I've lost over 65 lbs. I feel better and have had improvements in mood, GERD, sleep apnea, and blood pressure. The chart below summarizes my journey so far.