Lessons from a 500 Calorie a Day Diet – Jason Elkins

Wed, May 26, 2010

Featured, Jason Elkins

Lessons from a 500 Calorie a Day Diet – Jason Elkins

I can hardly believe the results of a diet I started 10 days ago… I have lost over 14 pounds.

This diet started in conjunction with the treatment my wife was receiving from McCullough Spinal Care in Hendersonville, Tennessee. They have had some success alleviating a bit of the chronic and super high pain levels that she deals with daily.  Over the last 4 years, she’s had several surgeries on her back.  These docs perform a type of chiropractic care called NUCCA, and have told Shelli that for the future of her back (and her life really) she needs to drop some weight.

The problem is that she can’t exercise.  Sometimes doing dishes will cause her to be down for the night, and I can see the pain in her face when she does any physical labor (like a short walk or even cooking a meal).  After discussing our options, they have suggested a diet that includes a homeopathic hormone called hCG.  You take ten drops under your tongue 3 times a day and SERIOUSLY reduce your calorie intake.  For the first month, it’s a 500 calorie a day diet that allows for fish, chicken, certain vegetables, some fruit and not much else.  (I wouldn’t even consider it without a doctor and the drops.  Dr. McCullough has been amazingly supportive and responsive to questions/concerns).  In support of Shelli and my own health, I decided to join her on this plan.

We prepare meals at least a day ahead of time… Rationing out meat, veggies and snacks, and along with the hormone drops, here is what I’m eating every day:

500 Calories:

Breakfast: – 9:30 am
3.5 oz. of strawberries (about 5 large berries) or an apple.
Coffee (thank you God)
Water – LOTS of water

Lunch: 11:30 am
3.5 oz. of chicken, fish (no tuna or salmon) or lean steak, stripped of all fat, cooked with cooking spray – no oil – and spiced with salt free seasoning
3.5 oz. of cucumber, broccoli, or asparagus
Water – Lots of water

Snack:  2:30 pm
Reasonable sized apple (3.5 oz.)
Coffee or tea – teaspoon of milk and some Splenda or stevia
Water – Lots of water

Dinner:  (as late as I can) 6:30 or 7:00
3.5 oz. of chicken (stripped of all fat, cooked with cooking spray – no oil – and spiced with salt free seasoning)
3.5 oz. of cucumber, broccoli, or asparagus
Water – Lots of water

The lifesavers for me have been coffee, sugar free mints and Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce, which is good on steak, great on chicken, excellent on cucumber and asparagus and can actually makes broccoli enjoyable.  Five hundred calories is only for 1 month and there is some limited wiggle room if you feel super lethargic or cranky, which hasn’t been much of an issue.  (This diet would not be possible for a diabetic).

The comments from some well meaning friends have been interesting:

“You can’t live on that.”
“You’ll gain all of your weight back right away.”
“500 calories is starving yourself and it won’t work.”
“That’s not healthy dude.”

I thought for a long time about that last statement.  “Not Healthy”… I calculated what I ate a few Saturdays ago.

Breakfast:  I made it… Pancakes and eggs.  750-1000 Calories

For lunch I had a Quizno’s Tuna Melt.  I now know that the Quizno’s Tuna Melt has the highest calorie and fat totals of any of their sandwiches! The large Tuna Melt has over 2,000 calories and 175 grams of fat!! (The regular size has 1,420 calories and 118 grams of fat, the small 770 calories and 60 grams of fat!)

We ordered pizza for dinner, and I had 3 pieces at 350 calories apiece, and Shelli had made some brownies for desert.  This day was a bit excessive, but it wasn’t all that unusual.  The calorie count was around 4000 for the day.  Wow.  That certainly wasn’t healthy.  I think it’s part of our culture to ignore excess in things but be very concerned about lack.

There is a level of desperation that Shelli and I both feel.  She has been dealing with pain for YEARS, and we’re missing out on some things we enjoy.  We used to have a large group of people weekly at our house for a bible study/fellowship time.   These relationships were so important to us, but we couldn’t keep up with the house nor the prep that was required. That’s only one reason we’re motivated and dedicated to this new plan – and it’s working so far.

The second 30 days, we will add some additional calories into our eating and hopefully some exercise.  Ultimately we are learning better eating habits, and understanding how to prepare and portion healthy food.

Surprisingly eating this food with the drops has been mostly satisfying.  I haven’t been really hungry much, however I HAVE been in situation after situation where I’ve had to say  ‘no’ to some delicious food that would normally give me temporary satisfaction.   The will to say “no” has been very empowering, and has initiated some thoughts about long term health/eating and weight, and the power of our own minds and hearts.  I’m looking at other areas of my life that may need an overhaul!

1 Corinthians 10:23 (New International Version)

23“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.

I appreciate your prayers as we tackle this change in our lives!

Love,
Jason

————————————————————
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Through my Facebook Status Updates about this diet, a couple of you have asked for more information. You can contact McCullough here, and Dr. Jake is teaching an overview of this program this Thursday 5/27 at 6:00 pm.
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This post was written by:

Jason - who has written 135 posts on Transparent Christian Magazine.

Jason Elkins is the owner and editor of Transparent Christian Magazine and spends his day supporting small business with their web efforts at Keystone Business Solutions. Jason is a father of two, a husband of one and a follower of Jesus.

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47 Comments For This Post

  1. Linda Connor Says:

    Awesome Jay & Shelli! Cheering for you & praying for returned health, activity, and a pain free future.

  2. jamey tucker Says:

    We’ve all got some weight to lose somewhere, and I don’t necessarily mean body weight. We could all use some self-discipline in some area of our lives.

    If you’ll come to our breakfast tomorrow, I’ll join you by drinking just water and coffee.

  3. Gene Kramer Says:

    Usually the biggest stumbling block is our own mind. We seem to be able to talk ourselves out of doing what we know is right especially when it comes to food! You have already started the healing process in your mind when you told me that ‘there are worse things to deal with than being hungry’. Spending more time with the kids, helping your wife or working on the next Transparent Christian Magazine are great examples of ‘hunger distraction’! Keep at brother!

  4. Mike Westendorf Says:

    Awesome Jason, praying for your minds and discipline as well as results!

  5. admin Says:

    Thanks Linda, Mike, and Gene. I’ll see you tomorrow Jamey… That will be the true test, because ~breakfast~ is the most awesome food group on the planet.

  6. joni Says:

    Jason,
    I admire your strength and stamina in seeing this through. Even if it is hard and tough on you two, you’re learning discipline with your eating habits.
    Although I gasped myself at 500 calories, with a DOCTOR watching over, I took my gasp back and encouraged you both to see this through. :)
    I think it all boils down to healthy eating habits and no you won’t gain the weight back, because you will now be empowered!
    Many prayers for you and Shellie!
    Can’t wait to see pics you two! :)

  7. Burt Says:

    That’s a pretty good article, Jason. It’s more like the “Breakfast of Champions”. I wouldn’t worry about the people that say, “Just 500 calories”. I think once you loose the weight you need to loose, you should have no problem keeping it off.

    You’ll be mentally, emotionally and spiritually charged to be healthy so you can serve God more. As you gave me advice on the Jack LaLane juicer, you’ll have to show me the specific foods you get as I would like to eat healthier that way too.

  8. John Morgan Says:

    I’m super proud of you brother. There’s no doubt that few of us have the determination to do that kind of diet. I know I’m not strong enough to do it. You’re both making it happen! Keep up the good work!

  9. Joshua Wienczkowski Says:

    Freaking love you man. So proud and so excited for this new chapter. Hugs, love and words can’t express brotherhood.

    J

  10. Toni Starring Says:

    It’s easy to create your ain healthy and downlike homemade Denny’s pancakes with this easy-to-follow Denny’s flapjack recipe with healthy ingredients, such as Graham and Canola Oil, served with a dollop of cream cheese and arrant maple syrup or dearest , or create your own healthy flannel cake toppings.

  11. Barb Winters Says:

    Excellent article. I especially appreciated where you mentioned that others are telling you this diet isn’t healthy. In the meantime, we can eat terribly, but if it is the norm it’s okay and accepted.

    This article fits in with the blog I write. May I reference this article or put a link to it on my blog? The address is http://foodliesandtruth.blogspot.com/

    Thanks, Barb

  12. Jason Elkins Says:

    For sure Barb, thanks for the comment. I’m glad that section resonated with you.

    Feel free to link it!

    Jason

  13. Catina Kupke Says:

    I am about to start this diet my dr gave me the info on it, i ordered the drops have plans to start this diet with my friend.
    but looking and teing to find all the foods that can and can not be in the diet. Like is there frozen meals you can buy and still be under 500 cal. a day? I don’t eat breakfast now and only eat one meal a day now so I know my cal. intake is low already. have lost 40 Ibs. in the last 2 years but also had 3 neck surgies and 2 other surgies. So what foods can you have and not have on this diet?

    Catina

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  24. JGalt Says:

    You are aware that homeopathy is water, right?

    http://www.scienceandreason.ca/newsletter/the-truth-about-homeopathy/

    There is no “active ingredient” in homeopathic remedies, because there is no ingredient at all. Just water. Sometimes flavoring. Homeopathy is a pseudoscience perpetuated by charlatans to defraud people out of their money.

  25. Fee Berry Says:

    You might want to look into alternate day fasting as a rather more gentle way of achieving your aims. I am very overweight at the moment, because I gave up going on diets which I couldn’t stick to forever. This is the first diet I have felt I have a chance of being able to maintain the effort for. On the fast days you eat what you have been eating every day, 500 calories, and on the alternate days you eat normally. There seems to be quite a lot of evidence to show that it may be very beneficial, will help you lose weight, and also reduce all the markers for diseases that our common in our culture – cancer, heart disease etc. There was a programme about it on the BBC in the past week, and there seem to be a few articles around the web. I sympathise with your wife, having had terrible back problems myself… I found that raising my legs at night helped me a lot.

    I’m astonished by the size of helpings of food in the US. I watch man versus food occasionally on television, and the ordinary helpings of food in most diners and retaurants appears to be about double the portions here… that’s not looking at all at the monster portion of things that the presenter consumes. It must be really hard to resist.

  26. Len Says:

    thank you for the help. I am wanting to know about a program. there is a fitness program many people have been doing. i have been doinglots of investigating on it and looks that this is actually a great training course. people say it will. i have as well been working with it around three weeks at this point and it is working i see. what is your opinion with it? you can find out more about it here. At this site should i remain on this workout because it is doing really good.

  27. Shelli C. Says:

    I’m in the same situation as your wife. I had a bad injury a couple of years ago. This past year I started to get extremely bad back pains, but as of right now I’m holding off on surgery. The doctors told me that I have to loose weight for my health, my future, and if I ever want kids. They told me that if I were to have a child right now I’d become paralyzed. I’m only 4′11 and from the doctors saying I couldn’t exercise I’ve gained more weight which has added more pressure to my back. Tomorrow I’m going to the doctors and doing the hCG, but the injections. I’m starting on this journey as you guys did. I’m glad I stumbled across your story. It gives me a little more faith.

    Thank you!

  28. vanessa Says:

    When I read peoples life stories on weight loss or gain I realise how much money there is to be made in the weight control business and that is why we see so many sites magazines and ads for diets. This story touched my heart and gave me such encouragement to push on with my own weight loss. i threw all diets out and simply cut down on my calories to only 500 a day. Its a life style I have adopted and yes I have lost 5 kgs which is about 11 pounds in 2 weeks. It was hard for the first week, I cannot lie but each day brings me closer to my goal and my scale has become my best friend (other than Jesus) I encourage you all to to begin a new relationship with food and dont get suckered into diet fads. They never work for many of us. I am 50 kgs or 110 pounds. My goal is to lose 10 kgs and then increase my calories to 700 then lose 10 kgs then increase to 1000 so on and so forth till i reach 1500. if my scale shows me i am gaining on the increased calories i shall go back to what i left it at. Then my last goal will be to do the 7 day juicing but thats months away smiles. Happy eating all.

  29. vanessa Says:

    Meant to have said 50 kgs overweight. i wished I was 50 kgs

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  36. Dee Dee Says:

    Jason starting this 500 calorie 10 drops before you eat thing too wish me luck. my pray for you and your wife that you reach your goal as I hope I do for surely that’s whats its going to take, for me at least, never do this kind of thing before, or took this kind of risk.

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