Starving yourself for a calorie deficit? Don't - it'll only backfire!

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solarijg

Joined: Jun 11
Posts: 2

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Posted: 05 Jun 2011, 09:31
We all know that a calorie deficit is required to lose weight, but restricting your calories too much can have the opposite effect. If your body thinks your food source has dried up, it will start storing fat for later use.

Instead of tricking your body into starvation mode (which will not help you lose fat, but may cost you lean muscle), create a calorie deficit with exercise. Eat a reasonable diet that lets your body know it is safe from starvation. You can restrict calorie intake, but make sure you eat enough for your body to continue to function normally. Then, work some of those calories off with exercise. This will keep your body from storing fat and will help you maintain your lean muscle.

If you still insist on drastically restricting calories, consider reading about the zig-zag diet method. Upping your calories every fourth day or so will often keep your body from transitioning into starvation (fat-saving) mode.

Good luck everyone - hang in there! Very Happy
Jannabelle

Joined: Oct 07
Posts: 108

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Posted: 05 Jun 2011, 09:41
AMEN!!! So very true - been there, done that! Not only does exercising accomplish getting rid of excess caloric intake, your overall health is improved dramatically. Great post!
radiochick

Joined: Jan 11
Posts: 303

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Posted: 05 Jun 2011, 23:10
Love it! It's helped me lose 25 pounds!
gnat824

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 1,712

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Posted: 06 Jun 2011, 09:41
Exactly! I think its important to play around with different levels of calorie deficits from month to month to see how you do with different levels. When I did this, I found that a monthly average of 1100 calorie deficits didn't get me anymore weight loss than a monthly average half that size. I was spending a ton of time in the gym and constantly hungry with no additional payoff! Track everything consistently and then go back and REVIEW your data every month or so- its amazing how much you can learn about what works for YOU by looking at your past performance. When you make changes, stick to them for a month so that you can collect enough data to get a real assessment of how its working. The better records you keep (accurate exercise and food logs, regular measurements, plus other notes about hydration, TOM and energy levles in your journal), the more you'll get out of that info down the road.
- Natalie
greerp

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 496

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Posted: 06 Jun 2011, 11:47
Good post!
bellalyn

Joined: Mar 11
Posts: 6

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Posted: 07 Jun 2011, 09:06
I'm having a hard time getting to my calorie intake goal for the day. ive set it at 1200/day and i'm only taking in about 1000. I have such odd work times as i work in retail. i find that if i eat my 1200 cals im overly full. HELP!!! i've been working out like crazy too.
greerp

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 496

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Posted: 07 Jun 2011, 11:10
Add more fats to up your calories. Eat an avacado or have some eggs.
krgen

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 4

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Posted: 09 Jun 2011, 13:12
What about a glass of milk in the a.m. and one before bed? I like the Smart Milk that is no fat but tastes like 2%. It comes in chocolate too.
nolechick

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 122

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Posted: 19 Jun 2011, 09:41
solarijg wrote:
work some of those calories off with exercise. This will keep your body from storing fat and will help you maintain your lean muscle.


This is the best statement in here. Eat a modest but decent amount of calories, and then create your deficit with training (resistance and cardio). I try to NEVER eat below my resting metabolic rate cals (1700).
"Mediocrity is climbing molehills without sweating..." - Icelandic proverb
Yvonne19

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 196

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Posted: 19 Jun 2011, 11:45
Such a great post, following your calendar is crucial, in fact I have checked through lots of peoples diet calendar and realize those that don't keep good track of food etc, are the ones who mostly fail like you say so easy to look at and realize what does work for you. Even if you eat over don't let that put you off...just keep going.....consistency is so important. Good luck to everyone.....love to see all the great loses....
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elfprincess

Joined: Nov 09
Posts: 39

      quote  
Posted: 13 Jul 2011, 10:39
[quote=solarijg]We all know that a calorie deficit is required to lose weight, but restricting your calories too much can have the opposite effect. If your body thinks your food source has dried up, it will start storing fat for later use.

Instead of tricking your body into starvation mode (which will not help you lose fat, but may cost you lean muscle), create a calorie deficit with exercise. Eat a reasonable diet that lets your body know it is safe from starvation. You can restrict calorie intake, but make sure you eat enough for your body to continue to function normally. Then, work some of those calories off with exercise. This will keep your body from storing fat and will help you maintain your lean muscle.

If you still insist on drastically restricting calories, consider reading about the zig-zag diet method. Upping your calories every fourth day or so will often keep your body from transitioning into starvation (fat-saving) mode.

Good luck everyone - hang in there! Very Happy [/quote



Absolutely! I have just been posting the same kind of info elsewhere on the site. We need to eat when losing weight - starvation is counter-productive. Well said!
Ouis

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 15

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Posted: 14 Jul 2011, 11:59
I love this! I just recently had that "lightbulb" in my head go off that I have been starving myself and it doesn't work. Just last week I reset my RDI to 1900, up from what I would always aim for before, 1200. I haven't gained anything, I feel good, and as my body adjusts I am looking forward to burning the fat off with exercise.
I set up a "Checking your RDI" challenge for just this reason--we get it into our heads that in order to lose weight we need that huge calorie deficit when in fact we need to eat more and work the deficit out in exercise.
Very Happy
JPGull

Joined: Mar 11
Posts: 2

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Posted: 17 Jul 2011, 19:47
Guilty as charged! I have been known to create food/exercise deficits of more than 1000 calories in a day! And I am not losing any more weight! I have to take in more calories, but I am afraid to stall my efforts. I decided to add almonds to my shakes in the AM and PM and exercise daily (as opposed to hard core 2-3 times in a week). So walk, run or PowerYoga each day, more calories!
theewhoshops

Joined: Jun 09
Posts: 145

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Posted: 17 Jul 2011, 20:08
I am struggling to get my calories where I need to on the Atkins diet. I'm just not as hungry on this diet. The extreme heat we are having doesn't help.



bluejayway

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 3

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Posted: 21 Jul 2011, 10:00
I love this post!! You mentioning upping caloric intake every 4th day is brilliantly helpful!! Thank you!
reti856

Joined: Mar 11
Posts: 456

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Posted: 21 Jul 2011, 10:14
I started trying out a higher RDI last week, more like a zig-zig 1250-1650 range. It's still terrifying (irrationally so), but I didn't gain any weight. I'm working on gradually changing my daily deficit so it's more like -500 to -750 due to exercize rather than deprivation mode where I believed I had to have a -1000 calorie deficit or more daily. It's an emotional trial (it's hard to change your ways) but I FEEL less exhausted and sleep better. It sure makes it easier to work hard fitness-wise.
hkaruga

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 129

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Posted: 21 Jul 2011, 12:45
I refuse to be a slave to my calculator and add up every single calorie that passes my lips... plus it is technically impossible unless you are literally weighting everything u eat to ensure exact serving sizes (and that's no way to live) but I agree with what you are saying starvation is no way to achieve long term weight loss. I do however believe in periodic fasting, not for the purpose of weight loss, but for religious/spiritual as well as its health benefits. Most people who 'starve themselves' for weight loss, excluding anorexics who go to the extreme, are really only fasting as their glycogen stores are likely great enough to sustain themselves for about two days. But if their mentality is that this is going to create a calorie deficit and result in weight loss, well that just isn't the healthiest way to think of it. Even coming out of a one day fast I guarantee most people eat more than I would have if I had eaten a balanced diet the previous day. Plus once the glycogen stores are depleted it would take the average person 2-3 additional days of water only fasting to lose just one pound, as 3500 kcals= 1lbs. and evtually your body will also start breaking down muscles. That is hardly worth it, you had better just eat sensably and lose 1-2 pounds/wk.
Carpbud

Joined: Jun 11
Posts: 13

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Posted: 21 Jul 2011, 16:00
Thank you for the great post. Its so easy to think "oh not losing weight/need to lose weight, ill cut my eatig down" and while if may work at first, you are doing yourself no favours!

Im on 1700 a day, and not managing to eat that much! I do walk for 1.7 miles each morning and again at night to and from work, so I need to look at do I need to increase my intake over the next few weeks.

I have been thinking about zig-zagging my intake, but again, ill see over the next few weeks.
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ADobs

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 178

      quote  
Posted: 22 Jul 2011, 07:37
It's hard getting past the mindset that you need to eat more and exercise as opposed to eating less and exercising. I know I was undereating big time and now I've slowly upped my calories to about 1,200-1,300 and then once a week I double them and eat whatever I want, and I'm still exercising every day and I've managed to stay within my goal weight only fluctuating 3-5 lbs which is the norm. But I know I need to up my calories even more but it's the fear of gaining weight that's hard to get past. I would be happy at 1,400-1,500 calories so that is my goal. And I realized also that it's very true - whether you have a 1,000 deficit, 500 deficit or 200 deficit I didn't lose/gain anymore, so I shouldn't be so hard on myself.
Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down...
Soozaroo

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 1

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Posted: 22 Jul 2011, 08:33
I'm on the Slim Fast diet (1600cal) but I don't limit my milk in teas and coffees and I eat a healthy balanced main meal without bothering to count the excesses. This isn't going to trigger my starvation response is it? I'd really hope not to undo my efforts!
Hmmmm.. Maybe I'll just have to allow myself a lovely treat every 4 days or so. Such an effort.. haha!
Soozi
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